IRON LUNG, ARTIMUS PYLE
(SS Marie Antoinette) Winners of the recent Speed Trials thrash "competition" held at the 924 Gilman club in Berkeley, Seattle's Iron Lung bested a number of impressive bands with their diamond-edged precision and speedy tempos. The honor shouldn't be underestimated considering the plethora of bands constantly striving to be the loudest, fastest, and generally most ripping hardcore band in the nation. Indeed, the duo's regular local shows have been more than a boon for fans of hardcore and metal. Tonight will be a chance to catch up with Iron Lung if you're not a member of their loyal underground following. SCOTT GOODWIN
TWO COW GARAGE, I CAN LICK ANY SOB IN THE HOUSE, GROWNUP TROUBLE
(Sunset) Two Cow Garage have been paying the dues and playing for brews for about five years, working up a trashy-but-trusty, rootsy bar-punk not unlike a more aw-shucks Replacements. Among the many attributes of being Midwest dive-bar buskers, they seem to be most adept at van-breakdown calamities. After having recently survived yet another blowout, the lads have the thing ready for a two-month U.S. trek. Plus, in case the van dies on them this time, they'll at least have a documentary from their last tour (The Wall Against Our Back) that some pals recently finished for fond memories. ERIC DAVIDSON
THE APPLESEED CAST, THE CHARITY STRIPE, CROSSTIDE
(Crocodile) For almost 10 years, the Appleseed Cast have been creating emotion-laden anti-indie rock that hinges between hopeful and heartbreaking. And more recently, they've started incorporating layers of electronic sounds, adding an interesting vibe to their already complex and pretty structures. A new record, Peregrine, is set to come out this month on the Militia Group, and the added depth will surely enhance the Appleseed Cast's sound and probably become a highlight of their impressive discography. MEGAN SELING
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, FIRST NATION, BARR
(Neumo's) See preview, page 34.
RUBY DOE, NEW FANGS, USS HORSEWHIP, THE HACKS
(Funhouse) The New Fangs have a lot to celebrate with the self-release of their compulsively listenable debut, Bayonets (on their own Chain Letter label). The John Reis guitar influences may be audible and the Mark E. Smith bark undeniable, but this reconfiguration of members from Tractor Sex Fatality, the Blow Up, and the Gimmicks have trademarked their own sound with gleeful bursts of melodic guitar, infectious call-and-response vocals, and interludes of pure punk-pop zeal that should pull even the most shrinking hipster violet onto the dance floor. HANNAH LEVIN
THE MYRIAD, MON FRERE, GUESTS
(El Corazón, early show) The Myriad, I feel, is still my own little secret. I keep their sweeping and dramatic rock in my pocket, and refuse to share them with anyone because I know as soon as people get a glimpse of the swooning vocals and soaring guitars, then I'd have to share them with the whole wide world. I don't like sharing. But I also don't like being a selfish jerk, so I'll go ahead and tell you this once: Check out the Myriad, pick up their album You Can't Trust a Ladder. There. Community service served. MEGAN SELING
STEVE WYNN & THE MIRACLE 3, DOLL TEST, WHITING TENNIS
(Tractor) Steve Wynn has always been dogged by his early days. Putting out two of the best rock records of the '80s—the Dream Syndicate's The Days of Wine and Roses and Medicine Show—will do that. Wynn went solo and spent the '90s trying to live up to high expectations. So it's good to hear Wynn back in consistent band mode with the Miracle 3, as much on their fine latest, ...Tick...Tick...Tick (Down There), as in their recent guitar-clinic-as-rec-room-party live shows. ERIC DAVIDSON
ORTHRELM, ZOMBI, BLööDHAG, MIKAELA'S FIEND
(Vera Project) See preview, page 36.
HERZOG, SPIDER TRIO W/WALLY SHOUP, DAVE ABRAMSON, JEFFeRY TAYLOR
(Rendezvous) Because free-blurting saxophonist Wally Shoup doesn't have enough projects going (sarcasm in full effect), he's decided to form Spider Trio, too. Featuring drummer Dave Abramson of Diminished Men (nominees for The Stranger's Big Shot contest) and Climax Golden Twins' "free hillbilly" guitarist Jeffery Taylor, Spider Trio promise to frazzle your synapses as you try to follow their delirious whims. Herzog is Seattle rock stalwarts Kinski's outlet for spacing out and letting members' feedback and drone flags fly high, sans beats. Herzog always take you on an amorphous, mesmerizing trip, so don't miss this rare outing. DAVE SEGAL
ROBYN HITCHCOCK & THE MINUS 5 (Crocodile)
See CD review at www.thestranger.com
INVISIBLE EYES, THE VILLAGE GREEN, ROMANCE
(High Dive) The Invisible Eyes are the punk-rock outfit Jack White dreamt about having in his younger years, combining a little bit of soul with a danceable garage-rock sound. They're so much fun. And Romance are one of this year's Stranger Big Shot finalists! You can catch them March 11 at Neumo's, with fellow finalists Tennis Pro, Speaker Speaker, and the Emergency, but don't let that sway you from getting into tonight's gig, which also features classic-rock-inspired pop act the Village Green. MEGAN SELING
BAND OF HORSES, MT. EGYPT, TINY VIPERS
(Neumo's) See preview, page 31.
SUPER SKATE SATURDAY #4: A BENEFIT FOR MARGINAL WAY SKATEPARK: WIZARDS OF WOR, THE VACCINES, THE FAKIES, THE PROJECTS, DIRT POOR CRAZY PEOPLE
(Sunset) See Stranger Suggests, page 19.
THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY, BEARD OF BEES, LAKE OF FALCONS
(SS Marie Antoinette) Fans of the first Liars album or anything Numbers have done should find another oft-played record in They Shoot Horses Don't They's Boo Hoo Hoo Boo. The obvious single, "Emptyhead," features sparse but taut snare strafing, disorienting instrumental and electronic melodies, and nonchalant calls to arms. Their music's like an amalgamation of the aforementioned reference points, only slowed down to an invasion-of-personal-space display. I haven't seen them live yet, but I sense that much of the audience will be leaving with tired dancing muscles and strong buzzes. GRANT BRISSEY
JACKIE-O MOTHERFUCKER, SUPER GEEK LEAGUE, THE GRAILS
(Chop Suey) The Grails consist of only five men—Alex Hall, Zak Riles, William Slater, Timothy Horner, and Emil Amos. But the Grails' sound, subtle in its genius, is far more expansive than one might predict to come from a quintet. Moods are created and played with via expert compositions. While one song, "Stray Dogs," is a quiet piece woven together with evocative layers of strings, others like "Master Builder," explode into a surprising wall of sound after minutes of eerie and smooth sonic waves. For the Grails, complicated is an understatement. So is striking. MEGAN SELING See also Stranger Suggests, page 19.
THE VALLEY, THE INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOYS, FAST FRIENDS
(Funhouse) The aptly named and unabashedly egomaniacal hedonists that make up Missoula's International Playboys may have had to cancel their spring tour with No Means No, but that hasn't hindered their ambitions in the slightest. They've just wrapped up their third full-length and booked themselves a three-week tour that includes three shows at South by Southwest, including an appearance at the underground Fuck by Fuck You festival. It's too bad this Funhouse show is on a school night, because the sleazy punk-rock abandon that the Playboys purvey is an excellent excuse to embrace vice and shirk responsibilities. You can always call in sick, I suppose. HANNAH LEVIN
STEREOLAB, HOT CHIP
(Showbox) See CD Review at www.thestranger.com. Also Data Breaker, page 51.
NEUTRALBOY, HILLSTREET STRANGLERS, CONTROLLER.CONTROLLER, UNINVITED
(Funhouse) Toronto's Controller.Controller move with a confident swagger. Their upcoming record, X-Amounts (out March 7), is a combination of the Gossip's blues-influenced punk and Pretty Girls Make Graves' low-key sexiness, with synthesizers and hand claps thrown in to complete the dance party. The energy level never really reaches beyond a smooth and cool vibe, but it'll get your ass shaking nonetheless. MEGAN SELING
DENGUE FEVER, FORGOTTEN SOL, SWAMPDWELLER
(Chop Suey) There's nothing more American than the concept of the melting pot, and Dengue Fever are a boiling-hot example of the possibilities inherent in cultural cross-pollination. This L.A. outfit combine '60s Cambodian pop, surf guitar, a touch of Bollywood, a smidge of Ethiopian rhythms, and a shot of good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll (among other elements) to create something unique and uniquely timeless. If vocalist Ch'hom Nimol weren't singing in Khmer (her native tongue), you'd no doubt find yourself singing along. As it is, you'll happily find yourself transported to vibrant new musical territory. No passport necessary. BARBARA MITCHELL
(Easy Street, Queen Anne) A song like "Hard-on for War" off Mudhoney's new album, Under a Billion Suns, proves why they're still relevant. Their explanation for war in Iraq doesn't involve Saudi princes, Halliburton, or Osama bin Laden. No, according to Mark Arm, the reason the U.S. has sent thousands of troops (the majority of them young men) to the Middle East is so that the dirty old men (i.e., politicians) can get in the pants of all the lonely young girls. Arm's wry humor is necessary now more than ever—and with a horn section occasionally popping in, you'll remember how much you loved the Saints' Eternally Yours. BEN BLACKWELL
PINK MOUNTAINTOPS, THE CAN'T SEE, WHALEBONES
(Crocodile) When Stephen McBean released Pink Mountaintops' self-titled debut, nearly every review referenced the record's libidinous overtones. The observations were accurate, if a little redundant. Musically, Pink Mountaintops mined a subtle bank of '70s-reminiscent druggy riffs and primal percussion, all solidified by McBean's soulful vocals (aforementioned reviews almost always mentioned Velvet Underground, as well). The new Axis of Evol instead mostly employs a number of skeleton-thin folk hymns, and blatant sexuality is virtually absent from McBean's lyrics. Opener "Comas" starts with whispering acoustic guitar, as spare and dark as anything Lead Belly recorded, while McBean laments, "No, I'm not headed down the highway to hell/I'm through with you devils," and from there he's obsessing over personal demons, addiction, guilt, innocence, redemption, much of it couched in religious terms. Thankfully, McBean offers a few rockers for levity. GRANT BRISSEY
LOW, LAVENDER DIAMOND
(Neumo's) In case you weren't aware, love is the new subversion. Becky Stark and her band Lavender Diamond proved so last year on the four-song Cavalry of Light EP, a staggering work of peace-folk beauty. Stark's thin, operatic voice makes gardens grow and houseplants spring to life. The band, an all-acoustic outfit flanked by tambourine, piano, and cello, rises above typical neo-hippie fare to become an orchestral powerhouse. The recent combination of a split 7-inch with Devendra Banhart, a shout-out from Miranda July, and stealing the show at Arthurfest has lifted Lavender Diamond above regional adoration. This could be the last time we see them as an opener in town. BRIAN J. BARR
GBH, GOLDBLADE, BRISTLE, THE HOLLOWPOINTS
(El Corazón) GBH, Punk, Old. Goldblade, I dunno. Bristle, Punk, fine. Now, local boys THE HOLLOWPOINTS... This is the real deal, newcomer old-school punk. The kind of punks that give up their apartments to live in the van they tour in for a year. The kind of punks that roll the van, and play the Vera Project the next day, bloody gashes and all. One, Two, Three, maybe too much Social D., but, honestly, if the punk flag is still proudly waving, it's because of punks like the Hollowpoints, doing the work and taking the blows. Punk Rock On. NES REDNAAJ
THE PHARMACY (CD RELEASE), MS. LED, NRDLNGR, WALLPAPER
(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests, page 19.
JENNY LEWIS & THE WATSON TWINS, WILLY MASON, WHISPERTOWN 2000
(Neumo's) Finally hitting the road on the heels of her near-perfect solo debut, Rabbit Fur Coat, the Rilo Kiley frontwoman will be joined by the Watson Twins, an identical pair of Kentucky-bred gospel sisters who add a haunting element to the record—and apparently to the stage. The mesmerizing Lewis appears with minimal accompaniment, but her goose-pimple vocals, evocative songwriting and Hollywood splendor never fail to captivate an audience. Expect her to stick with the solo material—all twangy, soulful, and rocking—and make sure you hold out for her cover of the Shirelles' "I Met Him on a Sunday." SCOTT HOLTER
BOOK OF BLACK EARTH, SINDIOS
(War Room) For those who would sooner shoot themselves in the neck with a staple gun than attend the aforementioned Jenny Lewis show, the War Room is your satanic haven for the evening. Sindios are a muscular, modern metal band blessedly free of Cookie Monster vocals and built for fans of non-noodling, merciless riffs and ceiling-cracking, Dave Lombardo-esque percussion. They're logically paired with Book of Black Earth, an equally adept quintet who traffic in intelligent and inventive black metal and are working on the final mixes of their full-length debut. HANNAH LEVIN