DJ DAREK MAZZONE
(Liquid Lounge at EMP) This isn't officially a part of the EMP's "Northwest Passage 2001" series, which is odd, because it's the most interesting thing the EMP is doing these days with regards to Northwest music. For four nights in a row, DJs from 90.3 KEXP will be spinning live at the Liquid Lounge. If you happen to be an eager Stranger reader and grabbed this issue on Wed Oct 17, you can dash down there to hear Cheryl Waters; tonight is Darek Mazzone; Friday is Stevie Zoom; and Saturday is Kevin Cole. Each and every week, these DJs are important fixtures on Seattle's music landscape, voices from the radio towers. Still, their voices are intimate, as the DJs sit alone in their rooms, just like their listeners (the radio is curious that way). For these nights, they interact with Seattle in a more traditionally intimate way: They choose their songs for the eyes and ears of those who make their way down to the EMP. BRIAN GOEDDE
STARLIGHT MINTS, THE INCREDIBLE MOSES LEROY, THE MINES, LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
(Graceland) There's a town called Norman, Oklahoma, and from that town there's a band called Starlight Mints. The Mints, which apparently began as a seven-piece pop ensemble, and are now more of a moody pop band with five players, bring their referential sound to Graceland tonight. Fronted by a talented (if moderately inspired) singer/songwriter, the band's mostly rock and roll sound recalls everyone you'd expect a band's sound to recall (the Beatles, the Pixies, Bowie...), tastefully layered with strings and enough hooks to make Starlight Mints genuinely fun, if not earth-shattering. JEFF DeROCHE
THE SPITFIRES, RED PLANET, ONCE FOR KICKS, SLENDER
(Breakroom) Wean the Briefs off Cheap Trick and Van Halen, or force the Toilet Boys to give up the platforms for checkered Vans, and they might sound something like Red Planet. San Francisco's resident Diamond Dave worshippers pack their songs with noodling guitar solos, grin-and-sneer-it vocals, and songs about hot love and high-school delinquency. Their latest (Kurt Bloch-produced) album, Let's Degenerate, is a fun pop rock and roll kegger thrown in prime CT/VH/Cars territory. See the band live and you'll get the added bonus of hearing a most excellent cover of "Panama." Have I mentioned how much Red Planet loves Van Halen? JENNIFER MAERZ
TRACK STAR, NO. 2, TRUE LOVE ALWAYS
(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests.
PORCH GHOULS, BIG JOHN BATES, THE MIDNIGHT CHOIR
(Breakroom) Fans of the Grifters, '68 Comeback, and the Oblivians will be happy to note that while these bands have been silent for far too long, the Porch Ghouls out of Memphis features Slim Electro and Jeffrey Evans, as well as suitcase-bangin' drummer Duke Baltimore. Porch Ghouls play "ruckus," a lo-fi musical style taken from a 1920s slang term for the Memphis jug bands. KATHLEEN WILSON
RICHARD BUCKNER, JESSE SYKES & THE SWEET HEREAFTER, ROSE THOMAS
(Crocodile) I'm starting to think that Richard Buckner secretly lives in Seattle. Either that or he just never stops touring. He played a show at the Tractor Tavern in July. Then he played Bumbershoot. And now he's back in Seattle again, to play the Crocodile. Don't get me wrong--that's a great thing. The man's certainly not lacking in talent. In fact, here's what I said about him last July: "Coming from an excellent school of Texas musicians that includes the likes of Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, San Francisco-based singer/songwriter Richard Buckner creates an honest, alcoholic cast of characters for songs that are resplendent with literature and melody. In a sad, gorgeous voice, Buckner delivers smart, mature alt-country songs that mine ashen emotional depths and ache for beauty and redemption. This is not hopeless alcoholic music--it's an array of thwarted anthems for hopeful sinners and beautiful losers." And while it has been a whopping month and a half since Buckner's last Seattle appearance, I'd have to say I still agree with what I once said, so long ago. See Jesse Sykes preview this issue. JEFF DeROCHE
POSEUR, TERROR SHEETS, BEWARE OF CLEO
(Graceland) Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm all fucked up. But people seem to talk a lot about Poseur, and most everyone has something good to say. Except me. They've never done much for me; I find them somewhat dull. But this here blurb isn't intended as a slam against them, but rather, a suggestion: If you're interested, go and check them out tonight and decide for yourself whether or not you like them. After all, who really gives a crap what I say anyway? Who the hell am I? People like them, they're one of the bands in "the scene," and if you like them--if you like the way they sound up there on stage--then send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell me I'm an idiot for not liking them. I can take it. I'm a tough guy. BRADLEY STEINBACHER
BLACKALICIOUS, LIFESAVAS, BOOM BAP PROJECT, DJ TRE
(I-Spy) The song seems gimmicky, but I continue to be stunned by "A to G" from last year's scintillating Blackalicious album, Nia. In it, a recorded female voice announces a letter, and MC Gift of Gab rattles off a verse that alliterates with that letter (to paraphrase: The analog arsonist analyzes...). Blackalicious has been praised for being a truly sophisticated "socially conscious" rap group, and other tracks on Nia support this praise, but I am most grateful for "A to G" because it demonstrates how Gift of Gab simply loves to rap. While Blackalicious may want to change the world with its music, its top priority is excellent wordplay. Good art, not just good messages, changes the world, which is why Blackalicious rises to the top of the socially conscious rap heap. BRIAN GOEDDE
MUDHONEY, THE CATHETERS, BLOOD BROTHERS
(Local 46) See Stranger Suggests.
WILLIAM HOOKER & EYVIND KANG, CLIMAX GOLDEN TWINS, CHARLIE GOCHER & PINT SIZED SPARTICUS
(The Rainbow)See Sunday listing.
JENNIFER TOOMEY, GUESTS
(Sit & Spin) See preview this issue.
GROUNDWORK 2001: CHOCOLATE GENIUS, JOE HENRY, MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD
(EMP) With 1998's Black Music, Marc Anthony Thompson's sly alter ego, Chocolate Genius, delivered an album of intelligent and personal songs that explored the darker side of life and love. He was accompanied by downtown New York veterans like Marc Ribot, Melvin Gibbs, and John Medeski. The dark introspection gave the mellow jazzy pop, classic soul, and atmospheric compositions a firm foundation for Thompson's angelic voice. In "My Mom," he free-associated a series of still-life memories before admitting that his mother's Alzheimer's Disease had left her unable to recognize him. With his latest album, Godmusic, Chocolate Genius takes spirituality more directly into the fold with multi-textured and evocative songs that insinuate themselves into the listener's life. "The Eyes of the Lord" and "To Serve You" may seem like straight-ahead gospel titles, but Thompson wrangles with religion's convoluted logic and raw need with the complexity and molasses-slow soul of a man willing to take his time and let his thoughts sink in. NATE LIPPENS
THE RED ELVISES, THE DONETTES
(Tractor Tavern) Normally I resist getting behind the really dumb stuff: dumb stuff like current bands infusing elements of ska, surf, reggae, and punk into their music. Dumb stuff like bands that appear NAKED on the cover of their latest album, Welcome to the Freakshow. Siberia's Red Elvises are dumb like that, and they put on a goofy, highly energetic show that pleases dumb, happy people everywhere. They're twangy and off-handedly political at times (but not, like, crazy-smart or anything). I complained months back in these very pages (this is the third time the Elvises are appearing in Seattle this year--Richard Buckner, anyone?) that I've never been drunk enough to stand the Red Elvises. But I take that back today: Times are sad, and you deserve to act stupid. In fact, go see this dumb band and drink a lot. Make stupid monkey-faces all night and dance your fat asses off. Besides, the Elvises aren't all bad. They once did a Kit Kat commercial, and I think I've said it before: I love me some Kit Kats! JEFF DeROCHE
BUILDING PRESS, RICHMOND SLUTS, TRAIL VS. RUSSIA, INNER
(Graceland) Drawing on the menace felt in the guitar riffs and time changes of Shellac, Vancouver BC's Trail vs. Russia emits instrumental power in minor chords. Apologies for the comparison, but I mention Shellac because the bass on their recording sounds exactly like Bob Weston's--buzzing and sludgy, with a lot of bicep. The thing is, if someone gave me their CD and told me it was Shellac, I would believe it. Trail vs. Russia is like a placebo that still gets you high. JULIANNE SHEPHERD
OYSTERHEAD, NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALL STARS
(Paramount) If you're going to be two clean-cut white siblings who play hill-country-blues covers with a name like North Mississippi All Stars, you'd better be damn good. Fortunately, brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson, guitarist and drummer respectively, fit the bill and then some. This is no mere scavenged blues act. Forming North Mississippi All Stars in 1996 with bassist Chris Chew, the Brothers Dickinson eschewed the sound of their former punk band DDT in favor of a roots-based vernacular they grew up listening to with their father. The Dickinsons were born in Fayette County, Tennessee, sons of legendary producer and musician Jim Dickinson, who worked with Big Star, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones, among many others. The All Stars' debut LP, Shake Hands with Shorty, mapped out the possibilities and sure-footedness of its sound, seasoning gutbucket shuffle and boogie-woogie rave-ups with post-punk fervor; the country-blues of R.L. Burnside and Mississippi Fred McDowell are a heavy influence, mixed with a rock edge. The brothers' call-and-response vocals and dense trance-like blues channel Othar Turner and Junior Kimbrough while casting a spell all their own. NATE LIPPENS
WILLIAM HOOKER & EYVIND KANG, THE WALLY SHOUP TRIO
(Sunset Tavern) Percussionist William Hooker was a mainstay in the NYC loft scene of the mid-'70s. His first album, Is Eternal Life, featured the likes of David Murray and David S. Ware. In the past decade, Hooker has made a transition, tapping into the post-rock/indie scene, playing with such figureheads as Thurston Moore and his cohort Lee Ranaldo, Christian Marclay, and DJ Olive. This rock-meets-jazz crossover has been much attempted in recent years (e.g., Chicago Underground Duo), and Hooker is one of the most successful at it. Tonight and tomorrow, Hooker will be playing with Seattle's most eccentric and playful composer/violinist, Eyvind Kang, whose work keeps one foot entrenched in the sublime and the other in chaos. The Wally Shoup Trio is the best of Seattle's Free Jazz scene, pushing a thick, bluesy melody that Shoup's saxophone punctuates with trademark screeches and percussive pops. KREG HASEGAWA
SWEEP THE LEG JOHNNY, RAFT OF DEAD MONKEYS, TED LEO & THE PHARMACISTS, LURE OF THE ANIMAL
(Paradox) Chicago's Sweep the Leg Johnny is possibly the only band in America that can make a saxophone sound like it belongs in the middle of intimidating post-punk guitars and apocalyptic vocals. But Steven M. Sostak blows that fuckin' horn like he's made of pure lung, and the band shreds a violent, beautiful mess of guitars and drums. Live, STLJ is so intense you will feel physically distressed, and it's exquisite to feel so challenged. JULIANNE SHEPHERD
Only AA, but I'm feeling XXX.
SMOG, NEIL MICHAEL HAGERTY, DAVE BAZAN
(Crocodile) See preview this issue.
AMERICAN HI-FI, PHANTOM PLANET
(Graceland) While it's true that neither American Hi-Fi nor Phantom Planet are breaking a tremendous amount of new ground with their peppy power-pop, you could certainly do a lot worse in terms of live entertainment value. It'd be easy to dismiss Phantom Planet as That Band With the Guy From Rushmore, or American Hi-Fi as The Band with the Heavy Metal Parking Lot Video and the Guy Who Used to Be in Veruca Salt, but the truth of the matter is that both of these bands are actually pretty good. And besides, while the Strokes got all the hype at this year's Reading Festival, it was actually American Hi-Fi who worked the crowd into a moshing, pogo-ing frenzy. If you want something that tickles your brain cells, stay home and listen to Sigur Rós. If you want to see a show that makes you feel good to be alive, Graceland would be an excellent place to be tonight. BARBARA MITCHELL