As we enter the winter club slump, local venues are looking at new ways to spice up the old formulas and keep patrons taking shelter inside their confines. For some places, that means offering bite-sized portions of the usual entertainment. Neumos lined up a string of one-band local showcases—on the back of happy hour—for the back Juju stage. These Wednesday-night weeklies are a painless (i.e. free) way to catch up-and-coming local artists—starting with this Wednesday's (December 14) selection, Black Eyes and Neckties. I've written about these Bellingham kids before; they evoke the great spirit of beloved Sub Pop bygones like the Murder City Devils and the Catheters. Black Eyes are an energetic mix of gallows balladry and Misfits-haunted punk, all flying limbs and howling vocals live, with theatrically applied makeup and torn shirts adding to the back-from-the-grave-and-very-much-alive vibe. They should be right at home within the Juju's voodoo aesthetic, of course, and they'll be sure to tear up the bar's cozy corner stage. One week after Black Eyes, on December 21, Sera Cahoone casts a slightly quieter—but no less stunning—spell, performing desolate lo-fi country songs as gorgeous as a Death Valley sunset. Kurt Reighley's sung her praises in Border Radio, and I have to echo the cheers; fans of Laura Veirs and Cat Power will find a new balladeer to rally behind in this local talent. Cahoone also plays drums on the debut EP from Panda and Angel—a band comprising Josh Wackerly, Carrie Murphy, Laura Enderle, Kara Kikuchi, and Zaun Zehner. Panda's EP moves between heartbreaking slowcore with mood-elevating string sections (for songs about depression and its pharmaceutical shield) and lush, Velocity Girl–esque pop—moody music for a moody season. They're opening for local indie pop greats Slender Means at Neumos on Friday, December 9.

But maybe you'd rather spend your weekend traveling back in time, reveling in an era of northern soul, girl groups, and Motown hits. The Emerald City Soul Club congregates on Saturday, December 10 at the Lo_Fi with DJs Kevin Jones, the Soulcial, Timothy Grisham, and The Stranger's own Mike Nipper—a vinyl hound so fanatical about his collection he keeps all his records in a room of their own. Taking over the turntables for this night only is visiting DJ Lynval Golding of the Specials. This is no members-only event—although you do get a discount at the door if you're part of the club—and the fact that it all goes down at the Lo_Fi only adds to the event's charm. The intimate Eastlake space feels more like a private loft than your typical club, and it's hard to beat that gorgeous view of the Space Needle.

Then again, you could get your music fix without leaving the house. Local alt-rock cable-show Live Eye TV offers its next installment on Wednesday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m. on SCAN TV. This round offers footage of Kinski, A Frames, Old Time Relijun, and Head of Femur, plus some experimental shorts. recommended