Thursday 1/29

Kinski, Master Musicians of Bukkake

(Neumos) See preview.

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Half Acre Day; Yes Oh Yes; Oh Captain, My Captain; Exohxo

(Comet) I dub tonight's show the shOH!case. Get it? Instead of showcase? Because most of the bands have "oh" in their name, you see—Yes OH Yes; OH Captain, My Captain; ExOHxo... see it now? Hahaha! Tonight's shOH!case is also a debut for brand-new local outfit Exohxo (pronounced ex-oh-ex-oh), which is a new side project put together by Danny Oleson and Jasen Samford of Speaker Speaker. Their songs are warm pop symphonies with strings, piano, and bright harmonies. Sometimes they're tender ("An Honest Living"), sometimes they're bright and invigorating ("Crushed Ice"), and I can't wait to hear how all the pieces translate live. MEGAN SELING

Mad Professor, DJ Collage, DJ Element

(Nectar) Yes, Mad Professor has produced many great dub albums, but it is his total reworking (or versioning) of Massive Attack's second album, Protection, into No Protection, to which I repeatedly return. Released in 1996, Mad Professor's version turned out to be far better than the original—the ideal condition of dub. Indeed, it salvaged Massive Attack's Protection, which was vapid and dry, like a plain painting of a plain beauty. In No Protection, Mad Professor exploded this ordinary beauty into a vast world whose seas shimmered and whose skies were agitated, brightened, and amazed by falling stars and rising fireworks. The secret ambition of all versioning is the destruction and reconstruction of the original into something new and improved. Mad Professor is a master at this alchemy. CHARLES MUDEDE

Sweeter Than the Day

(Tula's) Eminent Seattle keyboardist Wayne Horvitz has his avantish and funky proclivities, sure, but he sometimes sets those aside for some old-school, swinging acoustic jazz and pensive, gorgeous ballads. His outlet for that reverent activity is the supremely accomplished Sweeter Than the Day ensemble, which spawned from the groove-oriented minds of Horvitz's Zony Mash outfit and includes guitarist Tim Young, bassist Keith Lowe, and drummer Eric Eagle. In 2004 in these pages, I wrote that "hushed sublimity is the order of this quartet's sweet day," and it would be safe to say that time likely has only ripened that quality. DAVE SEGAL

The Apple War, Bad Dream Good Breakfast, M. Bison

(Tractor) The strangest thing about my last trip to New York was not seeing Kevin Barnes on a horse or seeing M.I.A. performing while rocking a big pregnancy bump. No, it was seeing the Apple War on the airline's complimentary music-video service, wedged right in between, like, Adele and Ashanti or some such. (A while back, the Apple War won this weird honor in some kind of battle of the bands.) But while the placement was odd, it wasn't entirely inappropriate. The Apple War have a polished, aimed-high sound that actually lends itself well to this particular airline's vision of cool jet-setting. Their promising if not entirely even debut, Alarm Bell City, ranges from the nightclubbing strut of "Psycho Stepper" to wide-screen mope-rock ballads like "Old Thunder" or "Steer It Through" to the extended instrumental groove of "Everybody's Sayin'." ERIC GRANDY

Matt & Kim, Champagne Champagne

(Chop Suey) At the beginning of this year, I was faced with a very important decision—I had to find my anthem for 2009. Last year was a bit boring, and I believe it's because I lacked a proper anthem, a tune I'd listen to in order to start my day on the right ass-kicking note. Included on the list of contenders for this year was Matt & Kim's "Daylight," their latest optimistic single that starts with a bouncing keyboard line that clutches onto your brain and doesn't let go. The song perfectly matches your pace as you walk down the sidewalk—it's good for a sunny day, a gray day, the nighttime. Ultimately, though, I decided to go with Edwin Starr, but Matt & Kim remain a top contender on those days I just can't bring myself to get out of bed. MEGAN SELING

Friday 1/30

Origami Ghosts, Webelos, Y La Bamba

(High Dive) Origami Ghosts are the project of J. P. Scesniak and friends. Scesniak pairs a fast-talking lyrical style with a quavering voice that's occasionally doubled up with one layer of falsetto and one layer of monotone in a way that's reminiscent of a young Isaac Brock. Scesniak's friends, when they drop in, surround his singing and guitar with hammered dulcimer, vibes, cello, as well as the standard rhythm section and the lo-fi orchestral effect, especially on morose numbers like "Harlem" or "Rearranging Furniture," the latter of which sweetly recalls the elegiac lows of Carissa's Wierd (a very good thing). Tonight is Origami Ghost's CD-release party. Webelos sound equally lo-fi, but their folky songs, aided by pedal-steel and keyboard, are more rambling and less mopey than tonight's headliners. Y La Bamba is the stage name for Portland singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza's spare, haunted, and haunting acoustic songs. ERIC GRANDY

Saturday 1/31

Nite Owls, Seattle Suicide Riots, Dim Mak

(Vera) See preview.

The Saturday Knights, Grayskul

(Neumos) See preview.

Orlando Voorn, Angel Alanis

(Baltic Room) Data Breaker.

The Pica Beats, X-Ray Press

(Sunset) Stranger Suggests.

MxPx, Amber Pacific, On the Last Day

(El Corazón) I outgrew most pop punk at least 10 years ago (being nearly 30, I no longer identify with lyrics about pissy parents, homework, or immature boys... wait... nix that last one from the list), but I still love to revisit the soundtrack of my youth. And in my youth, I listened to the fuck out of some pop punk. MxPx were the leaders of the pack. I haven't cared about new MxPx material for the past decade or so, but I can't help being a little stoked when I hear "Punk Rock Show" or "I'm OK, You're OK." Also worth noting, all proceeds from tonight's show go to the John D. Spalding Medical Fund. So despite how I may feel about these bands today, you gotta give 'em credit for playing for a great cause. MEGAN SELING

Supreme Beings of Leisure, Carmen Rizzo, LA Kendall

(Chop Suey) We who are in the dark middle of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression must occasionally turn back to the dot-com boom and bask in the sun of the most prosperous period in American history. And what better way to bask in that time than to listen to the music that defined it? Supreme Beings of Leisure's self-titled debut album is a classic of triphop utopianism. What appeared from a heated mix of sexy vocals, lush synths, a touch of dub effects, and dope hiphop beats was a paradise (sonic globalism) that only a period with a sense of limitless possibilities could imagine and worship. Though straight out of L.A., SBL had more in common with Europe's elegant response to the modern moment of American hiphop (1988 to 1993). This response became the sound of the dot-com bubble. CHARLES MUDEDE

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

(Showbox at the Market) Like that old 7UP slogan—"Never had it, never will"—if you missed the gritty, horn-cranking soul concerts of the 1960s, you'll probably never hear one live. Most soul artists these days polish the genre for contemporary ears, resulting in songs muted in a wash of decades. But Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, who formed in 1996, have acted as revivalists. Drawing heavily from James Brown and the Famous Flames—e.g., their 1962 hit "Night Train"—Jones's voice steps from sultry to raw. The Dap-Kings crank out classic hip-bumping rhythms that make you, without a hint of irony, want to dance like a chicken and do the mashed potato. DOMINIC HOLDEN See also Stranger Suggests.

Sunday 2/1

Doctor and the Bird, the Masques, Candysound

(Skylark) A newish two-piece blues band, Doctor and the Bird describe themselves as a crossroads meeting between Mississippi Fred McDowell and the Melvins—which, for those who haven't spent a lifetime learning how to split blues hairs, sounds pretty much like a more tatterdemalion, homespun version of George Thorogood. (That's a good thing.) "Dance White Girl" is one of their heavier, fuzzier numbers with wailing vocals repeating the title while the guitar crackles and fuzzes around. In another song, the good Doctor insists, "Jesus wasn't nothing but a long-haired, angry man" while a slide screeches around the middle and top of his guitar's neck. It's backwoods Northwest blues—foggy, slimy, and gothic. BRENDAN KILEY

The Album Leaf, Black Mamba, Anomie Belle

(Neumos) That Anomie Belle aim for Portishead but fall slightly short is understandable and no great slight to the Seattle band—Portishead, after all, set a pretty impossibly high bar. Still, Anomie Belle do achieve similarly noirish triphop textures. Singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Toby Campbell creates eerie auras of dislocated symphonic elements, effects, and muffled hiphop beats, at the center of which is always Campbell's highly capable and slightly jazzy singing voice, which easily ranges from low, subdued moans to whispery falsettos. The lyrics are apparently politically/socially conscious, but the message never really interferes with the medium. One-man band the Album Leaf is, of course, the apex of easy-listening indietronica, his stellar mostly instrumental scores more than making up for his dangerously mellow shows. ERIC GRANDY

Monday 2/2

Grudge Rock: Akimbo vs. Helms Alee

(Re-bar) BlöödHag's sci-fi loving frontman Jake Stratton has a new project: Grudge Rock. It's not the latest genre, it's not a new band; it's a new monthly night at Re-bar that combines two of the greatest things in the history of the world: Family Feud and rock and roll. Grudge Rock, which happens the first Monday of every month, pits two bands against each other in a music-themed Family Feud–type game. The winner takes home the door sales; the loser gets mocked to an emotionally damaging degree. Then both bands perform live. Grudge Rock has only been going for about four months, and tonight's installment promises to be the most entertaining yet, with Akimbo vs. Helms Alee. Nat Damm is going to wreck some shit. MEGAN SELING

Obits, Coconut Coolouts, Unnatural Helpers

(Fen's Party Palace, 220 Fourth Ave S) For anyone still bummed on the breakup of the Hot Snakes, or for that matter, Drive Like Jehu, this show is a no-brainer. Rick Froberg, frontman for the aforementioned outfits, now handles those duties for his latest progressive-punk group, Obits. The band seem a natural progression for a man whose career has created such a zealous following. As evidenced by the One Cross Apiece 7-inch released last year, this stuff is more linear than the sprawling Jehu constructions and more refined than the brash, cannonball aesthetic of most Hot Snakes material, but none of this is for lack of the goods. Froberg's signature guitar interplay—with which he seems to be able to involve anyone who plays alongside him—is still intact, even if the guitars aren't quite as loud. Make no mistake, these songs hit hard; they just throw a more precise punch. GRANT BRISSEY

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Tuesday 2/3

Cradle of Filth, Satyricon, Septic Flesh

(Showbox at the Market) England's Cradle of Filth have been around for 18 years and surely have alienated many of their early followers by moving to a slicker, more sedate, and structured brand of metal (Metal Hammer calls COF the most successful British metal band since Iron Maiden). COF vocalists Dani Filth and Sarah Jezebel Deva form a kind of Sonny & Cher of hammy, gothic, heavy rock, but the overall affect of their music—although catalyzed by thrilling dynamics and deft playing—is risibly over the top, like a Halloween panorama designed by Disney. Norway's Satyricon, supporting their new album The Age of Nero, also reek of grandiosity, but they ground corniness into dust and radiate a more genuine terror. DAVE SEGAL

Wednesday 2/4

Amy Ray, Arizona

(Neumos) In the late '80s, my inamorata loved the Indigo Girls, so I became intimately familiar with their self-titled 1989 album. It wasn't my thing then, but the disc's incredibly warm-hearted folk rock gradually won over my shoegaze-loving ears. Two decades later, a few songs from it still resonate in my mind. As a solo artist, Indigo Girls singer-songwriter Amy Ray sports a surprisingly robust, Southern-white-girl soulfulness and a harder-rocking steez than she does in IG, while retaining her knack for hooks that may linger in memories for decades. She's also one of the most industrious activists in music, cofounding Honor the Earth and engaging in gay, women's, and other rights causes. Support Ray and you get bonus good-liberal points. DAVE SEGAL

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