Thursday 12/4

The Thermals, the Shaky Hands, Champagne Champagne

(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests.

The English Beat

(Showbox at the Market) Thirty years after their formation in Birmingham, the (English) Beat are back on the road. Since there hasn't been a note of new Beat music since 1982—which brought the release of the gorgeous, underrated Special Beat Service—this can only mean tonight's show will be exactly what you hope it will: a greatest-hits victory lap by the tightest, most musical band of its era. As 2 Tone kids, the Beat lit a fire under the world's ass with their itchy rhythms and openhearted melodies, and I imagine the professional-musician adults of today's Beat are as hungry to re-create that glorious racket as you are to hear it. DAVID SCHMADER

Fall Out Boy

(Paramount) I could talk a lot of shit about Fall Out Boy—and I will here, briefly, because their admittedly catchy Top 40 hits are still Pro-Tooled, formulaic piles of steaming poop. But your little sister could love a worse band. Sure, the dudes dish out unbearable rock, but they've done some respectable things, like recently donating $50,000 to the No on Prop 8 campaign. And fame-whore Pete Wentz may have named his kid Bronx Mowgli after a character in The Jungle Book, but he also spent time speaking out against the proposition and urged his fans to educate themselves on the cause and vote. So thanks, dudes. I may not like your music, but I'd still buy you a beer. MEGAN SELING

Throw Me the Statue, No-Fi Soul Rebellion, Truckasauras, DJ Fucking in the Streets, Sam Rousso Soundsystem

(Neumos) It's officially the holiday season, and with this year being totally fucked up because of the economy, treat yourself to the best gift of all—a stress-free night of getting drunk, dancing, and maybe making out with a nice-looking stranger in a dark corner under some mistletoe! Tonight's show—with Throw Me the Statue's playful, flirty pop, and Truckasauras's sexy, crunchy electro-rock—is a fantastic way to kick off the season of merriment, and since it's early in the month, you'll still have some time to recover (and find a new date, should that stranger in the corner turn out to be a dud) before New Year's. MEGAN SELING

Friday 12/5

Tulsi, DJ Able of the Elefaders, Elemental Zazen

(Woodshed Studios) See Data Breaker

Blitzen Trapper, the Parson Red Heads, PWRFL Power

(Chop Suey) Portland freak-folkers Blitzen Trapper made the leap to the indie-rock majors with last year's Wild Mountain Nation, a 13-song blast of Trout Mask Replica clatter melded with Grateful Dead–esque groove so odd and inspired it tempted even Beefheart- and Dead-haters to do small, self-contained noodle dances. This year brought Furr, the band's first release for Sub Pop, which finds the previous record's psycho-clatter largely swapped for good old-fashioned melodic songwriting, with odd studio tricks and bright glam-rock flourishes scattered throughout; it's even more lovable than its predecessor. DAVID SCHMADER

Safer, H Is for Hellgate, the Apple War, In the Empty City

(High Dive, late) Despite what I may have thought of local rockers H Is for Hellgate after the band's less-than-memorable self-titled debut last year, I just had to listen to this year's follow-up, Come for the Peaks, Stay for the Valleys, after seeing the cover art—it's got two adorable flying puppies on it! Turns out the puppies aren't the only thing Peaks has goin' for it. Hellgate's pounding drumming and wiry guitar work nod to turbulent '90s post-rock, but some songs ("Blood," for instance) come with a somber Pacific Northwest vibe. "Copernicus and Me" is dark and drilling; "Dusk at Devil's Tower" is one part Jawbox, one part Bikini Kill. I came for the dogs, but stayed for the music. MEGAN SELING

Chuckanut Drive, Michael Dean Damron, Williston

(Sunset) The fascist reign of Idiot Country Music continues apace in the mainstream. The first Generalissimo of Suck might've been Hank Williams Jr., but Garth Brooks really forced everyone to walk in lockstep with his generic rock stylings. Thankfully, there are bands like Bellingham's Chuckanut Drive to keep the flame of resistance during this dark regime of awful country. At first, when you hear the steel guitar and aching ballads like the beautiful, broken "Juanita," you're not sure if these guys are some sort of novelty act, but by the time they've finished their set, it's pretty obvious that they're Real Country. Thank God someone's putting a boot in Toby Keith's ass. PAUL CONSTANT

Saturday 12/6

Gallery 1412 Fourth Anniversary

(Gallery 1412) See The Score

Cello and Clay

(Chapel Performance Space) See The Score

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks

(Neumos) It's been an awful long time since Pavement, but I still can't help getting more excited about each of that band's deluxe reissues than about any new Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks album. It's not fair, of course—the Jicks will never, ever (nerver, nenver, nevernev) be Pavement, but still, there it is. This was especially the case with 2008's Real Emotional Trash, the Jicks' jammiest, most classically rocking (read: least slacker pop) album yet. Live, though, Malkmus and crew almost make you forget, so pro is their fried-guitar assault, so slick and still charmingly self-deprecating is Malkmus's jive. And, hell, if you always thought Pavement needed to get their slacker shit together and properly rock out, then here you go. ERIC GRANDY

Earthless, Emeralds

(Comet, late show) San Diego trio Earthless are a jam band who combine technical brilliance with manic intensity and nonmacho muscle. Featuring the formidable drumming of Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Clikatat Ikatowi), Earthless formed in order to emulate, in their words, "a Japanese-psychedelic-heavy-Kraut-rock-band" (wisely, they avoid vocalizing most of the time). Imagine Acid Mothers Temple trading rugged, rococo riffs with Guru Guru; Earthless—who include bassist Mike Eginton and guitarist Isaiah Mitchell—almost approach that level of cosmic wallop to the third ear. They're touring in support of the double-disc scorch-fest Live at Roadburn. Prepare for a bong, strange trip. DAVE SEGAL

Sunday 12/7

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Hey Marseilles, Wildbirds & Peacedrums

(Neumos) Newish Seattle group Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band entered the world not with months of under-the-radar bar shows, demos, and social networking, but with an oblique viral video (and enough connections established via previous band In Praise of Folly to get said video spread). As much as I hate it when the kids leave their memes on my lawn, the band (which, yes, includes a prodigal 13-year-old drummer, the brother of bandleader Benjamin Verdoes) aren't just all lulz. Their songs boast finger-searing guitar play, agile rhythms, and unexpected shifts and turns—and Verdoes's voice, alternately a low moan and a tuneful falsetto, reminds me of something I just can't quite place, which is better than reminding of something obvious. Still, I do not care for those YouTubes. ERIC GRANDY

Monday 12/8

Past Lives, Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death

(Green Room, Showbox at the Market) See preview, and Stranger Suggests

Kimya Dawson

(Neumos) See Underage.

Tuesday 12/9

The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, Cold War Kids, Shiny Toy Guns, Aqueduct

(WaMu Theater) So, the Killers are Mormons, and the Mormons funneled shitloads of money into passing California's anti-gay-marriage amendment, Proposition 8. Of course, it would be unfair to dismiss the Killers just because of the actions of their bigoted, crazy-talking church (Did you know Jesus Christ visited America's Wild West? It's true!). It would be plenty fair, though, to dismiss the band because their few great singles are now two full albums behind them ("When You Were Young" was just okay). Their latest, Day & Age, was produced by Les Rythmes Digitales/Jacques Lu Cont/Thin White Duke mastermind Stuart Price, so it sounds sharp enough, but it's just more new-wave rehash, lazy rock, and radio-ready power balladry—well worth boycotting solely on its own merits. ERIC GRANDY

The Grouch & Eligh, the Bayliens

(Neumos) The Grouch & Eligh come out of the Living Legends, a veteran eight-man crew that connects Los Angeles's underground with Oaktown's. Now, a very useful way to think about the Grouch & Eligh's approach to hiphop is to see the divide between underground hiphop and mainstream rap in this way: The mode of the rapper in the latter is that of self-promotion; whereas the mode of the rapper in the former is that of a confession. From the Grouch & Eligh we receive raps that reveal this or that aspect of their inner condition. "I'm just a lonely individual with nothing to lose"—this is one of Eligh's many confessions. CHARLES MUDEDE

Shadow '86, Kim Virant, Star Anna, Kristen Ward

(Tractor, early show) Participating in this year's annual Strangercrombie auction is a fantastic way to support Treehouse for Kids, a local organization that provides services for foster children. But Strangercrombie is not the only way to make sure Treehouse gets a much needed donation—if you're feeling extra charitable, hit up tonight's show featuring performances by Hendrix tribute act Shadow '86, Kim Virant, Star Anna, and Kirsten Ward. All proceeds will benefit Treehouse, and if you bring a new toy to the show, you'll get a free drink. So pick up a little something on your way to the Tractor—it'll benefit both you and the children. MEGAN SELING

18th Dye, Devon Williams, Waves

(Chop Suey) Loved by Yo La Tengo, signed by Matador, and recorded by Steve Albini, Berlin/Copenhagen trio 18th Dye had a lot of hipster momentum behind them in the '90s. The threesome folded in 1999 after two albums and an EP, but resurfaced on disc this year with the fine Amorine Queen. Their rock is tart, taut, and tangled, at once understated and intense—something like a Northern European Bailter Space. Guitarist for dreamy L.A. folk-pop group Lavender Diamond, Devon Williams released his solo debut album this year, Carefree (Ba Da Bing). It's full of immaculately crafted, nice-guy, singer-songwriter sing-alongs, of which the world will never run out, no matter how abysmal the economy gets. DAVE SEGAL

Wednesday 12/10

Module, eR DoN, Electrosect, Scratchmaster Joe

(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker.

Bone Thugs-n-Family, Neema, Lux Tha Pilot, Speedy, DJ Pheloneous

(El Corazón) The Bone Thugs-n-Family show will have two of the original members of the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony crew—Bizzy Bone and Layzie Bone. Known for their fast raps, Harmony are the only hiphop group Cleveland has launched into stardom. They're also the only group from Cleveland that made Eazy-E a lot of money, even after he was dead. And, finally, they're the only rap group from Cleveland to have a track ("1st of tha Month") successfully remixed by the Austrian producers by Kruder & Dorfmeister. CHARLES MUDEDE