BUSDRIVER, 2MEX, JOHN TSUNAM, POSING AS PEOPLE, ALPHA P, GABRIEL TEODROS & BELLADONNA, GUESTS
(Chop Suey) Los Angeles' underground mainstay and Visionaries member 2Mex subverts assumptions about Hispanic hiphoppers with bold verses animated by pathos and deft storytelling. The sensitivo MC also has the good sense to work with quality producers who mix old-school boom bap with indie-rock and Tex-Mex elements. Busdriver made bizarre waves with The Weather (with Daedelus and Radioinactive) for Mush Records. On Bus' solo joint, Fear of a Black Tangent, the quick-witted, mercurial-tongued maverick hones his cerebrum-knotting torrents of humorous esoterica and pop-cult minutiae to music as whimsical (including a dope sample of Can's "Turtles Have Short Legs") as his subject matter. Seattle's John Tsunam matches Busdriver's syllables-per-second ratio, infusing his verses with as much braininess as speed, and refuting the title of his dynamic debut EP, Not Very Intelligent but Extremely Resourceful. DAVE SEGAL
THE HELIO SEQUENCE, FCS NORTH, CRYSTAL SKULLS
There is no news per se to report about Oregon's Helio Sequence, the electronic pop duo behind Love and Distance, one of the prettiest, smartest, best electronicky pop records to come out last year (which was, of course, the year of electronic pop music). According to a publicist at their label, Sub Pop, they're building a studio in which to record the follow-up to that gem, which is excellent news in a broad sense, but not really news. The band is amazing live, not least because of the way they transmute the richly textured sounds of their records to the stage with a minimum of fuss and personnel. SEAN NELSON
(Rendezvous) A quartet of Cascadian Caucasians cranking out dub is not usually the kind of thing that sets our pulses pounding. But Library Science undercut presumptions against such a potentially wack scenario by delivering the dubadelic goods, as heard on the strongly resinated High Life Honey (Happi Tyme). The best dub disorients and makes you feel as if you're floating on a raft while a reggae band's slo-mo skanking, bass-bin-shattering emissions get tweaked by a geezer baked to his dreads on Jah's strongest ganja. Library Science are approaching that ideal. DAVE SEGAL
THE STRANGER'S BIG SHOT COMPETITION: RAZREZ, SCHOOLYARD HEROES, MON FRERE
(Neumo's) See Stranger Suggests, page 19.
(John Hay Elementary) If you keep in mind that Smoosh's She Like Electric was one of the best-selling local records of 2004, or that the pre-teen act has played numerous sold-out shows at the Showbox, opening for Sleater-Kinney, the Presidents of the United States of America, and Death Cab for Cutie, it's hard to remember that the duo are still very much girls (Asya is 13, Chloe is 11). Kids are really infiltrating the local music scene, and tonight's show proves it as John Hay Elementary School students host this benefit performance featuring the music of Smoosh. Most of the tasks involved in producing the show (promotion, flyer artwork, box office, even advertising and marketing) will all be handled by students, who have chosen to donate all proceeds to the nonprofit organization CARE (www.careusa.org). If we had stuff like this when I was a kid, I think I could've avoided that whole ugly and embarrassing New Kids on the Block/Paula Abdul phase. MEGAN SELING
BOTTOM, VALIS, MOS GENERATOR, GUESTS
(Sunset) Like Isis, the Melvins, and Neurosis, New York's Bottom move metal at the speed with which glaciers melt--although after battening down the hatches on the riff repetitions a couple times through, the choruses drop like avalanches. The female trio's gothic sonic textures shift colors quicker than storm clouds, with vocalist Sina sounding out the chant "life hangs by a thread." Bottom's newest CD for Small Stone, you'rNext, offers a few tender moments, but they're sensitive like bruised knuckles and half-crushed raven calls, rather than tender expressions of intimacy. JENNIFER MAERZ
(Triple Door) Jolie Holland has the voice of another time and place. There are hints of Appalachia, Delta blues, jazz, and even cabaret in her music. And, even more startling, there is a whole catalog of Americana in her phrasing, but her drawl and Texan twang set all the elements in one voice. With her slight hill-country edge, at times Holland reminds me of a young Hazel Dickens or an Alan Lomax field recording--unadorned and emotionally raw. On her two albums Catalpa and Escondida, Holland proves why she's the first nonestablished artist signed to Anti- Records (home of Tom Waits, Marianne Faithfull, and Nick Cave) with her innately soulful vision of roots music. NATE LIPPENS
MECHANICAL DOLLS, THE SPAZMS, THE SNOT ROCKETTES, THE DEAD X'S
(Vera Project) The Mechanical Dolls may be teenagers, but they could totally kick the crap out of you and your policeman uncle. Their Hit and Run debut is a young girl's interpretation of butt rock, with liberal doses of sass and cowbell, and by changing all their last names to Doll they show their Ramones influence in more ways than one. The other bands on this bill are also ass-whipping girls, so remember to don your jock strap while you watch the ladies strike back. ARI SPOOL
STEVE FISK, DRUMATTICA, THE FADING COLLECTION, FOSCIL
(El Corazòn) See Data Breaker, page 42.
THE PALE, MATH AND PHYSICS CLUB, RACETRACK
(Chop Suey) See CD Reviews, page 32.
ROBYN HITCHCOCK, THE COPS, THE CAN'T SEE
(Crocodile) See CD Reviews, page 32.
BLOOD BROTHERS, CHINESE STARS, THE MEAN REDS, MIKAELA'S FIEND
(Neumo's) Back in 2002, the Oops! Tour collapsed more than a couple lungs with a crush of art damaged hardcore and punk bands. The lineup's arsenal of rusty-razor vocals, ice-pick guitar stabs, and careening rhythms gutted typical, melodic rock and left its innards strewn scattershot around the club. This awesome show is like a mini-Oops! fest, with an impressive cast of characters. Riffing well off the Blood Brother's panicked post-hardcore, the Mean Reds are a spastic underage collision of dance punk and rock, limbs flying everywhere as fistfights of synth riffs bruise crash-landing drum beats and "wuh-hoo" choruses. The Chinese Stars take the corpses of legendary acts Arab on Radar and Six Finger Satellite and perform nasty necrophilia on the stiffs--skidding synths, lyrics about discount DNA, and dance patterns that could dislodge objects from the throats of choking victims. JENNIFER MAERZ
SCHLAZE CUBED, BONUS, FOQUE MOPUS, ACRE
(SS Marie Antoinette) Schlaze Cubed's only recorded document so far, a self-titled four-track/11-minute EP, comes in a white cardboard envelope wrapped in burlap with the band's name crudely stenciled on it. Recorded in seemingly penurious circumstances, the disc nevertheless stings with authority. With nuanced aggression, the Everett act combine Neu!'s rugged hypnotic chug with Chrome's angular post-punk ramalama. Matt Carlson plays ARP, Farfisa, and Korg keyboards as if his top priority is making you forget about reality. Jim Paschall's (ex-Display) guitar leaves first-degree burns on your cochleae with its metallic radiation. Drummer Matt McLemore slaps fabulously motorik beats or switches into sophisto, out-jazz meters when the band feel the urge to go vertical rather than horizontal. The trio's a cauldron of unconventionality. DAVE SEGAL
FUTUREHEADS, SHOUT OUT LOUDS, HIGH SPEED SCENE
(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests, page 19.
PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, DIE MONITR BATSS, CHROMATICS, OTHER GHOST
(Neumo's) It's a no-wave beat down. Die Monitr Batss do a robotic jerk through claw-scratched guitars, saxophone skronk, and stuttered symbol hits, their monotone calls to destroy rats delivered with the anxiety level of recorded airport voices requesting you don't park in the white zone. Anchored by the Gossip's Nathan Pane and members of Sleetmute/Nightmute, the band does the chop-and-paste art punk thing to the nines, while Chromatics cast a dark pallor over already stark no wave. In contrast, Other Ghost are more along the lines of Pretty Girls--turning the energy of intense anxiety into soaring calls to action--mixed with more than a bit of Les Savy Fav's wicked restlessness. JENNIFER MAERZ
MICHAEL MAYER, JAKE FAIRLEY, BRUNO PRONSATO
(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker, page 42.
THE MUSIC, KASABIAN, MORNINGWOOD
(Neumo's) See preview, page 27.
(Paramount) It's been a big year for the Most Important American Artist of the 20th Century (or Bob Dylan, as you like to call him), so even moderate fans are probably considering going to one of these Paramount shows. And while it's clearly getting to that point that you have to wonder how many more chances you might have to see him in person, I would be remiss if I didn't confess that seeing Dylan now is guaranteed to be disappointing, if only because his voice is basically nonexistent. I saw him last summer in Jackson, TN, and his vocals just sounded like low, whistling wheezes on the PA, with the occasional familiar line sticking out to identify the song. You certainly couldn't tell from the country-laced R&B arrangements. The band is great, and Dylan still commands a room, but without the pipes, you have to wonder what's in it for not just him, but anyone. (P.S. He also no longer plays guitar onstage. I'm just saying. If you go, though, please don't miss the great Merle Haggard, who may not have too many more tours left his damn self). SEAN NELSON
(Paramount) See Monday's preview.
THE SPITS, SUNDAY NIGHT BLACKOUT, THE BLANK ITS
(Chop Suey) It's time to take back the alley, punks. Between one of the Brothers Wood (Erin, to be exact) relocating to L.A. and the Spits' intrepid touring schedule, it's been a long time since the band wreaked havoc on a local stage. But they're back--with old drummer Wayne Draves returning to the kit, and previous beat-keeper Josh now working the trashcan keyboards. The quirkiest street punks in town return to reclaim their throne--and junk-trunk costumes--along with a couple newbie acts. Sunday Night Blackout features former members of the Girls and Jet City Fix (and a guitarist who recently played dressed as a human bong). NRDLNGR is a one-man electronic force to be reckoned with, that one man being Eric Norlund of the Girls--dressed as a scientist and covering Judas Priest, if a recent Comet show was any indication. JENNIFER MAERZ
MALENTE, DJ DIG DUG
(Liquid Lounge) Supporting his forthcoming album, Rip It Up (which includes three new originals and 10 remixes of tracks off his The Spirit of Malente and No Risk No Funk albums), Malente forges music with maximum funkitude in mind. Most of his creations bump and grunt in the lubricious grooves found in nu-breaks, house, and electro. This stuff exudes a naive corniness that works wonders on dance floors full of folks for whom coolness is irrelevant. One of Malente's cuts is called "We Came to Party," and that concisely summarizes his MO. I hear people like to party, so he may be on to something. DAVE SEGAL
MODEST MOUSE, MASON JENNINGS
(Showbox) Tonight kicks off Modest Mouse's triumphant four-night/four-show victory lap through Seattle. But you already know about the new record, the television appearances, the Grammy nominations, and the music festivals, and you either bought your ticket to one of these sold-out shows or you're shit outta luck. So I'll leave you with this: Have you seen Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock cross-examine himself with inane questions in a slapstick trial setting? If not, get thee to www.modestmousemusic.com and scroll down to "Modest Mouse Interview." The five-minute clip is freakin' hilarious. JENNIFER MAERZ
KRS-ONE, BOOM BAP PROJECT, ONE BE LO
(Chop Suey) See preview, page 29.
(Paramount) See Monday's preview.
MODEST MOUSE, GUESTS
(Showbox) See Tuesday's preview.
NO-FI SOUL REBELLION, BLACK EYES AND NECKTIES, SNITCHES GET STITCHES
(Crocodile) Like Cex and Har Mar Superstar, Bellingham's No-Fi Soul Rebellion don Prince's R&B pleasure principles for an indie-rock audience. The married duo tonight celebrate the release of their Lambs to the Slaughter EP (Wäntage), which amps up funk-soaked garage rock with "Ooh baby, oh so crazy" calls to spend the night together. NFSR'S lo-fi recording aesthetic complements the group's live performance-art act, where frontman Mark Heimer freaks out to wife Andrea's "Soul System"--a gutted bass fit with an MP3 player that's hooked up to the PA. This frees the duo from the usual rock confines of having a "band" who play "instruments" and allows them work on their soul screams and dance routines. JENNIFER MAERZ