MADAME PEABODY'S DANCE ACADEMY FOR WAYWARD BOYS AND GIRLS: SWEDISH HOUSEWIFE, DJ EL TORRO
(Catwalk) The first time I saw Swedish Housewife was at a Gasworks Park concert over 10 years ago. She took the stage and announced her candidacy for the mayor of Emerald City wearing something housewifey but very sexy, and spoke as if she were high on a natural substance, like sunlight or big strawberries. I would have voted for her, but I was not an American citizen back then. To this day, I rank Swedish Housewife as Seattle's first hipster; all of us who drink at Linda's, dine at Septieme, and dance at Re-bar descended from the folds of her voluptuous apron. Tonight she does something musical with DJ El Toro. CHARLES MUDEDE
ORANGE GOBLIN, ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY, SLUDGEPLOW
(Crocodile) More stoner rock! This time, the thunderous metal clouds come from the U.K., as Orange Goblin mixes its love for Kyuss with its hometown heroes like Black Sabbath and Motörhead. The result is a stoner/doom-metal mix that's so dense, you can easily barrel into the depths of its psychedelic monstrosities and drown there until sobriety reminds you to breathe. For those who think Nebula's gotten a little bare in places, Goblin leaves little room to strip back the sound, spiraling out with lyrics about sending your kids to outer-space schools, packing the rockets with riffs that take off but rarely return to Earth. JENNIFER MAERZ
THE BRIEFS, EPOXIES, THE SPITS, CATAHOULA HOUNDS
(Crocodile) See preview this issue.
SUN CITY GIRLS, MISS MURGATROID
(Sit & Spin) See preview this issue.
CHAMPION, STAY GOLD, HIMSA, YOUTH AT RISK, ONE FALSE MOVE
(Paradox) Although I'm not one for singers who vomit words like a giant demon hocking up human remains, Himsa puts on a pretty intense live show. The last time I saw the gothic-looking act, they were crammed into the front of Graceland, where the band hung a stark, colored bulb that bled red light all over their faces as they scalped metal with sharp blades. Fast, furious, and completely unapologetic, Himsa is one active hive of hardcore, if you can deal with being hit with noise this violent. JENNIFER MAERZ
SHUGGIE, MODEL ROCKETS, DEAR JOHN LETTERS
(Central) Feel like that wallet chain is getting a little heavy and the Pike/Pine corridor a bit too claustrophobic? Tired of carefully organizing your record collection so your friends won't see the albums you're too embarrassed to show but secretly pull out when you're safely at home by yourself? Then let your hair down (and unleash your closet buttrocker) with Shuggie. These Seattle vets play rock 'n' roll the way God intended--loud, proud, and blissfully unconcerned about whether it's cool to shake your fist (or your ass) in public, which makes them infinitely more cool than the legions of hipsters who crinkle their noses at the mention of Bread or Supertramp. Rock 'n' roll was supposed to be fun, kids. Thank goodness these fellas remember that. BARBARA MITCHELL
ACTUAL TIGERS, THE DECEMBERISTS, WONDERLICK
(Tractor Tavern) Wonderlick is Jay Blumenfield and Tim Quirk of Too Much Joy, a band that's either gone or on hiatus, depending on who you ask. The duo's previous affiliation is worth mentioning because, for all their determination to have their new project judged on its own merits--which are considerable, by the way--their goofy jangle-pop roots are still showing. The material on the band's recent eponymous debut is cheerfully punky, with the duo's unassuming, unaffected vocals threading through the music. There's a fair of bit of sampling in their dream-pop mix, but it's done in a modest sort of way that suggests a bit of self-mockery on Blumenfield and Quirk's part. GENEVIEVE WILLIAMS
MARK FARINA, BRENT LAWRENCE
(I-Spy) San Francisco's Mark Farina is due some serious respect for making three solid acid-jazz compilations in the Mushroom Jazz series. The first volume is brilliant, and the following two are excellent as well. Farina organizes his mixes around positive themes like self-expression, reverence for the groove, and the formation of autonomous identities through dance movement. In a word, Farina's compilations attempt to create on the dance floor spaces that challenge dominant sexual, racial, and economic ideologies. The singers he selects (mostly British blacks) aren't just concerned with love (R&B's sole obsession) but spiritual destiny, the unification of internal and external realities, and movement theory. The infusion of these concerns into the funk means that the dancer experiences all at once pleasure, politics, and piety. CHARLES MUDEDE
THE TYPING EXPLOSION, THE ALL GIRL SUMMER FUN BAND
(Tacoma Public Library) This promises to be an evening of feminist-flavored frolic, featuring the NW's finest literary performance trio and the fantastic Portland quartet whose name is finally starting to fit the season. The Typing Explosion's appearances, which consist of on-the-spot (good) poetry composition, grave facial expressions, and union breaks, are already legendary, while the All Girl Summer Fun Band remains a relatively unknown quantity among local audiences. This should change. Their self-titled K debut offers breezy pop and jubilant counterpoint harmonies complementing lines like, "My boyfriend never shaves/my boyfriend rarely bathes," sung sweet and smart, in a rich, Spectorish vein. SEAN NELSON
THE CATHETERS, GLORY HOLES, THE RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS
(Sunset) For anyone who couldn't make it out of the house early enough to catch the Catheters' most recent gig with Sparta, the band's mini U.S. tour has tightened the screws on their already excellent live performances. At that Graceland show, frontman Brian Standeford was hanging from the ceiling pipes, bassist Leo Gebhardt jumped all over the speakers, and both guitarist Derek Mason and drummer Davey Brozowski were pasted with shit-eating grins. Tonight's gig at the Sunset should be just as excellent, as the Ballard venue's setup allows for all the energetic thrashing around that all-ages shows tend to tone down. The Catheters take off soon to begin their much-deserved European tour, so be sure to give 'em the piss-drunk farewell they deserve. JENNIFER MAERZ
RICHMOND FONTAINE, CALEB KLAUDER, THE TRIGGERLOCKS
(Sit & Spin) If you've spent any time down in Portland in the last decade or so, you've probably heard of or seen Colobo, a band whose following dang near rivals that of Phish, if you catch my drift. Don't let that stop you from checking out Colobo singer Caleb Klauder, whose recent solo album Sings Out showcases his fine voice and knack for writing that sad, woodsy kind of country song Oregonians carry around in their rusty hearts. (And I ought to know how to recognize those songs--I spent nearly every weekend of my formative years along the banks of the Siuslaw River.) Though Richmond Fontaine also hails from Portland, its heart is planted firmly in the casinos and whorehouses of Nevada. The five-piece's most recent CD, Winnemucca, is an aching, alcoholic mixture of hard luck and dumb choices, written by singer/author Willy Vlautin, whose economy with words makes his lyrics some of the richest the Northwest has to offer. KATHLEEN WILSON
THE KNITTERS, THROWRAG, JESSE SYKES AND THE SWEET HEREAFTER
(Crocodile) See preview this issue.
ELVIS COSTELLO & THE IMPOSTERS
(Paramount) See preview this issue.
THE REPLIKANTS, HELLA, EX-MODELS, THE SECONDS
(Graceland) On their new record, Hold Your Horse Is (Slim Moon's 5 Rue Christine), Sacramento duo Hella basically open the doors of instrumental punk music and Tommy-gun the whole frigging place. Guitarist Spencer Seim's rhythmic finger-tapping and complicated melodies and Zach Hill's jaw-droppingly quick, rhythmic drum-mashing cinch tightly together for music that sounds like melodic classical wearing a hardcore wig. Live, Hella will crack open your brain with their virtuosity, ambition, and sheer staying power. (Questions you will ask yourself: How does Zach drum that incessantly without having a heart attack? Is he really only using a single-bass pedal? Has Spencer been checking out Beethoven records?) Their label mates, arty dance band the Seconds (featuring a member of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and fancy outer-space rockers Replikants, are playing, too. (That Slim Moon sure can pick 'em.) Also, Ex-Models put out a bitchin' record called Other Mathematics that drips wicked skree-punk and situationist vocal antics for the new now nation. You know you want it. JULIANNE SHEPHERD
PETER MURPHY, MICHAEL J. SHEEHY
(Showbox) Here's a dream double bill if ever there was one. Peter Murphy should need no introduction--his dramatic vocals and persona set the world of alternative music sideways (and helped spawn an entire subculture) with Bauhaus, and he's spent his subsequent musical career crafting music as darkly beautiful as his former band was starkly unsettling. Michael J. Sheehy has undergone a similar transformation. His former band, Dream City Film Club, was the soundtrack to the seedy side of life--the music practically seethed with junkie desperation, terror, and need (and yet, somehow managed to find beauty within). Like Murphy, his solo work reveals an artist capable of a greater range, proving that a whisper can be just as haunting as a scream. In a musical world dominated by pre-fab drivel and jock boys who want you to feel sorry for them, it's refreshing to come across the Real Deal. And tonight, you can do that twice. BARBARA MITCHELL
(Tacoma Dome) I discovered my first two records simultaneously: Ennio Morricone's soundtrack for A Fistful of Dollars, and a 1962 edition of Ray Charles' greatest hits. Perhaps because A Fistful of Dollars was entirely instrumental, I put an awful lot of weight on Charles' lyrics, particularly those for the record's first song, "Them That Got," a good-natured rumination on envy and poverty. Toward the end, Charles mutters a couple of lines about not being able to get "a quarter for a hamburger or a hot dog." To my six-year-old, beef-and-nitrate-loving soul, this sounded like a tragedy on par with the Vietnam War. Luckily, optimism shines through on side two, when Charles meets Ruby, a girl who is "dangerous like a flame," but he doesn't care because he's so smitten. I hate to think what the long-term implications of such a lesson were, but at least Ray Charles' voice still sounds like magic to me. HANNAH LEVIN
I hate Monday.
THE HIGH VIOLETS, THE NATURAL HISTORY
(Crocodile) For a band barely a year old, New York's the Natural History is making rather dramatic progress. Brothers Max and Julian Tepper cut their teeth in cerebral math-rock bands, but have forsaken that genre in favor of straightforward, dirty rock with a distinctly Kink-y bent. Their backwards-looking approach is serving them well thus far, landing them on bills with Les Savy Fav and Blonde Redhead, and leading them to play nearly 30 shows within the first six months of their formation. Their new EP will be released this summer on Star Time International (also home to the French Kicks and the Walkmen), and it's easy to sense some Strokes-level hype heading their way, so you might want to catch them now before things get kooky. Portland's High Violets arrive in support of their new mini-LP, 44 Down (released on the aptly named Reverb label), and will greatly soothe anyone anxious for a Slowdive fix. HANNAH LEVIN
(Showbox) I'd love to tell you about Beth Orton's new album, the one she's gonna be previewing tonight and all along her mini U.S. tour as the follow-up to 1999's much-loved hipster folk album Central Reservation. But you know what, I can't do that, because everyone wants to keep the album (which comes out in July on Astralwerks) a secret until the next time she goes on tour. So all I can say is the lady's got a real purdy voice that the likes of the Chemical Brothers have put to good use, and she plays really, um, really mellow songs that go well with getting really stoned. ERIN HEINZ
(Showbox) See Stranger Suggests.