As I write this, local newscasters are predicting record high temperatures for the week, so it only makes sense that we begin looking forward to the typically sultry, summertime throwdown that is the annual Capitol Hill Block Party, set for July 28 and 29. The preliminary lineup is rock centric thus far, featuring Sub Pop frontrunners Band of Horses, the fuzz-filtered pop of Silversun Pickups, Austin, Texas's rapidly ascending Black Angels, brass-balled former Seattle duo Big Business, and a generous helping of hometown heroes, including Pretty Girls Make Graves, the Cops, Speaker Speaker, and Minus the Bear. Hiphop fans will get their vitamins as well: Common Market, Saturday Knights, Macklemore, and Abyssinian Creole are currently scheduled. In order to open up the street and use Neumo's and the Bad JuJu as stages, the party will move one block south to Pike Street. The mainstage will be hosted by the New York-destined Reggie Watts: The multitalented musician/comedian is moving to the Big Apple but will return to Seattle just for the occasion. A partial schedule and ticketing info can be found on the Stranger's music blog, Line Out ( There's still much more to be announced, including Saturday's national headliner, other top-drawing local acts, and the requisite sprinkling of music-friendly political speakers. The full lineup will be posted on Line Out June 15. If history is any indication, the Block Party will continue to be equal parts heartfelt philanthropy (partial proceeds will benefit Home Alive and the Vera Project) and healthy hedonism (I just pray I don't have to announce bands all day and get hit with heatstroke, like former Stranger music editor Jennifer Maerz).

A less overheated, slightly older, yet still-randy crowd gathered along old Ballard Avenue on Saturday, May 13, for the neighborhood's annual Spring Opener, the Sunset-sponsored nod to impending warmer months that attracts fans of beer-soaked rock 'n' roll (in this case, provided by the Hard Money Saints and Lee Rude and the Trainwrecks), vintage motorcycles, and customized bikes of all stripes. The Sunset has plenty to look forward to this spring and summer, including the celebration of its six-year anniversary on June 17 and 18 (with live shows from Mudhoney and Texas's Weary Boys) and the Second Annual Bob Dylan Birthday Bash on Wednesday, May 24. An impressive selection of local talent will be covering Dylan's finer moments, including performances from Ian Moore, Eddie Spaghetti, Baby Gramps, and the reemergence of long-lost local troubadour Marc Olsen. (Confidential to Olsen—it's in print now, so no chickening out!) Proceeds from that show will help rebuild New Orleans's Ernie K-Doe Mother-in-Law Lounge (, one of the many venues struggling to recover from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.

For better or for worse, the Moore Theatre has snagged a couple of the summer's big-name bills, including Sonic Youth on June 30 and Kinks frontman Ray Davies on July 10. Those who wish to make summer concert plans with more sinister overtones will want to get their hands on tickets for the Slayer and Mastodon concert at Qwest Field on July 14.

Props must be given to two equally spirited (if not equally ambitious) local bands that have good news. First off, the art-damaged rascals of New Luck Toy are finally out and about again. The package that singer Stevil Dead mailed me last week included a note stating they "were recently found floating in a block of ice on the sea's [sic] of time and space and thawed out for some shows." They also included a CD (encased in homemade packaging constructed with their signature cut-and-paste charm) of songs Dead claims "did not age gracefully, in fact, they sound kind of lame now. But the songs are pretty good." He's right; the recordings blow, but NLT remain some of the best local emulators of punk-tinged new wave, à la the Buzzcocks or the Stranglers, so it will be nice to see them return to the Funhouse on Thursday, May 18.

Lastly, all the hard work by Thee Emergency is finally paying off. Advance copies of their forthcoming full-length debut, Can You Dig It?, arrived recently, and the nine zillion shows the band have played clearly primed them to make the most of their studio time in Detroit with analog-style producer/ex-Dirtbombs bassist Jim Diamond. The 10 solid, road-ready tracks are scheduled for release on Seattle's Blue Disguise Records June 13. recommended