THURSDAY 7/6

A FRAMES, BIRTHDAY SUITS, THE PLEASURE BOATERS
(Funhouse) It's always a rare joy when you throw on a CD by a band you've never heard of and instantly fall in love. Minneapolis duo Birthday Suits accomplished this for me within the first 60 seconds of their 2005 debut, Cherry Blue (Nice & Neat Records). Guitarist Hideo Takahashi and drummer Yuichiro Matthew Kazama (formerly of the much-lauded-but-overlooked garage punks Sweet J.A.P.) create a lean, powerful noise-rock clatter that conjures many of the greats (Melt Banana, No Means No, Dead Kennedys), and exude the sort of punk magnetism that could change a young kid's life. I can't recommend this show enough. HANNAH LEVIN

SOCIAL DISTORTION, SUPERSUCKERS, NINE BLACK ALPS
(Moore) I met Mike Ness last year. To realize how huge that is, you have to know that I've been in love with him since the age of 15. When a friend introduced me, I sorta wanted to pee my pants. But then it happened: Sadly, after I'd been pining for him for at least a decade, the magic was shattered when I looked down at my long-standing rock-and-roll crush's feet and saw... slippers. Old-man slippers, to be precise. From far away, though, in the sweaty crowd at a sold-out Social D show, when "Sick Boy" is blasting through the room, Mike Ness is still one of the sexiest men in rock and roll—if you can picture him without the slippers. MEGAN SELING

LL COOL J
(Showbox) See preview.

FRIDAY 7/7

SOCIAL DISTORTION, SUPERSUCKERS, NINE BLACK ALPS
(Moore) See Thursday's preview.

FROM A SECOND STORY WINDOW, CATTLE DECAPITATION, MISERY INDEX, ANIMOSITY, JOB FOR A COWBOY, HOOF OF THE UNICORN
(Studio 7) Cows, take comfort: Despite their alarming name, Cattle Decapitation mean you no harm. In fact, this all-vegetarian San Diego–based metal band sympathize with your plight. Cattle Decapitation dig dogs, as well, having recorded a split single with the pup-fronted novelty act Caninus. Human readers, however, should fear their guillotine. With their July 11 release, Karma. Bloody. Karma, Cattle Decapitation intensify their antipeople campaign, calling for the cessation of "bipedal mammalian hierarchy" and promising "total gore." Cattle Decapitation's self-loathing lyrics suggest their members don't hold themselves exempt from "voluntary human extinction," but their missionaries-of-death devotion, with tour dates booked until October, makes group-guided mass suicide unlikely for now. Instead, Cattle Decapitation cleverly orchestrate human-on-human violence, with their savage riffs and brutal blast beats fueling mosh-pit mayhem. ANDREW MILLER

TOM BROSSEAU, NORFOLK & WESTERN, SHELLEY SHORT
(Tractor) Tom Brosseau's spare Empty Houses Are Lonely is possibly the most conventional album released by England's boldly eclectic FatCat label. Nevertheless, the company's ear for talent wins out again, as Brosseau's a luminous—albeit straightforward—folk-tinged songwriter with a supple, honeyed voice that splits the difference between Jeff Buckley and Devendra Banhart. In other words, expect Brosseau to ascend to a gilded cult status any day now. Shelley Short's sophomore album on Hush Records, Captain Wild Horse (Rides the Heart of Tomorrow), finds her rich, tremulous voice sweetening up a set of mellifluously morose country/chamber-pop songs. Her youthful-sounding, Victoria Williams–like pipes belie a mature, literary songwriting style that goes down easy. DAVE SEGAL

SATURDAY 7/8

SPEECH MACHINE
(Mirabeau Room) Led by guitarist/vocalist Martin Charlebois, Seattle's Speech Machine evoke the burnished melodic glow of serious pop craftsmen like Spain, Chris Isaak, and Lloyd Cole. Speech Machine's debut disc, Curious Punishments of Bygone Days (Yellow Sign Productions), abounds with soft-focus, midnight-blue atmospheres that have that consoling power often found in high-quality, dejected-sounding songs (see the Left Banke, the Zombies, Kevin Ayers, and early Bee Gees for the summit of this skill). It's one of the crucial paradoxes of music, and you can never have too many artists mining this particular vein of songwriting. DAVE SEGAL

CHOKLATE, MS. KARTER, DJ DV ONE, VITAMIN D
(Chop Suey) See preview and My Philosophy.

GOSLING, THE LONELY H, SPACESUIT
(Crocodile, early) Spacesuit are a new band comprising members of the now-defunct Blue Sky Mile and Problem with Heroes (two bands I loved in the past). Spacesuit are so new, in fact, they've only played a handful of shows around Seattle and they've yet to have any music available anywhere. I realize that you can usually double check my advice to listen to a band by actually going and listening to them somewhere on the internet before deciding for yourself if the show is worth your time, but in this case, you're S.O.L., and you're just gonna have to trust me when I tell you that you do not want to miss this spacey and atmospheric wall of indie rock. MEGAN SELING

CATCH 22, VOODOO GLOW SKULLS, BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE, WESTBOUND TRAIN, SUBURBAN LEGENDS
(El Corazón) This year's Warped lineup boasts several old-school attractions (Helmet, Buzzcocks, Joan Jett), but the festival's most compelling comeback story might be ska's revival, as evidenced by the manic crowd reactions to genre vets such as Catch 22. Last week, Catch 22 jumped from Warped to this ska-specific headlining tour. In a more surprising move, the New Jersey–based band just released a concept album based on the life of Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky. On Permanent Revolution, the horn section's melodies become militant reveilles, and "keep the party going" refers to a political platform. Ryan Eldred's ghost-of-Brad-Nowell voice possesses the soulful gravity this subject matter demands, but the tunes remain catchy and quick paced (11 tracks, 33 minutes), because ska kids want no part of any revolution to which they can't dance. ANDREW MILLER

TRACTOR SEX FATALITY, SNITCHES GET STITCHES, THE ROYAL PAINS, HISTRIONICS
(Funhouse) See Rocka Rolla.

FREE FOR ALL: YOU SAY PARTY! WE SAY DIE!, VELELLA VELELLA, ARGO
(Mural Amphitheatre) See Underage.

TULLYCRAFT, RACETRACK, PARENTHETICAL GIRLS
(Sunset) Parenthetical Girls have been a project of Zac Pennington's for years, existing in many incarnations and in many places throughout his Northwest history. In the most current embodiment, Brenna Murphy, Matt Carlson, and Rachael Jensen join Pennington. The Dead Science's Jherek Bischoff and Sam Mickens have contributed to the project, as well, most recently on the new album, Safe as Houses, which is available via mail order from their website www.slendermeanssociety.com/parenthetical. The carefully crafted songs boast Pennington's wistful crooning and delicately crafted instrumentation, traits that disguise the somber and heartbreaking subject matter of uncomfortable love and death. MEGAN SELING

TIM SEELY, DOWNPILOT, THE CRYING SHAME
(Tractor) See Rocka Rolla.

SUNDAY 7/9

ELECTRIC EEL SHOCK, GOLDEN GODS
(Sunset, early) With all the subtlety of Ted Nugent and more cowbells than a Will Ferrell–fronted incarnation of Nazareth, the cock rockers of Golden Gods spare no classic-rock cliché, but that doesn't mean they're total clowns. If they weren't so sharp on their instruments and obviously enamored of their historical roots, they'd be hard to take, but as it stands, Golden Gods' commitment to quality makes them easy to love. HANNAH LEVIN

MONDAY 7/10

UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL, MACKLEMORE, URBAN SOUL, YOUNG DYNASTY
(Chop Suey) Here we have two of Seattle's powerhouse acts. Neema of Unexpected Arrival is one of the town's most dedicated hustlers, and has gotten 5K-plus heads noddin' to his last album, My Life for Sale. Macklemore is a big town favorite, whose The Language of My World was one of the best of 2005's local crop of great LPs. The summer of great hiphop in the 206 continues, so don't miss out on some of our best commercial and underground-minded MCs. Wherever your tastes lie, it's all hiphop, baby. LARRY MIZELL JR.

THE APPLESEED CAST, CRITERIA, RUSSIAN CIRCLES, THE LONELY FOREST
(Crocodile) The Lonely Forest walked away champions in this year's EMP Sound Off! competition, narrowly beating out Ben Rice and the Youth of Blues and Capitol Basement. The Anacortes four-piece have the youthful charm and energy of Ben Folds, an obvious conclusion to draw, as their songs are thickly laced with wonderful piano, but there's also a slight tinge of Counting Crows, especially in the vocals. While the Lonely Forest's sound shifts from upbeat and classic pop to socially conscious (and therefore slightly depressing) ballads, the band's bottom line is delivered with a pure passion that could only come from raw performers who have yet to be poisoned by anything ugly. MEGAN SELING

RAY DAVIES
(Moore) See Stranger Suggests.

TALKDEMONIC, CURTAINS FOR YOU, NONLINEAR FAREWELL
(Sunset) Mesmerizing—that's probably the easiest way to describe Talkdemonic, although plenty of other words have been utilized in an attempt to communicate what this Portland duo create with just a laptop, drums, and viola. Who needs words, though? This vocal-free combo crafts music that's intense, emotional, and utterly engaging—they are infinitely better experienced firsthand than read about. See for yourself why they've become one of the most talked-about groups in Portland's up-and-coming music scene. BARBARA MITCHELL

TUESDAY 7/11

LEGENDARY PINK DOTS, HYPATIA LAKE, ERIC LANZILLOTTA
(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests.

KOMMUNITY FK, MADE OUT OF BABIES
(El Corazón) Made Out of Babies' ominous-sounding moniker boasts an innocent, kids-say-the-darndest-things origin: Drummer Matthew Egan heard a young boy hypothesizing that a sunscreen tube emblazoned with an infant's image contained liquefied toddlers. Eschewing prop fetuses, this Brooklyn-based quartet relies on Julie Christmas's spectrum-spanning voice to shock spectators. Christmas transitions from angelic to aggressive with a dramatic flair that recalls '80s eccentrics Nina Hagen and Lene Lovich. On the group's 2005 debut, Trophy, and their incendiary Steve Albini–produced follow-up, Coward, which hits stores in September, the charismatic Christmas fills the space between whispered verses and bellowed choruses with yelps, hiccups, pants, and screeches. The group's steady grooves, bolstered by sludgy wall-of-noise guitars and burbling bass lines, keep the tunes grounded in solid rock during Christmas's creative detours. ANDREW MILLER

TILLY & THE WALL, NOW IT'S OVERHEAD, JASON ANDERSON, KIMYA DAWSON
(Paradox) Tilly & the Wall are as cute as it gets. No joke. Not even a puppy wearing a baseball cap is cuter. Harnessing the melodic power of a 1960s folk-festival act, Tilly & the Wall's Omaha indie rock is filled with gang vocals, handclaps, even fucking tap-dancing! It's as saccharine as a drunk-on-smores campfire sing-along, but their lush compositions and lyrics still possess the bitter edge that seems to follow all artists who grow up in the Midwest. They're on Conor Oberst's label, Team Love, after all, so there's gotta be a little dysfunction. MEGAN SELING

MASON JENNINGS, TEDDY THOMPSON
(Showbox) See Border Radio.

WEDNESDAY 7/12

JOE BUDDEN, UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL
(Chop Suey) From PCP addiction, a beef with G-Unit and his own label (Def Jam), to voice-threatening vocal-cord surgery, Joe Budden's been there, done that shit, and turns his pain into some of the East Coast's most soulful street-hop. Besides all that, Budden is as nimble and witty an MC as any you'll find in a 50/50 New Era these days; why his label and the public keep sleeping on dude is a mystery to me. "If you focused, man—would you please rock wit' it if you overstand!" LARRY MIZELL JR.

PLEASURECRAFT, DJ COLBY B, DJ DEAD AIR
(Baltic Room) Retrofuturists Pleasurecraft induce flashbacks in the best possible way—not just through their music (dark, infectious, and raucous '80s-influenced synth-rock that could kick the Killers' overly coiffed behinds with both hands tied), but also because they stimulate the kind of giddiness I haven't felt since Depeche Mode were actually relevant and interesting. The band is celebrating the release of a brand spankin' new album, This Is a Blackout, so leave the white belt and too-cool-for-school attitude at home, grab a skinny tie and some eyeliner, and head to the Baltic Room for an awesomely rad night of music. BARBARA MITCHELL

MORE

THE SWORD, AKIMBO, SAVIOURS:
Sat July 15, El Corazon

WARPED TOUR: NOFX, RISE AGAINST, ANTI-FLAG, THURSDAY, SAVES THE DAY, AGAINST ME!, LESS THAN JAKE:
Sat July 15, the Gorge

JURASSIC 5:
Tues July 18, Showbox

DIGABLE PLANETS, GUESTS:
Thurs July 20, Neumo's

THE RENTALS, OZMA:
Mon July 24, Neumo's