(5th Avenue Theatre) In John Prine's best songs—the ones you know without knowing you know them—he takes a small story, say, of a heroin-addicted war vet or a dying small town, and focuses so intently on the details that the frame expands and expands until you find yourself looking at the entire world. In 2005, Prine became the first singer since Woody Guthrie to play at the Library of Congress (with then—Poet Laureate Ted Kooser). During their conversation, Prine said, "If you're looking for the big picture, you have to get a really small frame sometimes." This consummate songwriter has been exploring the ravaged human terrain for more than 30 years. Go see him and listen closely; there's a whole world in there. CHRIS McCANN
(Neumo's VIP Room) See Bug in the Bassbin.
THE TRASHIES, GUESTS
(Atlas Clothing) See preview.
(See Sound Lounge) See Bug in the Bassbin.
EATS TAPES, LUCKY DRAGONS, POWDERED WIGS
(Gallery 1412) See preview.
(Last Supper Club) See Bug in the Bassbin.
SAY HI TO YOUR MOM, SMALL SAILS, SNEAKY THIEVES, THE SEA NAVY
(Vera Project) The sometimes solo, sometimes full-banded Say Hi to Your Mom (which is really Eric Elbogen and whatever friends he can lasso into his project at whatever given time), moved to Seattle from Brooklyn last year and have since been carving out a little niche in the city with Elbogen's sappy-turned-bitter-and-back-again electronic indie rock. Lately, though, SHTYM have been MIA from local bills, but that's because the band have been on the road since the first of March. Now, after a long month and a half on the road (with former Mon Frere frontwoman Nouela Johnston as a touring keyboardist), SHTYM finally return to the NW. It'll be good to have 'em back. MEGAN SELING
MR. SUPREME, SUNTZU SOUND
(Baltic Room) See Bug in the Bassbin.
JUNIOR BOYS, SAN SERAC, NEW GREY AREA
(Chop Suey) Junior Boys' new Dead Horse EP finds the gentle electronic duo of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus getting the remix treatment from contemporaries Hot Chip, techno legend Carl Craig, and Hyperdub emissary Kode9. That their songs take so well to such varied interpretations, and that they draw such rated artists to work with them, speaks loads about the quality and currency of Junior Boys' original material. San Serac is the stage name of one Nate Rabb, a Massachusetts-based electro funk traditionalist who channels Prince and the Pet Shop Boys. His production teases poignant nostalgia out of vintage '80s drum machine and synth cheese, and his softly sung lyrics revel in absurd situations, tangential philosophizing, and literary name dropping (does anybody actually read Celine?). ERIC GRANDY
(Showbox) Blonde Redhead provide one of the most moving, sexually charged live performances of pretty much any modern rock band. The triangle offense of their overlapping twin and lover pairs, as well as their long-honed, highly personalized style of ensemble playing, can produce truly transcendental moments, and overwhelming confluences of emotional, intellectual, and visceral stimulation. Though their music is highly precise and constructed with a fine-pointed attention to harmonic and rhythmic detail, in concert Blonde Redhead often push their music beyond its crystalline construction and into spaces of stirring ecstatic release. Their brand-new record, 23, is their most sonically and emotionally buoyant yet, and finds these certain three in still impassioned and invigorated form. SAM MICKENS
THE DEAD SCIENCE, TINY VIPERS, LETI ANGEL, ORKESTAR ZIRKONIUM
(Vera Project) I think the first time I saw Orkestar Zirkonium—a 14-piece Balkan brass band, some of whose members were in the Infernal Noise Brigade, some of whose members are in Circus Contraption—was in a gravel lot with a bonfire in Georgetown in the rain. The orkestar has since invaded grocery stores, bars, and galleries, marching-band-style. They look sinister and beautiful in their gray suits and fedoras, and they sound like a Macedonian wedding and a gypsy funeral, with bouncing bass lines, wailing clarinets, lots of percussion. Theirs is music to go bonkers to. BRENDAN KILEY
PEEPING TOM, PIGEON JOHN
(Showbox) See preview.
HORSE THE BAND, THE NUMBER TWELVE LOOKS LIKE YOU, LIGHT THIS CITY, SO MANY DYNAMOS
(El Corazón) Before the box-office success of the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Horse the Band were already exhuming the franchise, covering its theme song on last year's Pizza. The hastily assembled EP's other tracks deal with the titular theme (sample lines: pizza's powerful taste/I seek, strike, and consume it every day/It's shattered my colon and made me too fat to breathe), demonstrating this self-described "Nintendocore" group's endearing goofiness. The California-based band's latest obsession is the unintentionally hilarious plague-themed flick The Reaping: Horse the Band arranged a showing with fans, and have probably already composed assorted odes to locust swarms and ill-fated firstborns. Regardless of the lyrical topic, Horse the Band combine fast, squiggly riffs with 8-bit keyboard hooks, skittering drums, and spastic singing. ANDREW MILLER
TRANS AM, ZOMBI, BLACK TAJ
(Neumo's) It took 17 years, eight albums, and a trip around the world for Trans Am to finally reach post-rock perfection. The Maryland trio's latest release, Sex Change, breaks beyond the restless evolution that's been their hallmark, channeling focused aggression, expansive texture, and sky-grasping melodies into one eloquent, wordless epic after another. Recorded in New Zealand, Brooklyn, and San Francisco, the album takes a more analog approach and still sounds like it's being beamed in from a nu-pagan sunrise celebration 50 years from now. Sex Change might not have the impact of their earlier, more revolutionary work, but that doesn't mean it's not their best. Tonight they could prove it is. JONATHAN ZWICKEL
ELECTRIC SIX, TEST YOUR REFLEXES, NIGHT KILLS DAY
(Neumo's) Detroit enjoys a renaissance of rock-and-roll relevance every decade or two, and during the last big scare the Electric Six counted themselves among the luminaries with hit singles—in England, anyhow. They've been tagged a novelty band (not undeservedly so), their mix of disco, new wave, and arena rock could only be enjoyed with a grain of salt, and post-"Gay Bar" efforts often endured critical lambasting. It's too bad, because their best jokes appear to be ahead of them. Massive lineup hemorrhaging left vocalist Dick Valentine the sole original member, but the band became a halfway house for some of Detroit's finest players, and last year's Switzerland was their best ever. Songs such as "Pulling the Plug on the Party" and "I Buy the Drugs" strike the perfect balance between quirk and energy, suggesting that for the Electric Six life might begin at 40 after all. FRED BELDIN
GUITAR SHORTY, THE JELLYROLLERS
(Tractor) An influential yet insular figure in the blues scene for decades, Guitar Shorty ranks among the genre's premier showmen, still performing backflips and turning somersaults at age 68. The Gong Show acknowledged his acrobatics in the '70s, granting him first prize for playing "They Call Me Guitar Shorty" while standing on his head, but he remained an intriguing regional novelty until he finally started releasing full-length albums within the past 15 years. Records such as 2004's Watch Your Back and last year's We the People boast rock's bombastic rhythms and blaring volume, but this throaty wailer can still charm blues traditionalists with stylistic flashbacks to his soulful '50s singles. Shorty has some serious history in Seattle, where he met his wife—and her half-brother Jimi Hendrix. ANDREW MILLER
SOULWAX/2 MANY DJS, MUSCLES, DJs DAVE P AND JDH
(Chop Suey) See preview.
MONO, KINSKI, WORLD'S END, GIRLFRIEND
(Neumo's) Mono are a four-piece instrumental post-rock band from Tokyo. Their names are Tamaki, Taka Goto, Yoda, and Yasunori Takada. They are on a two-month U.S. tour in support their release You Are There. In Japan, their four lauded releases in five years have made them influential and acclaimed. Their performances have turned them into a band that needs to be seen and heard. The post part of their post-rock is wielded with two sides: one, a sledgehammer, and the other, a paint brush. With sheer and massive volume, they put their sledgehammer through the ice of a frozen lake. Overhead, they war with a pterodactyl, and paint the scene. The Mono crescendo is poised and builds precisely. The sledgehammer strikes and the giant prehistoric bird falls hard. The ice breaks and the half-dead animal sinks slowly down through the black depths to the hypothermia of its permanent sleep. Mono didn't want to kill, they had to; the city is safe again. TRENT MOORMAN
(Showbox) Kaiser Chiefs have no reason to exist with Blur in the world, but since they're missing, we'll clutch onto the Leeds, England, band like a monkey on a wire-frame mannequin. There are worse surrogates. Bred from the same stock of the Jam and the Kinks, the Kaisers cross social portraits with streaks of off-color joy, going all shouty at just the right moments, like in "I Predict a Riot," "Everyday I Love You Less and Less," and now "Ruby," which fit the bill for classic Britpop confrontation, re-injecting the gray and shambling indie music scene with volume and actual melody. Ricky Wilson, the vocalist, will get the whole place to pogo. All showmen should be able to say they've performed with a leg in a cast and thrown dinosaurs in the rain. Keep us warm, friends. GUY FAWKES