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This Week's Noteworthy Shows and Parties
Big Freedia, DJ Rusty Lazer, L.A. Kendall, Dewey Decimal
(Neumos) When I was young and in college, I never dreamed of getting breast implants like the other girls. No sir! I wanted ass implants. See, I went to school in Detroit—and back then, ghettotech ruled all the best dance parties. I could only dream of dancing the way girls at those parties could. I haven't really thought of it much since moving to Seattle. Not until I saw Big "Queen Diva" Freedia at Musicfest NW in Portland this year. Holy shit! A friend from New Orleans had been sending me YouTube videos, but I had no idea that this entire movement, "New Orleans Bounce," was happening. Freedia and her "daughter" Sissy Nobby, along with Katey Red, have been ruling NOLA's dance parties since the late 1980s. Similar to ghettotech, bounce is a high-energy, bootycentric call of the wild(est). Better than ghettotech, bounce is gay-friendly (though stop calling it "sissy bounce"—saith Freedia in a recent FADER interview: "It's just 'bounce music' in New Orleans; you may have a gay rapper, but you have straight rappers too"). Gay or straight, it's time to shake those hips like BATTLESHIPS! KELLY O See also My Philosophy, and the Homosexual Agenda.
Thee Oh Sees, Bare Wires, Night Beats
(Chop Suey) Thee Oh Sees are undeniably one of the best American bands going now, and they always bring the infernal heat live. What I wrote about them the last time they came through town still applies: "Leader John Dwyer elevates the band above most in the genre with songwriting chops that somehow find limber, lubricious ways to invert garage rock's creaky tropes." Oakland's Bare Wires are not quite as challenging or as exhilarating as their billmates, but they apply an endearing neo-glam glaze to garage rock's well-worn machinations. This is a damn fine free show, totally worth risking a lifetime's worth of spammy marketing annoyance to experience (you have to give up your e-mail to RSVP). DAVE SEGAL
Neon Trees, Middle Class Rut, Fences
(Showbox at the Market) As a way of saying thanks for spending the 50 or so bucks on Deck the Hall Ball, 107.7 The End threw together this lineup, billed as "'Twas the Night After Deck," for a mere $10.77. From Neon Trees (Provo, Utah's pride and joy), you get play-by-the-numbers, catchy, 1980s-centric dance pop. Nothing more, nothing less. Opener Fences, aka local singer-songwriter Chris Mansfield, has been blowing the hell up lately. His debut full-length, produced by Sara Quin (of Tegan and Sara), is filled with simple melodies and charming choruses memorable enough to prove he's more than just a face-tattooed Dashboard Confessional. KEVIN DIERS
DJ Rob Swift, Harsh, J-Tyme, DJ Swervewon
(Nectar) Rob Swift is a dazzling NYC turntablist whose peak moment of fame occurred between the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the '00s as the most visible member of the turntable quartet called the X-Ecutioners. Agreed, that name is horrible, and it may have been behind the crew's decline and dissolution. Its earlier name was the X-Men. Marvel Comics, however, put an end to that. And after the name change, the crew was never the same. (It's worth thinking about all of this in the light of They Live!'s unfortunate change to Mash Hall.) Anyway, anyone who has watched Swift knows the man is massive on the wheels of steel. CHARLES MUDEDE
Dam-Funk, DJ Supreme, DJ 100Proof
(Nectar) See My Philosophy.
Tame Impala, Stardeath and the White Dwarfs
(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests.
Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death, Kenseth Thibideau
(Josephine) You all should know and at least like Seattle's Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death by now. Spencer Moody and company do the "fatalistic blues rock with a dagger to the jugular" thing with panache and gravitas. But perhaps you don't know as well Kenseth Thibideau, a founding member of Tarentel, Rumah Sakit, and Sleeping People, and a touring fixture for Pinback and Three Mile Pilot. He has a great new album on Temporary Residence titled Repetition, on which he conjures a laid-back, nuanced brand of krautrock. It's easy for this kind of thing—a sort of po-faced motorik shtick—to descend into pastiche, but Thibideau handles the Neu!-sy melodic-beauty-plus-rhythmic-propulsion equation like a master. DAVE SEGAL
Andrew Jackson Jihad, Blunt Mechanic, Royal Monsters
(El Corazón) Funny lyrics about Con Air and the awkwardness of personal songwriting ("At least I'm saying something/And I hope that no one's listening/Because this is kind of embarrassing/And everyone who hears this thinks we're joking") can only go so far. But Andrew Jackson Jihad back up the They Might Be Giants–style white-boy faux-lofty musing with actual songwriting skills—rocked-up folk songs with horns and a wall of guitars—and a sense that they won't kill a song's essence for a cheap joke. It's rare that you encounter a jokey, quirky band that feels like a collection of people you think would actually be smart, literate people in "real life." AJJ are just doing what comes naturally, and they sound good doing it. PAUL CONSTANT
Laptop Battle: WD4D, PotatoFinger, and others
(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker.
The Posies, Brendan Benson
(Showbox at the Market) It's almost as if the Posies have tried to stop but the world, and their fans, just won't let them. After a successful 10-year run, the Posies tried to play their final shows and disbanded in 1997. Frontman Ken Stringfellow went solo, but his sophomore album was lost on the world (perhaps in part due to being released on September 11, 2001). Then an acoustic Posies performance that was supposed to be a one-off event was so successful, it turned into practically a world tour (United States, Japan, and Europe). Since then, Stringfellow has moved to France, and Jon Auer started his own solo project, but they just can't stay away. Now, after nearly five years of no new material, the Posies prove they haven't lost any footing on their seventh release, Blood/Candy. They still write memorable pop songs with fantastic vocal hooks. Some things never change. Nor should they. MEGAN SELING
Seattle Folk Festival: De Temps Antan, Alela Diane & Wild Divine, Mr. Lif with Brass Menazeri, and others
(Town Hall) The Seattle Folk Festival is set to present what has to be the most unexpected collaboration of the year: veteran indie rapper Mr. Lif (Def Jux) performing with live Balkan brass band Brass Menazeri. This is what the website for the festival states: "Brass Menazeri is quite simply one of the best Balkan brass bands in the U.S. Inspired by the frenetic and wildly virtuosic brass bands that had been popularized in the movies of Emir Kusturica..." So this event will be something like Beat Street meets Time of the Gypsies? Fuck, how will that even work? The band, we are told, is from the Bay Area and apparently has found a way to match the frenetic rhythms of Eastern European music with the chilled dopeness of hiphop. Mr. Lif will be rapping against all of that brass. CHARLES MUDEDE
Stickers, Pony Time, the Redwood Plan
(Chop Suey) Seattle no-wave trio Stickers, which recently released both the Buy My Nightmares cassette and the 7-inch EP Thanksgiving, return home from a West Coast tour with Brooklyn's K-Holes for a celebratory victory lap tonight at Chop Suey. This one-year-old band, which played its first show at Pike Street Fish Fry during the Super Bowl in February, bakes up a recipe that combines the no-wave skronk of the Contortions with the effusive fem-punk energy of a young Karen O fronting the Slits. It's art-damaged and tastefully addictive, with deep burly bass lines that flirt with distortion, raspy sung-spoken lyrics that dis others and piss on you, charging post-punk percussion, and discordant saxophone blasts that'll rattle through your skull. Stickers' sound is stuck to the bumpers of three cars annihilating each other in a demolition derby, and your ears are in the engine about to catch fire. TRAVIS RITTER
Dick Dale & Jimmy Dale
(Tractor) The conditions may not be ideal (the postchemo fallout from the elder Dale's cancer treatments has forced his sets to go acoustic), but it's still a blessing any time a legitimate rock legend comes to town, and Dick Dale is undoubtedly legendary. He's a hugely influential and totally singular talent with a career stretching back to surfing's '60s cultural heyday. His signature double-time picking style (inspired, apparently, by Shaolin rhythm theory and the chopping of SoCal waves) is instantly recognizable. And his collaborations with Leo Fender in helping pioneer amplifier and effects-pedal technology cannot be underestimated. He may be calling himself the "Cancer Warrior" now, but he'll always be the "King of the Surf Guitar." I think Bruce Campbell's Ash put it best in Army of Darkness's deliciously cornball finale: "Hail to the king, baby." JASON BAXTER
The Bad Plus
(Jazz Alley) Minneapolis jazz trio Ethan Iverson (piano), Reid Anderson (bass), and Dave King (drums) are often taken for a novelty group because they like to do distended cover versions of songs that, on the surface, have little in common with jazz: "Iron Man," "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Aphex Twin's "Flim." For their seventh album, Never Stop (E1), the Bad Plus lay off other people's work and concentrate on their own, and what comes across is how interactive they are as a unit, and how comfortable. They clearly like climbing onto limbs, and that energy comes across especially well in person. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Cheap Time, Idle Times, Dead Meat
(Comet) Tennessee trio Cheap Time's spirited bottle rockets of garage-punk rarely make it past the two-minute mark, but they do a top-notch job of channeling greats like Buzzcocks or Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Their songs are less polished than the former's and rattle off a hell of a lot faster than the latter's ever did. No word on their live show, but if Cheap Time are anything like their In the Red records brethren, there should be plenty of slam dancing and beer flying everywhere, and no fights breaking out over any of it. GRANT BRISSEY
Tomten, Shenandoah Davis, Candysound
(Chop Suey) You're about to hear a whole lot more about Tomten in the New Year, so you'd better get ready. They're local, they're putting out a new album, and they've got a great nostalgic feel—I don't think you can put an organ in your band without sounding nostalgic for some kind of bygone era, at least on the first few listens—but they assemble their sounds into something new. The vocals on "The Pleasure Is All Yours" are loungey and half-broken; they crescendo into something like bad karaoke in a totally daring way. "All on a Winter's Day" is a gorgeous blend of harmonies. You've heard all this before—the pouting vocals, the intermingling of lush organs and plucky '60s mod guitar—but you've never heard it put together just like this. Tomten are about to carve their own niche. PAUL CONSTANT
The Bad Plus
(Jazz Alley) See Tuesday.
(Showbox at the Market) England's Killing Joke are one of those bands that peaked with their debut album—in their case, 1980's momentously crushing Killing Joke. They've gone on to release a few other very good LPs, but for this listener (and many others, I'd wager), that initial blast of thrusting metallic brilliance will never be surpassed. Seriously, how can you top "Wardance," "Bloodsport," "Requiem," and "Change" for monomaniacal intensity—and a kind of crazy danceability? That being said, Killing Joke's latest full-length, Absolute Dissent, is much better than you'd expect from a post-punk band that first launched in 1978—possibly because it was cut by the original lineup. Singer Jaz Coleman (who possesses an extracurricular fondness for orchestral work) inflates Killing Joke's trademark gladiatorial rock expansiveness into flammable bombast. Geordie Walker's scalding and incisive guitar riffs fight tooth and nail for supremacy in the mix over Coleman's stentorian, guttural declarations and Paul Ferguson's blockbuster drums. Absolute Dissent is massive end-times rock, the polar opposite of underachievement and meekness. DAVE SEGAL