Wednesday 2/15

The Sight Below, Christopher Willits

(Re-bar) Seattle producer the Sight Below crafts subtly beguiling soundscapes that pulse and flow like a sleeping city. The beats are often static, and the swelling and receding harmonies create bouts of tension and release so compelling they're bound to transport your mind into blissful transcendence. No drugs necessary. GRANT BRISSEY

Iced Earth, Symphony X, Warbringer

(Showbox at the Market) Iced Earth were the first band that made me appreciate the melodic, anthemic metal that, on paper, sounds goofy. A 32-minute trilogy dedicated to the Gettysburg Address? Check. A set of concept albums telling the story of the Setians, a group of people who were on Earth before humans and who were actually aliens? Check. Songs inspired by films like Soylent Green and V for Vendetta? Check! Total nerdtown. They deliver it all irony-free, with a lot of headbanging, killer guitar riffs, and both piercing falsetto and growling-monster vocals. Iced Earth put on a show even the serious thrashers can appreciate—once they get over how geeky it all is. MEGAN SELING

Thursday 2/16

Run DMT, novaTRON, Northstar, Darwin

(Chop Suey) Run DMT was once the one-man lo-fi/psych project of Michael Collins, who released trippy, warped collections of instrument loops and samples with awesome names like Bong Voyage and Get Ripped or Die Trying. But then two brostep-making Texas cornballs recorded their first song, "Baraka's Theme," for the album Mortal Kombat: Songs Inspired by the Warriors (that's actually a real release). Then, as so many douchebags who make bad music do so often, they copyrighted the Run DMT name and sent Collins a cease-and-desist letter so they could continue to make their crappy, frat-party, mainstream-distilled "dubstep" (used extra loosely here). Fuck these guys and everything they stand for. MIKE RAMOS

Pickwick, Fly Moon Royalty

(Neptune) Tonight is the launch of the Little Big Show series, a new quarterly event put together by STG, KEXP, and Starbucks in which great local talent takes the stage to raise money for different local arts organizations. This is a hell of a debut, featuring two of Seattle's upcoming stars, Pickwick and Fly Moon Royalty, with 100 percent of ticket sales being donated to Art Corps ( FMR's sexy and soulful R&B will give you a chance to work out any residual romantic vibes left over from Valentine's Day, while Pickwick's revival sounds just might cleanse your soul after whatever dirty deeds you did (or do in a dark corner during Fly Moon Royalty). MEGAN SELING

Viper Creek Club, Sports, the Fascination Movement, Tito Ramsey

(Neumos) In 2010, Viper Creek Club released an album, Letters, that contained several beautifully crafted pop/rock tunes. Also in 2010, VCC issued several dance remixes, the best being Metric's "Front Row." In 2011, VCC released a hiphop remix album, Viperlust, that successfully integrated local rappers with indie-pop beats. This year, VCC drop an EP, Hot Lights, that completely breaks with the sweetness of Letters and the lushness of Viperlust and instead extravagantly revives '80s-style baroque pop. In Hot Lights we see something like the ghost of Michael Hutchence; he appears, he rages, he moans and roars over erotically charged beats. Because we have not heard this kind of vocal boldness and energy for so long, Hot Lights leaves you guessing: Is this the next big thing or is it a big mistake? In either case, it took courage to make this record. CHARLES MUDEDE

Friday 2/17

Damien Jurado, Gold Leaves, Bryan John Appleby

(Neptune) See Stranger Suggests.

DROP: AntAcid, 214, Joe Bellingham, Innerflight residents

(Lo-Fi) See Data Breaker.

Fatal Lucciauno, Th3rdz, AD, Feezable the Germ, DJ Action Jackson

(Chop Suey) See My Philosophy.

Dead Ship Sailing, the Tight Wigs, Pressed And, Spanish for 100

(Comet) North Carolina duo Pressed And's baffling name may be somewhat off-putting, but their music is a welcoming puff of cool nocturnal air. They capture that "Night Bus" aura that's been spreading among young producers in the wake of Burial's paradigm-shifting production style: a yearning, hazy sound embellished by pitched-up, distant vocal samples, shimmering, humid synth emissions, and spectral drones. The Imbue Up EP on LA's Mush Records is a gorgeous intro to Pressed And, full of "oohh"-inspiring ambience and subtle, fresh beats. Dead Ship Sailing consist of Seattle's Zera Marvel and Graig Markel writing Kills/Raveonettes–like songs with rough pop immediacy, concision, and instantaneous catchiness—old pros operating under the first-thought-best-thought MO, and they triumph often. DAVE SEGAL

Buck 65, Busdriver, Metal Chocolates, Sadistik

(Tractor) Despite the deep artistry of his beats, Rich Terfry's Buck 65 has always seemed as much of a performance artist as a straight-up hiphopper—he's less likely to get a radio hit than a MacArthur "genius" grant. This slight sheen of performance artistry goes into full bloom during Buck 65's live shows, where Terfry rules the stage as carnival barker, impresario, storyteller, and spaz-dancer. You will love him, and tonight's whole bill is great, also including the brilliant LA rapper Busdriver and Seattle's own Metal Chocolates and Sadistik. DAVID SCHMADER

The Coup, Theoretics, DJ Funkscribe

(Crocodile) Boots Riley has been making leftist hiphop infused with revolutionary ideals with the Coup since 1991. With albums like Kill My Landlord and songs like "5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO," "My Favorite Mutiny," and "Ghetto Manifesto," he has always talked a good one. What matters here is that Riley backs it up with direct action. Though he has been involved in community organizing efforts in Oakland since 1991, he stepped up as an unofficial spokesman of the Occupy Oakland movement when it started taking off. Somehow, Boots is fitting a tour with the Coup in between organizing port shutdowns and labor strikes, so put your fist in the air and celebrate the oncoming revolution with him. MIKE RAMOS

Master Musicians of Bukkake, Darsombra, Fungal Abyss, Thrones

(Funhouse) Good luck finding a heavier, more mystical bill of outward-bound rock than this four-headed monster at the Funhouse tonight. Deservedly copious ink has been spilled already about Master Musicians of Bukkake, whose world-traveling, hip-gnosis music keeps improving over time. Fungal Abyss—metal mentalists Lesbian's mushroomier alter ego—turbulently fuse Black Sabbath–like doom and Hawkwind-esque rocket-science thrust. The resultant furious aural friction is out of control. Check out their epic cassette on local label Translinguistic Other, Bardo Abgrund Temple, for proof. Darsombra add similar expansive girth to a brand of rock pregnant with menace and morose grandeur. Their music's a bulging dirigible of malevolent majesty. Bring an extra set of ears, people. DAVE SEGAL

Cursive, Ume, Virgin Islands

(Neumos) Omaha weirdo rockers Cursive are back with a concept album called Gemini—complete with stage directions in the liner notes—about identical twins Cassius and Pollock stuck in a house together with angels, devils, and conjoined twins. Frontman Tim Kasher wrote all the songs in order, and it was mixed right here in Seattle by Matt Bayles at Red Room. Maybe I just let the backstory get to me, but Gemini sounds completely different each time I listen to it, like it's constantly twinning itself in a funhouse mirror. Creepy! Also neat are Austin trio Ume, whose vocals, by ghost-voiced lead singer Lauren Larson, will perfectly complement Cursive's haunting. ANNA MINARD

Bell Witch, Addaura, Great Falls, Hellgrammite

(Highline) Bell Witch, presumably named after the 1817 Bell Witch haunting, an incident that legend says started with the sighting of an animal with a dog's body and a rabbit's head in a Tennessee field, are a Seattle bass-and-drums doom duo composed of drummer Adrian Guerra and bassist Dylan Desmond. With sometimes tempered, hymnal vocals and serene tempos, their four-song 2011 demo, recorded at Airport Grocery Studios by Brandon Fitzsimons of Wormwood and mastered by Chris Hanzsek (C/Z Records, Reciprocal Recording), is actually a soothing companion to the experience of a close death, an assertion I submit with recent experience. GRANT BRISSEY

Open Mike Eagle, Fictitious, the MC Type, Three Ninjas

(Nectar) Consider the gap between the 1993 Digable Planets record Reachin' and their 1994 release Blowout Comb. The first was dreamy, nuanced, and self-consciously jazzy; the second was harder, blunter, and self-consciously political. It's an old schism in rap: You could be witty or angry, playful or political, De La Soul or Public Enemy. But a new wave of hiphop artists is breaking through this false dichotomy, including Open Mike Eagle, who declares on his 2010 Unapologetic Art Rap: "I could never be a simple brother, 'cause the world ain't black and white—some of this shit's magenta-colored." Eagle keeps his horizons wide, rapping over hard beats as well as Pavement and TV on the Radio, and leavening his criticisms with sharp, sometimes self-deprecating humor. BRENDAN KILEY

Saturday 2/18


(Town Hall) See Stranger Suggests.

Mikael Stavöstrand, Randy Jones

(Electric Tea Garden) See Data Breaker.

Afrika Bambaataa

(Washington Hall) See Data Breaker and My Philosophy.

Bombay Bicycle Club

(Crocodile) In the video for Bombay Bicycle Club's "Shuffle," everyone is cheerful. The band members joke and dance with one another, and everyone else seems to be having a ball regardless of what they're doing. The buoyant guitar pop of the song is also relentlessly joyous. Either you are the kind of person who enjoys this sort of music and are as happy as the humans in this video (and kudos to you if you are), or you are like me and find the whole mess irritating and are likely cursed to a life of many lows. GRANT BRISSEY

Eduardo Mendonça and Show Brazil!

(Nectar) Eduardo Mendonça was the principal of a great big huge school in Brazil—and the first African-descended Brazilian to hold such a position—before he decided to turn to music full-time. He moved to Seattle (to Seattle's eternal benefit) and teaches the littlest of kids how to drum. It's not that often that he does solo performances like this one, so don't miss it. JEN GRAVES

Sunday 2/19

The Fresh & Onlys, Disappears, Grave Babies

(Chop Suey) See Granted.

The Budos Band

(Neumos) Since 2005, New York Daptoners the Budos Band have excelled at crafting Afrobeat-influenced instrumental funk that sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to a '70s kung-fu film. Their lineup floats between 10 and 13 members, with an impressive array of instruments from guitars and organs to trumpets, saxophones, and a tremendous percussion section of congas, bongos, claves, and cabasas. The lack of vocals or a frontman to pay attention to gives plenty of room to marvel at the band's methodical players (are those three guys really going to play hand drums the entire time?) or to just listen and let the music work you into a crazed dancing spell. Just avoid the inexplicable urge you might get to nunchuck someone in the face. MIKE RAMOS

Monday 2/20

Die Antwoord

(Showbox at the Market) See preview.

Grimes, Born Gold, USF

(Sunset) Once in a while, blogosphere buzz gravitates toward worthy musicians. Such is the case with Canadian singer/keyboardist Grimes (aka Claire Boucher). Venerable British label 4AD recognized her specialness and will release Grimes's Visions, a beautiful collection of ethereal, 21st-century electro pop that just may enchant the pants off of you. Singing in a feathery, high pitch somewhere between Cranes' Alison Shaw and Julee Cruise (with hints of late R&B cult heroine Teena Marie), Grimes skillfully layers, multi-tracks, and elasticizes her voice into elaborate, beguiling patterns while conjuring chilled, spacey backdrops, often with functionally danceable beats. Visions sounds like a fresh iteration of new-wave soul music, with Grimes exuding a vibrant diva aura that seems refreshingly egoless. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 2/21

Regina Carter

(Jazz Alley) See preview.

Megadeth, Motörhead, Volbeat, Lacuna Coil

(Showare Center) I saw Megadeth play with Pantera and Suicidal Tendencies in 1992. It was one of the few shows I can remember where I was absolutely quietly terrified of the people around me (second only to seeing Tila Tequila at the Gathering of the Juggalos). The crowd went nuts that night—I thought I might die during "Peace Sells"—and I had to drive home wearing only one shoe. Dave Mustaine and company are still touring with heavyweight openers (Motörhead never disappoint) and they're touring with a new album, their 13th, called TH1RT3EN (also titled this because, according to Mustaine, he first picked up a guitar when he was 13 and, duuuude—his birthday is the 13th of September!) KELLY O

Veronica Falls, Bleached, Seapony

(Tractor) Veronica Falls nail that dark pop thing where their cute harmonies and bright sound make lyrics about death and graveyards and shit occasionally startle you. They have a simple, recognizable, old-school sound, but out of all the newish albums I've been listening to this week, theirs was the one I kept coming back to. Time for some pleasant darkness, I guess. Seapony, who everyone loves (right?), are also on this bill, and if you don't love them yet, you should go look up their single "Sailing" and remember what sunlight felt like. ANNA MINARD