Hunx & His Punx, Shannon & the Clams
(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests.
Bill Callahan, Michael Chapman
(Neumos) During his multidecade tenure under the name of Smog, Bill Callahan perfected the art of disquieting and uncomfortable folk music. His lo-fi recording process and stone-faced delivery of dissociative, introspective lyrics felt intensely voyeuristic, like stumbling across someone's stash of private Polaroids. By the end of Smog's run, Callahan had moved away from the dirty and murky implications of his chosen moniker and on to smoother recording techniques. Now operating under his own name, he's gravitated even further from his early entry-level four-track production and cheap-second-hand-gear aesthetic. One would think this sonic refinement would make his stoic tales of doubt and forlornness all the more naked, but instead it highlights his capacity for deceptively sophisticated melodies, deadpan cleverness, and seductively unusual arrangements. He's a man with nothing to hide. BRIAN COOK See also Michael Chapman album review.
(Easy Street Records Queen Anne) The veteran Portland husband/wife duo Viva Voce (Anita and Kevin Robinson) has maintained a remarkable consistency over six albums. Their music is not fancy or fanciful, but rather soars just high enough into the danceable psych-rock sphere to gently lift you out of your mundane mindset. Tonight they're supporting the new Vanguard Records debut, The Future Will Destroy You. It's more of the same post–Velvet Underground/post–the Jesus and Mary Chain/post–Mercury Rev stuff—with an emphasis on dulcet melodies—that's been putting a smile on your mug and a spring in your step for years. DAVE SEGAL
Thank Us Now: Feez the Germ, A Twon, Extra Dos, Ripynt, Mic Phenom, Cherry G, Breaker Boys
(Rendezvous) See My Philosophy.
Zeke, the Hookers, Black Wizard, All Bets on Death, Ancient Warlocks
(El Corazón) Zeke! Northwest! Chainsaw punk! Thrashers! Old-skool! Metalheads! Hometown heroes! Tattoos! Tacoma! Marshall stacks! Bring earplugs! Fuck grunge! Mohawks! Black leather! Headbang! Motörhead covers! Jean vests! Wizards! Devils! Weed! Dolphenwulf! Season of witches! Skulls! More tattoos! Muscle cars! West Seattle acid parties! Brass knuckles! Dirty Sanchez! Kick you in the teeth! Punk rock, rock, rock! Zeeeeeeeeeeeke! KELLY O
(Comcast Arena, Everett) In honor of Gay Pride Week, here's a story about some gays. These gays are my friends and a couple and they share a deep, crazy love of divas. All divas. Seriously. In the past two months, they've flown to Las Vegas to see Stephanie Mills, to Los Angeles to see Janet Jackson, and to San Francisco to see the cabaret act of Pia Zadora (twice!). THEY ARE THE FAGGIEST FAGS WHO EVER FAGGED, and they never, ever miss a KISS concert. "The only show that's campier and more extravagantly produced is Cher's," they report. Behold the spectacularly campy cock rock o' KISS tonight at Comcast Arena. (And if you see the gays, say hi!) DAVID SCHMADER
Mark McGuire, Brother Raven, Rene Hell, Eye Myths
(Josephine) Whenever Gift Tapes boss Jason E. Anderson (of Seattle/Portland synth sorcerers Brother Raven) organizes a show, you can be certain it'll consist of top-flight kosmische entertainment. For instance, Rene Hell (PDX musician Jeff Witscher) is doing the important work of furthering the legacy of Coil's scorched-soul, electronic-noir legacy. Rene Hell's music unsettles and uplifts you in equal measure, achieving one of the hardest tricks to pull off in vocal-free music. Seek out his 2010 classic Porcelain Opera for ample proof. Emeralds guitarist Mark McGuire recently moved from Cleveland to Portland, making it easier for Northwesterners to experience his enveloping explorations of his six-string's manifold possibilities. McGuire's purposeful, planetarium-ready space-outs and pastoral ramblings also leak traces of residual poignancy. His guitar will make you gently weep. DAVE SEGAL
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Ringo Deathstarr, Follow That Bird
(Neumos) Around the time of their first European tour, I recall bristling at some of the internet snark levied at Austin band Ringo Deathstarr: "They should have just formed a My Bloody Valentine fan club and stopped there." The dis still feels venomous to my ears—shoegaze, while durable, isn't particularly pliable. If a band has mastered feedback-laden guitar squalls and massive chord-bent choruses, someone's going to accuse them of invoking the genre's progenitors. To their credit, Ringo Deathstarr's Colour Trip reveals a remarkable amount of wiggle room within the confines of the genre; the vocals on "Imagine Hearts" recall the cadence of club-music hooks and "So High" has the kind of upbeat, twee jangle that Seapony have made their stock in trade, while "Other Things" rides the kind of booming, sparse beat you'd expect from Jamie xx. JASON BAXTER
Pollens, Western Haunts, Sebastian and the Deep Blue
(Columbia City Theater) Pollens play a brand of undulating electronic pop that's danceable, hypnotic, and complex. On their debut EP, primary songwriters Jeff Aaron Bryant and Hanna Benn zigzag melodies over syncopated Afropop-inspired rhythms. They blur energetic bursts of focused hooks into spaces of meandering, entrancing repetition. The back-and-forth that spans all eight songs feels warm and therapeutic, even through some of the playfully morbid lyricism. On "After Dance," the EP's most jubilant track, Bryant sings: "And when my body dies/Please scatter it around/Don't keep my ashes you've found/I'd rather be a verb than a noun." Pollens' show at Columbia City will see the EP's official physical release along with what promises to be a powerful live performance. DAN OBERBRUNER
The Wooden Birds, Pearly Gate Music, Chris Staples
(Sunset) Sincere singer-songwriters operating within a semiacoustic format should probably be shot or at least discouraged from weighing us down with their tediously predictable tunes. So why do the Wooden Birds break the mold? It could be pedigree (Andrew Kenny founded American Analog Set and has joined Broken Social Scene on tour) or it could be raw talent. I'm going with the latter. Two Matchsticks lets the raw materials rub against themselves just so, creating an album that's as bare-boned as it is free of expectations or pretensions. For those who are keeping score, former Showbox booker/Crocodile GM Sean Haskins is doing percussive duties. Ask him to exhibit his extemporaneous Quasi songs. You won't be disappointed. BARBARA MITCHELL
Aqueduct, Wonderful, the Lumineers
(Crocodile) Tonight, Wonderful—the wistful pop band comprising members of U.S.E—celebrate the release of Wake Up to Dreamland, the long-awaited follow-up to 2003's God Bless Our Pad. Yeah, that's right, their last record came out in 2003. But despite nearly a decade of focusing attention on other projects, Dreamland continues right where Wonderful left off, delivering a dozen new songs that swirl around your head, bursting with bright colors, visions of tropical beaches, and other deliriously pleasant thoughts. For nearly an hour, there isn't a second of anger, frustration, stress, or aggression—it's pure, and completely contagious, contentment. Put on the record, take a deep breath, press play, and release. MEGAN SELING
Don't Talk to the Cops, Concours d'Elegance, Night Fox, DJ Astronomar
Drop: Pezzner, Booty Resin, Brian Lyons, Wesley Holmes, Jeromy Nail, Mendicants, Awggie
(Lo-Fi) See Data Breaker.
USC 14 Year Anniversary: Benny Benassi, Andy C & MC GQ, High Contrast, others
(Comcast Arena, Everett) See Data Breaker.
State of the Artist, Tigerbeat, Case One, N8, Sean Cee
(Neumos) See My Philosophy.
Mudhoney, Unnatural Helpers, Non!, the Tom Price Desert Classic
(Tractor) Even after 23 years in the rock biz, Mudhoney are not even close to resting on their grunge-god laurels. The members may be in their 40s, but they continue to tear it up onstage like dudes half their age. Must be their vegan diets and prodigious wheatgrass juice consumption. With a back catalog loaded with fuzz-bombed, adrenaline-maximizing rockers, Mudhoney can easily give you two hours of vein-bulging showmanship, even at this late date. Unnatural Helpers, featuring singing drummer Dean Whitmore, deliver short, sharp garage-rock gems to which you can shout along instantly. At once tight and ramshackle, UH's songs sting memorably and exit way before you want them to. DAVE SEGAL
Animals and Men, Witch Gardens, Evening Meetings, Partman Parthorse
(Funhouse) You gotta hand it to Mississippi Records, the fantastic Portland-based record store and label that has been exposing conscientious music connoisseurs to an arsenal of great rare and unreleased 20th-century recordings for the last five years. When Mississippi released Never Bought Never Sold, a collection of singles and demos by the UK post-punk band Animals and Men, I was floored by the urgent rhythms, the arty new wave that peppered the punk strum and thud, and Susan Wells's persuasive demeanor and mechanically virtuous vocal inflections (especially on the B-side to their first single, "We Are Machines"). They were in the throes of an evolving sound that bred and bled with new ideas, and they, along with other women of punk's Wild West like Essential Logic, created something that remains politically, socially, and sonically relevant nearly 30 years after their initial breakup. Mississippi is bringing Animals and Men to the West Coast for their first-ever stateside shows, in which they'll reportedly air some new songs. Don't misbehave in the new age by missing it. TRAVIS RITTER
Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme
(Crocodile) Now expanded to 13 members, Seattle's Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme leverage all that instrumental and vocal firepower to exceptionally hedonistic ends, especially in live performances. Tonight they're celebrating the release of the Mell Dettmer–recorded Party Hard, their newest exercise in self-fulfilling prophecy. Its eight earthy, fiery tracks fling you back to Sly & the Family Stone and Tower of Power's brand of celebratory, maximal funk and soul maneuvers. There's so much brassy fun and lubricious groove science packed into each cut, you pretty much have to go out of your way not to sweat (and get laid) to this album. DAVE SEGAL
Inkubiz, Rik Rude, Wuf Tix, Tulsi, Murder Dice
(Blue Moon) While hanging out at OC Notes's studio in Pioneer Square, Rik Rude, the talented and dandyish rapper for Fresh Espresso and Metal Chocolates, told me something unpleasant. As he poured dark Italian wine into my plastic cup, and as OC Notes spun something by Charles Mingus, Rude said: "I'm thinking about moving to London. Trying my luck there. Nothing is set yet. Just thinking about it." Rik Rude is one of the leading rappers of our city, and his work with P Smoov has provided the city with a classic: Glamour. Rik Rude's future and fortunes must be tied to the fortunes and future of this city. "Stay a little while, child." CHARLES MUDEDE
(Neptune) See preview.
Go Hard or Go Home: Tacoma to Seattle: Vitamin D, Spaceman, others
(Nectar) See My Philosophy.
Death's Three Daughters, We Say Bang!, Cash Pony, Faintly
(Blue Moon) I'm always surprised by how little influence Sleater-Kinney had on up-and-coming bands—very few acts managed to incorporate their layered post-punk orchestrations into something meaningful. Sleater-Kinney don't sound like the main influence of Death's Three Daughters—hell, if the band listed their top five influences, Sleater-Kinney might not even be on that list—but the S-K sound is there in the background, influencing things in just the right way. The Daughters have a fuzzy, bratty punk-rock sound, like Bikini Kill, but lead singer Toots has an early–Corin Tucker–like warble, and their sound is more complex, more heavily layered than your traditional guitar-banging wailers. PAUL CONSTANT
Blonde Redhead, Nosaj Thing
(Neumos) See Data Breaker.
My Morning Jacket
(Paramount) I've never had a sip of the moonshine beloved Kentucky band My Morning Jacket have been serving up for the past 12 or so years—slow Southern rock, slide guitarzzzzzz... no thanks. Then I watched the band's episode of Storytellers (which is usually a fascinating show, even if you aren't a fan of the musicians being featured). Singer Jim James told a cute story about his grandma's concern when it came to his choice to be in a rock-and-roll band that he would have to spend a lot of time in "dark and lonely" bars. He didn't want his grandma to worry, so he wrote a song about it, letting her know that he'd take care of himself. Aw, that's sweet. I like my grandma, too, My Morning Jacket! You're okay by me. (But your music still puts me to sleep.) MEGAN SELING
Hedwig & the Angry Inch: The Stage Musical
(Crocodile) Written by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the beloved glam-rock musical that Seattleites got to know and love in a production that ran for over a year, starring Nick Garrison and a band of local music all-stars. Tonight, for one night only, a new Hedwig appears at the Crocodile as a benefit for the It Gets Better Project, where the full stage play will be presented by a cast featuring no one I can mention. The posters only credit "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," which is nice and Method-y, but suspicious. Hope they know what they're doing. (Hopeful sign: The posters are gorgeous.) DAVID SCHMADER
Gay Pride Party: Glitterbang, Noddy, Crypts, DJ Rude Dudes
(Funhouse) It's Sunday. You just watched the Gay Pride Parade downtown and then hung out in Seattle Center for a while. Man, you're thirsty. Your hangover is starting to catch up with you. You're also kinda broke. Wouldn't it be nice if someone would hand you a cheap Bloody Mary? Or maybe a mimosa? Well, it's your lucky day! The Funhouse has $4 Bloodies, screwdrivers, and mimosas from noon till 8 pm. It also has a patio, and a whole lineup of A-plus music, including Portland DJ Rude Dudes, and live sets by witch-housey Crypts, the Gary Numan–esque Noddy, and super-fun dance-pop party-starters Glitterbang. KELLY O
Two Gallants, the Mumlers
(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests.
(Easy Street Records Queen Anne) See preview,.
Marcus Intalex, John Glist, Charly vs. Aksion
(Baltic Room) See Data Breaker.
Sonny & the Sunsets, the Sandwitches, Seapony
(Funhouse) See preview.
Smile Brigade, the Donkeys, MK Speed Dial
(Sunset) Hooray for Smile Brigade! Even when they're at their creepy-crawliest, like in the sidling 1960s-influenced "Killjoy Switch," they've got a bouncy, flouncy vibe that won't fail to make you, um, smile. When they slow things down and back their Beatles-esque vocals with twinkling bursts of organ, the songs sound like falling into a feather bed in slow motion with someone you love. Hell, even while trying to sound vaguely threatening and edgy, as with the Nirvana-inspired "LWB," Smile Brigade can't help sounding like they want you to hum and happily bob your head along with the beat. This isn't a bad thing—more bands could stand to sound like cheerful, well-adjusted kids who just want to play good music really well. PAUL CONSTANT