Nothing like kicking off a new year with a bunch of new items to report: New bands, new breakups, new CDs, new club nights, and new places to dance—or watch other fans shuffle it—to local acts. First up: Instead of catching shows in the same old venues, how about hitting some new (old) bars instead? I love it when people cram into dives for a show—it makes the whole thing that much more intimate (i.e., everyone gets sweatier, sloppier, and so much friendlier). Two shows this week liven up some of Seattle's offbeat drinking establishments. No-wave art punks Chromatics are guests at Vito's new (free) Sunday-night weekly, Fascinator, on January 8 (that's the night after Joan Jett brings her casino tour to the Emerald Queen, for anyone still keeping tabs on that one). What's not to love about feeling like an indie Mafioso in that faux-swank Madison Avenue joint, especially when you swing by the bathroom and there's a sea of old-school Vito photos covering the wall... Chromatics (who have taken many forms over the years, but seem to be sticking to the two-piece lineup of Lena Okazaki and Adam Miller, and whose newest MySpace downloads feature some exceptional minimal dance music) also e-mailed last week to announce a new night from that hip little Capitol Hill art gallery No Space. No Space, which carries a ton of cool work by visual artists and indie clothing lines over on Summit Avenue, is hosting a new Re-Bar gathering called Physica. It's themed as an "Egyptian new-age discotheque," whatever that may entail, and the act that's christening its bizarre dance ritual is the excellent psychedelic-metal act Danava on January 12. I've yet to see Danava live—I just checked out some recordings after seeing them mentioned by Diamond Nights—but they've got some seriously awesome turn-the-black-lights-on-the-velvet-posters jams, with their gig posters adding to the heavy eye- and ear-artillery vibe (their artwork has that cornea-collapsing, trippy-hippie San Francisco Fillmore feel). Danava are working on a double LP this month, so shows are supposedly few and far between—catch 'em now while you can.

Seattle band Danger- mart—who take as their influences U2, the Police, and a set of loud amplifiersalso e-mailed last week to say they're playing at Hana Teriyaki, one of the smallest, and wildest, places where I've butchered a karaoke tune or two in this town. Check them out on January 5 (Hana is located near the cop shop downtown, at 1914 Eighth Avenue) and figure out how they're going to shoehorn a band and its fans into that crowded little space. (Speaking of fans, who knew that Saturday Night Live alum Chris Kattan appreciates the work of Handful of Luvin? Mango's alter ego was at HoL's Chop Suey show last week snapping photos and, according to the club's staff, "being really nice." It's no Tori Spelling doing the splits, but hey, the holidays are a slow time for celebrity sightings.)

And this is the year where sci-fi metal that makes you hit the paperback classics hits the big time... well, in the punk world at least. BlöödHag have signed to Bay Area punk label Alternative Tentacles, with a new decree for speed-reading due out this spring. (BlöödHag play the Sunday, January 8 4 o'clock Rock show at the Sunset with local shredders the Abodox and Snitches Get Stitches.)

Also releasing new discs this year: Roy, Akimbo, and Pretty Girls Make Graves; White Gold host a CD release party on Saturday, January 7 at the Crocodile. I've heard good things about the latter, but unfortunately I couldn't get a copy of their new disc in time to give any more info than the straight show facts.

Breaking up this year: Gas Huffer. These old-school Seattle garage punks perform their swan song Saturday, January 14 at the Crocodile with Girl Trouble and Canadian comedians Canned Ham. recommended