MANDO DIAO, THE COMAS, DANKO JONES
(Crocodile) See preview, page 49.
(War Room) According to lead singer Rob Hampton, the New Mexicans was "the worst band name ever." As the band have explained about a million times, they are not from New Mexico, nor are they Mexicans. Folks seemed to have had a hard time understanding these things. The original lineup (Hampton, Creighton Barrett, Joe Crawford, and Jeff Montano) has been joined by Colin Roper (ex-Cobra High) and is now called Crutches, which should make life easier. They've recorded a fantastic four-song EP (copies will be for sale tonight) and this show will be their first, although the band was called in to test the War Room's live sound prior to its opening. If that test was any indication, tonight will be a sonic assault you should not miss. KERRI HARROP
AMY RAY, FAMILY OUTING
(Neumo's) See Border Radio, page 55, and Stranger Suggests, page 25.
SINKING SHIPS, SHOOK ONES, GREYSKULL, LEGIT
(West Seattle American Legion Hall) See All Ages Action, page 35.
SLOAN, MINUS 5
(Crocodile) See CD reviews, page 52.
DJ SPOOKY'S DRUMS OF DEATH, WOLF EYES, THE SATURDAY KNIGHTS
(Chop Suey) Dark-music nerds have been throwing Wolf Eyes' name around like jock-abused cannibals for good reason. The group very successfully somehow made a victory out of well-that's-unsettling and what-the-hell-was-that, and they're really quite good at it. From the aggressive vocals, squall-distorted like tinnitus, to the electronic chaos (Kid606-cheap, entertaining, and unpredictable), to the old E.C. comic book art work, Wolf Eyes create genuine stress without the usual plunges into paranoid self-parody. GUY FAWKES See also preview, page 49.
GANG OF FOUR, RADIO 4, MENOMENA
(Showbox) Bragging rights notwithstanding, the prospect of opening for a legendary headliner in mid-reunion is a pretty daunting one. Never fear for Menomena, however. This largely instrumental Portland band is a perfect way to set the tone for Gang of Four. The way they draw on jazz, rock, and electronic idioms is impressive, but the way they sound so effortlessly pleasing and danceable is frankly badass. SEAN NELSON See also preview, page 45.
THE BRAINDEAD, SPORYCIDE, BLOOD STAR HALO, ONE LESS HUMAN, FINAL DRIVE, NO ONE LIVES
(Studio Seven) In their 23-year career, the Braindead have gigged with a high volume of high-volume acts. Groups that share their crusty thrash aesthetic have reunited and disbanded dozens of times while the Braindead patiently evolved from standard punk rants (1986's "I Kill Cops") to ill-fitting pop (the Flesh Pot side project, 1990) to sleazy speed metal, with founding member Clark Chaos as the constant catalyst. The Braindead have assembled an encyclopedic collection of extreme sounds, resulting in set lists that double as interactive history exhibits. This ain't the EMP, though: In this case, "interactive" means "look out for boots to the head." ANDREW MILLER
DEAD SCIENCE, ELUVIUM, SUN VOW, BILL HORIST
(Vera Project) This bill's loaded with smart, dark rock and profound guitar exploration. In the former case, Sun Vow ebb and flow with the orchestral grandiloquence and hairpin dynamics redolent of the Constellation label's roster, while the Dead Science thread decadent romance and midnight-blue melodies into haunting subversions of rock conventions. In the latter category, Eluvium wrings tears from your eyes and soothingly disturbing tones and textures from his six-string, by turns waxing oceanic and stratospheric. Bill Horist makes every performance an ear-boggling demonstration of the guitar's near-infinite sound-producing capabilities. He possesses more ways to dazzle you with his instrument and unlikely collection of implements than Jimi Hendrix has had posthumous releases. DAVE SEGAL
(Baltic Room) See Data Breaker, page 63.
THE BALLARD BOWL WAKE W/ THE BRIEFS, THE HOLLOWPOINTS, THE FAKIES, GUESTS
(The Sunset) See Stranger Suggests, page 25.
THE RAVEONETTES, AUTOLUX, THE PEELS
(Neumo's) Grow your hair. Get a band. Read a magazine. Watch music television. Think about the '70s. Follow the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And the Scissor Sisters. And the Killers. And Hot Hot Heat. And play loud. Pose. Sing like Debbie Harry swallowed by an elephant. Hooray! You're the Peels. Los Angeles' Autolux are, at least, the black sheep of the lineup, who are best known for being signed to the Coen Brothers and T-Bone Burnett's record label, but are also worth a mention on their own. Choked Hüsker Dü art-noise wrecks against wandering song structures and bad-day bass guitars, and high-sung dream-pop male and female vocals try their best to survive. An encore's unlikely. GUY FAWKES See also CD reviews, page 52.
AGNOSTIC FRONT, LAHAR, DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR, ALL SHALL PERISH
(El Corazòn) Agnostic Front play the kind of hardcore that makes people mosh in museums while a feline-faced female mauls a broken-toothed man. So suggests the Cremaster cycle, Matthew Barney's epic art film that casts the tattooed trailblazers as the Guggenheim Museum's house band. In Cremaster, Agnostic Front repeatedly restart songs before reaching their double-time payoffs. On stage, though, the New York thrash thugs race to every bone-crushing climax. After two decades in the scene, Agnostic Front have earned the right to title a track "Hardcore! (The Definition)," but Another Voice, their freshly metal-tinged 2005 album, proves the group is still tinkering with its dictionary. ANDREW MILLER
SUPERSYSTEM, KILL ME TOMORROW, WET CONFETTI
(Vera Project) A few facts need to be established right out of the gate. They used to be called El Guapo. They were on Dischord. They made a couple albums that made more than a few concessions to the dance floor while churning out chunky, post-hardcore indie rock. The name Supersystem also happened to be the name of one of the El Guapo records. So, now you know. They didn't just spring up out of nowhere. Now, they've switched labels and flung themselves wholeheartedly into the world of the 4/4 beat, the electro-body rock, the high hat, and the strangulated bass lines. Sure, they're combating pretty serious crowds in this arena and competing with some seriously messed-up haircuts, but Supersystem have the smarts to make their first record Always Never Again rock the Mantronix-style rock, but they also add the kind of heartfelt melodies that make people get all serious and shit. JON PRUETT
THE PERCEPTIONISTS FEATURING MR. LIF, AKROBATIK, & DJ FAKTS ONE
(Chop Suey) See preview, page 47.
TIGER ARMY, STREET DOGS, 12 STEP REBELS
(El Corazòn) Modern rockabilly artists aren't known for their artistic growth spurts, but Tiger Army haven't hit the wall as hard as, say, the pointlessly prolific Reverend Horton Heat. In fact, the trio's third record trumps its punked-up predecessors in every category but velocity. Nick 13's expressive croon thrives in moodier melodic settings, while Jeff Roffredo's theatrically slapped stand-up bass provides a seismic undercurrent regardless of the songs' pace. As long as Tiger Army keep up the cosmetics that earned them a cult following (ghoul makeup, graveyard-set album titles such as last year's Ghost Tigers Rise), even psychobilly purists won't mind their metamorphosis into musical maturity. ANDREW MILLER
GLEN PHILLIPS BAND, KYLE RIABKO
(Neumo's) '90s alt-rock lightweights Toad the Wet Sprocket boasted one of history's worst band names--but if we start discrediting groups solely because they plucked their moniker from the annals of British cult comedy (Monty Python, to be precise), then we'd have to take issue with Death Cab for Cutie, too. Glen Phillips, former singer-songwriter for TTWS, has a much better name (albeit one easily confused with fellow troubadour Grant Lee Phillips, of '90s alt-rock middleweights Grant Lee Buffalo), and his Lost Highway solo debut, Winter Pays for Summer, is more consistent than most of his old band's catalog. Live, Phillips' crystal-clear voice, plus the strong hooks and sensitive-guy lyrics of originals like "Duck and Cover" and "Falling," should still sit well with established fans, while undoubtedly winning a few new ones--the sort of folks too young for James Taylor, yet who consider the Jayhawks too rootsy--along the way. KURT B. REIGHLEY
KEANE, BRENDAN BENSON
(Paramount) See preview, page 51.
TIGER ARMY, STREET DOGS, 12 STEP REBELS
(El Corazòn) See Sunday's preview.
MONADE (FEATURING LAETITIA OF STEREOLAB), THE ZINCS
(Chop Suey) Jim Elkington, low-voiced and British-born, transplanted himself to Chicago and started the Zincs, getting himself caught less in UK pop than in a pre-dawn wheat-field haze of panoramic indie Scottish folk and American country music. The result is a flinch at the phoniness, when Elkington gravels on like Johnny Cash, while the calm open-air presentation lends a little more sincerity to the band's multiple use of gently plucked guitars and Lambchop-influenced brushed drums--which is good because I was about to make fun of them for having guests like Poi Dog Pondering. GUY FAWKES See also CD reviews, page 52.
RASPUTINA, HAZARD COUNTY GIRLS
(Neumo's) It's been a long time since Rasputina rocked and rolled on record--though not as long as its Victorian-era costumes might imply. But though it's been three years since its last studio full-length, this trio's hard-corset blend of gothic imagery, stark strings, and industrial effects still seems fresh. Melora Creager's upper-octave vocals convey despair, and the cellos saw into frazzled nerves. Violently shifting the mood, Rasputina follow upbeat industrial crunch with dungeon-dwelling wounded whispers. They drown bewitching harmonies with distorted noise to see if they'll float back to the surface. ANDREW MILLER
(Premier) See Data Breaker, page 63.
(War Room) There was a point in the latter days of the '90s when drum 'n' bass became hyper-aware of its reliance on technology and jumped into exploring millennial paranoia. By getting deeper into the sense of dread in the music dating back to its origins in ragga, dancehall, and dub, producers stepped up sampler science to include more precise drum breaks, rougher bass frequencies, and increasingly distinctive synth sounds. Tech Itch, to this day, keeps these ideas in balance. While that same celebration of a deferred future that the late '90s developed might seem a little odd five years into the new century, Tech Itch's control of the spaced-out sounds of techstep (and the dance floor) hasn't wavered. SCOTT GOODWIN
FREDERIC GALLIANO, AKOMA, YAW AMPONSAH
(ToST Lounge) French DJ Galliano has been combining house rhythms with instrumentalists and female vocalists from Senegal, Mali, and Guinea to mesmerizing effect for seven years (he founded his own Frikyiwa label in 1998 to disseminate his obsession). On discs like Frederic Galliano and the African Divas (truth in advertising) and his Frikyiwa comps, Galliano deploys these women's soulfully expressive voices as if they were exotic instruments (which they are) in humid rhythmic matrices that could even start parties in Quaker villages. Tonight he's supported by Akoma, featuring Ghanaian master drummer Yaw Amponsah, who will spank out a set of West African palm-wine beats (popularized in the '50s, palm-wine influenced such genres as soukous and highlife). DAVE SEGAL
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, M.I.A. WITH DIPLO
(Showbox) Can we forget M.I.A.'s sensationalist, albeit riveting, backstory for a minute and just appreciate the Anglo-Sri Lankan nu-skool diva for purely musical reasons? All right then. Maya Arulpragasam chants, taunts, and cajoles like an Asian Missy Elliott over a passel of ultra-ripe global rhythms. Her debut disc, Arular, slyly sneaks grime, dancehall, hiphop, and baile funk beats into neon-bright pop contexts, easing passage to the underground for timid mainstream types. Her lyrics may be a barely comprehensible masala of revolutionary rhetoric and Cockney slang, but the beats behind her translate loud and clear. M.I.A.'s flavor's almost too overwhelming at first, but you'll adjust fine. And let's not forget Diplo, a resourceful, exciting DJ who can reanimate moldy, camp tracks with beats boosted from Jamaica, Brazil, East London, NYC, and the Dirty South. If you see his and M.I.A.'s Piracy Funds Terrorism CDR at the merch table, cop it. DAVE SEGAL See preview, page 35.
SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM, FAUN FABLES
(Chop Suey) Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is as much a performance art troupe as a rock band. Face-painted and costumed, they look like the house band if the Quay brothers had made Moulin Rouge and they've got a sound to match. Dirgey drones, herky-jerky rhythms, scrap-metal percussion, agitated fiddle, and violent guitar combine to create an industrial cabaret of the senses. Faun Fables hark back to the pastoral loveliness of gingham-dressed, buckskin-jacketed folkies like Judee Sill, Incredible String Band, and Linda Perhacs. Faun Fables' latest release on Drag City, Family Album, is one enchanted slice of devotional, back-to-nature melodiousness. SERGE O'SULLIVAN