Royce da 5'9", Alpha P, Mind Movers, Esham
(Studio Seven) See My Philosophy, page 51.
Minus the Bear, Portugal. The Man, the Big Sleep
(Showbox at the Market) It took a laser show to make me realize how much I like Minus the Bear's latest album, Planet of Ice. Upon first listening to their 2007 release, I was too critical of the songs, which are more psychedelic and stoner-rock inspired than anything the local quintet have done before. Songs like "Throwin' Shapes" and "Ice Monster" still boast the band's token technical, cinematic mellow rock, but tracks like "Knights" are driven by fluid, wah-wah guitar solos that shoot off into space. It might not sound as intriguing when listened to at a desk lit up with soul-sucking fluorescents, but once you're in a laser-lit room filled with fog and the subtle waft of weed from your neighbors' preshow high, their sonic voyages come together fantastically. MEGAN SELING
(Jazz Alley) The contemporary (read: rockingly smooth) jazz outfit the Rippingtons, led by guitarist/nominal frontman Russ Freeman, have proven to be one of the most enduring and successful bands to span the gap from the dog days of jazz fusion to the full-blown smooth jazz of the late '80s and beyond. While their overall aesthetic is generally quite objectionable (every one of their record covers for the last two decades has featured their bebop-shaded cartoon-cat mascot), I have found great personal gratification in their 1994 record, Sahara (technically credited to "Russ Freeman & the Rippingtons," but why split hairs?). There is really no better antidote for early-morning, beginning-work doldrums than Sahara's earnest, NBA-on-NBC-style exultancy and occasionally laugh-out-loud musical turns. Plus, the cover has the cartoon cat face superimposed on the sphinx. Tadow! SAM MICKENS
(Vera Project) See Album Reviews, page 47, My Philosophy, page 51, and Stranger Suggests, page 23.
Mochipet, Lusine, Codebase, Dr. Mr., the Googly
(Chop Suey) See Bug in the Bassbin, page 53.
Static Glide: Telephone Jim
(VIP Room) See Bug in the Bassbin, page 53.
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
Sioux City Pete and the Beggars, Emeralds, the Greatest Hits, Stabbings, Batter Recharger
(Fusion Cafe) Last time I saw Sioux City Pete and the Beggars, they got two songs into their set before their guitarist took off her shirt to reveal the word "Sodomite" written on her lower back. Sioux City Pete himself, a ripped-up crusty dude with the friendly charm of a Midwestern grandma, growled out feral lyrics about shooting crank in a basement over dirty, noisy garage riffs. Eventually, everyone was nearly naked, spitting beer all over each other and rolling around in broken glass (visit The Stranger Flickr pool for pix!). Will this happen at the alcohol-free Fusion Cafe? Hard to say. But I bet the janitors find a bottle of three-star in the bathroom garbage. ARI SPOOL
(Funhouse) The Moondoggies set themselves up for a bumpy ride with a name that sounds more like a fictional band in a Cameron Crowe movie than a worthy '60s-rock revival that's mastered vintage harmonies and playful, folk-tinged choruses that spiral into blissed-out jam sessions. "The Moondoggies? What's with this acid-dropping '60s bullshit?" I thought. "What a stupid name." While I'm still slightly embarrassed to admit to liking a band with such a moniker, their brighter-than-the-sun songs and animated live show are impressive enough to elevate them from potential guilty pleasure to just pure pleasure. MEGAN SELING
Cloud Cult, Kid Dakota, the Lonely Forest
(Neumo's) Tonight is Cloud Cult's night, but opening the show is Anacortes trio the Lonely Forest, who consistently pack a satisfying live wallop. The band are sitting on a growing pile of over 20 new songs written in the past few months, showcasing their evolving mastery of infectious power pop. Lead singer John Van Deusen's decision to return to the guitar plays no small part in the appeal of the new material, which is inspired in part by the writing of Ray Bradbury. When not reading nerdy sci-fi, the band have been excitedly demoing in their faraway garage/practice space/studio, and debuting anthems like "We Sing in Time" at shows, leaving the room abuzz. This one is all ages; don't be late. MATT GARMAN
(Showbox at the Market) If I get a chance to talk to Kate at her show, I'm going to tell her about the time the song "Foundations" wedged itself in my subconscious for weeks and I became unbearable to be around. "You said I must eat so many le-mons, cause I am so bit-tah!" I sang to myself in a weird cockney accent on the bus and in the shower, and I'm pretty sure the song played a minor role in a dream subplot. Kate doesn't just write catchy songs about failing relationships, though. "I use mouthwash/sometimes I floss/I have a family/And I drink cups of tea," she sings on a song entitled "Mouthwash." I forgive her. I have no idea what Kate will sound like in concert, but if she sounds even half as good as she does on her CD, it'll be worth it to you to check her out. STEVEN BLUM
Subtle, Efterklang, Slaraffenland
(Nectar) See Album Reviews, page 47.
Natalie Portman's Shaved Head, Copy, New Faces
(Vera Project) See Stranger Suggests, page 23.
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
(Everett Events Center) Don't be fooled by the blond hair extensions, the push-up bra, the glossy lips, and even glossier pop songs written by Linda Perry and the Matrix—it's all a cover. Lavigne's legit. "I created punk for this day and age," she once said in an interview. "Do you see Britney walking around wearing ties and singing punk? Hell no. That's what I do. I'm like a Sid Vicious for a new generation." Amen, sister. MEGAN SELING
(Funhouse) Dear Thee Emergency: Why did you think that it was cool to cover the city in retina-searing "OperationBrightPink.com" posters? We get it—you've got a new record out. But your viral (like an STD) marketing campaign managed to piss off every other band in Seattle, because you COVERED THEIR FUCKING POSTERS. I was going to write about your new record and how bluesy, heavy, and psychedelic it is, and how hot your fantastic chick singer is, but now I'm just pissed. I'm tempted to say that everyone should leave after Wild Orchid Children, who sound like At the Drive-In on a hefty dose of MDMA, but lucky for you, Thee Emergency, you still put on a good show. ARI SPOOL
NOFX, No Use for a Name, American Steel
(Showbox Sodo) In their early days, NOFX's two-minute sloppy screeds were either excuses to act stupid or attempts at keeping an MRR-defined "punk rock" elite. Then George W. Bush came along and the band ditched much of their cockiness and humor in an attempt at politically charged anthems. But with Bush out in January, maybe they can lose this "we're smart, we can change the world with music" shit. They're coming back around to be the quick-witted, pissed-off jokers they once were (at SXSW, for example, they treated an unsuspecting crowd to a full set of half songs). A quarter century on, the band are taking themselves even less seriously, instead of thinking their lasting effect legitimizes them in some way. And thank God for that. NOFX are best when they know they're better than you but still pretty shitty. MEGAN SELING
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
(Paramount) CAKE (officially capitalized) is back. Their music (officially lame) is the same boring disco-funk shlop it's always been. You know it, you've heard it, they've had hits. "You're never ever, ever there," sings John McCrea. Borrowing from Lou Reed's stylistics, McCrea kind of talks over the music. McCrea, however, is not Lou Reed. Lou Reed was backed by the Velvet Underground; McCrea is backed by a 311/Sublime/Taco Bell jam band from Sacramento. CAKE have officially thrown in the towel. Last year, they released an album of B-sides, and this coming fall they will rerelease their 1994 Motorcade of Generosity in an attempt to re-relive their glory. TRENT MOORMAN
The Little Ones, Ra Ra Riot, Panda & Angel
(Chop Suey) I mostly know the Little Ones from their friends in high places: I first heard their pretty perfect pop gem "Lovers Who Uncover" as remixed by wicked 8-bit electro goths Crystal Castles. The next time I heard it was watching old DVDs of Veronica Mars. Their new EP, Terry Tales & Fallen Gates, might not live up to the strength of that fantastic single, but it reveals a sweet, gentle pop band, equally influenced by the sunny, beach rock of their native California and the moody gray jangle of faraway England. Syracuse, New York, youngsters Ra Ra Riot are like a miniature Arcade Fire, ditching the overwrought theatricality but keeping the furiously shredding string section (and actually making an electric cello look pretty good). Locals Panda & Angel open with their delicate, frozen-cold indie pop. ERIC GRANDY
(Showbox Sodo) See preview, page 43.
Foscil, Specs One, Obelus, DJ Greg Skidmore
(Chop Suey) In 2006, the local band Foscil and the local hiphop producer Specs One put their musical minds together and came up with an EP, Collaborative Efforts Volume 1. Released by Fourthcity, the recording contained a terrific mixture of late-rock exhaustion and the "more dusty than digital" sound of underground hiphop. The beats were slow, the sonic effects dreamy, and the zone that the bass occupied was somewhere between the dead of night and the living lights of the day. One track was led by the funereal melancholy of a Fender Rhodes, another distorted by a sick series of scratches that shimmered and vanished in the slow depths of the beats. Altogether, the fusion of the musical forms (hiphop, late rock, downtempo, jazz) was convincing. There must be a home in the world for this new kind of music. CHARLES MUDEDE
Collie Buddz, DJ Collage, DJ Element
(Nectar) More than most recent dancehall breakout/crossover stars (Seans Paul and Kingston, et al.) Bermuda-raised singer Collie Buddz has retained an absolutely fervent fan base among die-hard club reggae fans, even as his pop star has been on the rapid rise. Though his songs travel fairly well-worn reggae roads (his breakthrough "Come Around" joys in the reaping of the weed harvest, while his dance hit "Mamacita" has become the staple soundtrack for slow-wind contests worldwide), ultimately he isn't nearly as musically adventurous or dimensional of content as other recent reggae champs like Damian Marley. But if you go to any reggae night at any club in most any city on earth, you will hear Buddz, and his songs will set the air horns trumpeting. SAM MICKENS
The Dirtbombs, Dan Sartain, Terrible Twos
(Neumo's) The Dirtbombs are now a staple, right; they're "classic" post-'90s garage rock. But, as with most contemporary garage bands, they REALLY don't resemble the garage no-talents of the '50s/'60s; to me it's kinda like how pop-punk ain't actually punk. I know, in their case, it's NOT a huge deal as the Dirtbombs have proven writing great, fun songs and "experimenting" is what counts to THEM, so even as they evolved from trad garage they are committed to themselves, not nostalgic cliché. Fine... but in the late '90s, the garage SOUND went from cheeky kids playin' R&B to "high energy" MC5, (gulp) AC/DC riffs loaded with pop hooks, and Rezillos-style booming, ultra- clean production. It's weird, the pop bigness sucked out garage's soul... almost like how young country killed traditional C&W. MIKE NIPPER
Tapes 'n Tapes, White Denim
(Showbox at the Market) See Album Reviews, page 47.
Robyn POSTPONED UNTIL AUGUST
(Neumo's) See Line Out for details.
The Posies, the Joshua Cain Band, Bumma Stoge
(Hell's Kitchen) They just keep going. This spring, the Posies celebrate 20 years of making magical pop songs. While Ken Stringfellow and company's more recent efforts have been less memorable (2005's Every Kind of Light neglected to deliver the kind of addicting hooks that make 1997's Frosting on the Beater so cherished), the band are still worth celebrating, with a back catalog of gems that are forever the soundtrack to my teen and young-adult years. "Dream All Day" blasted as I drove down the highway for the first time alone after getting my license; "Coming Right Along" haunted and hugged me through my first heartbreak. This anniversary is as much ours as it is theirs. MEGAN SELING