Block Party

Craig Finn of the Hold Steady

Capitol Hill Block Party 2013

It's a Fucked Up World

Party Animal

Interstellar Overdrivers

Nonstop Competition

Capitol Hill Block Party 2012

Talk to Me, Jay Reatard

The Schedule

Hey, Ladies!

Laughing at Life's Dark Shit

New Faces

Azz'most Famous!

Sublime Cacophony

Sound Check

Adding Visuals to the Audio

The Hottest Show I Ever Played

Never Heard of 'Em

Vox Mod Gets Up Close and Astral on the Great Wheel

Schedule and Ticket Info

Hot Licks on the Hill

The Map

The Schedule

The Map

Capitol Hill Block Party 2011

Shut Up!

Leave the Block Party!

ABE VIGODA

L.A.'s Abe Vigoda have a sound that will sit nicely with fans of local rock trio Talbot Tagora, who are also playing the Block Party. Just like TT, Abe Vigoda craft songs that magically waver between messy blasts and surprisingly well-structured nods to post punk (which has been regurgitated so many times, it usually sounds watered down, artless, and shallow). Their sound succeeds on one part talent and one part youthful enthusiasm. (Fri, Vera, 5:15–6) MEGAN SELING

THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT

California's the Airborne Toxic Event have chosen the most misleading name possible. They're not airborne and they're not toxic—they're just rich, shimmery, guitar-driven rock sometimes reminiscent of Snow Patrol, other times reminiscent of the Strokes (with a little new-wave edge). This is music for Zach Braff flicks. (Fri, King Cobra, 7:15–8) MEGAN SELING

AKIMBO

There's a lot wrong with contemporary heavy rock music; too much history has bred too many regurgitated formulas. Then there are Akimbo. They've managed to negate all of rock's worst aspects while exploiting its greatest attributes. The unbridled urgency of the finest punk bands blends with the molasses-thick riffage of the best metal acts. Arena-rock showmanship is coupled with basement-show bombast. Believe it. (Sat, Vera, 7:45–8:30) BRIAN COOK

BLACK ELK

Equal parts hardcore, sludge, and grunge, Portland's Black Elk have refined the sound of early-'90s noise-rock bands like Karp and Melvins and made it more evil, encapsulating the dark, ominous sound of the Pacific Northwest's unexplored wilderness. Their songs are equally brooding and explosive, angry and anguished, but always heavy as a sack of corpses. (Sat, Vera, 6:30–7:15) JEFF KIRBY

BLACK EYES & NECKTIES

These horror-punk descendants of the Misfits and Murder City Devils are a violent, relentless live act. The band's first commitment is raucous shout-along garage rock, making their undead-waiters routine merely a stylish touch, but the reason they're playing the Neumo's stage is still likely because sunlight weakens them. Their performancesrife with raw power, bloody, beer soaked, and grandare nothing to be afraid of... boo! (Fri, Neumo's, 4–4:45) MATT GARMAN

BLACK WHALES

Black Whales are a new band with some members of old bands like the Catheters, Tallbirds, Tourist, and Spacesuit. Like many acts in this city, they're reviving a sound that could've been born during a back-porch jam session fueled by whiskey and tambourines—but they beef up their foot-stomping folk with some classic rock guitar and the rough edges of early garage. They've got that folk feeling, but with a little more attitude and swagger. (Fri, King Cobra, 4–4:30) MEGAN SELING

BOOK OF BLACK EARTH

Scandinavia is a cold, gray, and largely rural landscape, similar to the Pacific Northwest. The region is responsible for some of the most crucial metal of the last two decades, as evident in the early Norwegian black-metal acts and the influential Gothenburg scene. With such a similar environment, it stands to reason that Washington would birth equally brutal music. Behold Book of Black Earth—Seattle's answer to Scandinavian metal. (Sat, King Cobra, 11–11:45) BRIAN COOK

THE BUILDERS AND THE BUTCHERS

Portland's latest contender for "next big thing" are the Builders and the Butchers. Fully embracing the Rose City's prevailing lo-fi aesthetic and love affair with all things old-timey, the band sound a bit like an Appalachian version of the Pixies. When it truly clicks, it's brilliant. (Sat, Neumo's, 5:15-6) BARBARA MITCHELL

THE CAVE SINGERS

The Cave Singers' Matador debut, Invitation Songs, is the soundtrack for summer. I listen to shaker-filled "Seeds of the Night" and starry "Helen" when I escape to the park to hike along the trails instead of the sidewalks. If the animals in the forest formed a band, this is what they'd sound like. (Sat, Mainstage, 3:15–4) MEGAN SELING

CHAMPAGNE CHAMPAGNE

Champagne Champagne are the combination of DJ Gajamagic (aka Mark Gajadhar, former drummer for the Blood Brothers, currently drumming with Past Lives) and MC Pearl Dragon. Dragon spits pot smoke and fire—sometimes goofy, yes, but still hot. Gajamagic supplies ample beats, often supplementing them with live synths, melodica, percussion, scratching, and vocals. The group are also rounded out by genial, party-starting hypeman Thomas Gray. Like any newer group, their shows are still a little rough around the edges, more beat-heavy good time than pyrotechnic rapping, but that good time is without a doubt. (Fri, King Cobra, 8:30–9:15) ERIC GRANDY

CHROMEO

Best friends since childhood, Chromeo have spent the last few years spreading the funk. They've got love for Hall & Oates, but represent with a rapper's swagger and P-Funk's devotion to the groove. The pair's feel-good songs and vocodered vocals could come off as cheesy in other hands, but their sincere desire to get you to show off your fancy footwork is more real than any amount of macho posturing. (Sat, Mainstage, 7:30–8:30) DONTE PARKS

COMMON MARKET

At last year's Block Party, local DJ Sabzi did his damage on the tables for Blue Scholars, whose long-overdue local fame peaked under a sunset at the corner of East Pike Street and 10th Avenue. This year, another big Sabzi project, Common Market, take their long-awaited step into the light. RA Scion's positive lyrical aggression and Sabzi's soul-record splices mix beautifully on the forthcoming Black Patch War, and after hearing this new shit, expect the crowd's hands to get up and stay up. (Fri, Mainstage, 4:30–5:15) SAM MACHKOVECH

DARKER MY LOVE

This California outfit should be the best mod-psych act at this year's Block Party. Darker My Love's hard, Sabbath-styled riffs split the difference between epic plodders Black Mountain and the tongue-in-cheeky Dandy Warhols, and the band's dual songwriters take turns revitalizing their favorite hazy genre in an impressively loud live show. (Sat, Neumo's, 4–4:45) SAM MACHKOVECH

KIMYA DAWSON

History will remember 2008 as the year Kimya Dawson stumbled into Juno-induced fame, scoring a number-one album, performing for Brangelina in Hollywood, and baffling Barbara Walters on The View. Music lovers will remind the world that Dawson has been making one-of-a-kind music—a sui generis soup of lo-fi folk, pervy potty humor, indie Oprahisms, and breathtaking lyrical acuity—since the dawn of the new century. If one of the reasons you go to the Block Party is community, you won't want to miss what's sure to be the sweetest, funniest show of the weekend. (Sat, Mainstage, 4:30–5:30) DAVID SCHMADER

DEVOTCHKA

It used to be simple: An accordion onstage meant you were watching They Might Be Giants or "Weird Al" Yankovic. With the proliferation of alt-rock bands influenced by Eastern European traditions, now you need a field guide. DeVotchKa are originally native to Colorado, but migrate extensively. They also are found on the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack. Their distinctive call sounds like one glorious, never-ending drinking song from an imaginary Romanian wedding. (Sat, Mainstage, 10:30–midnight) KURT B. REIGHLEY

THE DODOS

The Dodos latest album, Visitertheir debut album for French Kissis a sturdy and sunny collection of sweet psych-folk songs made even more charming by playful xylophone and Meric Long and Logan Kroeber's lullaby-like harmonies. (Fri, Neumo's, 9–10) MEGAN SELING

FERAL CHILDREN

Feral Children's debut album, Second to the Last Frontier (produced by Scott Colburn), lives up to the hype that the melodic and maniacal band earned when they came onto the scene a couple years ago. The Stranger, CMJ, Pitchfork, and others rightfully praise the raucousness. (Sat, King Cobra, 9:45–10:30) MEGAN SELING

FLEET FOXES

Yes, Fleet Foxes sing the best four-part harmonies in the city. Yes, their guitar work is impeccable—they play both acoustic and electric, with and without bow. The peaks of their songs, weaving all the parts together, are superbly dynamic. But the best way to experience them is alone, in your headphones, in the woods on a hike, not on a noisy street corner. For their set, it'll pay to get a spot up front since the urban environment will constantly fight to drown them out. (Sat, Mainstage, 6–7) MEGAN SELING

GIRL TALK

Back in the days before sample clearances, innovators like Double Dee & Steinski and Bomb the Bass built killer singles from the oddest flotsam and jetsam of pop culture. Girl Talk extends that legacy by crafting whole albums, like the killer new Feed the Animals, that julienne the handiwork of others into tasty aural slaw. Recommended for folks who think channel surfing is its own art form. (Fri, Mainstage, 7:45–8:45) KURT B. REIGHLEY

GRAND OLE PARTY

Grand Ole Party are, in fact, a party, fueled by bluesy riffs and head-rattling bass. Frontwoman Kristin Gundred is both drummer and sexy siren, belting out lyrics like: "I must be the devil's daughter, what a dark father to dwell in me." She's a female Jack White. And Meg White. But hotter than both. (Sat, Vera, 9–9:45) MEGAN SELING

THE HANDS

The Hands play fun and amped-up garage rock with the occasional horn, a steady stream of hip-shaking keyboard, and a nod to blues now and then. They scream their lungs out, they beat the shit out of their drums, they jump and thrash and dance. They exist to make sure you have a good time. (Sat, Neumo's, 3–3:30) MEGAN SELING

HEAD LIKE A KITE

Head Like a Kite are the electro duo of Dave Einmo (guitar, synths, sampler, vocals) and Trent Moorman (drums, Stranger contributor). New album There Is Loud Laughter Everywhere is the dreamy soundtrack to your imaginary trip into space—pitch-black but layered with bright, starry bursts of breathy vocals, strings, and unexpected guitar freak-outs. (Fri, Neumo's, 5:15–6) MEGAN SELING

THE HEAVY HEARTS

Whether it's acknowledged or not, there's a tendency toward ageism in indie rock. Local vets the Heavy Hearts may be past the point of getting carded, but they can still wipe the floor with any young whippersnappers foolish enough to cross swords with their vital, vibrant, and sometimes venomous rock 'n' roll. (Fri, King Cobra, 11–11:45) BARBARA MITCHELL

THE HOLD STEADY

Depending on whom you ask (and how long they've had the record before they answer), the Hold Steady's Stay Positive is either a fresh peak or more of the good ol' same. What remains indisputable is the Hold Steady's live awesomeness, and Craig Finn and company's hard-rocking Al-Anon/revival meeting should be a major Block Party highlight. (For extra fun, play the Hold Steady drinking game: Whenever you hear the words "Gideon," "Memphis," or "drugs" you chug!) (Sat, Mainstage, 9–10) DAVID SCHMADER

JAGUAR LOVE

The rumors of a Blood Brothers breakup started at last year's Block Party; those rumors turned out to be true. But the Blood Brothers are back this year in different incarnations: Jaguar Love are just one of three post–Blood Brothers acts on the bill (Champagne Champagne and Past Lives are right there with 'em). Former BB singer/cult leader Johnny Whitney and guitarist Cody Votolato have teamed up with ex–Pretty Girls Make Graves ax-man J Clark to produce a new kind of sonic freak-out, treading on poppier ground than BB ever dared. Their debut full-length will be released on Matador on August 19. (Sat, Neumo's, 6:30–7:15) MEGAN SELING

JAY REATARD

Memphis, Tennessee, weirdo Jay Reatard is the former frontman for the Reatards, but he's seen most of his success as a nutty, garage-punk solo act. His songs are sloppy and playful, full of as much energy and humor as sincerity and talent. (Fri, Neumo's, 10:30–11:30) MEGAN SELING

KAY KAY AND HIS WEATHERED UNDERGROUND

Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground kick off day two on the Block Party's main stage; Kay Kay are a band made for main stagesthey will spread it 11 people wide. Flowers will adorn, horns will bend notes, and parts from their cantata will layer into each other and run. They are about halfway through recording their next album of new beautiful madness. (Sat, Mainstage, 2–2:45) TRENT MOORMAN

LESBIAN

If you're not stoned when you see Lesbian, you'll probably wish you were. Not that their brand of psychedelic doom metal needs marijuana to be enjoyed, but the two just go together so well. I mean, you can eat cereal without milk, but why would you? Inebriated or not, expect some seriously beefy jams, quality shredding, and perhaps an out-of-body experience or astral projection. (Fri, King Cobra, 12:15–1) JEFF KIRBY

LES SAVY FAV

Remember that Yo La Tengo video where the record-label suits send the band to "rock school"? (If you don't, go to YouTube right now and search for "Sugarcube.") Well, if such a hallowed institution really existed, Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington would surely be a tenured professor in the Onstage Antics department. He could teach young bands a thing or two about stripping from odd costumes to nearly nothing at all, cutting off audience members' hair and wearing it, building improvised catwalks with unused stage risers, and mud wrestling—not to mention all the usual rafter-climbing and between-song banter. Of course, all this would be just so much gimmickry if not for Harrington also being an inspired songwriter and the band being pure post-punk-disco fire of the hottest order. (Fri, Mainstage, 9:15–10:15) ERIC GRANDY

LITTLE PARTY AND THE BAD BUSINESS

Admit it, you want to dance and have a good time. You want fun, simple songs with catchy sing-alongs. Little Party and the Bad Business are three young men who can help you with your desires. Their exuberant synth pop is a guaranteed dance party, a celebration of everything wonderful about youth and friends and hanging out. Go and sing and dance. Be young, even if you're old. (Sat, Vera, 2–2:30) JEFF KIRBY

THE LOVED ONES

On the Loved Ones' new album, Build & Burn, the band stay on course of the punk-rock sound they've been making since their 2005 EP debut on Jade Tree—anthemic choruses beefed up with brain-rattling bass and airtight, lightning-fast drumming. There are songs that leave something to be desired (like the repetitive "Louisiana"), but posi-anthem "Pretty Good Year" will whip the crowd into a boiling pit of moshing and singing along. (Sat, King Cobra, 5–5:30) MEGAN SELING

MAN PLUS

Sometimes a band are so right on with their own description that a measly little "critic" needn't even try to top it. Example: Local glitch dance rockers Man Plus claiming via MySpace that they sound like "a radio station broadcast from a very queer dimension where lovers are serial killers and friends are deadly witches." My thoughts exactly. (Sat, Vera, 5:15–6) MEGAN SELING

MENOMENA

Portland trio Menomena merge experimentalism with pop songwriting—and the result is one of the most intriguing, unique rock bands you will find. Don't fool yourself into thinking this is dense nerd rock; hear the sinewy strength behind the drum kit and you will understand. Each member is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and tall person. They are a creative force, and the progression goes thusly: CAN, the Flaming Lips, Spoon, Menomena. (Fri, Mainstage, 6:30–7:15) MATT GARMAN

MIKA MIKO

Mika Miko throw in sax and keys to crazify their standard girl punk. They rock in the vein of X-Ray Spex (with less precise elocution and more confetti) and call Bad Brains and Black Flag influences. MM frequently perform at the Smell, an all-ages, DIY venue in downtown Los Angeles, making them a "Smell band," along with No Age, Silver Daggers, and Abe Vigoda. (Fri, Vera, 6:30–7:15) JULIA MULLEN GORDON

NATALIE PORTMAN'S SHAVED HEAD

NPSH's aesthetic is hot-pink-and-fluorescent-blue school-supply chic—which is probably because these kids were in high school, like, months ago. Their songs are soaked in '80s dance-hit production values, the sort of unselfconscious homage you'd only be able to pull off if you grew up in the '90s (which they did). Their first album is just out; according to their MySpace page, it's called Glistening Pleasure "because it glistens and is very pleasurable." (Fri, Vera, 10:15–11:15) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

NEW FACES

Congratulations to new wave New Faces—the young (still in high school) Port Townsend trio won EMP's annual Sound Off! competition earlier this year. While riding high on that victory, they also got signed to local label Loveless, who'll release the band's debut, Two Years, in August. All the victory is deserved—the band freshen up a sound brought to the dance-happy masses by way of Interpol and Franz Ferdinand. (Sat, King Cobra, 3–3:30) MEGAN SELING

PAST LIVES

Since their inception a few months back, Past Lives have been on a prodigious tear through most every venue in town, bringing their haunted, amphibian art punk to the people the old-fashioned way. Having arisen from the ashes of the recently dismantled Blood Brothers, Past Lives have easily and rapidly outpaced the shadow of their former band and are proving one of the shining new hopes of West Coast experimental rock. (Fri, Neumo's, 6:30–7:15) SAM MICKENS

THE PHARMACY

Many years ago, the Pharmacy started as a scrappy lil' band that couldn't quite get their bearings—some shows would be rowdy and fun, with their sloppy twee punk (twunk?) whipping meager but enthusiastic crowds into a frenzy. Others would be rife with technical difficulties, broken instruments, and impatient audience members. All grown up now, the Pharmacy still have that scrappiness in them, but their shows have become reliably fantastic sweaty dance parties. Their songs are stronger than ever, too—blasts of rough pop with some basement punk attitude still lingering. (Fri, King Cobra, 5–5:30) MEGAN SELING

THE PHYSICS

Brevity is the soul of wit. Seattle hiphop outfit the Physics took that maxim to extremes on their recent four-song demo; the damn thing was so succinct, you could miss its charms—soulful old-school grooves, smart and playful rhymes—if a siren passed by. Luckily, if new full-length Future Talk is any accurate representation, they can stretch their set out a little longer without losing steam. (Sat, Vera, 3–3:45) KURT B. REIGHLEY

PLEASUREBOATERS

Pleasureboaters make me more excited about punk rock than just about any band in Seattle right now. Their debut album, ¡Gross!, released on scrappy local label Don't Stop Believin', is an uneven but promising first shot. Live, though, is where the band really shines. Frontman Ricky Claudon writhes and spits and shudders like a seizure victim while still somehow managing to both hit the mic to deliver unintelligibly sneered yelps and choke acerbic squall and tense hooks from his guitar. The rhythm section is no joke either, with Erik Baldwin picking out leg-wobbling bass lines and Tim Cady shirtlessly pounding on the kit like a monster. If their set doesn't light a fire under your ass, something is seriously wrong with you. (Fri, King Cobra, 9:45–10:30) ERIC GRANDY

PWRFL POWER

PWRFL Power has been getting a lot of press for a while, and journalists are usually quick to cling to the obvious: He writes cute, whimsical, witty songs about cats and dating. His lyrics are hilarious and his stage presence is singular. But the thing that everyone forgets about PWRFL Power is that the motherfucker can totally shred; until his recent relocation to Brooklyn, he was one of the top three guitarists in the city. (Fri, Vera, 7:45–8:30) PAUL CONSTANT

SAY HI

Eric Elbogen, the only constant member of Say Hi, relocated to Seattle from Brooklyn two years ago because he was tired of all the hipsters. Say Hi make terrifically catchy bedroom pop that everybody in range impulsively nods their heads to. It's blipped-out and fun (with some downer lyrics), evocative of Her Space Holiday. (Fri, Vera, 9–9:45) MATT GARMAN

SCHOOLYARD HEROES

Schoolyard Heroes' most recent album, Abominations, their third, follows the morbidly themed ways of the band's previous efforts—they play turbulent, Misfit-inspired death rock that's laced with a little metal (just enough to scare your parents) and wrap it all up with song titles like "Dude, Where's My Skin?" and "All the Pretty Corpses." Some buy their zombie act, some don't. If their music and shtick leave something to be desired, operatically trained Ryann Donnelly's shrill notes will tingle your spine. (Sat, Vera, 10:15–11:15) MEGAN SELING

SCRIBES

Local MC Scribes will definitely bring a sharp tongue to Block Party—in his confrontational track "Distractions" he addresses such topics as classism and corporate corruption. It's not all heavy, though: The sunny repetitive sample in "Soully" will sound sublime in Saturday's sun. (Sat, Vera, 4:15–4:45) MEGAN SELING

SING SING AFTERPARTY: PRETTY TITTY, FOURCOLORZACK, PASE ROCK, PAUL DEVRO, CHROMEO (DJ SET)

Fourcolorzack, who along with DJ Pretty Titty has made Sing Sing one of the most dance-happy club nights in the city, knows a thing or two about coaxing the crazy out of people. The sort of crazy where you forget where you are. The sort of crazy where, after his set, you stop him in the back hallway of a club to shake his hand and congratulate him for understanding that, in the whole of the world, there are only about 50 songs that will make an entire room of people want to move. (Fri [Pase Rock and Paul Devro] and Sat [Fourcolorzack and Chromeo], Neumo's, 11:30 pm–3 am) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

SLEEPY EYES OF DEATH

Sleepy Eyes of Death put on one of the loudest, most elaborate live shows in this city. Srsly. You've no doubt heard about it—multicolored lights, smoke machines, strobes—and it's all perfectly timed to lend exciting visuals to Sleepy Eyes' enthralling wall of electronic-instrumental storms with live drumming. (Sat, King Cobra, 6–6:45) MEGAN SELING

ANGELO SPENCER

One-man band (and Kimya Dawson hubby) Angelo Spencer tears out raggedy blues on a battered guitar while stomping the pedal of a big bass drum. The Frenchman-turned-Olympian's simple songs feature charmingly accented yells and furious strumming à la rockabilly pioneer Hasil Adkins, to whom he dedicates a song: "Hasil Adkins was a great man. He looked like my dad." (Sat, King Cobra, 2–2:30) JULIA MULLEN GORDON

STEED LORD

Steed Lord are a storm of synths, drum machines, vocoders, neon pants, and sunglasses—they're summer jamz from the future, a cracked version of U.S.E with PG-13 lyrics, and I can't tell if they're talented or ridiculous. Possibly both. (Sat, Neumo's, 9–10) MEGAN SELING

SUPER SECRET SPECIAL GUESTS

"There was something I forgot to say/I was crying on Saturday night." "Oh, whatever makes her happy on a Saturday night." "Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week." "Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody." "Whatever happened to Saturday night?" "Cut through the city on a Saturday night." "Dip dip, dive, socialize/Get ready for the Saturday night." "S-a-t-u-r-d-a-y night!" 'K? (Sat, Neumo's 10:30–11:30) ERIC GRANDY

TALBOT TAGORA

Perhaps the most promising young band in Seattle today, Talbot Tagora make ebullient music steeped in the full spectrum of post-punk tradition (strange that such a thing exists). Their metal-shaving guitars and rollicking, tom-buoyed beats lumber over their songs with as much wobbly kineticism as Howl's Moving Castle, but the steam that powers their beast is a classic, pop-leaning emotionality. Huzzah for winning primitivism and those that employ it artfully! (Fri, Vera, 4–4:45) SAM MICKENS

THEE EMERGENCY

At a recent show at King Cobra to celebrate their new release, Solid, lead singer Dita Vox, sporting a super-hot new Mohawk, sounded like Tina Turner having make-up sex with Karen O. The boys in the band, with their giant Afros and thrashing-all-over-the-stage theatrics, made the whole thing feel like a psychedelic early–Rolling Stones freak-out. They're the sexiest band in Seattle right now, bar none. (Fri, Neumo's, 7:45–8:30) PAUL CONSTANT

THROW ME THE STATUE

On the cover of Throw Me the Statue's first (and only, and amazing) full-length album, Moonbeams, is a naked woman in midair, having just been pushed off a dock by another naked woman. The album itself is a happy-making rush of pop songs sung by Scott Reitherman, who (though surrounded by a very competent band) does a lot of the doing in the live show—singing his lungs out, banging on stuff, jumping back to his guitar, etc. If anyone's going to be struck down by heatstroke this Block Party, it'll be Reitherman. Quick, push him into some water. (Sat, Neumo's, 7:45–8:30) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

TRUCKASAURAS

Already regaled by some as the future of techno, Truckasauras just released their debut, Tea Parties, Guns and Valor, in May, after years of playing house parties and street corners. The booze-swilling group's eight-bit electro complements their analog synths and drum machines with a vintage Nintendo Game Boy, displaying a surprising degree of musicality even after the gimmick wears off. (Fri, King Cobra, 6–6:45) DONTE PARKS

U.S.E

U.S.E are finally—finally, finally!—holed up in the recording studio, working on the follow-up to 2005's giddy eponymous debut. The intervening years, with the blowup of nouveau disco and the live return of Daft Punk, should have, by all accounts, seen the band rocketing to international rave-pop superstardom. Instead, for whatever reasons, U.S.E remain primarily a Seattle treasure, and there's really no better way to enjoy their ecstatic shiny-happy lovefest than outdoors in the Emerald City summertime (we love it). Expect vocoders, feather boas, one uninterrupted thumping beat, and the dumbest, funnest dance party this side of Girl Talk. (Fri, Mainstage, 5:30–6:15) ERIC GRANDY

VAMPIRE WEEKEND

Vampire Weekend's rapid ascent to the top of the indie heap has not, of course, been without its detractors. Yes, boat shoes. Yes, college. Yes, "Upper West Side Soweto." But fuck a backlash—this band is great. Their songs are smart, funny, and fun (indie rock can be fun, remember), full of inspired wordplay and youthful ennui and melodies that stick in your head for days. If you want to hate these guys for their class background or higher education or supposed stylistic appropriations, that's fine, but it means you're missing out on one of the finest pop-rock albums of the past year. (Fri, Mainstage, 10:45–midnight) ERIC GRANDY

VELELLA VELELLA

With only four members, Velella Velella cut corners by skipping a live drummer in favor of an iPod. But purists won't bemoan a lack of action onstage for Seattle's best disco-loving funk-pop group. The fuzzy organ notes, the lumbering bass, the pounding synthesizers, the occasional sparkles of flute, the stomping dance moves, the multipart falsetto coos... iPod or no, Velella Velella's live dance party will help you find the rhythm somehow. (Sat, King Cobra, 8:30–9:15) SAM MACHKOVECH

VOYAGER ONE

Voyager One are proof that computers dream. Their psychedelic and pounding waves of shoe-gazed sound are long, distant, and covered in electron shells. When computers are shut down, they dream in soundtracks of Voyager One. Ambiguous visions of multiprojector story lines play. The drives and circuit boards echo and dip back into the mechanistic and spacing orbits of Voyager One's well-carved songs. (Sat, King Cobra, 7:15–8) TRENT MOORMAN

KRISTEN WARD

Her big-voiced, husky laments make Seattle songwriter Kristen Ward sound much older than her 25 years. She may be next in the line of successful local alt-country chanteuses, following Neko Case and Jesse Sykes. Her latest album, Drive Away, features Mike McCready of Pearl Jam on one track, and slick production by Brad Zeffren on the rest. (Sat, Neumo's, 2–2:30) JULIA MULLEN GORDON

THE WHORE MOANS

At last year's Block Party, in the midst of playing blistering rock and roll that nods heavily to both Crimpshine and Murder City Devils, the Whore Moans stopped the show for a minute to give fashion tips to the crowd. They wanted to start a new trend, "Dad on Vacay," and bassist Ryan Devlin modeled the new look that consisted of boat shoes, cutoff shorts, a cheesy tourist tank top, and Ray-Bans with a neck strap. Only rockers as confident and hilarious as the Whore Moans could pull that off. (Sat, King Cobra, 4–4:30) MEGAN SELING

ZEKE

Watch any episode of Behind the Music and you get the same ol' shit—drugs, fighting, and general dysfunction. Bands get old and fat. They break up or grow boring. Zeke are too smart, too pissed, and too fucked up for that nonsense. Yeah, they've been through a lot over the last 15 years, but they're still faster, tighter, and meaner than most punks can ever dream to be. (Sat, King Cobra, 12:15–1) BRIAN COOK