Thursday 4/2

Mirah, Lovers

(Vera) See preview, and Stranger Suggests

CLP, PrEssHa, Noisemaker

(Nectar) See Data Breaker.

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Blank Dogs, Idle Times, LoVe TaN, Naked on the Vague

(Funhouse) Formerly known as Pyramids, LoVe TaN are the duo of drummer Matthew Ford (also of Factums) and guitarist Craig Chambers (also of the Lights). Theirs is a glorious noise, equal parts amped-up garage rock, stripped-down surf, and narcotic zombie nod, all delivered through a bracing wash of fuzz and reverb. Their lo-fi recordings (that I've heard) don't quite do justice to the righteously loud, face-peeling racket of their live show, which features some of the most surgically precise stabs of feedback I've ever seen (one song seemed to be nothing but perfectly on-point feedback and drums). LoVe TaN aren't reshaping the sound of punk to come or anything, but they are a raw, electrically charged blast and about the most exciting local live act I've been exposed to in months. ERIC GRANDY

Friday 4/3

Gerald Collier Group, the Maldives, Kim Virant

(Tractor) For Northwesterners of a certain vintage, Gerald Collier will forever be remembered as the leader of Best Kissers in the World, the beloved pop punks who lit up Seattle in the early-'90s. Since disbanding his Kissers in 1995, Collier's cast his lot with the No Depression crowd, creating haunting, melodic, largely acoustic roots rock by himself and with the group that bears his name, and it remains a good fit. Collier knows of what he strums and warbles, and his promiscuous musical past allows him to spice up his seemingly straightforward compositions with weird swampy underpinnings that amp the drama considerably. (Tonight with the Maldives and Kim Virant, tomorrow at Sunset Tavern with Amateur Radio Operator, See Me River, Widower, and Zach Harjo.) DAVID SCHMADER

The Camellias, Gatling Gees,

MiniRex, Umber Sleeping

(marsBar) The camellia plant has two modes of operation: easygoing and brash. Its leaves are pleasantly plump and evergreen, and then once a year—early, right around this time, in fact—it blooms bright (the pinks and reds are best) before settling back into its calm stasis. These blooms do not last long. For all of these reasons, it is important that any band named after the plant should have not only a slight happy-go-lucky streak, but also a horn section. Wonderfully, this band does. JEN GRAVES

Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson

(Paramount) Before I ever got into Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard was blowing my mind. The similarities between the two are uncontestable: They're both classic storytellers with distinctive voices and personalities. Some dolts write off Haggard for his clearly satirical redneck works, like "Okie from Muskogee," but I defy anyone to really listen to an original Merle composition—"I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am," say, or "Mama Tried"—and not like it. Haggard opened for Bob Dylan at the Paramount a few years ago, and the way he had the audience eating out of his hand, there are quite a few people—myself included—who wish the bill had been flipped. PAUL CONSTANT

Chad VanGaalen, Women, Cataldo

(Chop Suey) Chad VanGaalen is a reclusive and prolific singer-songwriter (and an accomplished doodler and animator—that's his colorful handiwork on the cover of recent album Soft Airplane) from Calgary, Alberta, whose 2004 breakthrough Infiniheart landed him on local label Sub Pop here in the states. With good reason: VanGaalen's homemade indie rock is as carefully crafted as it is deceptively childlike, as weird and personal as it is immediately catchy. His vocal style has earned him not-off-the-mark comparisons to Neil Young, but he's no simple revivalist or classic-rock purist—Airplane boasts as much fuzzy noise, fucked-up drum machines, and glitchy synths as it does simple acoustic laments. Openers Women sometimes play their songs straight, but more often hide their melodies in layers of rhythm and reverb and ambient noise; VanGaalen recorded and provided additional instrumentation for their self-titled debut. ERIC GRANDY

Saturday 4/4

Egyptian Lover, Jamie Jupiter, Truckasauras, DJ Sean Cee

(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker.

The Mae Shi, PRE, Past Lives, Mecca Normal

(Vera) See Underage.

Gerald Collier Group, Amateur Radio Operator, See Me River, Widower, and Zach Harjo

(Sunset) See Friday.

"Awesome," BOAT, Tullycraft, iji

(Crocodile) BOAT are a couple guys from Tacoma who make energetic, happy-making, sometimes-sloppy indie pop. D. Crane, BOAT's singer, has this unassuming, magical, slippery voice, an unpretentious stage presence, and lots of songs about boys who love girls too much and think about punctuation and stay up late at night drawing. If you want to be transported back to the let's-take-off-all-the-couch-cushions-and-make-a-fort part of childhood, this is your band. BOAT's guitars are candied in reverb and the drummer is on it—but, as loud and great as the guitars and drums are, these guys are sweethearts, and their music is sweet. (Will the Crocodile let you take all the framed show posters off the wall and make a fort out of them? Only one way to find out!) BOAT share a bill with two other sweet (in every sense of the word) local bands: the extremely unlikely "Awesome" (a theater-y band of misfits in matching clothes, playing songs with characters and story arcs, visually anchored by the always-crazy physical performance of a certain hilarious guy in the front) and the golden-hearted Tullycraft, which have been making catchy, adorable anthems and pop miscellany for years. Thank you, Crocodile, for the giant tab of ecstasy that is this evening's bill. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Lifesavas, Grayskul, Rudy and the Rhetoric

(Nectar) It must be easy to make the gloomy underground hiphop of Def Jux, as it obviously expresses a feeling of sadness at the current state of things in hiphop (the lack of creative energy, its deepening and deadening slavery to corporate calculations and standardized puerility). What is hard is to make the kind of hiphop that Portland's Lifesavas make: positive, funky, and generally optimistic. Jumbo the Garbageman, the crew's music director, produces beats that never leave the bright light of day, bumping and bouncing with an enthusiasm that recalls the early sunny years of hiphop. Indeed, I often wonder if the brightness of their rhymes and music has to do with their commitment to Christian beliefs or commitment to the inspiration of early hiphop crews, like Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew, Whodini, the Fat Boys, Salt-N-Pepa, and Kurtis Blow. Or is it a combination of both commitments? It must be a combination of both. CHARLES MUDEDE

Sunday 4/5

Alexi Murdoch

(Vera) See Stranger Suggests.

Born Anchors, Hallways, Go West Young Man

(Cha Cha) Born Anchors are the most exciting rock band in Seattle right now, and tonight they're finally and officially releasing their debut full-length, Sprezzatura (a follow-up to their 2007 self-titled EP). "Deep Cuts" is my jam—the ear-shattering guitar intro and explosive chorus are reminiscent of Jawbox's "Jackpot Plus!" But they do the poppy just as well as the hard rock. The brighter guitars and bouncing bass in "Cascading" sound like something that would've been playing on 107.7 The End in the summer of 1995 between the Posies and Catherine Wheel. Live, singer Jason Parker's strong, confident vocals recall Bono—it never seems to come through on the record, but I swear it's there. MEGAN SELING

Dredg, Torche, Maps & Atlases

(Neumos) Torche's 2008 album Meanderthal might not quite reach the heights of the Miami group's 2005 self-titled debut—a swirling behemoth of triumphant, fuzzed-out riffs, crushing drums, and anthemic vocal work—but it comes damn close. Cuts like "Triumph of Venus" and the 35-second intro "Little Champion" show the band employing tighter, faster guitar sections, while songs like "Fat Waves" and the title track recall the dynamic, sweeping crescendos and transitions of the first full-length. Torche succeed in making heavy metal that doesn't sound at all dark or bleak—rather, quite the opposite—and the buzzing, thunderous compositions are a refreshing alternative to the doom-laden aesthetic deployed by many of the band's peers. Expect this show to be glorious and tinnitus-inducing. GRANT BRISSEY

Monday 4/6

Acid Mothers Temple, Sonic Suicide Squad, Kinski

(Sunset) Acid Mothers Temple's music is often absurdly excessive. The Japanese group—led by ex-Mainliner member Kawabata Makoto—primarily occupy the psych-rock spectrum's noisiest node, where the MC5's Kick Out the Jams, Blue Cheer's Vincebus Eruptum, and side two of the Stooges' Funhouse exist. But they write some incredibly delicate, courtly songs in the French troubadour tradition and show an affinity for beautiful interstellar lullabies, too. Their catalog also includes a tremendous tribute to Terry Riley's minimalist classic In C. Live, however, AMT lean toward the Cosmic Inferno—an occasional appendage to their usual moniker—side of their multiple personalities. When they assume full-on nuclear-war mode, your senses will cry and spasm with overwhelming intensity. It's no fluke that one of their best albums—out of several dozen—is titled Absolutely Freak Out (Zap Your Mind!!). DAVE SEGAL

Lily Allen, Natalie Portman's Shaved Head

(Showbox Sodo) Lily Allen is so good at what she does it's ridiculous. Over her shiny plastic pop—soaked in kiddie ska on her debut and expanded in various directions on the new It's Not Me, It's You—the privileged young Londoner cracks wise (and sometimes even deep) about her young London life, in a sing-songy patter that draws more from Ian Dury and Gilbert & Sullivan than it does from anyone in current pop music. The whole package jells so perfectly you'd imagine Allen was simply the best/luckiest member of a burgeoning sassy, young ska-pop movement, until you attempt to cite artistic precedent and realize that this privileged smart-mouthed Brit chick is an innovator. Tonight brings the Lily Allen Experience to Showbox Sodo, and it should be an impressive collision of glossy backing tracks, self-deprecating stage patter, and, perhaps, boozy, tabloid-worthy shenanigans. (Allen is a gossip-column superstar in the UK.) Still, she's sensible even when she's raging: On the new record, the worst insult she can think to hurl at a prematurely ejaculating boyfriend is "I think you're really mean." DAVID SCHMADER

Tuesday 4/7

JJ Cale

(Triple Door) See preview.

Lamb of God, God Forbid, As I Lay Dying, Children of Bodom

(Paramount) Children of Bodom are a hilarious spectacle. The Finnish fantasy-metal act happily embrace several metal clichés with their flying V guitars, long hair that's perfect for headbanging, and lightning-quick, blistering guitar solos. Secondly, they're not a joke band, but they do have a sense of humor. When they're not playing their own ear-piercing epics, they cover everyone from Poison ("Talk Dirty to Me") to Britney Spears ("Oops... I Did It Again") to Andrew W.K. ("She Is Beautiful"). In a perfect world, they'd release a whole record of their tributes (which is rumored to be in the works), but for now, if we're lucky, they'll unleash a couple during tonight's show. Who knew Britney could sound so rad with the simple addition of some hardcore guitar noodling? MEGAN SELING

Jeremy Jay, Wallpaper

(Sunset) Synthesizers have a lot in common with saxophones in that both instruments can completely suck all the passion out of a song and render it a soulless mockery of human emotion. More power to Jeremy Jay, then: He can take a song riddled with synth—even great, catchy, complex synth work like that of bandmate Ilya Malinsky—and make it more than a Flock of Seagulls parody. The secret, I think, is in Jay's voice: He has a cool, dispassionate delivery that somehow, Vashti Bunyan–like, manages to convey more emotion than a thousand screamo freaks. PAUL CONSTANT

Friendly Fires, White Lies, the Soft Pack

(Neumos) Friendly Fires gulp down the last gasp of this decade's British dance-rock revival and excrete something composed of all the same base materials, highly polished, but just not quite hotter than room temperature. A few of their songs are pleasant enough on the dance floor, and the band have landed some killer remixes (Aeroplane's extension of "Paris," for example), but too much of their self-titled debut just leaves me cold. Also, funk exercise "On Board" cribs Jamie Lidell's "A Little Bit More" so shamelessly that Jim oughta sue (or appeal to a magistrate or whatever they do over there). White Lies, on the other hand, just kind of sound like a British Killers—a band it pains me to have to use as a reference point, but there it is—borrowing Glasvegas's SAD light. They may be more attractive than the Killers, though, if that's your criterion for latching on to rock bands. ERIC GRANDY

Wednesday 4/8

Gui Boratto, Nordic Soul

(Nectar) See Album Review.

Support The Stranger

JJ Cale

(Triple Door) See preview.

The H8rs, DJ Penpointred, MURDER, C.R.I.M.E., Selectorhead Pigeon

(Mercury) Portland's the H8rs are the sound of the happy-hardcore rave going off the rails. Their obviously synthetic machine-gun beats leave gaping wounds in the cheesy pop, hiphop, and club tracks that they shamelessly sample, as they crank up the musical mayhem to absurd adrenaline levels. Spike your Red Bull with Jolt if you want a fighting chance to keep up with the H8rs' tempos. Tonight's show—presented by the benevolent subversives at Backwards Records NW—is also the CD-release party for 100Pieces member MURDER's debut breakcore EP, Burnin Down Yr Bleak Village. The disc's disjointed splatter beats, morbidly obese bass tones, and vigorous tone-rupturing conspire to upend your equilibrium. DAVE SEGAL

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