Thursday 2/12

Dave Alvin, Martha Scanlan

(Tractor) From the creation of the mighty proto-roots rockers the Blasters and his ongoing stints with X and the Knitters to his Grammy-winning album of folk covers and the two volumes of poetry that bear his name, Dave Alvin has spent his life distinguishing himself as an American-art lifer of rare gifts. With producing gigs and the odd Dwight Yoakam cover helping to pay the bills, Alvin remains free to keep creating the history-soaked American music that's his life's work. DAVID SCHMADER

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Blake Lewis, Project Lionheart

(Nectar) Throughout all of Blake Lewis's Jamiroquai- covering, Bon Jovi–beat-boxing, golf-pants-wearing shenanigans on American Idol, it was clear to anyone with ears that this was a highly musical young man (especially in comparison with his Idol colleagues, many of whom seem to be hanging on to every note for dear life). Tonight at Nectar, the charming little goofball they call B-Shorty headlines a benefit show for the YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign. So unless you like your kids weak and stringy, go to this goddamn show. DAVID SCHMADER

The Bird and the Bee, Obi Best

(Chop Suey) What first appealed to me about the Bird and the Bee is that they sound like something you'd hear on a supermarket PA or Bob Harris's overly enthusiastic, too-clean "Theme from Lolita" from Stanley Kubrick's 1962 film. There's an edge in the lyrics (like the chorus of "Fucking Boyfriend," for instance), but the best part is that there seem to be infinite variations hidden in that supermarket sound. Their new album, Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future, incorporates Japanese music and organ and weird percussion, and it's all smooth, clean, and slyly sharp. PAUL CONSTANT

The Murder City Devils, Past Lives, Constant Lovers

(Showbox at the Market) Constant Lovers are tragically not a Jonathan Richman covers act fronted by Stranger books editor Paul Constant—so, if that's what you were hoping for, sorry (and we'll see what we can do about making that idea a reality). However, if what you were hoping for was a raw, pummeling rock 'n' roll band marked by drunk-staggering distorted bass grooves, subtly adventurous drumming, feedback-laced guitars shredded to within an inch of their life, and red-faced throat-ravaging screaming, then you are in a whole lot of luck. The five songs posted on the band's website suggest that tonight's show should get off to a solid start of slow-mo headbanging and intermittently frenzied flailing about. Headliners the Murder City Devils used to be some band or something—no one really knows. ERIC GRANDY

Navigator vs. Navigator, In the Land of Wolves, Biography of Ferns, Transport Assembly

(Comet) The first 30 seconds of Navigator vs. Navigator's song "Screams from the City" totally tricked me. The distorted keyboard riff that boomed over and over again led me to believe that N vs. N were going to be another repetitive, lo-fi dance act with boring beats. I need to hear another one of those like I need to kick a baby in the face. Thankfully, the song is actually great, once you get past that "goes on a little too long" opening—it evolves into a catchy little rock number with a new-wave edge. Their song "Ol' Time Radio" is one-part Blood Brothers and one part vaudevillian piano-bar; "The Beggars" is poppier and fun. They're a little weird, in a way I can't explain. But I'm a little weird, too, so I like it. MEGAN SELING

Friday 2/13

PotatoFinger, M'Chateau, Citizen Mori, Ya No Mas, Erictronic

(Re-bar) See Data Breaker.

The Fluid

(Neumos) The Fluid are a punk-rock band from Denver that formed in 1984. Not to slack here, but their Wikipedia page claims that "many people only know them for their split release with grunge superstars Nirvana." If that. I heard a rumor that backstage at SP20—the reunited Fluid's first show in 15 years—one of their entourage tried to make off with a guitar that was being autographed by all the old Sub Poppers for the Vera Project's recent charity auction. (Of course, I also heard that Eugene Mirman spent much of the fest hunched over a garbage can eating ribs, and that seems unlikely, so take all this with a grain of salt.) In any case, the Fluid still sound like Sub Pop circa 1990, metal and classic garage rock and punk all circle-pitting into each other. Neumos does not serve ribs. ERIC GRANDY

Lykke Li, Wildbirds & Peacedrums

(Showbox at the Market) Self-proclaimed "Swedish Pop Sensation" Lykke Li isn't what you think of when you ordinarily think of Swedish pop: There's a remarkably cool, even laid-back, vibe to her music. It's catchy, but it's not losing its head trying to get into your pants. Instead, she sings in her little-girl voice and thick accent about dancing and sex, and you're kind of bobbing your head along with the music, and then all of a sudden you're totally involved. Rather than trying to seduce you with in-your-face catchiness, Li is subtly coaxing you to chase after her. That's the best, and the sexiest, kind of pop there is. PAUL CONSTANT

Saturday 2/14

Nappy Roots, Sonny Bonoho

(Nectar) See My Philosophy.

The Dudley Manlove Quartet

(Sunset) Learning that the Dudley Manlove Quartet had allegedly been robbed of nearly $100,000 by their former lead singer was a bit like learning that the Singing Nun killed herself: You knew such things happened to people, you just never would've imagined they'd happen to these people. Whatever. While former singer Paul Jensen awaits trial on 32 counts of first-degree theft, the Dudley Manlove Quartet (complete with a new lead singer who's facing zero felony charges) bring the sweet shtick that's rocked 1,001 wedding receptions to Sunset Tavern. DAVID SCHMADER

Gladys Knight (no Pips)

(Emerald Queen Casino, Tacoma) If you're feeling bereft because the Gladys Knight show is sold out, comfort yourself with the knowledge that she's a Mormon who has sold a lot of records to a lot of gays, but hasn't exactly denounced her church's position on homosexuality or Proposition 8. Better? BRENDAN KILEY

Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, Hungry Ghost, Sad Horse

(Funhouse) This bill is all kinds of punk rock. Lady Dottie and the Diamonds hail from the punk-rock mecca of San Diego. Sexagenarian Lady Dottie belts out brawny, soulful vocals over the Diamonds' sultry blues-soaked punk—or in their own words, "a sloppy MC5 backing up a street-version Etta James." Portland's Hungry Ghost, compiled from equal parts Andrew Price and former Unwound drummer Sara Lund, adapt the latter band's use of repetition by draping it with roots-tinged guitar riffs and funked-up vocal rambling. Also from Portland, Sad Horse slap together catchy, lo-fi chord work, spry drumming, and screamed group vocals. The end result? Three disparate examples of ideal dance-party punk. GRANT BRISSEY

Dancing on the Valentine: Peter Parker, Hotels, Police Teeth, Leaders of Men, Motorik, Funkscribe, Haunted Horse, This Is Friendly Fires, Atticus & the Arteries

(Chop Suey) Dancing on the Valentine is so much more than just a rock show. It's the annual fundraiser/birthday party/cover night/perfect Valentine's Day date for indie-rock lovers. Every year, beloved Valentine's Day baby Jenny George puts the show together as not only a birthday party for herself, but also a benefit that raises money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It's her party, so she gets to choose the playlist, and this year the bands will be performing their favorite tracks from the Factory Records catalog. Expect to hear a lot of Joy Division, James, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and, of course, New Order. Because nothing says, "Happy Valentine's Day, baby" better than dancing to "Bizarre Love Triangle." MEGAN SELING

Sunday 2/15

The Gutter Twins

(Showbox at the Market) Some issues ago, two Stranger writers (including yours truly), in two separate Up & Coming previews, invoked that hoary metaphor of two things coming together to make more than the sum of their parts as being like chocolate and peanut butter. That's not quite right, though, to describe the duo of Screaming Trees crooner Mark Lanegan and Afghan Whigger Greg Dulli, aka the Gutter Twins (I finally just got that reference, sorry). With their distinctive and well-worn voices—Lanegan's hollowed yet richly resonant howl and Dulli's ragged, strained scrape—these veterans are maybe more like whiskey and smokes (or something stronger if you've got it). Two great tastes that taste great together—but that might not be all that good for you. Their recent download-only Adorata EP further mines the dark themes and arrangements of their debut, Saturnalia, via a collection of covers, such as their recklessly driving piano-ballad take on José González's "Down the Line." ERIC GRANDY

Monday 2/16

Dark Matter Noise, Extreme Crushing Force

(Funhouse) On his MySpace page, Seattle's Dark Matter Noise claims to sound like Swans, Ministry, and Throbbing Gristle. If only. It may not be fair to judge based on only three tracks, but DMN (a guy named Allen) really doesn't come near the aural atrocity those artists wreaked at their most primal. Still, DMN creates suitably desolate, industrial electronica that one could imagine will get licensed for a video game or sci-fi flick. But it's doubtful DMN will make anything as terrifying as "Raping a Slave" or "His Arm Was Her Leg." DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 2/17

Don Caballero, sBACH, dd/mm/yyyy

(El Corazón) My would-be fret fingers ache just looking at this lineup. Don Cab, of course, were among the earliest bands to be tagged with the contentious "math rock" label, used to describe a style of playing typified by odd time signatures, sudden breakneck changes, and often-baffling guitar phrasing. That the only original member still touring under the moniker is drummer Damon Che seems not to be that big a deal, as Che's legendary and seemingly phantom-limbed drumming was always a highlight of the band (and the group have had a fairly revolving-door membership of able musicians for the past decade, anyway). sBACH is the current project of Spencer Seim of Hella and the Advantage, also known for his difficult-to- decipher guitar work; Toronto's dd/mm/yyyy weld similarly complex instrumentals to songs with a greater emphasis on groove as well as vocals. Don't forget your abacus! ERIC GRANDY

Master Musicians of Jajouka

(Neumos) These isolated, mountain-dwelling sound sorcerers from Morocco had to cancel their 2008 U.S. tour due to visa-issuance delays, but somehow they squeaked through the system this year (we hope, anyway). Led by Bachir Attar, Master Musicians of Jajouka carry on a four-millennia tradition of mesmerizing minds and moving bodies with galloping, turbulent percussion on goatskin drums, the ghaita's serpentine wails, the gimbri's riveting plunks, the flutelike lira's seductive trills, and robust male vocals. It's a memorable sound, one that's enchanted heavies like Ornette Coleman, Paul Bowles, William S. Burroughs, Rolling Stones, Lee Ranaldo, and Bill Laswell. This may be the last time you get the chance to witness something this primally trance-tastic. DAVE SEGAL

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Wednesday 2/18

David Byrne

(Benaroya Hall) See preview.


***This show has been cancelled***

(Moore) Too many people say "no" to Yes without good reason. Knee-jerk prog-rock haters unjustly dismiss their music as long-winded, quasi-mystical wankery (which it sometimes is), but Yes have made at least five albums worth treasuring; even Lester Bangs was an early fan and Squarepusher has cited bassist Chris Squire as an inspiration. At their best (Fragile, Close to the Edge, Time and a Word, The Yes Album, Relayer, and—yes!—"Owner of a Lonely Heart"), these British prog virtuosos generate furious, complex, and beautiful rock that scales the genre's summit, along with that by King Crimson and Magma. Original members Steve Howe (guitar) and Chris Squire plus 37-year veteran Alan White (drums) form three-fifths of the current lineup; David Benoit will replace ailing vocalist Jon Anderson for this tour. DAVE SEGAL

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