Thursday 8/21

Onry Ozzborn

(King Cobra) See My Philosophy

Astronautilus, Library Science, Obelus

(Nectar) See Preview

Count Basie Orchestra

(Jazz Alley) See The Score

Ice Cube, Dyme Def, Jay Barz, DJ Marc Sense

(Showbox at the Market) First off, Ice Cube is a legend, an entrepreneur, and hands-down my favorite MC of all time. His run includes the hardest, most honest (and napalm incendiary) hiphop music ever made—man, who scared white people better than Cube? Nowadays, he cakes off of family-friendly flicks, internet TV companies, and new music that he releases on his own label. Fuck what you heard, that's gangsta. Second, his PR people suck. Hey, 5WPR, what the fuck? I was really looking forward to interviewing one of my childhood fucking heroes (and getting paid to do so)—so now I gotta wetcha! You betta hope I don't catch ya! LARRY MIZELL JR.

The Moondoggies, Whalebones, Grant Olsen

(Tractor) In the liner-note photo accompanying their debut Hardly Art album, Don't Be a Stranger, Seattle band the Moondoggies are pictured—in sepia tone, naturally—knee deep in the tall grass, leaning against the peeling-paint siding of a house (maybe a barn?), bedecked in flannel, denim, and Western-style shirts. The band are originally from Everett, but they aim to recall somewhere even more backwoods and blue collar with their moonshine-swilling, pitch-perfect rural rock revivalism. Singer/guitarist Kevin Murphy has a sweet, holler-echoing voice that's complemented by his band's harmonies, easy rhythms, and Fender Rhodes. A city/suburb boy, this stuff speaks to me hardly at all, but even I can tell they're doing it reverently and with real chops. ERIC GRANDY

Friday 8/22

Carl Stone

(Chapel Performance Space) A student of computer- music innovators James Tenney and Morton Subotnick at California Institute of the Arts, Carl Stone has been creating weirdly alluring electronic music since the early '80s. On discs like Mom's (1992) and Em:t 1196 (1996), Stone generates hypnotic collages constructed from sampled and looped speech and instruments, whose sonic DNA he processes into psychedelic, miasmic symphonies. "Sudi Mampir" (a slurred bit of speech from a Tokyo "elevator girl" finessed into a haunting, unearthly drone composition) off the Em:t Explorer comp remains one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. Stone is often classified as a minimalist, but his sound packs maximal fascination and a broad tonal palette. DAVE SEGAL

Sera Cahoone, Daniel Martin Moore, Widower

(Neumo's) Former Carissa's Wierder Sera Cahoone recently released her sophomore solo album with Sub Pop, Only as the Day Is Long. With a hint of the rain-stained misery of her former outfit, the album and its title track twists the hopeful phrase "as the day is long" into something bleak and more appropriate for Seattle's too-short fall and winter days. But Cahoone's country-tinged songs recall her native Colorado as much as their attitude aligns with the Northwest. Cahoone's voice is simultaneously strong and plaintive, understated rather than showy, and it's surrounded here alternately by spare acoustic arrangements and by a fuller backing band that includes pedal steel guitar, banjo, violin, and drums. Live, Cahoone and her band should have you weeping into your whiskey if you have anything close to a soul. ERIC GRANDY

Saturday 8/23

Dave Knott

(Chapel Performance Space) Longtime Seattle composer/improviser/instrument-builder Dave Knott (Greasy, Animist Orchestra) is throwing a sonic social. For the first half, he will perform a set of sweet little guitar ditties that he developed through his work as a music therapist for the ill and injured. After intermission (with snacks!), the real fun begins: Knott will break out his homemade instruments and conduct a participatory ensemble composed of audience members he recruits during the break. Employing a variety of stringboards, metaphones, and grand bow chimes, the group will transform the chapel into a free-form menagerie of plinks, plunks, and drones. Imagine cats playing violin. I can't wait. DAN PAULUS

Cool Nutz, D.Black, No Clue, Wizdom, Knox Family

(High Dive) Cool-ass Cool Nutz has been repping Northeast Portland—not to mention the entire Northwest—to the fullest for, what, 15 years or something? He's an artist with dues fully current, manager, and scene leader—undeniably one of the biggest bosses the Northwest has seen thus far, and yet he's still more humble and more sincere than anybody analogous to his status here in Seattle. Best of all, as a rapper—judging from the music and attitude on this year's King Cool Nutz—he's just hitting his stride. Long live the motherfucking king, man. LARRY MIZELL JR.

Janelle Monae

(Nectar) Recent Outkast affiliate Janelle Monae (she was featured on Big Boi's Got Purp? compilation and on the group's Idlewild album) makes modern soul music—you could call it third stream soul (after all, we're way past neo)—with culturally omnivorous fervor. Like fellow Atlantans Cee-Lo Green and Andre 3K, Monae embraces a wide swath of latter-20th-century American music, with a heavy lean on the elegantly universal pop of the '60s. Also, like the denizens of Stankonia, she deals with science fiction as nostalgia; her forthcoming EP Metropolis: The Chase Suite references Fritz Lang's century-old vision of the future as well as the sort of 1950s visuals that populate Disney's Tomorrowland. Many of Monae's positive reviews cite her one failing as her "bizarre vision," suggesting that her pompadoured, 21st-century schizoid leanings somehow stifle her star potential. But, you know, fuck 'em. SAM MICKENS

Neil Halstead, Levi Fuller

(Sunset) Neil Halstead is just coming off a tour opening for Jack Johnson—but don't hold that against him. Like Johnson, the Slowdive/Mojave 3 singer is a surfer (weird, huh?), but that and an acoustic guitar are about all that the two musicians share in common. Halstead is a master of wonderfully understated, lackadaisical, literate folk-pop that's sensitive without being sappy, engaging by virtue of the fact that it whispers for attention instead of screaming for it. If you haven't picked up his excellent new album, Oh! Mighty Engine (or his previous solo outing, Sleeping on Roads), you most certainly should. His music has a relaxed charm that's evident from the get-go. If there were any justice, Halstead—and not Johnson—would be the soundtrack to seaside campfires worldwide. BARBARA MITCHELL

Indian Jewelry, Eats Tapes, Flexions, MNDR

(Vera Project) Indian Jewelry channel the power of the drone, but they also respect unpredictability in rock music. That approach keeps the Texas group's sound from becoming monotonous. On the contrary, Indian Jewelry's drones possess a stinging snarl, and their noise contains a surprising, throbbing vibrancy. Plus, Indian Jewelry are the rare psych-rock band who could convincingly pull off a techno track. Speaking of which, San Francisco/Berlin's Eats Tapes trade in a particularly roughshod version of said genre. Their sound is as likely to make you dance as to induce temporary insanity. Chalk it up to Eats Tapes' gnarly, Day-Glo textures and maddeningly insistent beats that push those OCD buttons in your mind. Oh, what a feeling... DAVE SEGAL

STS9, Blackalicious

(Marymoor Park) Crazy bill. STS9 (formerly Sound Tribe Sector 9) epically ramble with a jam-band/trance-act's "we've got all the time in the world" sprawl; Blackalicious are conscious-hiphop exemplars who bust ridiculously intricate verbals with vociferous velocity (that's the type of polysyllabic alliteration rapper Gift of Gab regularly spits like many rappers mutter "Uh... yeah"). STS9 encourage urges to space out and maybe languorously shake half an ass cheek to their vaporous beatscapes, which sometimes go into Santa Cruz control (that's their home base; see what I did there?); Blackalicious, on the other hand, plunge you into the real, with dazzling verbosity and galvanizing funkiness. So, yeah—crazy bill. But it might just work, especially outdoors at Marymoor Park. DAVE SEGAL

Sunday 8/24

Mirah, Tender Forever

(Neumo's) Mirah's song "The Fruits of Your Garden" recently got a bump on the SoundScan digital tracks chart, leading to some brief bafflement at music blog Idolator. Within half an hour, though, a helpful commenter noted that the song was featured on an episode of So You Think You Can Dance, thus solving the metric mystery. This, along with the recent Pineapple Express–fueled chart ascent of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes," reminds us that there used to be a time when both indie and mainstream music were so thriving that critics and fans could clearly demarcate the two and chastise an artist for crossing over from the former to the latter. These days, though, with things looking rough all around, it's just nice to see worthy artists moving any units at all, no matter how they pull the feat off. Now who wants to go to the steak house? ERIC GRANDY

The Drones, the Monday Mornings

(Tractor) Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, the deceptively named Drones grind out coiled, agitated rock that writhes somewhere between the Bad Seeds and the Saints. (Note: All Australian bands must be compared with other Oz bands—unless you want to compare them to Detroit bands, which is the only other geographical location acceptable for such critical appraisal.) You can sense that Drones singer Gareth Liddiard perpetually reeks of whiskey and that he'd not turn down an opportunity to brawl, just for the sheer kick of hearing knuckle hit mandible. Really, there's nothing particularly new about the Drones' songs. They're simply artfully crafted bar rock with a pronounced sense of danger. But, ultimately, their tunes are worth risking the bruises and killer hangover they'll provoke. DAVE SEGAL

Monday 8/25

Nothing happens today.

Tuesday 8/26

Oasis, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, Matt Costa

(WaMu Theater) See Preview


(Neumo's) See Preview

Wednesday 8/27

The Let Go, Louis Logic, Animal Farm, the Kid Espi, DJ 100 Proof

(Nectar) See My Philosophy

The Wombats, Immigrant

(Neumo's) The Wombats are two young Brits and one young Norwegian who met at Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. The band's arrangements, productions, and vocal harmonies suggest that the institute's musical classes and studio resources are top-notch. The band's lyrics, however, suggest that school's English department may be lacking. The record is polished pop rock full of youthful vigor, like the first Futureheads record only without the wit. "Kill the Director," whose lyrics, which include the abhorrent abbreviation "rom-com" and the line "This is no Bridget Jones" (Bridget Jones would be a good thing?), should embarrass even a teenage band. The conceit of "Let's Dance to Joy Division" makes CSS's "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above" seem like a work of postmodern genius. The best of A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation, such as "Moving to New York," is merely inoffensive. ERIC GRANDY

Shawn Mullins, The Avett Brothers

(Woodland Park Zoo) It's a pity how labels inevitably taint the music they attempt to describe. It's frustrating enough for bands that push boundaries and attempt to forge new paths, but it's even more embarrassing when it comes to describing more traditional-sounding artists. Just look at the recent crop of young roots musicians and the endless, bastardized classifications pinned upon them. Artists like the Avett Brothers run counter to the Nashville paradigm, rendering the term "country" inappropriate. "Alt country" seems horribly dated. "Americana" seems too broad. So they're stuck with lamentable descriptions like "folk-core" and "grunge-grass." Such a shame that such solid acts should have to wrestle with such asinine genre tags. BRIAN COOK