Thursday 6/26

Benny Benassi, DJ Hype

(Trinity) See Bug in the Bassbin, page 89.

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Happy Birthday, Chris Travis: Speaker Speaker, Hungry Pines, To the Waves You.May.Die.In.The.Desert

(Sunset) See Stranger Suggests, page 59.

Seattle Sound Second Anniversary: Blue Giant, Mark Pickerel & His Praying Hands, Siberian, Fourth City

(High Dive) Inspiration often strikes in strange ways, and for Viva Voce's Kevin and Anita Robinson it came in the form of a Pink Floyd song—not hearing it, but covering it on tour with the Shins. Seems the experience reminded Portland's favorite duo that as much fun as it is to push boundaries and constrictions as a pair, it can also be exhilarating to add a couple other people into the mix. The result is Blue Giant, who are making their Seattle debut tonight. The Robinsons haven't fussed too much with the formula—the songs still have plenty of breathing space—but there's a palpable sense of giddiness from the change in chemistry along with some darned fine hooks. Barbara Mitchell

Head Like a Kite, Smoosh, Foscil, Glue, the Animals at Night, MC Troy Nelson

(Neumo's) The problem with a lot of "experimental" or "arty" bands is that they're often really hard to listen to. Head Like a Kite may use random sound snippets and odd building materials in their music, but (like the architect Gaudí) mastermind Dave Einmo knows how to skillfully incorporate unusual elements into a pleasingly organic and playful whole. "There Is Loud Laughter Everywhere" finds Einmo enlisting members of the Long Winters, Smoosh, the Animals at Night, and other local luminaries to help flesh out his peculiar pop vision. The sound bites may have been collected on recent tours of the U.S., but the result sounds like it could be pumping at the hip bar across from the space-shuttle passenger lounge. Barbara Mitchell

Friday 6/27

The Saturday Knights, the Budos Band, DJ Colin

(Nectar) See preview, page 77, and Stranger Suggests, page 59.

Little Party and the Bad Business, Mad Rad, Magic Johnson, Birdwatchers United, Seahouse, Sam Rousso Soundsystem

(Vera Project) Birdwatchers United throw one hell of a party—they channel the fun, anthemic side of Milemarker and combine it with the dance groove of Q and Not U. Some songs ("Easy Tiger") visit more poppy territory, while others ("Don't Call It a Comeback") boast samples to create a happy remix vibe as bright as any U.S.E song. Tonight's stars, though, are Little Party and the Bad Business (a band that features The Stranger's all-ages columnist Casey Catherwood). Little Party are celebrating the release of their new album, Jock Therapy, which is a purposely unpolished collection of simple basement shout-alongs that have more charm than musical talent, but still pack plenty of hooks to keep you moving. Megan Seling

Saturday 6/28

Wayne Horvitz and Gravitas

(Chapel at Good Shepherd Center) See The Score, page 91.

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80

(Moore) One of the best things you can say about the self-titled debut of Seun Kuti, the youngest son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, and Fela's Egypt 80 (as the album is billed) is that it sounds completely fresh. And one of the other best things you can say is that it sounds precisely like his father's music. But this is no contradiction. It's hard to put your finger on what exactly Seun does differently from his pops, aside from having a raspier, slightly higher voice and being a better sax player (who isn't?), but there's so much irresistible tension in the grooves, and the 26-year-old commands such easy authority, that to call it a retreat is to miss the point: Seun succeeds handsomely on his own merits. Pop's band doesn't hurt, either. Michaelangelo Matos

Cassette!: Glass Candy, DJ Gameboy

(Chop Suey) Ever find yourself at Club Pop, Michael Yuasa's consistently kick-ass 18+ dance night at Chop Suey, wishing you could take your drink out of the bar and down onto the dance floor? Yeah, me too. Which is why it's exciting news that Yuasa and the rest of his Antarctic Records crew have started a new monthly 21+ night at Chop Suey called Cassette!, which is kicking off this Pride weekend with Portland Italo disco-wavers Glass Candy. The chimerical duo of Ida No and Johnny Jewel have found their sturdiest incarnation yet in their current form, equal parts icy-cold computer love and warm, wriggling mutant disco. The question, then: How well can you dance with a drink in your hand? Eric Grandy

The Turn-ons, the Triumphant Returns, the Apple War, Geographer

(Comet) The Turn-ons are skilled songwriters and performers who regularly credit glam and shoegaze as influences. A multitude of snappy hooks are to be found among the static and guitar solos. Tonight, their stylish rock, tempered by indie sensibilities and a certain self-conscious charm, will be on display as the band celebrate the release of their fourth full-length album, Curse. They have forgone the expensive and increasingly unnecessary pressing process (you know it's true), making Curse available for pay-what-you-can download at www.theturn-ons.com. Among the openers is Seattle band the Apple War, whose crisp, clear harmonies and pounding rhythm section are featured on the newly released debut Alarm Bell City. The Brit-rock is well-represented as the Comet presents yet another amazing lineup; here's hoping the PA will soon be equally good. Matt Garman

Flipper, Helms Alee, Mico de Noche, Silver

(Hell's Kitchen) For over 25 years, Flipper have tried (and failed) to be hardcore's worst band. You'd think at this point they'd get it right—singer Bruce Loose looks like an old, weathered sock these days—but as it turns out, Flipper's music has aged much like a fine manure. Blame the fact that Loose still has a lot of snot up that old-ass nose. But maybe it's just because lyrics like "Life is the only thing worth living for!" take on a whole new meaning when sung by men who know better. Brandon Ivers

Le Sexy: Jackie Hell, the Whore Moans, Wild Orchid Children

(King Cobra) There are Pride parties all over the city tonight, and chances are you'll have a good time wherever you go, but tonight's show at King Cobra (hosted by Seattle's favorite crude queen Jackie Hell) is the most rock and roll Pride weekend is gonna get. The Whore Moans have been compared to Murder City Devils more than once, and deservedly so. Their full-length debut, Watch Out for This Thing, is rife with a familiar heavy-bassed swagger that brought Murder City their cult following, but the Whore Moans pop it up with a little fist-in-the-air garage-rock revival. Wild Orchid Children are just as raucous—singer Kirk Huffman explodes with the energy of a wild manimal. Bratty backing vocals and high-pitched, haunting keys give it even more of an eerie "trapped in the woods and surrounded by evil creatures" vibe. And they manage an impressive guitar solo now and then. The only way to make this party better is to hop across the street to the Wildrose between bands—their lineup is just as stellar, and that way you won't have a moment of silence. Megan Seling

Leslie & the LY's, Hell's Belles, Coconut Coolouts, New Bloods, Intelligence

(Wildrose) Searching for similarities between the goofy, borderline-psycho Leslie Hall and Portland's heritage-focused punks New Bloods is like trying your luck at finding a soul mate on Match.com: It's unlikely and you'll probably end up selling yourself short, so why even try? Leslie and her spandex-clad band the LY's commanded the stage at Neumo's on her last visit, inciting a dance party with songs about zombies and an uncanny passion for sweaters. New Bloods, on the other hand, with their swooping violin punk, absolutely destroy every time they're in town. As long as they both rock, and especially on a night celebrating the beauty of life's diversity, differences will definitely be set aside as both bands blow your eardrums from a block away. Casey Catherwood

Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, Earth, Genevieve Castree

(Tractor) There's that whole realm of country music that rejoices in the simplicity of the two-step, the major chords, and the easy everyman chorus. Then there's that pasty-white underbelly, that weird subset that linked Johnny Cash to Robert Mitchum's character in The Night of the Hunter. The good ol' days weren't meant to be eulogized with frivolous honky-tonk. The past was a bleak place and the heart continues to be a grim and barren landscape. Tonight will not yield simple, sad cowboy songs—rather, it will showcase songs of desolation and emptiness. If Earth's Morricone-inspired instrumentals don't thoroughly devastate you, Jesse Sykes's sultry minor-key ballads certainly will. Brian Cook

Sunday 6/29

Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, Earth

(Tractor) See Saturday.

Greg Ginn and the Taylor Texas Corrugators, Jambang

(Lo-Fi) Black Flag guitarist/eternal flame Greg Ginn came from an era in American punk where there was a great deal of reintegration and reevaluation of the elements of the earliest rock and roll; contemporaries like X and the Cramps employed these strains pretty explicitly while others, like Ginn, dealt with them more gesturally. In his current quartet, the Taylor Texas Corrugators, however, his embrace of the mantle of ancient rock and roll is complete and loving. Led by Ginn's ever-fried melodic riffs, the group make rough-edged, Link Wray–esque instrumentals that could have easily come from 1958 as from 2008, but with a purity of intent that lends them an easy, appealing grace. Sam Mickens

Constantines, Ladyhawk, the Weather Underground

(Neumo's) Constantines continue to amaze. Their latest album, Kensington Heights, captures the band's arrival at a nexus of two paths. Their sound—too gritty and angular to be tagged Americana, too steeped in blues and roots to fall under the post-punk banner—is foreign but familiar, timeless and impervious to the modern climate. Few bands manage to be so unaffectedly conscious of the weather yet immune to its forces. Hailing from the periphery of the rust belt, their music balances cosmopolitan mindsets and blue-collar pragmatism. By tastefully mining the past while pushing their own interpretations ahead, they've become one of the most emotionally powerful (and tragically underrated) rock bands on the planet. Brian Cook

Monday 6/30

The Unspeakable Horror, the Jet Age, Climber, YellowPeril

(High Dive) It's a rare band that can make music that's both delicate and urgent, but Climber have been tinkering with that equation for the past several years and they've got the balance just right. I Dream in Autoplay, released last year, was more than worth the three-year wait. Listening to it is like watching an epic film on your iPod—the sweeping cinematic quality is still there, but there's a cozy intimacy as well. There are also swooping melodies and golden pop hooks, soaring ballads and driving electronic numbers. It's intoxicating, especially live. Barbara Mitchell

Tuesday 7/1

Vince Mira

(Can Can) When Vince Mira took the stage at Sasquatch! some weeks ago, the crowd politely applauded, but stayed seated on the cool grass. Most people were picking at their $10 bowls of overcooked noodles. Still, Mira, all of 15-years-old, gave a big smile. He kindly thanked the crowd with a coy, average voice, then he strummed the guitar and began to sing a Johnny Cash song. People jumped up from their seats. They grabbed their cameras and rushed the stage. They danced, sang along, and cheered with every chorus. Mira's voice is amazing, magic—as pure and aged-sounding as Cash's. And while he does a number with Cash's old material, his own songs are just as sturdy. Megan Seling

Grand Hallway, Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden, Odessa Chen; Husbands, Love Your Wives

(Tractor) Earlier this year, Grand Hallway quietly released a new EP, We Flew Ephemera. It's pretty and lush, and features a slew of instruments played by over half a dozen talented local folks who also spend time in bands like Sleepy Eyes of Death, the Maldives, and Voyager One. Singer Tomo Nakayama's voice is soft, but the gentle collection of strings, piano, upright bass, and drumming never drowns it out. Husbands, Love Your Wives are another local project that has mastered the balance of delicate and dynamic. At the heart of Husbands is Jamie Spiess and her acoustic guitar (she's occasionally joined by friends). Her songs are quaint and quiet, but they're still powerful enough to give you chills. Megan Seling

Wednesday 7/2

George Michael

(KeyArena) It's been over a decade and a half since Mr. Michael has had a number-one song in the U.S., and nearly just as long since he's toured these parts. But the man can still fill up KeyArena, thanks to Wham!, a handful of ridiculously catchy dance hits in the '90s, and a scandalous lifestyle replete with sexy arrests. In 1998, the man whose sexuality was always scrutinized became famous again for that whole bathroom/blowjob/cop incident. And in 2006, he had a string of drug problems made public when he passed out in his car in the middle of traffic. But tonight, he'll highlight his career of music hits, rather than his best tabloid moments. Megan Seling

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