(Seattle Art Museum) See preview, page 54.
WHALEBONES, DUTCH DUB, MOON RATS
(108 Gallery) See Stranger Suggests, page 33.
OLD TIME RELIJUN, BATTLESHIP, MIKAELA'S FIEND
(S.S. Marie Antoinette) Olympia's avant-rock oddities Old Time Relijun bring their colorful musical montage to the S.S. Marie Antoinette, a space that's not a ship, but does land close to the water (1235 Westlake Ave N). A makeshift warehouse space-turned-venue is perhaps the perfect spot to have your ears pricked by the trio's thorny instrumental brambles, histrionic vocals, and jerky punk-funk. They play tonight with Battleship, a destructive Oakland force generating an auto plant's worth of industrial noise with every garage-punk track they slash through. JENNIFER MAERZ
BIG BUSINESS, WIVES, MIKAELA'S FIEND, THE HOSPITALS
(Vera Project) See preview, page 57.
(Showbox) See preview, page 43 and Data Breaker, page 71.
THE BLACK KEYS, GUESTS
(Neumo's) Though 60 years of hard luck isn't something youngsters can usually evoke with ease, the Black Keys, a couple of white dudes from Akron, Ohio, in their mid-20s, do a damn fine job of conjuring up "the blues." There's nothing corny about the dragged-through-the-shit style grooves that these kids fire off. Having released three acclaimed albums, the band effortlessly deliver devilish riffs, keen melodies, and sleek solos. In their latest video for "10 AM Automatic," the Black Keys appear to be performing on a public access TV show hosted by an Orthodox Jew. But when a granny approaches the stage trying to touch the band, the ruse is blown. ADAM BREGMAN
STELLASTAR*, EVERY MOVE A PICTURE
(Chop Suey) See CD Reviews, page 59.
THE PULSES, THE CRIPPLES, THE UNNATURAL HELPERS
(Fun House) See preview, page 54.
DANNY BARNES, CAPTAIN GRAVEL
(Tractor) See Border Radio, page 65.
ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS, COCOROSIE
(Triple Door) Amidst the ceaseless imagery of horrifying destruction worldwide, and incessant chatter from defensive bureaucrats, another Seattle appearance by Antony & the Johnsons (so soon after their two-night OTB gig in April!) comes as blessed relief. Although the onstage intensity, mercurial singing, and intuitive piano mastery of Antony Hegarty are frequently compared to Nina Simone, the former shows a willingness to lay himself utterly bare, exposing every vulnerability, that the latter rarely dared. This man makes audiences weep. Although Hegarty is too humble to crow about his accomplishments, the critics have: I Am a Bird Now, his mesmerizing second album, won the Mercury Prize last week. KURT B. REIGHLEY See also preview, page 44.
DEAD CAN DANCE
(Paramount) Led by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, Dead Can Dance are perhaps the unlikeliest music-biz success story ever. Possessed of unspeakably beautiful and moving pipes, these Australian savants have made substantial bank over the last two decades by reanimating esoteric ancient and world musics for enlightened goths (being on 4AD surely boosted their profile), hopeless romantics, and adventurous escapists of all stripes. Devoid of kitsch, Dead Can Dance reverently capture the drama and majesty of Medieval plainsong, Renaissance folk, liturgical chants, myriad African and Asian rhythmic and tonal elements, and jazzy tunes that Sinatra-philes can appreciate. (Also Sunday 9/18.) DAVE SEGAL
IZABELLE, SOME BY SEA, BROADCAST DEBUT, GUESTS
(Paradox) Tonight marks the debut CD release from local trio Izabelle. A Pleasant Fiction is stacked with modern rock radio ear candy, featuring overriding vocal harmonies that swell with romance and restless energy. Like an early Radiohead, the band flirts with electronic flourishes and other mood-enhancing accents while frontman Tim Wilson delicately stitches his heart on his sleeve. JENNIFER MAERZ
THE UNSEEN, A GLOBAL THREAT, TIME AGAIN, THE GUILTY
(El Corazón) With their gaudy saw-blade haircuts and cartoonishly confrontational lyrics ("If terror's what you represent, terror's what you're gonna get"), punk bands can be just as theatrical as corpse-painted metal acts. The Unseen aren't actually assaulting authority figures, any more than Goatwhore conduct Satanic sacrifices. But this lyrical content often proves cathartic for the performers and empowering for their disenfranchised fans. Purists swear by the early albums, as purists are wont to do, but the Unseen's recent releases contain welcome traces of nuance, and thanks to producer Ken Casey (Dropkick Murphys), they no longer sound as if they were recorded direct-to-boom-box. ANDREW MILLER
DEAD CAN DANCE
(Paramount Theatre) See Saturday's preview.
LYRICS BORN, PIGEON JOHN, RA SCION
(Neumo's) With more puzzling, cerebral, and uncomfortably personal lyrics than others in the positive hiphop scene, Pigeon John dispenses highbrow rap for the awkward, geeky, please-don't-touch-me set. Songs on his latest record, Sings the Blues! amble along at a lazy pace, while his unusual, soft, nasal voice benefits both his rapping and his cool, relaxed singing style. Husky-voiced, Asian rapper and producer Lyrics Born uses comparatively fresh funk samples and sometimes thoughtful, sometimes goofball rhymes to craft compelling, high-concept tunage. ADAM BREGMAN
MONO, BELLINI, LKN
(Sunset Tavern) See preview, page 43.
NOUVELLE VAGUE, LUSHY, VELELLA VELELLA
(Chop Suey) On their self-titled debut, Nouvelle Vague—Marc Collins and Olivier Libaux—cleverly decided to bossa-nova-ize 14 punk and new-wave standards, using eight female vocalists to coyly coo the lyrics. For geezers like me, this gimmick tolls nostalgic bells. Some will think NV are defanging chestnuts like "Guns of Brixton," "Too Drunk to Fuck," and "Teenage Kicks"; however, I enjoy the sly irreverence and recontextualization of these too-familiar songs. Nouvelle Vague's shtick unexpectedly renews appreciation for the originators' songcraft. Locals Velella Velella possess a winningly diverse attack that mixes funk, soul, electronic pop, and exotica into a flavorful cocktail with party-generating oomph. DAVE SEGAL
SIBERIAN, MOGGS, TRANSPACIFIC
(Crocodile) The three fresh-faced boys of Siberian have played less than a dozen shows, they own only half their equipment, and their discography consists of just a modest four-song demo. Yet Siberian exhibit a cohesiveness and musicality that most other self-styled indie rock groups take several years and releases to achieve, offering a welcome respite from bands that seem to graze from the same indie pop pasture. Filling out their sound with xylophone, shakers, and tastefully subtle harmonies, Siberian might make fitting bedfellows with the likes of Longwave, had the latter heeded the sprawling musical example of Yes. Now if Siberian would just buy their own fucking equipment. NICK KOCH
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, HARVEY DANGER, GUESTS
(Showbox) See Stranger Suggests, page 33.
(Premier) See CD reviews, page 59.
THE ARCADE FIRE, WOLF PARADE
(Paramount) In a year in which the indie hype machine has been in overdrive trying to convince fans to buy lukewarm records from the Bravery, Bloc Party, and Kings of Leon, the Arcade Fire remain enduringly worthy of critical darling status. Their Funeral album belongs in the same canon as Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea because it's simply one of the most crushingly beautiful records born out of grief and love ever committed to tape. If the opening strains of "Wake Up" don't make your eyes water, you should probably see a doctor and make sure your soul has been properly installed. HANNAH LEVIN See also preview, page 49.
BARBARA'S ANNUAL CURE NIGHT/BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION: DOWNPILOT, ARGO, JARED (RADIO NATIONALS), PLEASURECRAFT, COME DOWN HEAVEN, BRIAN NAUBERT, GUESTS
(Crocodile) Barbara Mitchell is old-school Seattle—meaning that she's managed and done PR work for a number of Northwest acts, as well as running an independent record label (Roslyn Records) and occasionally helping host shows at the Brick in Roslyn. After years of pushing the little guy, Mitchell will soon be leaving us, though, heading for the faraway destiny of... Portland. Come wish her farewell to the sound of local bands covering Cure songs. JENNIFER MAERZ
XIU XIU, YELLOW SWANS, OKAY
(Neumo's) To the extent that Xiu Xiu are an "indie rock" band, they're one with rare appeal for folks who usually can't stand the genre. That's partly because their music veers so far from the genre's typically safe confines, but also because leader Jamie Stewart takes his confessional, melodramatic lyrics to such awkward extremes, even this emo-hater can't help but admire him. Their most recent album, La Forêt (5RC), is another case in point, combining smart, bare-bones arrangements (including harmonium, vibes, bass clarinet, and tuba), jarring dynamics, and well-placed contributions from Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich and jazz clarinetist Ben Goldberg, among others. How will Stewart pull it off live? Good question. WILLIAM YORK
(War Room) Make beats? Find yourself falling asleep to the metronome click of your MPC? Have you seriously not left the basement since the weekend? Jesus, kid—breathe, stretch, shake. Brush the blunt ash off your best hoodie and make your way to the War Room for the second installment of Big Tunes, the beat battle edition of Vitamin D's Power Bill monthlies. Last time the event was comfortably full—not to mention good-naturedly rowdy and packed with all sortsa you hopeful producer types. And who knows—bring your beat CD, and you might just end up in the competition. LARRY MIZELL JR.