Thursday 3/19

The Helio Sequence, Bird Show of North America, Sue Quigley, Doctor Doctor, Puget Sound System with Truce

(Showbox Sodo) Elsewhere in this issue, you can find Dave Segal's tribute to some of Sub Pop's most slept-on releases and greatest misses. I don't know how many "units" the Helio Sequence moved for the storied label with their latest album, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, but I feel like the band is the very flip side of what Dave's talking about there: an act whose older, more obscure records and latest, most popular record are all deservedly so. Their sound has long borne the immaculate markings of two gearheads who met while working at a guitar shop, but Keep Your Eyes Ahead is their first album to finally pair their always-pristine sonics with some truly great songs, most notably the album's propulsive title track—it's their best album yet. Tonight's show features 13 Seattle restaurants serving street-vendor-style fare and opening acts whose members work day jobs in the restaurant industry. ERIC GRANDY

The Pica Beats, Grand Hallway, Grant Olsen

(Tractor) For what it's worth, the Pica Beats are my favorite Seattle band of the moment; I came across them accidentally on a friend's iPod a month ago, and I haven't been able to stop listening to them since. Half of their songs sound classic enough to be adaptations of old folk numbers, but there's a certain kind of weirdness—is that really a sitar? Are they playing a recorder?—smashing against a supercatchy pop sensibility on all the other tracks. This is the sound inside my head right now, and I fucking love it. PAUL CONSTANT

Friday 3/20

KHV, Partman Parthorse, Mad Happy, the Geese, Sam Rousso Soundsystem

(Sunset) It's strange that Shannon Perry, singer of lo-fi pop trio Katharine Hepburn's Voice, is such a wilting presence on the band's new record, Stand Up, given that she's such a character in person (cf. her general outspokenness and now-retired granny glasses). It's like the reverse effect of KHV's tourmates Partman Parthorse, whose (Mr.) frontman Gary Smith is a nice, quiet guy in person and a rage-aholic asshole onstage and on record. As with Perry and drummer DW Burnam's previous band, electro-punk thrashers Dalmatians, KHV keep things decidedly DIY—but where the former band's dance-y racket benefited from such an approach, KHV's cutesy bedroom ditties could use some glossier production. As it is, the album sounds unfortunately like it was recorded directly out of/into a Casio keyboard, Perry's languid vocals mired in midrange-heavy murk. Still, there might be something to these songs underneath all that, and their live show, invigorated as it is by Burnam's highly energetic drumming, looks like good fun. ERIC GRANDY

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Duchess Says, Catatonic Youth

(El Corazón) Los Angeles's Ariel Pink ranks near the top tier of American songsmiths. Yes, his production values bespeak of poverty and/or deliberate perversity, but his actual tunes are weirdly, wrongly sweet, like a juice consisting of watermelon and cinnamon flavors. Mr. Pink's melodies embed themselves in your mind like cherished memories of your most inebriated/stoned shenanigans, the WTFness of them ripening with time. Released on Animal Collective's Paw Tracks label, his albums abound with alternate-reality radio blockbusters that flirt with straight-up poppiness, but keep corkscrewing left when you least expect them to. Ariel's Haunted Graffiti band consist of drummer Aaron Sperske (Beachwood Sparks, Lilys), bassist Tim Koh (White Magic), keyboardist Kenny Gilmore (Lilys), and guitarist Cole G.N. (the Samps). Expect a more, um, "professional" stage presence than past Ariel Pink gigs have indicated. DAVE SEGAL

Broken Disco 2.0: Hookerz & Blow, Deepchild, Ctrl_Alt_Del vs. Awggie, Michael Manahan, Robb Green vs. Recess, Skoi

(Chop Suey) San Frandisco's Hookerz & Blow (DJ/laptop mechanics Mozaic and Eprom; oy, guys, that name) smash together the unlikely atoms of filthy-low-ended electro with trance's fromage-laden, high-end synth frippery. It's kind of like eating pork rinds dipped in some rich French sauce whose name you can't pronounce. They also engage in what they call "psyphy," a hybrid of psychedelic and hyphy—sounding like E-40 on acid, maybe? Hmm, interesting concept. Sydney, Australia's Deepchild—who records for Get Physical and Freerange—creates tracks that fall into that lubricious crevice between house and disco. Low-slung, bedroom-eyed dance music for lovers; it's a gimmick that just might have legs. DAVE SEGAL

Saturday 3/21

Head, Thee Manipulators, Creem City, the Neon Wilderness

(Funhouse) About Head, Sean of the Spits says, "One of the best bands, EVER, from this weird city of ye olde Space Needle." Head sound like the Ramones onstage with the Angry Samoans. They've been around since the early '90s but don't play out that often anymore. This show is a benefit for another punk classic, Memphis's Goner Records (Gone-er, not Go-ner), more specifically for its co-owner Zac Ives. Two years ago, Ives's 4-year-old daughter, Anna, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After years of supporting the scene with his label, mail order, and store (think Guitar Wolf, Reatards, the King Khan & BBQ Show, Oblivians, Nobunny), Ives is asking different musicians to return the favor in the form of benefit shows across the U.S. This is the Seattle chapter; it's only $7. Go. KELLY O

Bearracuda Seattle: DJs Boyshapedbox, Fifty Pound Note

(Chop Suey) I know you've noticed that flyer around the city: the chubbily-wubbily shirtless guy who's about to spoon that man-sized glob of oatmeal right into his big furry face. Yep, it's Bearracuda time again! I stumbled into Chop Suey during the last Bearracuda, right before the holidays. I thought I'd chanced upon some sort of bizarre Santa Claus training camp. All these big, bearded men, laughing, dancing, and holding their bellies. I'd drunk just enough jolly cheer that for a second or two I really did believe in Santa again. Or in Santa's ability to transform Chop Suey into a magical world filled with only young and randy Santa wannabes. Then I noticed the leather chaps. Oh, and the big, hairy guy on the massage table. KELLY O

The Occupation, Skeletons with Flesh on Them, the Quit, Little Penguins

(Comet) Tonight, Skeletons with Flesh on Them celebrate the release of their new album, All the Other Animals. It's a strong collection of pop-rock experiments. With toe-tapping harmonies and bouncy bass and handclaps, "Same Moon" starts off sounding like it could be a They Might Be Giants song. "Power Chords" gets more aggressive, but it's still in a playful, almost cartoonish way (it involves an accordion). I'm more excited about Little Penguins' name than I am their uncomplicated midtempo rock songs. Doesn't mean they're bad—I just really like penguins. MEGAN SELING

Robyn Hitchcock & Venus 3, Young Fresh Fellows

(Triple Door) A charming live performer with the uncanny ability to spout hilarious, surrealistic tales at the drop of a plectrum, Robyn Hitchcock could make a nice living as a raconteur. But, thankfully, he's also created a (vo)luminous body of quirkadelic rock songs—with the Soft Boys and the Egyptians, and solo—that have stood time's rigorous testing. (Start with Underwater Moonlight, Black Snake Diamond Röle, and I Often Dream of Trains.) Yes, Hitchcock's voice bears a striking resemblance to Syd Barrett's, and some of his music homages Pink Floyd's initial leader a bit too reverently, but the man has gone on to become a prolific crafter of hooks and a storyteller of poignancy and whimsy—and he's become a righteous influencer himself. The Venus 3 include Peter Buck, Scott Mc-Caughey, and Bill Rieflin—not too shabby of a lineup. DAVE SEGAL

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Flavor Crystals

(Neumos) For all those suckas who missed '60s psych rock the first time around, the Brian Jonestown Massacre present lovingly crafted facsimiles of the sunny end of that style's spectrum, with a few detours into its darker sectors—and some shoegaze maneuvers, for good measure. BJM leader Anton Newcombe is just charismatic, aggro, and narcissistic enough to tilt the live experience into performance art/spectacular train wreck—or at least that was his SOP in previous years; don't know if this loose cannon messing with rock's canon is still firing bandmates mid-gig after the requisite fisticuffs. Whatever the case, you can expect expertly rendered paraphrases of the Velvet Underground, the Rolling Stones circa Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, Donovan, and dozens of Nuggets/Pebbles-y one-hit wonders—and perhaps an intergroup squabble or three. DAVE SEGAL See also New Column, page 45.

Hot Buttered Rum, Everyone Orchestra

(Crocodile) I'm not sure exactly what message the Crocodile is sending by having Hot Buttered Rum play its grand reopening. They're not a throwback bluegrass band, but they're very traditional: Some of their harmonies are straight out of the Stanley Brothers' playbook, and you can hear some jazz classicism in there, too. It's enough to make one momentarily wonder if the new-fangled Croc is gunning for the Tractor's audience. But the more important thing about Hot Buttered Rum is that they're about as sturdy and strong as a touring band can come, and maybe the message here is that the Croc is more interested in quality than in genre, and that's about the most welcome news I've heard all week. PAUL CONSTANT

Destruction, Krisiun, Mantic Ritual

(El Corazón) Germany's Destruction play thrash metal with lots of squealing and ker-chunkity, drop-tuned guitar and strident vocal conviction. They're fast and powerful Slayer acolytes. Brazilian death-metal trio Krisiun feature Alex Camargo's vomitory, baddest-mofo-in-the-universe vocals, monstrously heavy and swift guitar riffing, and super-humanly rapid drumbeats. Respect to anyone who can hang with Krisiun's sound for more than 15 minutes. It's serious survival-of-the-fittest shit. DAVE SEGAL

Sunday 3/22

Herman Dune, Jack Lewis, Angelo Spencer

(Tractor) See preview.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre Cover Night: Kaliningrad, MiniRex, This Blinding Light, Imperial Legions of Rome, Webelos, and Watch It Sparkle

(Funhouse) See New Column.

Monday 3/23

White Magic, Mariee Sioux, the Lord Dog Bird

(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests.

The Tallest Man on Earth

(Triple Door) The Tallest Man on Earth is the misleadingly hyperbolic stage name of normal-sized Swedish folk musician Kristian Matsson. Most remarkable about Matsson is his voice, which should bear some accent from his native central Swedish province of Dalarna (which apparently does have its own particular dialect), but which actually evokes the ramble and drawl of America's Deep South and Wild West (with just a touch of Dylan's stretched nasal tone). Or maybe Sweden also has a Deep South and a Wild West? But the geographic incongruity of Matsson's voice gets a total pass, thanks to it also being as deeply affecting as it is affected: worn beyond its years, as rowdy as it is right on pitch, and always backed by Matsson's impressive fingerpicking and twangy guitar. ERIC GRANDY

Tuesday 3/24

Pojama People

(Columbia City Theater) Frank Zappa cover bands—it's a growing industry. The late, iconoclastic guitarist had so many styles and tricks at his disposal that he could spawn legions of disciples and not have too much overlap among them. Pojama People, from the modest sampling of their work that I've heard, focus on Zappa's complex prog-rock/jazz-fusion output. This takes dexterity and dedication to execute well, and Pojama People nail the compositions' wacky rhythmic convolutions, melodic eccentricities, and textural strangeness, with help from real-deal Zappa sideman Ike Willis on guitar and vocals. DAVE SEGAL

Support The Stranger

Wednesday 3/25

Ripynt, Sleep, Wizdom, DJ Swervewon

(Nectar) Wizdom is a local rapper who has two CDs in the recent past, The Book of Wizdom and Music: Soul of the Man, the latter of which is produced by Epidemmik, a funky cat from Maryland. Wizdom's music is hit or miss with me, and that hitting and missing can be broken down into these terms: A hit equals a hardcore hiphop track; a miss equals a radio-friendly, saccharine track. But from the hits there is no doubt that Wizdom knows his shit. In one track, "Salud," he revives the honorable spirit of C. L. Smooth, "the best who ever did it on a Pete Rock track." In another, "Ever Since," he gives a dissertation for his PhD on the history of mic spitting. Wiz has paid his dues. CHARLES MUDEDE

Hotels, Romance, New Faces, the Globes

(Crocodile) Up-and-coming dance-pop trio New Faces find a lot of inspiration in acts like Franz Ferdinand and the Strokes. Hotels also nod to a vintage synth-heavy sound, but more the moody, introverted variety practiced by Joy Division and Stereolab. In fact, the Globes, with their straight-up indie rock, are the only band of the night that don't sometimes sound like they could be on the Valley Girl soundtrack. MEGAN SELING