Wednesday 1/4

Charles Leo Gebhardt IV, Idle Times, Orca Team, the First Times

(Neumos) Here is your one-stop shop for scrappy indie rock to help get you grounded after your scandalous New Year's revelries. Orca Team hark back to innocent, pre-psychedelic pop with winsome, heart-fluttering earnestness. Idle Times grind out sparky garage rock with tunes to, if not die for, then experience near-death experiences for. Check out their very good 2010 self-titled album on Hozac Records, which careens somewhere between Ty Segall and Sic Alps. The First Times' hooky, bar-band ambles evoke Thin Lizzy and Tom Petty, so they'll probably go far. Guitarist/vocalist Charles Leo Gebhardt IV—who's played with Idle Times, Unnatural Helpers, and many others—is an irrepressibly chipper presence onstage and in the studio. Listening to his songs is like bouncing on a trampoline of happiness. DAVE SEGAL

Thursday 1/5

Blu, TiRon & Ayomari, Nu Era, Kung Foo Grip

(Crocodile) The West Coast is in the building tonight for this half-LA/half-Seattle hiphop show. Headliner Blu has excelled at several styles of his workingman's hiphop with his frequent output of strong albums, EPs, and mixtapes in the last few years. Fellow LA residents TiRon & Ayomari will probably perform plenty of tracks from this year's well-received A Sucker for Pumps during their supporting set, so don't be surprised if you hear some hiphop songs about love that somehow aren't corny. Rounding out the lineup are local trio Nu Era, who will be celebrating their Sink or Swim album release, and Kung Foo Grip, who continued to "Make Moves" in 2011 and have some 2012 projects in the works that already have people talking. MIKE RAMOS

Friday 1/6

Seattle Symphony plays Doctor Atomic

(Benaroya Hall) See Stranger Suggests.

Byron Au Yong

(Seattle Art Museum) The event is called O(PA)PERA, and it is standing-room only because it takes place inside a gigantic paper tent inside a boardroom at Seattle Art Museum. A quartet will sing and play instruments, from violin to erhu to typewriter to cassette-tape player. Their performance wants to "investigat[e] the ephemera amidst the earthquakes and tsunamis around the Pacific Rim." It's a one-time musical/objectile addendum to the SAM exhibition Luminous: The Art of Asia, and it's by Seattle artists Byron Au Yong and Roger Benington. JEN GRAVES

Temp Score, Cataldo

(Crocodile) Hey, fans of Sean Nelson's Long Winters/Harvey Danger and Kyle O'Quin's Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground—there's a new band in town! I cannot tell you about this band based on experience, but I can say that Sean Nelson recently described the new project as "nimble, mid-'60s-esque, British influenced piano pop in the Zombies/Kinks/Rubber Soul–era Paul mold, with a few droplets of solo Graham Nash, and my usual tablespoon of Morrissey." Sounds like a winning combination for a group strangely named after a term used in the film industry to describe preexisting music applied to films during the early stages of editing. KELLY O

Bushwick Book Club: Alice in Wonderland

(Fremont Abbey) Bushwick Book Club (the Seattle edition of the Brooklyn we-read-a-book-and-then-write-songs-about-it show) can be absolutely magical fun, although if you haven't read the book, it's usually way less so. That makes tonight's show a perfect place to start: Who's never read/seen/heard-most-of-the-plot-of Alice in Wonderland? Carroll's wordplay is just begging to be reappropriated and messed with—I'm hoping for "Jabberwocky" songs (frumious bandersnatch!!!), even though it's technically in the sequel—and there's always something you're not expecting at Bushwick. Plus, you just feel all warm and fuzzy when you're in a room full of literary music nerds. What a winning niche. ANNA MINARD

Orkestar Zirkonium, Tubaluba, Corespondents

(Tractor) Tonight is a CD release party for Orkestar Zirkonium, Seattle's jazzy Balkan marching band that sometimes plays guerrilla concerts in bars and grocery stores, and it'll be as good a time as any to get familiar with Orkestar's dirty dozen-ish members. But their opening acts are worth the trip on their own. Tubaluba is a young, second-line-style brass band. (Second line being the New Orleans tradition of more playful, unofficial, street-dancing bands that would follow the "main line" in a parade.) The Corespondents are a spooky, largely instrumental country-western group—think a more musically sophisticated Handsome Family with the atmospheric tics of Bone Machine–era Tom Waits—that plays guitars and drums but also bouzouki, Vietnamese dan bao, and other instruments you won't find at the honky-tonk. BRENDAN KILEY

Saturday 1/7

Constant Lovers, Grayskul, Monogamy Party

(Sunset) By now you should already know about Constant Lovers' True Romance and Monogamy Party's Pus City, two of the better, heavier local rock records of the year. But the appearance of Grayskul on this classic Seattle-style rock/rap sandwich bill can only mean that their much-delayed/anticipated Zenith album must be on the way very soon. With members Onry Ozzborn and JFK working on solo material and collaborative projects for the past couple years, the group's dark, dungeon-rap sounds have been mostly missing from the local scene. This show is probably a great chance to hear some of their new material and get a little bit of that good Ol(dominion) gloom and doom back in your life. MIKE RAMOS

Wah Wah Exit Wound, Moraine, Clouds on Strings, Austenitic

(Josephine) They're calling this bill "PROG Up Your Ass!," but you should expect more subtlety in the music than in the promotion. Led by the intelligently dexterous guitarist Dennis Rea, Seattle quintet Moraine produce some of the city's most interesting prog rock and fusiony compositions that will tie your gray matter into baroque knots. Some of Moraine's output recalls ECM Records when it had fire in its belly (see Terje Rypdal and Wolfgang Dauner's early '70s releases), Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, and Univers Zero. In a 2010 feature, I praised headliners Wah Wah Exit Wound for their "knotty rhythmic peregrinations, coruscating tonalities, and heroic melodies," which are probably even more honed at this point. Bang your Mensa-level head, Poindexter. DAVE SEGAL

Sunday 1/8

The Beat Is the Law

(Northwest Film Forum) See Stranger Suggest.

Chris Forsyth, Chris Brokaw, Jeffery Taylor

(Funhouse) Ready for an auspicious night of unconventional guitar heroism? Former Come, Codeine, and Pullman guitarist Chris Brokaw recently moved to Seattle, and he's been fairly busy on the live circuit in addition to recently releasing soundtracks to the films Road and Sospira. Where his work with Come and Codeine traded in gravid, frowny electric-guitar articulation, his more recent solo material leans toward alternately meditative and spry acoustic pastoralisms. Jeffery Taylor (Climax Golden Twins, Spider Trio, Soul Food Piñata, etc.) is a wild-card guitarist with extraordinary stylistic and emotional range who might just cover Sonny Sharrock's Monkey-Pockie-Boo for the hell of it. Chris Forsyth, 6- and 12-string ax-meister for eclectic experimentalists Peeesseye, creates spellbinding compositions that embrace psych rock, folk, blues, and minimalism. DAVE SEGAL

Monday 1/9

You're on your own, mate.

Tuesday 1/10

Meshell Ndegeocello

(Triple Door) After Ice Cube dropped "Once Upon a Time in the Projects," Queen Latifah dropped "Just Another Day," and Meshell Ndegeocello dropped "Step Into the Projects." Each of these tracks captures some aspect of the failed modernist program called the projects. Ice Cube's track presents the interior spaces of the projects (furniture, babies crying, TV sets), Queen Latifah's explores the exteriors (streets, playground, weather), and Ndegeocello's captures the spiritual dimension of this kind of urban life (love, dread, hope). A brief word about "Step Into the Projects," which appeared on Ndegeocello's debut album, Plantation Lullabies: It's appropriate that her track concerns the soul of the projects because the instrument that Ndegeocello mainly plays is the bass, and bass is the soul of a pop tune, the sound that feels immaterial. Drums are as hard as bones, guitars can bleed; a bass, however, has no bones or body—like some phantom, it is at once there but not there. "Step Into the Projects" ends with a jerky, almost nervous jazz piano. This is the mind of the projects. CHARLES MUDEDE

Distortions Psych-Rock DJ night: Explorateur, Veins

(Linda's) Full disclosure: Distortions, the new psych-rock DJ night happening the second Tuesday of every month at Linda's, is headed by DJs Explorateur and Veins, the latter of whom daylights as Stranger music writer Dave Segal. Fuller disclosure: The reason The Stranger hired Segal (twice!) is because he knows a crazy shit-ton about music. Bask in that knowledge tonight as DJs Veins and Explorateur (aka Valerie Calano) share their obsessive love for psychedelic freak-out music from all over the globe and space-time continuum. DAVID SCHMADER