The King Khan & BBQ Show, the Dutchess and the Duke
(Chop Suey) See preview.
Experience Hendrix 2008 Tribute Tour
(Paramount) Jimi Hendrix was the most brilliant guitarist of the last century and wrote many exceptionally beautiful songs. It is easy to forget these things among the crashing waves of pure celebrity that have come to define Hendrix, a status that's been spearheaded and taken to new highs/lows over the years by Experience Hendrix LLC. Founded by "Al" Hendrix, Jimi's in-life-somewhat-estranged father, Experience Hendrix has been responsible for legacy-boosting projects both meritorious (like 1997's well-curated posthumous collection First Rays of the New Rising Sun) and mildly tacky (like the recent Hendrix energy drinks). For the second year in a row, they present the Experience Hendrix Tribute Tour, a showcase of various stars and semistars paying musical homage to the departed master. SAM MICKENS
Secret Machines, the Dears
(Neumos) Josh Garza, drummer of Secret Machines, keeps a clock in his lap during their performances. It's easy to understand how the band lose track of time with their gargantuan drumbeats and limitless palette of effected guitar, bass, and Fender Rhodes. Channeling John Bonham in tone and Can's Jaki Liebezeit in hypnotic grooves, Garza is both the metronome and the time monitor for their expansive psychedelic journeys. Whether laying down mean and deliberate riffs or crafting sublimely airy pop melodies, Secret Machines create music that inevitably ascends into swirling layers of blissfully blown-out textural explorations. Only the relentless kick and snare patterns keep the band from wandering into the stratosphere. Audiences with ADHD beware. But those who want a true sonic voyage need look no further. BRIAN COOK
2 Live Crew, Mad Rad, Champagne Champagne, Jay Barz, DJ Money D
SIL2K, inBOIL versus Intonarumori
(Rendezvous) See The Score.
Dungen, Women, Matthew and the Arrogant Sea
(Chop Suey) Women—actually four dudes from Calgary, Alberta—are a blast of cool, fresh air. Their self-titled, Chad VanGaalen–produced debut album is a superb composite of slashing, artful rock à la This Heat; ominous ambience; and the sort of shaggy, tuneful psych pop that could leverage a truce between the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre (see potential hit "Black Rice"). Concise and unpredictable, Women's songs appear to be slapdash, but repeat listens reveal them to be enduring treasures—a rare feat in current fallow indie-rock climes. I declare Women an instant minor classic and forecast moderately amazing things from them in the near future. DAVE SEGAL See also Album Review.
Wallpaper, DJ Calvin Johnson
(Comet) See Album Review.
Crooked Fingers, Port O'Brien, Sarah Jaffe
(Chop Suey) A lifetime ago, Crooked Fingers singer-songwriter Eric Bachmann was the frontman for transcendently abrasive indie rockers Archers of Loaf. This may keep Crooked Fingers in punk points, but it does little to describe their sound, which has evolved from Bachmann's early solo acoustic efforts to a full band that, on their latest, self-released album Forfeit/Fortune, surrounds E Street–style rock ballads with Spanish brass (Bachmann was a saxophone major), classical guitar, strings, and a chorus of singers that includes Miranda Brown, Elin Palmer, and Neko Case. Bachmann leads those voices with a dark, well-worn baritone that recalls giants like Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, or Neil Diamond (whose "Solitary Man" Crooked Fingers covered). Those icons aside, Bachmann's his own tough act to follow; that Crooked Fingers come close to eclipsing his old band is much to their credit. ERIC GRANDY
Zach Hill & Peer Pressure perform "Necromancer," Sleepy Eyes of Death
(Nectar) Zach Hill (from Hella) is one of those drummers who can be identified by ear. His style is a meticulous, high-speed, meat-grinding combination of strength and brain that you have to see as much as hear. He's a deafness maker. He's also a songwriter, visual artist, and conductor. This year Ipecac Records released Hill's first solo album, Astrological Straits, a schizo-delic pounding of quick and heavy drums played to loops and instruments that jut into the measures and destroy them. Hill's composing is not unlike jazz, if jazz were speed metal and Coltrane had fangs. The music isn't always easy to hear, but it needs to be heard. "Necromancer"—the album's darkly bombastic bonus-disc accompaniment—will be performed by Hill and Peer Pressure in its entirety. TRENT MOORMAN
Danzig, Dimmu Borgir, Moonspell, Winds of Plague, Skeletonwitch
(Showbox Sodo) A Lynnwood roller-skating rink DJ recently received a Danzig request. The crusty- shirted DJ wore cutoff jeans and almost had a mullet. The Danzig request was made by a skater as they went backward by the DJ booth. The DJ responded, "What the fuck is a Danzig?" Let me tell you, Mr. Skating Rink DJ, a Danzig is the real deal. A Danzig is the man's man's metal music. A Danzig can wear a Utilikilt. A Danzig is a large, ripped male named Glenn who was born in New Jersey in 1955 and would later start a band called the Misfits. Sing it with me now, Mr. Skating Rink DJ, "Muthah! Tell your children not to walk my way. Tell your children not to hear my words." TRENT MOORMAN
Past Lives, Talbot Tagora, the Last Slice of Butter
(Holy Mountain) With former members of Shoplifting and the Blood Brothers, Past Lives are expected to be great—and they are. Each track of their debut EP, Strange Symmetry, is a passionate experiment of sounds, as if each member is trying to figure out what the other is capable of under these new circumstances. "Beyond Gone" is calm and haunting, with tribal drumming and soft vocals. The title track is a blast of bass-heavy rock-and-roll cockiness. "You mean to tell me I came here for this?" singer Jordan Blilie snaps. This is obviously just the beginning, a sample of all the possibilities to come. And it's gonna be a hell of a ride. MEGAN SELING
Crystal Stilts, Meth Teeth, Woods, caUSE-coMOTION!
(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests.
Gang Gang Dance, Marnie Stern, Growing
(Triple Door) See Album Review.
El Ten Eleven, Quiet by Ten, the Whispertown 2000, Flashes of Quincey, Val Emmich
(El Corazón) Los Angeles duo El Ten Eleven (Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty, the rhythm section from the SoftLightes) became inspired by the rambunctious electro-rock of acts like Justice, Boys Noize, and Soulwax, and decided to create their own brand of it with, as Dunn says, "real instruments and looping pedals." The result, as heard on the new mini-album These Promises Are Being Videotaped, is ironically slicker than the sound made by the aforementioned computer-centric groups. El Ten Eleven come off as a less distinctive Trans Am—a post-rock/electronic collision that's by no means bad, but neither is it terribly exciting (nice cover of "Paranoid Android," though). DAVE SEGAL
The Faint, Natalie Portman's Shaved Head
(Showbox at the Market) In 1999, when the Faint released their breakthrough Blank-Wave Arcade, most indie-rock bands weren't using synthesizers as anything more than doorstops. For the Faint to resuscitate new wave with some morbid, sexy, and above all smart twists, was a bold move, and they pulled it off with aplomb. Their follow-up, 2001's Danse Macabre, was just as good. Then, around the peak of a revival that they helped start, the band faltered with 2004's Wet from Birth, which added acoustic strings to their sound, but lacked the intense sex-and-violence thematic punch of their previous two albums. Their new album, Fasciina- tiion, is just as disappointing. And what do the Faint get for presaging the electro wars of the early 21st century? Openers Natalie Portman's Shaved Head. Oh well.... ERIC GRANDY
(Neumos) After 20 years of brilliantly slack narco-pop, the Breeders still can't get so much as a paragraph without someone mentioning the Pixies (oops) or their own 1993 hit single "Cannonball" (damn it). Actually, though, they have a deep, outstanding catalog. This year's Mountain Battles synthesized the better moments of Last Splash and Title TK, and stands as one of the best things to drop in a year full of great rock records. I'm not out here crying for a new Pixies album as long as Kim and Kelley (and Jose and Mando) remain one of America's most consistent bands. And, yeah, Kim Deal is still cooler than Kim Gordon, Karen O, or any other "K" in the book. Get it right. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Danielson, Cryptacize, Bart Davenport
(Vera Project) Daniel Smith is the leader of the Danielson cult, er, I mean band, and his family members are his bandmates. Live, they're quite a vision to behold. Back when they were a Tooth & Nail act (they love Jesus), they used to wear matching nurses uniforms ("visual reminders of the spiritual and emotional healing taking place," according to ye ol' Wiki), but for this tour it'll be a colorful take on what looks like a mailman's outfit. Musically, the band are just as weird. Take "Flip Flop Flim Flam": It sounds like a druggy kids-show theme song. Chimes, sprightly drumming, cartoonishly high vocals singing about little piggies and toe jam... basically, it's a G-rated freak show with Bible references. MEGAN SELING
Digable Planets, Godspeed, Big World Breaks, One Family Inc, DJ Topspin aka Blendiana Jonez
Medeski Martin & Wood
(Moore) I like every recording Medeski Martin & Wood have cut and have immensely enjoyed every live show (four and counting) I've witnessed by them. I also dig all the members' side projects. I even like the rhythm that saying their name creates. Medeski Martin & Wood are stalwarts of the improv-jazz-avant-funk wing of jam-band-dom, and it's impossible to imagine them going bad, ever. Live, they range from sly funk that nods to the Headhunters to sprawling, exploratory jazz that frees your mind to robust, Jimmy McGriff–like soul jazz to radically rearranged covers. MMW's dynamic keys/bass/percussion interplay, honed over their 17-year existence, replenishes the jazz-trio format with a seemingly endless supply of inventive energy. DAVE SEGAL
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, the Castanets
(High Dive) Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson and Raymond Raposa (aka the Castanets) have severely different methods in addressing American sadness. While Robinson's burly folk is like a high-spirited stroll through accusations and shameless confessions, Raposa wades around in reverb and effects-heavy desperation. Robinson takes on death and addiction with a sly smile and morbid irony. He somehow makes lines like "Fuck you, I wanted just to die" ring as optimistic triumphs. By contrast, freak-folk survivor the Castanets' difficult new record, City of Refuge, is a fitting soundtrack to The Last Picture Show; it's a windswept eulogy for small-town living that has no use for witty turns of phrase or anthemic sing-alongs. The juxtaposition of these two musicians may make for an uneven and uncomfortable show. But maybe that's the point. SHANE MEHLING