THURSDAY 11/11

LUNA
(Crocodile) 1999 has been a bad year for good music. After completing yet another understated pop masterpiece for Elektra, Luna suddenly found themselves free agents early this year. It's ironic, because Days of Our Nights feels like the band's most confident, accessible album to date (not to mention the fact that it contains a beautifully surreal cover of G N' R's "Sweet Chile O' Mine"). -- Barbara Mitchell

FUSHITSUSHA/SUN CITY GIRLS/KINSKI
(Graceland) You must step right into the eye of Fushitsusha's ritualistic, post-psychedelic hurricane -- led by intense guitarist/vocalist Keiji Haino -- in order to fully appreciate them. The same can be said of Seattle's Sun City Girls, another band of genuine originators who have stood as beyond-rock equivalents of Sun Ra's jazz-defying journeys for many years now. Kinski promises Sonic Youth-influenced space-rock orbits a bit closer to Earth, and thus makes for a perfect primer. Be prepared to utter the phrase, "you had to be there," in the days that follow. -- James Kirchmer

CRITTERS BUGGIN'
(Showbox) Squirrelly sax-god Skerik and the electro- acoustic brainfood of Critters Buggin' are back with this CD release party at the Showbox. If their last album was any indication, eclecticism will rule -- 1998's Bumpa had 14 tracks and 14 completely different styles. The unifying element in all of their work, however, is their unflinching refusal to play comfort music. This isn't Chicken Soup for the Ears, and there's no hiding from the screaming horn, the intellectual grooves, or the hell-shaking bass. -- Nathan Thornburgh

DJ ALEX AND DJ ALEX/KAWS ART OPENING
(ARO.space: Artist reception 8 pm/show 10 pm) There was a time when an Orb remix was the ultimate godhead. Now, with DJs going for approximately 10¢ a piece or 11 for a dollar, the Orb legacy just seems like some historical footnote in techno's climb to sustained validity. For those who still think old school goes back three years or so, you may want to direct your asses to this evening of dual (and dueling) Alexes. Orb swami-supreme Alex Patterson splits turntable duties with returning Propellerhead Alex Gifford, spinning integrative regenerations heralding the opening of a collection of works by guerrilla street artist KAWS. -- Ernie Reidel


FRIDAY 11/12

ARCHER PREWITT/QUASI
(Breakroom) The strength of the solo Archer Prewitt is his bland voice. It smoothes over the jangly arrangements that indie pop requires and provides an unobtrusive vehicle for his new brand of lyrics. With his new album, White Sky, Prewitt has left the goofiness of the Coctails even farther behind, and is now singing exclusively about wistful things like the end of summer. The voice, the lyrics, and the music don't challenge you so much as show you Prewitt's sadness -- and his hope that you might catch some of it. -- Nathan Thornburgh

POLECAT
(Showbox) You know what's been missing from local music until lately? Muscular, driving, indie-leaning rock music. Thankfully, Polecat deliver the goods. They just finished recording new material that promises to be even more dazzling than their self-released debut, so tonight should be one heck of a show. -- Barbara Mitchell

JOHNNY LEGEND
(OK Hotel) As you might expect from a man who wrestles women and made the world's "first X-rated rockabilly movie," there's more to Johnny Legend than just the music. He is one of the undisputed fathers of rockabilly, and is approaching cult status with the help of Quentin Tarantino and cameos in Children of the Corn III, Hellroller, and other so-bad-they're-good flicks. And don't forget the great impact that rockabilly has had on the fashion sense of our fair city. If you are a guy who dresses like a '50s greaser, or a gal with dyed-black hair, straight bangs, and bright red lipstick, then you are rockabilly -- and Johnny Legend is your leader. -- Nathan Thornburgh

BLACKALICIOUS/LATYRX
(ARO.space) See Live Preview.


SATURDAY 11/13

HULABEES/EAN HERNANDEZ
(Elysian) Things to love about Seattle #543: The phrase "former member of" is a blessing and not a curse. Thankfully, the city has enough talented musicians lurking about that it's always worth checking out what folks are up to. Whether you liked Green Apple Quickstep or not, definitely give the Hulabees a chance. It's good stuff -- and it puts the considerable talents of former Gigolo Aunt Phil Hurley to good use. Ean Hernandez might be better known to some as Ean Sicko -- but there's no mistaking the immediate rush generated by his ultra-catchy punk-pop. If you like pop music, this is a show you'll want to attend. -- Barbara Mitchell

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES/SUICIDE MACHINE
(DV8) Here are two great teenager secrets from the 1980s: Glue isn't just for gluing, and Suicidal Tendencies is a genuinely talented group. While the Pope was deriding the "Culture of Death" and Los Angeles was banning Suicidal Tendencies concerts, lead singer Mike Muir was screaming the real truth about politics and life with potent rage and incredible intelligence. Musically, they were all that as well -- Suicidal Tendencies is one of the few bands that can bring out hardcore sound without blurring its contours. -- Nathan Thornburgh

INK & DAGGER/HIMSA
(Graceland) You might be tempted to dismiss this 1:00 pm, all-ages, hardcore show, but you'd be a sucker if you did. Ink & Dagger are the best of Philly vampire hardcore: a drummer who hits, a singer who wails, and songs boasting the most elusive of hardcore elements -- melody. And they really think they're vampires, which is their excuse for being hard motherfuckers. I love this band: Even over the shitty sound system of NYC's Coney Island High, where I last saw them, their intensity was goosebump-scary. -- Erin Franzman

NEW AMERICAN SHAME/CHERRY HILL HIGH/CATHETERS
(Crocodile) Here's my question for those of you old enough to remember the last time Guns N' Roses put out an album: What the fuck is up with this "rawk is back" bullshit? Neither New American Shame nor Cherry Hill High (or rawk poster boys Buckcherry, for that matter) are tough or gritty enough to really scare me, OR make me wanna bang my head. If anything they make me giggle, because they seem hopelessly caught somewhere between the pretty-boy posturing of the Sunset Strip in its heyday and the tough-guy grandstanding that destroyed it. Hey, everyone... strike a pose! -- Barbara Mitchell

NO. 2
(Breakroom) Due to Elliott Smith's rampant notoriety, folks often forget that his former band, Heatmiser, boasted not one fine singer/songwriter, but two. Neil Gust was responsible for that band's more sardonic songs, his lyrics stepping beyond Smith's mopey themes to explore a darker side of gay romantic love. Heatmiser's arguably best album, Cop and Speeder, was perhaps Gust's strongest moment with the difficult Portland quartet. His new band, No. 2, provides Gust with an opportunity to showcase his talent without having to share the limelight with anyone other than his equally gifted backup musicians. -- Kathleen Wilson

MAIRE BRENNAN
(Tractor Tavern, early show) Maire has been doing her part to connect her Celtic identity to the great, worldwide New Age movement. The title of her new album, Whisper to the Wild Water, gives you an idea of where she is going. If you hear a resemblance to the dripping spirituality of Enya, there's a reason for it: The two Celtic-sap divas are sisters. -- Nathan Thornburgh

SLOW RUSH
(ARO.space) If you can't say something nice... just point out the name? Slow Rush used to be called Generator, and Epic is hoping that they're going to be the next Orgy. -- Barbara Mitchell


SUNDAY 11/14

GUSTER
(Fenix Above, all ages) I don't know why I consider Guster a guilty pleasure. Their songs are lighthearted singalong affairs, packed with tons of harmonies and emotion that have more in common with respectable artists like Crowded House and Squeeze than they do with latter-day pop hucksters such as Semisonic and the Goo Goo Dolls. And as if that's not enough, they do it all with guitars, voices, and hand percussion. (Look, Ma -- no sticks! No bass!) I guess you could safely call it "arena pop," and you know what? I actually don't feel guilty for liking them after all. -- Barbara Mitchell

SHAWN MULLINS
(King Cat) For eight years, this Georgia peach used to be a paratrooper in the United States Army airborne infantry. Someone must have pushed him out of a plane one too many times, because his innards turned to mush and he left the service to start singing his bleeding heart out. His folksy, confessional moments of cheese have many critics saying he's no more than a Jewel with 'nads. -- Nathan Thornburgh

BRENDAN PERRY/KRISTIN HERSH
(Showbox) Get out your best black clothing -- the leaders of two of 4AD's seminal bands share the bill tonight. Brendan Perry was half of Dead Can Dance, while Kristin Hersh led Throwing Muses prior to pursuing a solo career. What they have in common -- outside of their original label affiliation and an eclectic flair -- is anyone's guess. Hersh's material veers toward beautifully skewed, marginally pop territory. Perry's work -- with Dead Can Dance and as a solo artist -- tends toward almost spiritual variations on world music. -- Barbara Mitchell


MONDAY 11/15

DEATH IN VEGAS
(ARO.space) Richard Fearless is dangerously close to falling through the cracks into the categories he despises most. What it really comes down to is this: He's a big beat DJ in a big beat band with a goth name. DJ Paul Hart opens and Fearless himself has promised to play a DJ set. His eclectic mix of Jamaican music, dub, and big beat is legendary. -- Eric Morse

MATTHEW SWEET
(Crocodile) Given the turmoil in the music industry over the past few years, it's reassuring to see a record label stand behind one of its better artists. Given the rush to capitalize on the next big trend, it's reassuring to see a talented artist stick to what he knows best. Over the course of the past eight years, Matthew Sweet has released a string of top-notch power pop albums for Zoo/Volcano/whatever-it's-called-this-week, steadfastly refusing to compromise songwriting for trendiness. Sweet's new album, In Reverse, doesn't stray much from earlier material, but who's complaining? -- Barbara Mitchell


TUESDAY 11/16

MOMUS/KAHIMI KARIE
(ARO.space) True genius thrives in the face of adversity. To combat mounting legal costs, avant garde confessionist Momus ingeniously offered up his songwriting skills for hire. For a thousand bucks and a personal bio, he crafted 30 individual "sound portraits" that made up the bulk of his new double disc, Stars Forever. Unsuspecting contributors (the Minus 5 included), ended up vilified or eulogized. Take Momus' penchant for nasty derision and glib pragmatism, slap on musical genres from Kurt Weil to the Carpenters, and you're in for a thoroughly twisted evening of compact impressionism. -- Ernie Reidel

MARC ALMOND
(Fenix) Let me tell you a little something about Marc Almond -- no, let me quote Marc Almond instead: "Sex dwarf/Isn't it nice/Luring disco dollies to a life of vice." I mean, "Tainted Love" was great, but it had nothing on "Sex Dwarf" (also from Soft Cell's canonic Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret). To me, Marc Almond is decadence at its gold Rolls Royce pinnacle, an aristocratic diffidence in the midst of expensive perversion that only a Brit can pull off. Luring disco dollies to a life of vice: How droll! How marginally entertaining! What's next? That kind of attitude is not something you can bathe in just any night at a Seattle club, so enjoy it. -- Erin Franzman

RONSON FAMILY SWITCHBLADE
(Breakroom) I'd like to take a switchblade to the Ronson family myself: The privately schooled scenester children of Bowie collaborator Mick Ronson enjoyed social carte blanche in Manhattan. Every magazine wanted to photograph the Ronson twins in the latest fashions -- and Mark Ronson is a hot DJ who spins all the it-crowd parties. Nepotism makes me puke. The Ronson Family Switchblade, mercifully, is the new project from Seaweed's John Atkins, and I heartily support this outfit on the moral strength of their name. -- Erin Franzman

ROBYN HITCHCOCK
(Crocodile) Honorary Seattleite Robyn Hitchcock makes another appearance at his home away from home with a performance that promises to be quite an event. Not only will Mr. Hitchcock be touring with a band for the first time in almost a decade (he's backed by longtime sidekick Tim Keegan, and Keegan's swell band Departure Lounge, who open the show), but he'll also be joined by former cohort/ Soft Boys guitarist Kimberly Rew. Look for an evening's worth of material spanning Hitchcock's prolific career, including -- of course -- a few Soft Boys gems. -- Barbara Mitchell

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