Thursday 3/11

Efterklang, Pan Pan

(Triple Door) Changeability is one of Efterklang's main attractions. The husky-toned Danish orchestral-pop group keeps the backdrops continually shifting on its new album, Magic Chairs, layering on strings as tart as sweet, tweaking its own orchestral affinities on songs like "Harmonics," which is dotted with instrumental touches that go "ping!" (it also sounds like a wink at the Dirty Projectors). But there's a romanticism here that feels ingrained rather than put on, and the album's dusky atmospheres should translate well live. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

Slow Skate, Manos de Plata, the Plaid Perspective

(Sunset) Despite a moniker that reads like it belongs to a painfully quaint bedroom-pop outfit, there's something really sexy about Seattle's Slow Skate. But it's the sad, doomed kind of sexy—similar in vibe to Air's The Virgin Suicides soundtrack. On "One to Remember," from Slow Skate's full-length Past the Whole Parade, a ukulele's usually happy sound is offset by slow, weeping guitar and Caitlin Sherman's dreamy vocals about drowning in whiskey. I guess it could soundtrack a roller rink's slow-skate session... if the cute crush you were skating with was eventually going to throw herself out her bedroom window. MEGAN SELING

Friday 3/12

Wyndel Hunt

(Chapel Performance Space) See Data Breaker.

The Big Pink, A Place to Bury Strangers, Grave Babies, io echo

(Neumos) A Place to Bury Strangers provide that Jesus and Mary Chain/My Bloody Valentine fix that many melodic-noise junkies crave. The Brooklyn band's surging waves of fx'd-to-hell guitars played at ego-obliterating volume deliver an intense rush, while the slyly buried alluring hooks in their sonic tornadoes give listeners something to grab on to. London duo the Big Pink—who sound nothing like the Band LP after which they're named—have their moments of shoegaze glory, too, but they tend to pour too much sugar into the elixir. Their 2009 album on 4AD, A Brief History of Love, often bathes in late-Verve/Richard Ashcroft–ian melodrama, but the Big Pink do have a winning way with an earworm-y chorus, as the orchestral, big-beat bombast of "Dominos" proves. DAVE SEGAL

The Clientele, the Wooden Birds, Surf City

(Tractor) The reviews of early Clientele records uniformly talk about reverb and space and atmosphere; the reviews of their later albums all attempt to come to grips with the loss of those traits while still singing the band's praises. To this latecomer to the band, with no wistful nostalgia in tow, their most recent album, Bonfires on the Heath, sounds like fine, spacious indie pop, with lots of piano, some distant echoing slide guitar and muted string arrangements, and always lead singer Alasdair MacLean's sighing, reclining voice. It's mostly mellow stuff, but Bonfires also offers the slight funk twitch of "Share the Night." Throughout, seasons and times of day and their attendant shades of light color the album (apparently another classic Clientele touch). I'm sure I'm missing out on their most mind-blowing album, but Bonfires on the Heath seems as good a place as any to pick them up. ERIC GRANDY

Mike Watt & the Missingmen, Lite, Sandrider

(Chop Suey) After more than a decade performing together in Akimbo, Jon Weisnewski and Nat Damm are pretty much incapable of writing a rock song that doesn't just pummel your face. Over a year ago, the two started Sandrider, with Weisnewski on guitar and Jesse Roberts from the Ruby Doe on bass, and right out of the gate they sounded like heavy, propulsive, polished gold. Unfortunately, they've only played a handful of shows since then, and they are still looking for a label to release the seven tracks they recorded with metal hit-maker Matt Bayles. They've been off the radar for the last several months, so it's good to see them jumping on bills again. Those of us who caught the first taste have been waiting patiently for another round. JEFF KIRBY

Magma Festival: Emeralds, Cold Lake, Council of Lions, Agatha, My Parade, Elissa Bail

(20/20 Cycle) Hollow Earth Radio's annual Magma Festival roils into its second week with a show billed as "Not Yr Average Hetero Honkytonk: NW Queercore 2010." What sounds like an incredibly boring Evergreen State College senior thesis should actually make for a pretty kick-ass punk show. Bellingham trio Council of Lions play endearingly shambolic indie pop in the rough style of Beat Happening, only more rocking and with more riot-grrrl growl than Calvin Johnson could convincingly put on. Cold Lake swallow microphones and barf up throat-burning bile apparently aimed at some of my favorite subjects—internet shit-talk, Vampire Weekend—all over a background of propulsive rhythms, blown-out basement punk thrash, and the odd hardcore breakdown. Emeralds make metal that shifts from lurching, slo-mo sludge to fast-charging gallops to almost bluesy riffing, with vocals that would be over-the-top if they weren't so compellingly distant and strained. ERIC GRANDY

Helladope, Mash Hall, Candidt, State of the Artist, Dev from Above

(Nectar) Beacon Hill's Helladope are not only connected to that stream of music that Kodwo Eshun calls "sonic fiction" (the musical version of science fiction) but are also plugged into the deeper currents of the local scene. This is made evident by their collaboration with Raijnii on "Mind Shiftin," a short but flawless work of post-underground hiphop. (Yes, we have moved beyond the underground moment, which has its capital in Los Angeles—the indie/corporate tension or dialectic that determined the underground has now lost much of its explanatory powers.) Helladope have successfully inserted Raijnii's militancy (reminiscent of his work with 500 Years) into a first-rate realm of sonic fiction. CHARLES MUDEDE

Virgin Islands, Hot River, Wow and Flutter, the Know

(Black Lodge) Composed of singer/guitarist Mike Jaworski (the Cops), drummer Aaron Ball, bassist Chuck Keller, and guitarist Chris Meyer, Virgin Islands make heads-down, meat-and-taters rock and roll that is as immune to music-genre mutations as black Wayfarer horn-rimmed spectacles. A certain sector of the Western world will always need bands like this—music that evokes the Clash, if they recorded for SST in 1986. With this kind of sound, passion, guts, memorable riffs, and vocal conviction are all important, and Virgin Islands possess all these qualities—plus the panache to make them not seem hoary. Their songs aim for a roughly artful combination of masculine tunefulness and stinging noise, and they hit the target more often than not. DAVE SEGAL

Saturday 3/13

Rocky Votolato, Adam H. Stephens, the Terrordactyls

(Neumos) See preview.

TRUST One-Year Anniversary: Kid Hops, SunTzu Sound, Jeremy Ellis

(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests.

Magma Festival: Sir Richard Bishop, Arrington de Dionyso, Jason Webley

(Fremont Abbey) Arrington de Dionyso is no stranger to the abnormal, but Malaikat Dan Singa, his latest, is a good deal more challenging than any of his Old Time Relijun endeavors. Blaring horns, Tuvan throat singing, odd rhythms, and periodic dissonance are familiar cornerstones here, but add Indonesian influence and lyrics, and things get downright hallucinatory. "The music is driving and intentionally repetitive—zero changes in key or tempo whatsoever during songs," Dionyso commented on Line Out, The Stranger's music blog, after another comment disparaged his new material. "Anyways, you wouldn't say it was boring if you knew any Indonesian. The lyrics are the most cohesive artistic statement I have ever made in my 20-plus-years songwriting and recording career." Either way, "Kedalaman Air" is a fucking jam. GRANT BRISSEY

Gomez, Buddy

(Crocodile) In their native UK, Gomez are Mercury Prize–winning crowd pleasers, but despite a decade of trying—including a high-profile signing to Dave Matthews's record label and splashy opening gigs for Pearl Jam—the band's quest for mainstream U.S. stardom remains elusive. Tonight and tomorrow, Gomez bring their reliably melodic indie rock to a sold-out Crocodile, along with L.A.-based openers Buddy, another band that traffics in the kind of songs that sound right at home scoring emotional moments of Grey's Anatomy. DAVID SCHMADER

Laura Veirs & the Hall of Flames, the Old Believers, Cataldo

(Tractor) Touring in support of her stripped-down new record, July Flame—the first on her Raven Marching Band Records label and already called "the best album of 2010" by Colin Meloy—Laura Veirs lands at the Tractor tonight along with the folky Portland collective the Old Believers and Seattle's Cataldo (aka "Eric Anderson and His Friends Who Play Music Well"). Expect a night of pure neotraditionalist delight. DAVID SCHMADER

Sunday 3/14

Gomez, One eskimO

(Crocodile) See Saturday.

Monday 3/15

Gabriel Teodros, Jennifer Johns, Daisy Chain, DJ WD4D

(Chop Suey) Local cats with their ear turned up to the city's hiphop music should have fond memories of Massline's Gabriel Teodros rocking mics together with Khingz, going by Khalil Crisis back in the day, as Abyssinian Creole. The group struck a dynamic and delicate balance—while Khingz kept an energetic bounce, Gabe would sway cool and collected. Sometimes a calm demeanor can make words connect on a deeper level, and that's what Teodros's music is all about: connection. His second solo record, Lovework, boasts songs that drip with honesty but don't come across drippy. DJ WD4D, Teodros's former Creole compatriot, will be spinning for the evening, and the combination makes for a solid bet, especially on a Monday. KALEB GUBERNICK

Tuesday 3/16

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

(Triple Door) Backed by Sub Pop, the Jon Kertzer–run world-music imprint Next Ambiance debuted with Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba's recently released I Speak Fula. The disc abounds with sprightly, spidery melodies and intricate gritty male/silky female vocal interplay in a tongue you probably can't understand, but you can certainly feel its pleasant timbre and vivid emotional tenor. While much of I Speak Fula moves at a fairly dignified gallop, tracks like "Musow" and "Saro" should raise shredders' pulses with its frantic plucking and quicksilver, crystalline ngonis (West African wooden lutes). The Mali-based Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba create mostly uplifting music, but it's tinged with an underlying bluesiness that keeps it from getting annoyingly gleeful. They achieve this delicate balance with magnificent poise and skill. DAVE SEGAL

Sister Wife, Cryptids, Erik Anarchy

(Funhouse) According to the Department of Random Trivial Information and Useful Statistics, a sister wife is "a woman who is another wife of her sister's husband in a polygamous marriage." That shit may fly in Utah, but Seattle indie-pop foursome Sister Wife share a different kind of big love: one capable of captivating hearts with meticulously crafted and catchy-as-all-hell power-pop hooks that your brain will never want to divorce. The band's carefree yet driven nature in song is remarkably refreshing, hitting all the sweet spots of the Zombies, Pavement, and Thee Oh Sees in one fell swoop. Not only are they attractive to the ears, they're also easy on the eyes. Let's all fall in love with Sister Wife together. TRAVIS RITTER

Wednesday 3/17

Balkan Beat Box

(Showbox at the Market) Balkan Beat Box put a welcoming, celebratory spin on the sort of global-electronica stylistic promiscuity championed by DJ /rupture and ex-Seattleite Maga Bo. As evidenced on their forthcoming album, Blue Eyed Black Boy, BBB want you to party to foreign sounds, but they don't want you to get too lost in the unfamiliar. Consequently, they're cheerful ambassadors for uplifting rhythmic musics from the Middle East and, duh, the Balkans (Belgrade Gypsy ensemble Jovica Ajdarevic Orkestar contributed to the new full-length) while also giving hiphop and dub fans something to blaze to. Horns flare triumphantly, beats shuffle and undulate hyperkinetically, bass booms sensually, and voices ably rouse spirits—BBB throw a party that the United Nations could endorse. DAVE SEGAL

Concours d'Elegance, Chadwick, Viper Creek Club

(Comet) A Concours d'Elegance is basically a fancy, French-ified car show (or horse-and-carriage show back in the day); Louis Vuitton sponsors one in midtown Manhattan. So we might assume that Seattle synth-pop four-piece Concours d'Elegance are going for a kind of rarefied Parisian style, but we'd be wrong—or at least they'd be missing the mark. No, what the band most resembles is the frosty electro soul of Canadian duo Junior Boys, only Concours's take is a little more unabashedly emotive, a little more pop, a little hammier, really. It's not always exactly elegant, but it's certainly cooler than a lot of the electro pop that's been attempted in this town. ERIC GRANDY