Thursday 9/4

Built to Spill, Babydollars, the Universal

(Showbox at the Market) See preview.

Mogwai, Fuck Buttons

(Showbox Sodo) Scottish post-rock media darlings Mogwai fall into the same trap many groups of their ilk do: They spend too much time lulling and not enough wowing. Dynamics are important, sure, but if you spend too many minutes setting the table, diners likely will get grumpy. But I'm in the minority, as connoisseurs of the drift-and-explode mode of rocking loves them some Mogwai. Bristol duo Fuck Buttons, by contrast, stimulate through dense, stinging waves of homemade-gizmo noise and truculent beats. And like Black Dice, Fuck Buttons bury deeply affecting melodies amid their caustic clamor, as their memorable debut album, Street Horrrsing, proves. Fuck Buttons slayed at SXSW, so early arrival is advised. DAVE SEGAL

Death Vessel, Micah Blue Smaldone

(Tractor) Born in Berlin and raised in Maine, Joel Thibodeau, the man behind Death Vessel, is a Northeasterner come to join the legion of pensive balladeers teasing out melodies in the mossy caves of the Pacific Northwest. In August, Sub Pop released Nothing Is Precious Enough for Us, the follow-up to 2005's Stay Close. Currently based in Providence, Death Vessel fits in almost too comfortably with the nostalgic folk rock of labelmates Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, and Grand Archives. Banjos, mandolins, and fiddles rouse otherwise dreamy fingerpicking to a gallop. But most striking are Thibodeau's ozone-high vocals, lacking vibrato, both childlike and feminine: It's Fleet Foxes's Robin Pecknold in the next register, without the rasp. JULIA MULLEN GORDON

Friday 9/5

Fucked Up, Crystal Antlers, the Strange Boys

(Vera Project) It's hard to know what to make of Canadian hardcore band Fucked Up. Their silly stage names (and band name), sense of humor in interviews (for a "what's your day job?" type feature on Stereogum, one of their lot went into great detail about a totally fake job at a depressing lightbulb factory), cover of Justice's "Stress," MTV Canada set trashing, and lead singer Pink Eyes (who treads a line between HC tough guy and total bear that would make Rob Halford blush) all make Fucked Up seem like just a great gag band. But they sound real-deal enough, and that same singer goes balls-out (almost literally) at live shows. It's hardcore enough to enjoy straight, but exaggerated enough to seem like satire. Their apparent fondness for the Situationists only complicates matters. ERIC GRANDY

Ratatat, Panther, E*Rock, Copy

(Showbox at the Market) You know how in beer commercials, you'll open a beer and suddenly your pool fills with water, your house swarms with attractive members of the opposite sex, and your life turns into a nonstop party? Ratatat records have a similar, if more subdued effect: Put any of their albums, such as the recently released LP3, or either of their sublime mixtapes into your sound system of choice and your apartment fills with smoke of both the weed and fog machine varieties; your car drops low and slows to two miles an hour (so everybody sees you); your life becomes, basically, unbearably chill. Live, Evan Mast and Mike Stroud's guitar and synth fireworks are somehow less transformative, but they're still satisfying enough. ERIC GRANDY

Nebula, Totimoshi

(King Cobra) Tonight, pot calls the metal black. Or something. What I mean is, heavy stoner rock will be puffed in full force. L.A. brohammers Nebula wield a freaky fuzz tone, a flamboyant flange, a wicked wah-wah, and may indulge in more than just the sweet leaf, if their stratospheric psychedelic forays are any indication. It's quite possible that Nebula have ingested from the same blotter sheet as Monster Magnet circa 1991 (when MM were blotter-sheet-metal gods). It's not rocket science, but it'll launch you spaceward. Fellow Cali trio Totimoshi work closer to Earth (the planet, not the band) and consequently are a less astronomically interesting proposition than Nebula. DAVE SEGAL

Concert for Change: Flipper, Tiny Vipers, Jinu Park, the Nextdoor Neighbors

(El Corazón) Barack Obama is truly the Great Unifier. One can only hope that he can unite the electorate in the same manner that this Obama fundraiser is bringing together completely unrelated musical acts. Is there really a crossover audience for Flipper's unrestrained sloppy punk dirges and Tiny Vipers' delicate acoustic minimalism? Adding a couple of hiphop artists and a cute electro-indie pop band to the event further pushes the envelope. But if we can all rally together for an event like this to put Obama in office, then maybe he can get the Bubbas and the neo-yuppies to join together in the polls. BRIAN COOK

Polvo, Trans Am

(Neumo's) See preview

Love As Laughter, Oxford Collapse, the Sea Navy

(Sunset) See Album Reviews

Saturday 9/6

Rock the Bells: A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, the Pharcyde, Mos Def, De La Soul, MF Doom, Blue Scholars, Sage Francis, Spank Rock, the Cool Kids, Amanda Blank, and others. Hosted by B-Real, Supernatural and Scratch, Afrika Bambaataa, and DJ Green Lantern

(Gorge Amphitheatre) See My Philosophy

Afrika Bambaataa, Silver Shadow D, Alpha-P, Specs One, Waves of the Mind; DJs Luvva-J, Tecumseh, WD4D

(Nectar) A big reputation can be a dangerous thing. The legendary Afrika Bambaataa helped give birth to hiphop, raising it on a diet of exploration and positivity while letting it attract both love and respect from all kinds of people worldwide. With his Zulu Nation, he broke down the walls between genres and welcomed the dialogue, fostering a universal, cultural give-and-take with house, electro, indie, synth-pop, punk, international dance music, and many others. Worryingly, though, recent Bambaataa's appearances reportedly have fallen flat, as if he's been swallowed up by expectations and cursed with a personal history as his own albatross. But come on—this bill is huge, including loads of talent from the 206. It's a safe bet. DEAN FAWKES

TV on the Radio, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

(Showbox Sodo) Recently, TV on the Radio debuted a new track, "Golden Age," from their forthcoming album, Dear Science, on their website, and it's a pretty thrilling track. It begins with Thriller–era guitar funk, bass strutting and liquid-nitrogen-cool high hats fluttering under Kyp Malone's falsetto vocals and slipped groans; then it blossoms into an expansive, ascending chorus, synthesized and vocal fanfare blaring all around. More recently, "Dancing Choose" appeared on the site, and it's equally promising, with its mix of hyperactive rapping, twitchy drum programming, synth-bass buzz, and a brass-accented second verse that sneaks up on second-wave ska like a mugger. Even the most dramatic turns from TV on the Radio wouldn't exactly surprise at this point (and these are hardly hairpins), but these two tracks certainly augur well for the new record. ERIC GRANDY

Palodine, Black Nite Crash, Altspeak

(High Dive) Bummed you missed out on Nick Cave tickets and aching for a hearty dose of gothic folk? You're in luck. Local combo Palodine traffic in a similar sort of apocalyptic, almost Appalachian noir—a territory where devils rub elbows with mortals and redemption is always just out of reach. Singer Katrina Whitney's vocals are both haunting and scorching, while the band work some dynamic magic plowing through fiery terrain and then pausing for a recalibrating breath. By all means, pick up a copy of Palodine's excellent new album, Garden of Deceit. But more importantly, subject yourself to their dark, moody music live. BARBARA MITCHELL

3 Inches of Blood, Eterna Nocturna, Die By Day, Midnight Idols

(Hell's Kitchen) 3 Inches of Blood are not a joke. Their guitar-driven, classic metal sound (think Priest) booms with growls juxtaposed against "I just got punched in the nuts" falsetto choruses. There's some synth, there are lyrics about nomadic fighters ruling the land and being the reaper of souls, and I know all that makes it seem like they're some kind of parody band poking fun at classic fantasy-metal acts, but these dudes are so real it hurts. It hurts your eardrums because they're loud as fuck, it hurts your neck because you can't help headbanging, and it hurts your heart to know that no matter how hard you practice, you'll never be able to shred on the bass as fast as slaymaster Nick Cates. Srsly. MEGAN SELING

Sunday 9/7

The Dead Science, Past Lives, Talbot Tagora

(Neumo's) See Stranger Suggests

The Night Marchers, the Colour Revolt

(King Cobra) John Reis, aka Speedo, formerly of Drive Like Jehu, Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, and others, does one thing, and he does it very well. No matter which band you find him fronting, you're going to hear rubber-burning guitar leads, monster riffs, and vocals delivered with a singular mix of venomous snarl and sleazy, slicked-back charm. As with Rocket from the Crypt, there's a touch of greaser retro to Night Marchers (the name refers to the ghosts of Hawaiian soldiers), who play garage rock in the sense that it sounds like you could pull a souped-up Mustang out of any one of their songs. Live, the band, rounded out by members of Beehive and the Barracudas, CPC Gangbangs, and the Delta 72, runs like a dream. ERIC GRANDY

Monday 9/8

Nothing happens today.

Tuesday 9/9

Lindsey Buckingham

(Moore) Like many legendary musicians, Lindsey Buckingham will be showing up with dozens of soulful classics and a bunch of new stuff no one wants to hear. There's the rub, but he'll probably get through all that after the first half hour, and then it's gravy. The Fleetwood Mac mastermind can still pull off his brilliant/weirdo finger-picking style and sing like a motherfucker. Is that enough to throw down 80 bucks for seats next to the toilet? Well, aside from the Mac songs, Buckingham will also be playing "Holiday Road." You know, the National Lampoon's Vacation theme that has about four lyrics and makes "Road" a 10-syllable word. That's worth a hell of a lot more than "Big Love." SHANE MEHLING

Wednesday 9/10

The Juan MacLean, Head Like a Kite, DJ Colby B

(Nectar) See Data Breaker

31Knots, Capillary Action, Quadrillion

(Sunset) See Album Reviews

Xiu Xiu, Prurient, Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone

(Chop Suey) Xiu Xiu have accrued terabytes of praise through their stark, prickly orch rock and uncomfortably personal songs that cut to the marrow. I admire the Bay Area trio more than love them, largely due to Jamie Stewart's fey yet stentorian vocals rubbing me every way but right. Whatever, he's surely getting along fine without my approval. Prurient (Dominick Fernow) also emphasizes the uncomfortable, but mainly through scorched-earth frequency-fisting and death-throes larynx-laceration. Were the Marquis de Sade alive, he'd find Prurient a trifle overblown, although some of Fernow's recent releases mute the madness a smidge. Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone's spare, gently sinister folk songs serve as sonic salve for the wounds the other acts on this bill will inflict, but they have their own avant weirdnesses, too. DAVE SEGAL