THURSDAY 1/23


SYSTEMWIDE, OBELUS, ZION 12
(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests, page 21.

SOMETHING CORPORATE, JULIANA THEORY, THE RED WEST, VENDETTA RED
(Showbox) All right, so I'm an old wretch (and a fine one to be talking shit about stupid band names, admittedly), but listen: The name of this band is "Something Corporate." Like, "Dude, what should we call our band?" "I dunno... but it should be something corporate." (Pause as light bulb flashes over band members' heads.) "DUDE!" It is my belief that this group of emo-looking, well-styled young boys believe in their music (Blink-182 minus the sass and poo jokes) and are sincere. The fact that I don't like it, and that probably you (and when I say you, I mean people over 18) won't either, is kind of beside the point. The music itself is beside the point. A band is a gesture. Today's youth seem to have lost the capacity to be offended by the rubber-chicken irony of a band name like Something Corporate, which means they can't tell the difference between eating their own shit and paying for the privilege. That means the end is nigh. SEAN NELSON

MIRAH w/THE BLACK CAT ORCHESTRA, LIARBIRD
(Vera Project) I've spent the bulk of my winter's free time in solitude--within a sparse and drafty expanse of a studio apartment, warmed in equal parts by an unregulated radiator and the passive embrace of Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn's tender songs. Overwrought? Perhaps a little. But if you're intimately acquainted with the expanse of Miss Mirah's brief recorded legacy--intimately, as there's no other way to be familiar with it, really--this image should hold at least a little weight. Mirah's divine lilt cradles the burden of a diary's weight in simple, sincere truths--from swooning adoration, through its heart-wrenching repercussions. Tonight, along with the elegant swells of the Black Cat Orchestra (who are currently collaborating with Mirah on a new project) and the engagingly eerie twang of Olympia's Liarbird (featuring Heather Dunn, Kanako Wynkoop, and members of the Intima), Mirah's here to empathize, oh tired hearts of winter, if only you will let her. ZAC PENNINGTON

FRIDAY 1/24


HOT HOT HEAT, THE WALKMEN, HINT HINT
(Graceland) See Stranger Suggests, page 21.

THE DIVINE COMEDY, THE VELLS
(Crocodile) The Divine Comedy is one man, that man being the theatrically inclined Neil Hannon, who swears he was influenced by R.E.M. but sounds a lot more like Electric Light Orchestra to me. That he resembles the latter over the former is a very good thing in my book. Also rating very highly in my book are the Vells, a luminous pop band that seemingly have no idea as to just how good they are. Their just-finished demo proves otherwise. KATHLEEN WILSON

DON GIOVANNI YELLOW SWANS, BILL HORIST, GOOD FOR COWS
(CoCA) Known variously as Dire Yellow Swans, Def Jam Yellow Swans, Do the Dishes Yellow Swans!, Damned Yellow Swans, and (my personal favorite) Dude, Yellow Swans, the deceptively amiable Portland two-piece of Peter Swanson and Gabriel Mindel employ perfectly sensible electronic gadgets (a drum machine, effects pedals, and some other stuff that I think can accurately be described as "doohickeys") and manipulate them to do the bidding of pure evil. Their sound can be compared in equal parts to the antagonistic industrialism of Throbbing Gristle and the electro car crash of Wolf Eyes (and maybe even a little bit of those other Swans), but more accurately, Yellow Swans sound something like the aftermath of a monkey wrench being tossed into some massive, useless industrial mechanism, and its slow grind to a halt. It's gonna hurt your ears, and it's gonna soothe your nihilistic heart. If that's your sort of thing. ZAC PENNINGTON

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, GOONDOCKS, CANCER RISING w/DJS SLANTOOTH, EMC
(Rainbow) Formed in 1997 and based in the Central District, Central Intelligence (or C.I.) is part of the Sea-Sick solar system, which has the Ghetto Prez as its organizing center. C.I. consists of five rappers, all possessing great street names--Citizen Cain, Diolopis, Lowkey, SeaJay, and Dialect--and released a full-length, self-titled CD in 2001. Though some of the songs on Central Intelligence have unoriginal themes and titles ("Move" or "Da Bump"), the production, mood (a relaxed, jazzy, often lyrical soul sound), and rap styles are consistently solid. Indeed, what's remarkable about C.I.'s CD is the absence of even one lazy track; each is made with the kind of care and close consideration that's needed to separate, as Large Professor once said, "the good stuff from the junk." CHARLES MUDEDE

DEVENDRA BANHART, ENTRANCE, DENNIS DRISCOLL, ARRINGTON De DIONYSO, FAUN FABLES
(Secluded Alley Works) You can hardly hear the simple, fluid picking of acoustic guitar on Devendra Banhart's celebrated debut, Oh Me Oh My..., over all of the four-track hiss that blankets the 22-track opus--but you won't give two licks when his multi-tracked quaver of a voice cuts through like a razor. At 21, Banhart--a zealous eccentric by any standard--has already begun the curiously meteoric ascent of critical acclaim's daunting mountain (witnessed with his write-ups in countless European music mags, and such stateside staples as the New York Times and Spin, all of which seem a little extravagant until you actually hear the guy). With a mad brilliance that draws fairly obvious comparisons to Syd Barrett, Karen Dalton, and Tyrannosaurus Rex-era Marc Bolan (with a handful of references to Tiny Tim), Banhart's verbose, blink-of-an-eye fairy tales are gratingly addictive lullabies that coo and cackle their way into your heart. The evening's bill of "modern day troubadours" also features Entrance, the latest project by the Convocation of...'s Guy Blakeslee, a solo appearance by Old Time Relijun's Arrington De Dionyso, and the serotonin-soaked innocence of the great Dennis Driscoll. HELENA F. HANDBASKET

C AVERAGE, OCIFFER, DRUNK HORSE
(Sunset) Heads will bang and pints of cheap beer will slosh to the resplendent stoner rock/metal pervading this bill. Hailing from Olympia (speaking of cheap beer), C Average create a stunning amount of noise, considering their quiet demeanor. Drunk Horse are far better on record than live, but by the time they hit the stage tonight--honestly, who'll give a shit? KATHLEEN WILSON

SATURDAY 1/25


THE D4, VISQUEEN, THE PEELS
(Graceland) See preview, page 32.

GERALD COLLIER, RAYBONE
(Molly Maguire's) Whether he's crooning tears-in-your-beer country songs or rocking it bar-band style with his pals in Deer Whistle, Gerald Collier has the market cornered on sincere tunes--and he happens to be one of the most charming, drop-dead-gorgeous performers regularly appearing in Ballard clubs. Old-timers will remember him as the lead singer of Best Kissers in the World. KATHLEEN WILSON

SLOBBERBONE, RADIO NATIONALS
(Tractor) I'm no official on Denton, Texas' Slobberbone, but there's something about their newest release, Slippage, that reminds me of a mix tape I got from a guy I knew 10 years ago. He recorded songs by Buffalo Tom, the Jayhawks, and Uncle Tupelo between tracks by old R.E.M., Camper Van Beethoven, and other jangly college-rock standbys on a two-song tape that stayed in my stereo for what seemed like forever. The result was a compilation akin to an indie rock record recorded in some farmhouse off a dusty rural road--a genre-straddling combination with straw in its hair and rock in its heart. The same sort of indie rock/country blurring occurs with Slobberbone. One minute, they're playing an Americana ballad ("Sister Beams"); the next, they're kicking up their cowboy boots and dancing around to songs about butchers with steely-eyed commands. Topped by frontman Brent Best's whiskeyed vocals, Slobberbone should warm up the night for fans of pastoral indie rock or alt-country with cowpunk underpinnings. JENNIFER MAERZ

TART, MS. LED, MODEL'S OWN
(Cafe Venus) As Ms. Led, Leslie Wood shows her more rockin' side as the singer of an energetic power-pop band, hooks and all. Strikingly substantial compared to her acoustic act, Wood (known as Roxy in Ms. Led) gets the crowd roaring for more with each emotion-packed song--although I was deflated by the dog-and-pony-show stage presence after being so instantly impressed with her latest album. No one else seemed to mind, however, and that's what matters. KATHLEEN WILSON

SUNDAY 1/26


NILE, NAPALM DEATH, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, THE BERZERKER
(Graceland) Nile is a band for the moonless evenings when you just want to submerge yourself in the murky depths of death metal but desire a style that strays a bit from the typical carnage-spree fare. With speedy delivery that gallops along like an army of darkness on its way to kill (or join) the servants of evil, Nile's members growl about an ancient Egyptian underworld in tones that only those accustomed to speaking with starving stomachs or wind tunnels will be able to understand. Aside from the standard vocal histrionics, though, the members are proficient with their instruments, applying appropriate theatrics to their grindcore style and layering morbid choruses or haunting Middle Eastern melodies in the slim breaks between songs. Overall, the band has a chilling, nightmare-fantasy-world sound that fits well with their stories of "lords of spells" and "mummified remains of sacrificial whores." JENNIFER MAERZ

SAM MICKENS, JHEREK BISCHOFF, GREGORY REYNOLDS, DEVIN HOFF, CHES SMITH
(Polestar Music Gallery) Regular readers of The Stranger's Up & Coming section may recall this faithful contributor's deep-seated resentment toward Sweet Science frontman Sam Mickens, the prolific 20-year-old whose résumé includes membership in the highly esteemed Degenerate Art Ensemble, a part-time stay in Oakland's sonic suicide note Xiu Xiu, and curatorship of the experimental concert series known as Meme. Readers will be glad to note that after a bit of soul-searching, I've come to a realization that has at last dispelled any trace of my previous antipathy for the aloof young prodigy: His name, though sharp and angular at first glance, devolves instantly into an adorable little pet name if run together by the tongue. Say it with me: Sam Mickens; Sam-Mi-Kens; Sammykins! HA! Now isn't that cute?!?! I thought so. Tonight Sammykins and a number of other talented instrumentalists (including Sammykins' fellow Sweet Science member Jherek Bischoff) fill the halls of Polestar with a clamor of no doubt rewarding beauty. ZAC PENNINGTON

MONDAY 1/27
Don't cater to the babies.

TUESDAY 1/28


CURSIVE, THE VELVET TEEN, RACE FOR TITLES
(Paradox) See Stranger Suggests, page 21.

WEDNESDAY 1/29


BROADCAST OBLIVION
(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests, page 21.

BOBBY KARATE, L'UISINE, HERZOG, DJ VEINS
(Chop Suey) See preview, page 35.

WHOA, GIRL!: DJ MASTER STAN, FIG 1, MR. MIC
(Baltic Room) The first installment of Whoa, Girl! (a giggling play on Yo, Son!), held at the Baltic Room, was nothing short of a blast: everyone was holiday-season boozy and loosey-goosey on the crowded dance floor. Presented by Matt and Carlos from Double Trouble, the event gives the Pine Street crowd a nice reason to stay out of the Cha Cha for a night. KATHLEEN WILSON

TEENAGE WASTELAND: DJ CHERRY CANOE
(Re-bar) Boy, do I love me some DJ Cherry Canoe! Since Kim Warnick, Creighton Barrett, and I were the first ones through the door at the last Teenage Wasteland, Canoe dedicated the night to providing the soundtrack of our lives. The Raspberries and the Stones were in the house, as was Boston, the Sweet, and the Strokes; we all damn near suffered neck injuries from throwing our heads back in repeated personal recollections. It's a goodie--and yes, THEY'RE ALL WASTED! KATHLEEN WILSON

Sponsored
Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer: Jan 13-Feb 14 at Bagley Wright Theatre
Part theater, part revival, and all power, this one-woman show will have your head nodding and hands clapping!