Wednesday 9/28

Decibel Festival

(Various venues) See preview, and Data Breaker.

Bright Eyes, Kurt Vile & the Violators

(Paramount) I never could get behind Bright Eyes' anguished whining, but I fully support Kurt Vile & the Violators. Aside from having one of the best album titles in the history of album titles, this year's Smoke Ring for My Halo solidifies Vile as one of our time's most potent and inventive songwriters. If I were master of the universe, Vile would be headlining this show and everyone would get in free, but everybody would still get paid. Alas, someone else is in charge of that stuff. GRANT BRISSEY

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Toro y Moi, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Bass Drum of Death

(Crocodile) Much is made of Chaz Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi, and his position as pioneer of the latest annoyingly named genre, chillwave (please continue reading), but the real reason to go to this show is the uncannily fun and funk-tinged (please continue reading) experimental pop of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Helmed by Portland's Ruban Nielson (formerly of New Zealand's punk/hardcore outfit the Mint Chicks), UMO seem incapable of composing a song that doesn't make your foot start tapping immediately, and the spare garage rock of Bass Drum of Death should provide an adequate foundation upon which to consume enough liquid courage to bust some moves later. GRANT BRISSEY

Thursday 9/29

Decibel Bit Rock Showcase: Holy Fuck, Truckasauras, E*Rock, Introcut

(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests.

Decibel Festival

(Various venues) See preview, and Data Breaker.

OMD, Washington

(Showbox Sodo) Liverpool duo OMD made some of the early 1980s' finest synth pop, but touring was never a strong suit—the keyboards and computers integral to crafting Organisation and Architecture & Morality didn't take kindly to the road. But as the band's sound adapted to the stage, incorporating horns and live drums, the downward spiral begun with US breakthrough "If You Leave" accelerated, yielding forgettable albums like 1986's The Pacific Age. Happily, technology has come a long way in the intervening quarter century, and what once required a fortress of synthesizers now fits on a single laptop. More importantly, OMD reverted to their classic template for the recent comeback History of Modern, so there's no need to groan when they announce, "Here's one from our new album." KURT B. REIGHLEY

Ancient Warlocks, Argonaut, Sleep Capsule, Blues Druid

(Comet) Next month, it will be one year since local riffmasters Ancient Warlocks first hit the bar circuit with their groove-centered take on vintage metal and fantasy novels. Within that year, the band proved itself worthy of the constant Sabbath comparisons, gigging consistently at local dives throughout the city and even serving up a limited-edition 7-inch to gnaw on, "Superwizard." While at times their sound skips into the Sword-like territory, the band keeps things straightforward, never straying from the goal of rocking the fuck out. Additionally, lines like "I am a super wizard, from outer space" prove these guys don't take themselves too seriously, a rare trait for a metal band to possess. Joining the Warlocks onstage are Tacoma's dirty, overdriven pride and joy Argonaut, whose melodious leanings don't keep them from packing an ultra-heavy Queens of the Stone Age–like punch. KEVIN DIERS

Seattle Symphony

(Benaroya Hall) What Stravinsky wants is details. Details, and total rhythmic abandon and confidence. Did you see what new Seattle Symphony conductor Ludovic Morlot and the orchestra did with Gershwin's An American in Paris earlier this month? They gave the piece details, and total rhythmic abandon. So their Stravinsky is worth checking out (and if you are a paying adult, you can get two free tickets for kids 8 to 18, which is cool). Who wouldn't want to hear a fresh The Rite of Spring? If you don't know how to answer that question, you should go, too. People can set their minds again to the historical fact that it provoked a riot. The pounding aggression of the strings is still an assault, but which assaults do we get out of our seats for now? JEN GRAVES

Friday 9/30

Decibel Festival

(Various venues) See preview, and Data Breaker.

Kim Virant, Carrie Clark & the Lonesome Lovers, the Half Brothers

(Columbia City Theater) Kim Virant writes grown-up music. If that sounds like a dis, it's most certainly not. This Seattle vet radiates a calm, clear confidence that shines like sunlight off of highly polished wood, exuding an effortless, classy, and relaxed vibe that infuses her music with warmth and hard-won wisdom. While life certainly doesn't get more ideal the more time passes, there's a perspective and grace that comes with growing up and replacing angst with acceptance. If you haven't been fortunate enough to stumble across Virant's album, Songs from a Small House, it's only because the unassuming singer seems allergic to self-promotion. Do yourself a favor and hunt down a copy—or better yet, go see her play. BARBARA MITCHELL

Dude York, Chastity Belt, Tender Hips, Pleasure Beauties

(Josephine) Dude York fuck with pop-culture audio samples, which immediately calls to mind Japanther, but aside from the appropriately muddy production, the similarities end there. Dude York are ramshackle, tuneful, poppy noise/punk. In "Kerry," off Satanic Vs. (available at, they drop in a sample of Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" right in the middle, then the harried guitar cuts back in, and all is right in the world. Dude York are definitely one of the most interesting bands to spring up around here in a while. GRANT BRISSEY

Saturday 10/1

Decibel Festival

(Various venues) See preview, and Data Breaker.

Seattle Symphony

(Benaroya Hall) See Thursday.

Constant Lovers, Absolute Monarchs, See Me River

(Comet) See Sound Check.

Jens Lekman, Geoffrey O'Connor

(Columbia City Theater) Jens Lekman is the Swedish art-popper best known stateside for his 2007 record Night Falls over Kortedala, which pairs the vast musicality of Sufjan Stevens with the wry (song-) bookishness of Stephin Merritt, to ridiculously charming effect. Last month brought the release of a lush new EP, An Argument with Myself, and tonight the Jens Lekman Experience will materialize onstage at the appropriately charming Columbia City Theater. Australian and fellow art-popper Geoffrey O'Connor opens. DAVID SCHMADER

Motown Tribute Night: Ancient Vessel Allstars, Georgetown Allstars

(White Rabbit) This summer, I had the pleasure of reading Keith Richards's autobiography Life and Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids, and I was thrilled to see both authors hold forth on their deep love for and indebtedness to the music of Motown. Of course, loving Motown is a chore on par with enjoying pizza—if you don't do it naturally and regularly, there's something wrong with you. (Maybe you're lactose intolerant and only like crap music?) Tonight at the White Rabbit in Fremont, the vast Motown songbook is the playground for two Seattle soul collectives, the Georgetown Allstars and the Ancient Vessel Allstars. Wear your dancing shoes and bring a sweat rag. DAVID SCHMADER

The Young Evils, Ravenna Woods, Summer Babes

(Tractor) Writing about Odd Future (see Tuesday) worked me up into an angry frenzy—the same thing happens when I'm reminded that Mark Driscoll exists—but thankfully, Seattle's the Young Evils also exist. Their tambourine-laced jangly pop manages to bring my brain back down to non-nuclear levels with sweet and uncomplicated harmonies. Songs like "Get Over It" and "Crazy People" have the same effect on me as looking at a Google image search of baby badgers does—not just calming, but a reminder that not everyone in the world is a homophobic and misogynic asshole. Not everyone boos gay soldiers or raps about "faggot hipsters" to sell records. There's still good. Deep breath. Just sing along. It'll be okay. MEGAN SELING

Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, Rocky Sandoval, Choklate, Caitlin Cardier, Nate Jackson

(ShoWare Center, Kent) Does it seem to anyone else like not enough time has passed for a '90s revival to be happening? And yet every time I see or hear the clothes, TV, and music of that decade, my dumb heart does a little dance. Well, your dumb something else is going to do a little dance, because BOYZ II MEN are coming to town. (Oh, the slow dances I've danced to them!) Local promoter Steve Brown has been selling out ShoWare Center with a series of '90s R&B concerts called "Ladies Night Out." Previous bills included Ginuwine, K-Ci and JoJo, and Tone Loc; this is "Volume 4." Let's follow Missy Elliott's advice (yeah, yeah, the song's from the early '00s) before the show, ladies: "If you're a fly gal, get your nails done. Get a pedicure, get your hair did." ANNA MINARD

Sunday 10/2

Decibel Festival

(Various venues) See preview, and Data Breaker.

Fuzzy Cloaks, the Apollos, Wamu, Monarchies

(Comet) Local five-piece the Apollos play fun, shamelessly retro garage-sike that stresses the former part of that hyphenated term. Their songs are preternaturally infectious and bathed lightly in reverb. The Apollos have the moves down and are ready to rock your house party. Fuzzy Cloaks—the solo project of Scott Yoder—pumps out amiable, fidelity-deficient indie pop that sometimes goes wonky along the peripheries. He seemingly has an effortless way with writing winsome, slightly askew miniatures that stick in your head for a good while. It wouldn't surprise me if Yoder had a fair number of R. Stevie Moore, Sentridoh, and Times New Viking MP3s on his hard drive. DAVE SEGAL

Monday 10/3

Melt-Banana, Retox, Dog Shredder

(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests.

CANT, Blood Orange, Mirror Mirror

(Triple Door) Grizzly Bear singer, bassist, and producer Chris Taylor is a big Arthur Russell fan. The first offering by his side project CANT was the 7-inch flip side to a previously unreleased Russell track, issued on Taylor's own Terrible Records. Recorded with George Lewis Jr. of Twin Shadow, CANT's headphone-friendly debut, Dreams Come True, reflects Russell's influence without being overshadowed by it; the subliminal timbres and shifting rhythms of "Answer" and "Too Late, Too Far" seem dictated by the tides or phases of the moon more than timeworn pop conventions. Blood Orange is the latest alias of prolific polymath Dev Hynes (Test Icicles, Lightspeed Champion), and while the full-length Coastal Grooves never quite consummates its flirtation with taut, Prince-style funk, it feels fresh and fun nevertheless. KURT B. REIGHLEY

Hank Williams III

(Showbox at the Market) It's gotta kinda suck to live in the shadow of your super-famous grandpa and your only kinda famous father—people constantly comparing, debating, critiquing your every last little similarity or difference. Really, the only thing you can do is say fuck it and blaze your own trail. If you compare Hank 3 to 1940s Hank Williams Sr., you'll be sorely disappointed. But if you're open to mixing up traditional country with an occasional speed-metal riff, then Hank 3 will make you very happy. His new album, Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town, released last month, features guest appearances by Tom Waits and Les Claypool and a song called "Cunt of a Bitch." Oh, the Grand Ole Opry it ain't. KELLY O

Tuesday 10/4

Odd Future

(Showbox at the Market) That anyone would choose to support Odd Future's Tyler, the Creator in 2011 is both disgusting and sad. But explosively homophobic and misogynistic lyrics be damned, Tyler won best new artist at this year's MTV Video Music Awards and his latest record, Goblin (an album laced with slow, haunted beats, over 200 gay slurs, and lyrics like "Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome"), debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 and has sold over 118,000 copies in the United States. And it isn't just fans eating it up—critics love him, too. Goblin's Metacritic rating is 73 out of 100—it got an 8.0 from Pitchfork, 8 out of 10 from Spin, and 3.5 stars from Rolling Stone. Meanwhile, homosexual teenage suicide rates climb as kids are being literally bullied to death every fucking day with the exact same words for which Tyler, the Creator is being rewarded. And does Tyler have a good reason for his choice of words? Is there a message? Nope. He told NME, "We don't think about it. We're kids. We don't think about that shit." And clearly neither does anyone else who's drinking his Kool-Aid. MEGAN SELING See also preview.


(Neptune) Wha, CSS are still going? Well, "Alala." The Brazilian group generated a Sub Pop–ian buzz in the mid '00s with their catchy electronic pop, enlivened by frontwoman Lovefoxxx's brashly alluring pipes and provocative stage demeanor. CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy, if you're nasty) have a new album called La Liberación, and it shows some telltale signs of "maturity": slower tempos, dabbling with reggae rhythms ("Hits Me Like a Rock," featuring Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie), slicker production values, collaborations with David Bowie/NIN/Smashing Pumpkins session pianist Mike Garson, etc. Still, they seem like they've retained their fun vibe and their fluff is high-quality fluff. DAVE SEGAL

Megafaun, Doug Paisley

(Tractor) Doug Paisley is a singer-songwriter from Toronto in the "alt-country" vein—and his work identifies exactly what's problematic about the term "alt-country." His guitar picking and lyrics about rambling and disillusion are eminently traditional (like a sleepy, relaxed fusion of John Fahey and Bill Monroe playing around a campfire), but his hair is red, his nationality is Canadian, and he gets nice compliments like "a quiet wonder" in publications like the New Yorker, MOJO, and Pitchfork. He is a quiet wonder, with the soft voice of a country singer intimate with pain. Megafaun are a bluesy, country "psych-folk" trio from North Carolina. They're a little more peppy and playful. This should be a good night for people who like country music but don't necessarily give a shit about trucks. BRENDAN KILEY