WINDSOR FOR THE DERBY, SWORDS PROJECT, THE BUILDING PRESS
(Crocodile) Tediously slow at times, Windsor for the Derby's latest album, The Emotional Rescue (released on Chicago's Aesthetics label), marries acoustic guitar and emotionless lyrics--sung in a dead-on imitation of Jesus and Mary Chain's William Reid circa Darklands--creating a timid union that begs for some drama. Things click along as the LP explores more upbeat tempos and a slightly more intricate musicianship, but it's the kind of album that pales against what will doubtlessly be a stunningly spare live performance so long as the audience keeps its trap shut. Portland's Swords Project possess a fuller sound, but it's hard to pinpoint exactly what the band is trying to do with it. Unlike the former, Swords Project suffer from a case of too much drama, a band to be heard rather than seen. Falling somewhere in between the intensity of their bill mates is local band the Building Press, whose members tonight celebrate the release of their debut CD, Amplitude of Frequency over Time. KATHLEEN WILSON
ROBIN HOLCOMB, WAYNE HORVITZ, EYVIND KANG, STEVE MOORE, VISHAL NAGAR, AIKO SHIMADA, SERENA TIDEMAN, LAURA VEIRS
(Elder Green) Two years ago, I watched local composer and keyboardist Wayne Horvitz perform at On the Boards with DJ Spooky. The performance was impressive--not because both musicians demonstrated their gifts, but because they refused to blend and coordinate their styles. It was like listening to two records simultaneously: Wayne Horvitz on one side, DJ Spooky on the other. Spooky was heavy and blocky; Horvitz was intricate and supple. His multiple melodies rushed up messily like small scraps of paper on a windy street and then descended beautifully like a thousand falling stars. Not long after the show, I bought Horvitz's Monologue: Twenty Compositions for Dance and was not disappointed. CHARLES MUDEDE
BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE, SUNSHINE FIX, DEAD MEADOW
(Graceland) There's so much to hate about Brian Jonestown Massacre: the stick-on mutton chops, hammy maracas, and all the other tools and phases of their long-winded '60s retro shtick; their past association with the Dandy Warhols (the band's 1997 release Bring It All Back spoofs The Dandy Warhols Come Down); their inability to hold on to their members or remain in any city long enough to finish an album properly; and frontman Anton Newcombe, who has remained steadily unwell throughout his career. Equally retro-influenced (although to more even effect) is Sunshine Fix, featuring Olivia Tremor Control's Bill Doss. Age of the Sun (Emperor Norton Records), the full-length follow-up to last year's A Future History of the Sunshine Fix EP, expands on the sunny Beach Boys territory and psychedelic Beatles roots that Doss and his cronies are known for studying and reinterpreting. Rounding out the bill is the heavily psychedelic Dead Meadow, which manages to sound gloriously bottom-heavy while walking that tight line between sludge and stoner. Arrive early to check out this rumbling, D.C.-based three-piece. KATHLEEN WILSON
CATO SALSA EXPERIENCE, WATER KILL THE SUN
(I-Spy) The opening song on Cato Salsa Experience's recent release sounds so much like a Jon Spencer track, the band might as well be bellowing about the "blooze explosion." A Good Tip for a Good Time, the Norwegian trio's debut, is a mix of Beastie Boy funk, psychedelic space-age send-ups, and blown-out blues pop. The band is a little bit Detroit, a little bit Sweden (the Hives comparisons are coming out in droves, although CSE is much looser of an operation), and a little bit pop rock 'n' roll, with a low-fi, fuzzy rumble and lots of grunts and groans. The band sings about dressing up in drag, being bad, and Tanqueray, crafting a party soundtrack for cross-dressing blues boozers all over the world. While not as groundbreaking as the other primitive rock acts it associates with, CSE still displays enough untamed drama on vinyl to be a pretty good bet as a live act. JENNIFER MAERZ
(Anacortes, WA) See Stranger Suggests.
HIGH ON FIRE, LOST GOAT, BOULDER, FIRESHOW
(Graceland) See preview on page 41.
J-LIVE, UGLY DUCKLING, PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, DJ SCENE
(I-Spy) You probably know J-Live as a laid-back, revered, underground hiphop MC with smart lyrics, a smooth cadence, and a buttery flow--but do you know Mr. Cadet, eighth-grade English teacher? In the mid '90s, after J-Live got the bumpty-bump by his major label (which was, in turn, getting the bumpty-bump by distributors), and a host of suspiciously polished bootlegs showed up on the Internet (he still claims he didn't post them), J-Live turned to school. And, in turn, it seems diagramming sentences and identifying gerunds inspired him to return to what he does best: rhyming. His most recent record, All of the Above, features such gravely astute, socially conscious lyrics as, "The same devils that you used to love to hate/They got you so gassed and shook now, you scared to debate," on his 9/11-related "Satisfied?" All the while, it shows J-Live got his groove back, and he's as powerful as ever. JULIANNE SHEPHERD Also see preview on page 40.
KUBE 93 SUMMER JAM w/LL COOL J, USHER, BUSTA RHYMES, NELLY
(Gorge) LL Cool J's last hit was "Doin It" in 1995, his last real hiphop song was "The Boomin' System" in 1990, and his most important contribution to the hiphop canon was, of course, "Going Back to Kali" (1987). Though I can't stand his new stuff, particularly with the Violator crew, I admire his endurance. I'm almost positive that he has had the longest career in the rap business. He began in the mid '80s with Radio (which is overrated), and managed to stay, with varying degrees of brightness, in the rap limelight. His last CD, GOAT ("Greatest of All Time"), was not a big hit, nor was it a flop. Most fans who attend his show will probably want to hear his more recent work, and the man called Ladies Love Cool James will probably satisfy their needs. CHARLES MUDEDE
MAKTUB, HEATHER DUBY, DJ BRANDY WESTMORE
(Showbox) For some reason, Seattle doesn't seem to look kindly on bands or artists with ambition. God forbid that any musicians get to quit their day jobs and focus on music instead of pulling coffee. Thank goodness for bands like Maktub, who might be the only folks in the music industry busier than Courtney Love's lawyers. Since releasing their latest album, Khronos, the band members have been on the road, in the studio, or on stage with folks from Black Eyed Peas/Dr. Dre, Digable Planets, and Pearl Jam camps, on NPR, Hip-Hop Nation, and MTV2, and all over the Northwest sales chart. Their record-release show boasted a line around the block and a roomful of happy campers--so go catch 'em before you have to drive all the way out to the Gorge to see them. BARBARA MITCHELL
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
(Paramount) See Stranger Suggests.
SAETA, ROXY, ANDREA MAXAND
(Café Venus) Saeta is a chilly, melodically inspired local band--guitar, cello, piano, with occasional trumpet and violin--whose impressive third album, Resign to Ideal, is soon to be released on the band's own label. Ideal was produced by Kramer, the noted kook genius who manned the knobs for Galaxie 500, Low, and his own band, Bongwater, among others. It's both easy and correct to say that Saeta is a demonstrable aberration in Seattle; their music is dour, moody, and often beautiful, measured out in breaths rather than gasps. They run the risk of preciousness, but they also strive for a musical language most local bands wouldn't even recognize. And speaking of recognize, it's about time someone did just that for Andrea Maxand, another incredibly talented local writer/performer. Her first record, Angel Hat (Montesano), was a pleasure from top to bottom, with smart, sad, plainspoken songs and tasteful arrangements. A follow-up EP, Paper Cut, is on the way. SEAN NELSON
THE TURN-ONS, THE LIGHTS, HIGH VIOLETS
(Crocodile) Known for their spliced-film sideshows as well as their music, Seattle's the Turn-Ons have made a fine debut with Love Ruin Us. Outdoing their live incarnation, which has always seemed just this close to their hype in my opinion, the band's recorded output crackles and chimes with a sound heavily influenced by the Paisley Underground movement as well as T. Rex. Portland's High Violets take it a step further by piling on layers of fuzz and feedback, and employing the ethereal vocals of Kaitlyn ni Donovan. KATHLEEN WILSON
AMERICAN ANALOG SET, HER SPACE HOLIDAY, NEO
(Graceland, AAS also plays a Sonic Boom in-store, see All Ages Action) The song says that "Texas Never Whispers," but the song never heard the American Analog Set, the quietest band that ever walked or crawled out of the biggest, loudest state in the nation. AmAnSet's inspired hush--a drone informed by mellow pop and challenging rhythms--has an effect that's equally narcotic and hypnotic. You have to lean in to listen, only to be lulled into an indie-rock womb. The band's fourth LP (proper, not counting comps and EPs), Know by Heart, released last year on Tiger Style, continues their trend of making each successive record better than the last--and The Golden Band was hard to beat. SEAN NELSON
WARPED TOUR FEATURING BAD RELIGION, NOFX, MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES, MXPX, NO USE FOR A NAME, AND MANY MORE
(Gorge) Yo Brah! Check it! So like, Warped Tour is back, 'cause it's never gonna die, and tons of 16- to 19-year-old boys are getting all pumped up about it, while I can't help but yawn, yawn, yawn. Eight years strong now, the Warped Tour has been doing the same thing each and every year. Sure, it has gotten bigger--there are more bands, more pro skaters, and of course more sponsors (bling bling!), but still, it's the same goddamn thing as it always has been! Tons of bands are gonna play their spastic way-too-short sets, like every year. White-hat frat boys are gonna run around getting sweaty, yelling, "Brah! Let's go! NOFX is gonna start!" like every year. Girls are gonna run around stalking Mike Herrera of MxPx, "'Cause he's sooooo sexy!" like every year. And everyone's gonna be hot and stupid, drunk off all the sun and loud music (and Bud Light), like EVERY YEAR! Dude! Some things never die. MEGAN SELING
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
(EMP) See Stranger Suggests.
NILE, ARCH ENEMY, HATE ETERNAL, ORIGIN
(Graceland) By this point, it takes a lot for a death-metal band to stand out from the pack. South Carolina's Nile are unique for their over-the-top obsession with Egyptian history and mythology, which on paper seems ridiculous, but if you've ever heard these guys, you know they're not kidding. Their painstakingly researched lyrics and convoluted song titles (e.g., "Invocation of the Gate of Aat-Ankh-es-en-Amenti" and "Libation unto the Shades Who Lurk in the Shadows of the Temple of Anhur") reflect the same level of dedication required to pull off the type of blasting, hypnotic heaviness that, ultimately, is the reason they're so popular. Speaking of standing out, Sweden's Arch Enemy have a great publicity hook in new singer Angela Gossow, whose combination of supermodel looks and demonic vocal cords has been getting them a lot of press. But, like Nile, their music speaks for itself, ranking as some of the best dual-guitar-driven melodic death metal since the mid-'90s glory days of Carcass (of whom Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott was a member) of At the Gates. Also on the bill are Florida's Hate Eternal, which include half of the current Morbid Angel lineup, and technically mind-boggling Kansas deathsters Origin. WILLIAM YORK
We'll miss you.
HEY MERCEDES, PIEBALD, AUDIO LEARNING CENTER, KOUFAX
(Graceland) It happens to the best of 'em--bands grow, mature, and lose their edge. It's either old age or girls that does it to 'em, and while Piebald can still rock the upbeat rock 'n' roll, their new stuff is just that--upbeat rock 'n' roll. It seems they've caught whatever the Get Up Kids got, because Piebald's old stuff? Poppy? Nuh-uh! Barely Legal (disc one of their two-disc Barely Legal/All Ages release), that's hardcore. During "Pretty Face," a song recorded in '95, Travis Shettel screams, "What a waste! Such a beautiful face! Do you have respect for your body?" But now they sing songs about tour vans. And partying. And other silly, sissy, poppy things. I'm gonna go to this show, like the sucker I am, but I'll be hoping for the aggressive hardcore. I know what I'm gonna get, though--a big smack across the face, full of pop rock. MEGAN SELING
MISSION OF BURMA
(EMP) See preview on page 41.
SILENT LAMBS PROJECT
(I-Spy) See Stranger Suggests.
KRIS MOON, KURI KONDRAK
(Baltic Room) Kuri Kondrak, the music editor for Resonance magazine, is a fine critic of hiphop, triphop, dub, and electronica. Now here is a fact you can take to the bank: Good critics make good DJs. However, as Everett True's excursions into rock music have made so clear, good critics make bad musicians. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part critics should repress the temptation to make music and stick with DJing occasionally for friends and fans. This is precisely what Kondrak does so well: He plays the music that he likes to write about for those who like his writing. CHARLES MUDEDE
THE COUNTRY TEASERS, THE BAGGELS, THE GET DOWN SYNDROME
(Graceland) You're really not tired of hearing garage rock, but you are rather annoyed by White Stripes albums popping up in sports-bar jukeboxes across the nation. That's precisely why the Country Teasers deserve your attention. They've been playing their sardonic version of stripped-down garage rock since the mid-'90s. Live, they tend to get insanely drunk, so lyrics on songs like "Oh Nurse" ("In your little blue skirt/You dropped your purse/Why don't you bend over, pick it up, I won't look") come off sounding as endearing as Merle Haggard's "The Bottle Let Me Down." Their latest, Science Hat Artistic Cube Moral Nosebleed Empire (In the Red Records), is jam-packed with 20 more bittersweet crooners. If "Anytime, Cowboy" doesn't elicit some grins with its playful lyricism, I'm sure their rendition of Ice Cube's "We Had to Tear This Motherfucker Up" will. LISA LEEKING