Das Racist, Danny Brown, Despot
Sapient, DJ Nykon, Dopethought, Saint Warhead, Scribes, Julie C
(Chop Suey) There's a lot of shit out of Portland these days that I'm feeling; on my list are Purple & Green, Tope (hey, colors!), and of course the Original Hotcake House. But what do I have to say to you to make you finally understand the talent that is PDX's Sandpeople standout Sapient? Dude raps, sings, and produces on a high level; he can deliver some wig-lifting bars, more than convincingly flip that naked-heart indie-rock shit, and has beats that can make your bone marrow alternately freeze or boil over out of your pores (see his latest instrumental LP, Tusks). So where are his magazine spreads and slavishly devoted cult of teenyboppers? Where is his gold-painted diamond crystal speedboat, huh? Answer me! LARRY MIZELL JR.
Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman
(Moore) When Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore split, it seemed no other couple could inspire as much adoration—or would ever be the King and Queen of Sexy-Smart-And-Cool—ever again. Then suddenly, Dresden Doll musician-artist-bisexual-badass Amanda Palmer gets married to cool-guy-British-novelist-artist-screenwriter Neil Gaiman. The pair decides to start a mini West Coast tour together on Halloween night, performing with a piano, a ukulele, and "maybe some other weird instruments." Gaiman says he'll read unpublished stories and poems, and Palmer says there'll be lots of surprises and they'll take questions from the audience "chat-style." Sounds like an intimate night with the brand-new "it" couple. KELLY O
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Gauntlet Hair
(Crocodile) Want to make whatever it is you're doing right now 500 percent better? Pipe Portland-based Unknown Mortal Orchestra's self-titled debut album directly into your ears. Thank god portable music players were invented, or I would've had to take a whole week off of work to just lie on my bed listening to this album on repeat while doing absolutely nothing else, like a teenager. The opening seconds of the funk-beat-heavy lead track, "Ffunny Ffrends," make me feel woozy. The band's website says the song is "alien beatnik pop music that echoe[s] '60s psychedelia and krautrock minimalism," but that kind of music-speak makes me tired. So I'm just going to keep listening to this wherever I go, making every ounce of this late-fall slanting yellow sunlight that much more amazing. ANNA MINARD
DJ Cam, Blockhead, Suttikeeree, DJ Sean Cee
(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker.
Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Nordic Soul
(Neumos) See Data Breaker.
A Winged Victory for the Sullen with the ACME String Ensemble, Benoît Pioulard, Ken Camden
(Triple Door) Chicago label Kranky has been fostering excellent highbrow, exploratory music for 18 years. This package tour of its artists features Portland's minimalist art-pop auteur Benoît Pioulard; stately, Stars of the Lid–affiliated, orchestral-drone maestros A Winged Victory for the Sullen (with the ACME String Ensemble); and Ken Camden. The latter is the act about whom I'm most excited. Camden's home-recorded 2010 gem, Lethargy & Repercussion, offers a half-dozen third-eye-stunning pieces of guitar mesmerism. Think the sparse astral drifts of Spacemen 3's Dreamweapon crossed with the desert-mirage drones of Psychic Ills and Don Cherry's "Malkauns." This is a new breed of sacred music drained of all sanctimony, and it's hella rich. DAVE SEGAL
Pierced Arrows, the Night Beats, Don't, Sick Secrets
(Rendezvous) If you're a fan of rock, punk, garage, and/or psych, and you've not yet seen Portland's Pierced Arrows or Seattle's Night Beats, you're really missing out. These two bands sound like the wet heart and soul of our dark and stormy Northwest. Another reason not to miss this show is Don't—Sam Henry's new band. Who is Sam Henry? He was the drummer in one of Portland's all-time, forever-best punk bands, the Wipers. He also played in Fred and Toody Cole's pre–Dead Moon band the Rats in the early '80s and another infamous Portland punk outfit called Napalm Beach. The self-described, tamer-sounding Don't claim to play "melodic punk with surf overtones" that should feel like "Siouxsie sharing a fifth of Southern Comfort with the Mermen in the back of Willie Nelson's tour bus." KELLY O
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
(Showbox at the Market) Calling Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings "retro" is just plain insulting. Great music never goes out of style, and this outfit delivers real-deal soul impeccably, passionately, and professionally. Plus, Jones is simply one of the most badass, big-voiced vocalists operating today—the kind of genuine star who commands your attention with every syllable and nuance, every glance and motion. Soul music has always made its mark by making the emotion conveyed seem to come from the depths of the heart and soul itself, and Jones and her band rank among the best at doing that. Miss this show and you'll be kicking yourself for months. BARBARA MITCHELL
Lotus, Keys N Krates
(Neptune) Lotus's instrumental, electronic jam music lacks dynamics—no distinct parts, few great crescendos or climaxes—and when the latter two do occur, they're reserved and rather passionless. Lotus are all about the beat, and the band pays homage to greats like Lee Perry. This is a dance thing, although I'm not totally sure what sort of people dance to it. Judging by footage of shows on the internet, it's white people. GRANT BRISSEY
Wild Flag, Drew Grow and the Pastors Wives
Blitzen Trapper, Dawes, the Belle Brigade
(Neptune) Ever since I suggested Blitzen Trapper for entertainment at the Stranger Genius Award party and David Schmader said they sound like the Grateful Dead, I can never listen to the Portland outfit in the same way. But forget about Deadheads and the later-career extendo-jams, and you'll realize (or maybe you already knew) that the Grateful Dead ruled. Seriously, go back to their late-'60s/early-'70s work and try to deny its greatness. ANYWAY, BT don't sound exactly like the Dead—there's more '70s boogie rock (not the same thing) and pop awareness here. Go dig it. GRANT BRISSEY
Lesbian, La Otracina, the Great Society Mind Destroyers, Hypatia Lake, DJ One Eye
(Comet) Tonight the Comet hosts a gathering of outward-bound yet heavy-as-a-death-in-the-family psychonauts. Locals Hypatia Lake are christening the release of their new album of solemnly ecstatic sike-rock mantras, Ouroboros. Praise the occultish lord of your choice! You already know about Lesbian's baroque, PhD-level metal, right? Right. Holy Mountain Records mainstays La Otracina do very exciting things with hard and mercilessly torqued rock's most hallucinogenic elements. Their last album is titled Reality Has Got to Die, and they go about achieving that aim with fire-all-your-guns-at-once gusto. DAVE SEGAL
Keep Shelly in Athens, Kisses, Sports
(Chop Suey) Keep Shelly in Athens have been featured on the music-blog circuit mostly for their blissed-out remixes of chillwave artists like Blood Diamonds and Brothertiger, but their In Love With Dusk EP showed the Greek duo settling into a more down-tempo electro-pop sound on their own. The somber chord progressions, woozy synth swells, and haunting vocals from singer Sarah P. carry a melancholy ambience, but the smooth-jazz sax/guitar leads and lounge-y Balearic grooves lend everything a laid-back yacht-pop warmth. LA nu-disco duo Kisses and talented local purveyors of rich '80s synth sounds Sports will open on this stop of KSIA's first North American tour. MIKE RAMOS
Minus the Bear, the Velvet Teen
(Showbox at the Market) It's hard to believe it was only 10 years ago that five alumni of the Seattle hardcore scene decided to take a detour from their signature rage and discord to craft some brainy dance rock. It was a big departure, given their pedigrees, and the band braced themselves against detractors by assuming an air of frivolity through goofy song titles and a band name based on the punch line to a dirty joke. But despite the playful nature of their formation, Minus the Bear cranked out some serious jams right from the get-go. It's not surprising that the band is currently as strong as ever. And it's fitting that they celebrate their anniversary by performing their first album, Highly Refined Pirates, in its entirety tonight. BRIAN COOK
TROUBLE: Metro Area, Dicso, DJ FITS
(Fred Wildlife Refuge) See Expert Tease and the Homosexual Agenda.
DJ Vadim, Truckasauras, Graintable, WD4D, Al Nightlong
(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker.
Monogamy Party, Grenades, Sandrider, Absolute Monarchs, Tearamanapart
(Black Lodge) See album review.
Crystal Hell Pool, Ensemble Economique
(Hollow Earth Radio) See album review.
Apple Jam's George Harrison Jam
(Triple Door) A lot of people whose tastes I respect count George Harrison as their favorite Beatle (hello, Steve Fisk). Seattle-based Fab Four–appreciation society Apple Jam obviously have much love for the quiet Beatle, as this super-jam session should prove. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Harrison's death, Apple Jam will cover myriad gems from his Beatles output (say yes to "Blue Jay Way"), classics from his solo career, deep cuts, unreleased material, and the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care." DAVE SEGAL
Hey Marseilles, Bryan John Appleby, Nick Jaina
(Neptune) I don't want Seattle to be seen as a sweet little whitey-white folksy apple orchard any more than the next guy, and Hey Marseilles may be a little too soft-edged for their own good. (They're also the band that finally inspired Derrick Cartwright, the great Seattle Art Museum director, to realize he was uninspired in his administrative job, and to leave—and for that I am irritated with them.) But I got warm feelings when they took the stage with Seattle Symphony a few weeks ago. They're solid musicians using many instruments (cello, piano, etc.), and their music is just smarter than it has to be. And this is the release of some new stuff, so they're still all edgy and excited about it, and so are you. Go. JEN GRAVES
M83, Active Child
(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests.
Music of Sesame Street
(SIFF Cinema at the Uptown) See Stranger Suggests.
Memorial for Benny Hills and Benefit for Seattle Drum School: Sean, the Shallows, Local Dudes, 350s, Pearl of Champagne Champagne, guests
(Comet) Tonight marks two years since Ben "Benny" Hills's tragic passing in a house fire. Many knew Hills as the gregarious long-haired door guy at the Comet, but just as many knew him as one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. I had the pleasure of working with Hills for a short time at Neumos, and the dude taught me a whole lot about kindness and fairness. I remember mentioning in passing once that I needed a crash/ride for my drum set. Months later, out of the blue, Benny calls me—on a Friday night—and says he's got one for me for free. I ran over to CryBaby and picked it up right away. Who does that? Dear Benny, you were a treasure, and you're still missed. Rest in peace, sir. GRANT BRISSEY
Youth of Today, DYS
(Studio 7) Get your pointing fingers ready, kids, it's time for the poster boys of the New York "youth crew" sound to roll through town, reunited and re-energized and ready to "Break Down the Walls" with their "Positive Outlook." Youth of Today may or may not still subscribe to the straight-edge lifestyle they preached about during their '80s heyday, but word is they still have all the gusto they once possessed, including frontman Ray Cappo's signature banshee-esque howl. Main support for this throwback matinee comes in the form of Youth of Today's Boston rivals, the outspoken and also newly reunited straight-edge "Wolfpack," DYS. Old-dude hardcore for the win. Let's just hope they don't break any of their hips. KEVIN DIERS
Noise-A-Tron, Hot Victory, Extralone, Elk Rider
(Comet) Thanks to a youth in which I played with Transformers about as often as I played with Barbie dolls, the name Noise-A-Tron conjures imagery of a giant amp-eating robot monster. He's six stories tall, steel, and has eyes glowing with fire. He crushes through the ceilings of rock clubs to grab every amp onstage in one fell swoop—like he's playing jacks. He lifts the amplifiers to his mouth and in a single crunch of his jaw, they're obliterated—"crumbs" of splintered wood and wires fall down into the crowd of manically fleeing showgoers. The band Noise-A-Tron, however, is less... terrifying. Though there's something about their droning, heavy instrumentals that make me feel like an amp-eating robot monster would make for a good band mascot. If you like Helms Alee or Russian Circles, you should be at this show. MEGAN SELING
(Crocodile) Seattle is already acquainted with Austra's dark new-wave dance-pop from their previous Crocodile and Capitol Hill Block Party performances, but Grimes (real name Claire Boucher) may only sound familiar to people who saw her open for Lykke Li this May, where she supposedly held an anxious sold-out crowd's attention all by herself. The Montreal-based, BC native's DIY GarageBand art-pop is gauzy, eerie, and shifting, her airy falsetto often contrasting with the murky musical atmosphere around it. Though Boucher's self-professed lack of musical training and the tools used to create her music (MIDI keyboards, internal mics, and the most basic of production software programs) render it a bit flimsy, the sheer eccentric creativity of it all is damn impressive. MIKE RAMOS
Psychic Tits, Anthony Passonno, Aeolotrope
(Funhouse) Seattle wise guys Psychic Tits dole out the sort of effects-laden, disorienting, metallic tomfoolery that have made Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, God Bullies, and Alice Donut heavily worshipped units of mass ear destruction. Rest assured, one day you or someone you loathe will have a tattoo with the words PSYCHIC TITS involved. DAVE SEGAL