THURSDAY 12/21

CHRISTINA T., JEAN MANN, DANIEL G. HARMANN
(Skylark) See Rocka Rolla, page 45.

STEEL TIGERS OF DEATH, HEARSEBURNER, GUESTS
(Funhouse) See preview, page 41.

SKULLBOT, ALL TIME HIGH
(Neumo's) The last time I saw Skullbot play, it was in a basement at a house party in the U-District. At the risk of overromanticizing that sordid, chaotic context, I have to say it was one of the more inspiring, unhinged moments I've witnessed watching live music this year (and I'm not just saying that because they covered Mudhoney's "Touch Me I'm Sick" to glorious effect). Continuing to call them stoner rock seems a bit incomplete, as they have a tendency to batter around a melody as well as any committed hard-edged pop act. Regardless, one of the primary things about enjoying this band is recognizing that they are freakishly advanced musicians for their age (they blithely claim beer as an influence on their MySpace page, but I doubt everyone in the band is old enough to buy it), and as long as they keep growing at this rate, they'll conquer the West Coast soon enough. HANNAH LEVIN

FRIDAY 12/22

MARK FARINA, THE LOST BOYS
(Last Supper Club) See preview, page 35.

THE KINSEY SICKS
(Triple Door) See Rocka Rolla, page 45.

SKYLINE DIVIDE, FERAL CHILDREN
(Blue Moon) Feral Children rise from the ruins of one of my old local favorites, Blood Alley Accident (later just Blood Alley), an Eastside all-ages outfit that evoked the vast emptiness of suburbia better than anything I'd heard since The Lonesome Crowded West. Beyond the similar subject matter, the band also shared that album's dirty dissonance and slurred poetry, adding tasteful pianos and something approaching Stephen Malkmus's elliptical mumbling. As Feral Children, the band retain the things which made them so promising in their former incarnation—spacious production; low, wounded vocals; smart arrangements—while inching ever closer to greatness. Though firmly rooted in our regional brand of indie rock, Feral Children's songs occasionally break out to incorporate a little muddy bar balladry or trans-Atlantic mope. ERIC GRANDY

ARGO, STUPORHERO, GUESTS
(Sunset) It's not easy to craft power pop as obscenely hooky and elegantly constructed as Argo's without sounding either overwrought stylistically or undercooked emotionally. Like the methodology employed by apparent influences like Built to Spill, Weezer, or Sunny Day Real Estate, multi-instrumentalists/vocalists Justin Benson and Matt Benham approach songwriting with a natural sense of melody and an effortless grace that should make them much more broadly successful than they currently are. Sell the right song for a Volkswagen commercial and these guys could be huge. HANNAH LEVIN

SATURDAY 12/23

KIMYA DAWSON, ANGELO SPENCER, YOUR HEART BREAKS, THE GIFT MACHINE
(Dearborn House) See preview, page 37.

BOAT, SHAKE SOME ACTION, PATIENCE PLEASE
(Crocodile) At first listen, Boat might come off like that weird kid in your art class who was either slightly retarded (but awkwardly charming) or just so lost in being goofy that he honestly didn't catch on that he might be blowing people's minds with his craziness. For proof, I offer a bundle of my favorite quirky lyrics from their most recent release, Songs That You Might Not Like (which is really good, by the way): "I've got ninjas sitting on a couch in my room"; "Cruising in a minivan, we destroyed your best friend's noise-rock band"; "I'm a beast in a middle-school choir; I don't sing straight. No I don't even try anymore"; and finally, "I'll sing you songs that you might not like at all!" Good, right? Even better set to their indie-rock carnival soundtrack. MEGAN SELING

DAN DEACON, ALEXIS, KAZU
(Gallery 1412) Until recently, local singer, guitarist, and composer Kazu Nomura was primarily occupied with his playing-with-blocks improvised music trio, Na. With both of his Na companions now residing in distant lands, Kazu has begun performing solo with more consistency and more artistic intention, initially staying primarily in the mode of jazz and performance-art-tainted improv, but recently with more of a focus on composed songs. His newest combine deft, beautiful, bossa-nova-like compositions with child-sweet/drug-addled lyrics in English, sometimes reminiscent of Deerhoof at their most unflinchingly innocent. Furthermore, he is a performer of embracing and insinuating energy, whose shows achieve levels of unfettered intimacy and humor rare in these northwestern climes. SAM MICKENS See also preview, page 41.

THE CAPILLARIES
(O Lounge) Prior to the moment I sat down to write this paragraph, I could count the minutes I've spent listening to the Capillaries on my fingers. But, a recent jaunt to their MySpace page (which is a savior whenever I can't find CDs or demos on this mess of a desk of mine) rewarded me with an earful of sweet pop that made me wonder why I had been ignoring them as long as I have. "Maybe Someday" has a vague Smoking Popes—versus—the Beatles melody that's anchored by rising oohs and a strong circa-1960 bass line. "Don't Make Me" is more Posies-esque, and "Moving to Waterloo" is their blatant power-pop moment, still with some Posies flavor. Also influential, according to their website: Superdrag, Elvis Costello, and Guided by Voices. MEGAN SELING

RAY PARKER JR.
(Paramount) Despite Ray Parker Jr.'s absolutely legit and well-bedrocked credentials as an R&B session man and songwriter (as a very young man he was a sesh guitarist for the brilliant Motown songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland, and he toured and recorded with Stevie Wonder), there is really only one musical moment that defines him in my mind and, no doubt, in the minds of many Americans. Motherfucking "Ghostbusters." Though one can easily attack the song as a trifle, a song intended for movie background that should never have been catapulted to number-one-single status, its tightly ratcheted pop-funk ebullience makes it inarguably at least the second-best song yielded by the Ghostbusters franchise. (The first, of course, being Bobby Brown's "On Our Own.") SAM MICKENS

FLOOD THE VOID, THE FORMAL, THE URGENCY, SUNDERLYN, LOST AUTUMN GYPSY
(Showbox) Known as Hogan's Alley before a June name change, Flood the Void combine metallic technicality with colossal hooks and tuneful (but not wussy) vocals. It's an attractive compromise for people who appreciate heavy riffs and dual-guitar harmonies but can't tolerate gruff shouts, as well as for Foo Fighters fans who find their heroes ingratiating but wish they'd provide more headbanging fodder. On the Seattle-based band's self-titled EP, released this summer, singer Brian Fleischman sustains a clarion delivery without sacrificing intensity, and drummer Spencer Boyer embellishes his rhythms with progressive flourishes. Both of these traits recall Tool, but Flood the Void diverge from modern metal's most influential implement in terms of bass and guitar approaches (chugging and atmospheric shimmering instead of oblique patterns). ANDREW MILLER

SUNDAY 12/24

TY BAILIE
(EMP LOBBY) Versatile and limber, jazz-inflected and funky, straight-up rock 'n' roll—Ty Bailie can play pretty much anything. During the past year and a half, he has risen to prominence as Robb Benson's secret weapon in the indie-rock outfit Dept. of Energy. He can also be found in local prog/math freakout group Ego Band USA, where he does the stuff music-nerd dreams are made of. But where does one go to hear Bailie lay out holiday standards and entertain requests while seated at a grand piano? Every weekend in December (except for the last), from 11 am—3 pm, Bailie will be at the EMP, making your attempts to entertain visiting relatives that much easier. He'll play a Christmas carol for your mom, and then "Paranoid Android," just for you. MATT GARMAN

MONDAY 12/25

You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot—"Merry Christmas," your ass, I pray God it's our last.

TUESDAY 12/26

BURDFUR IS GREEN FEATHERS, KINOKO, GREG SKIDMORE, ELECTROSECT
(Baltic Room) Tonight the oft-adventurous Oscillate weekly welcomes Burdfur Is Green Feathers (AKA ex-Fuzzhead vocalist/keyboardist William Finsel and guitarist Tom Ojendyk, formerly of the Intelligence and Catahoula Hounds). These guys push a murky, swirling psychedelia that's electronic but powered by an analog-centric soulfulness instead of the more common plugins. (Finsel says his Korg and Roland gear is state of the art—for 1982.) If you need reference points for Burdfur's music, think the cryptic, elliptical oscillations of the Residents and Dymaxion. Burdfur handcraft their slithering, disorienting emissions into distinctive tone poems that make the most (non)sense while experienced under altered states. DAVE SEGAL

WEDNESDAY 12/27

RACHEL HARRINGTON, PAUL BENOIT, ZAK BORDEN
(Nectar) Rachel Harrington's twangy, gospel-trained voice and slow-waltzing backdrops sound so authentic that she can get away with starting a song, "1846, the year that I was born." The Eugene native also convincingly inhabits hard-bitten male characters, whether wooing women ("Sunshine girl, shed your sweet light on this moonshine boy") or vowing revenge after being railroaded. Her voice cracks delicately and decoratively during poignant ballads, soaring above gingerly plucked guitar and mandolin strings, and demonstrates flinty resolve during the bluegrass numbers, with their jaunty, jug-band-style bass lines. When Harrington's full-length debut The Bootlegger's Daughter, featuring Mississippi John Hurt and Laura Veirs covers as well as the aforementioned "1846" number, appears in early 2007, uninitiated alt-country connoisseurs will wonder how she made it 161 years without capturing their attention. ANDREW MILLER

PLEASUREBOATERS, FLEE THE CENTURY, THE RED FERN
(High Dive) I can't really say enough good things about the Pleasureboaters, and honestly, anyone who gives two shits about the quality of local punk rock owes it to themselves to check these guys out. Channeling the swagger of the Stooges and punching with the strength of proto-garage heroes like the Sonics and the U-Men, the Pleasureboaters are one of those bands that are so spastic, uncontrived, and talented that my only fear is that they're too good to last—and if I jinxed them with that last statement, then I apologize in advance. HANNAH LEVIN

MORE

SCHOOLYARD HEROES, THE DIVORCE, SIRENS SISTER: Fri Dec 29, El Corazón

JEREMY ENIGK, WILD SWEET ORANGE, GUESTS: Sat—Sun Dec 30—31, Chop Suey

THE MELVINS, BIG BUSINESS: Sunday Dec 31, Showbox

3 INCHES OF BLOOD, ZEKE, BOOK OF BLACK EARTH, PLASTER: Sun Dec 31, El Corazón

HARVEY DANGER, "AWESOME": Sun Dec 31, Crocodile

JAMES MERCER, ERIC BACHMANN, JOEL RL PHELPS: Sat Jan 6, Neumo's

INCUBUS, ALBERT HAMMOND JR.: Sat Jan 6, Paramount

MY MORNING JACKET: Mon Jan 8, Moore

BOBBY BARE JR.: Fri—Sat Jan 12—13, Sunset

STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS: Fri Jan 19, Neumo's

Support The Stranger

G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE, MATT COSTA: Tues—Wed Jan 23—24, Showbox

KEANE: Tues Jan 30, Paramount

LUPE FIASCO: Wed Jan 31, HUB at UW

THE ROOTS: Sat Feb 3, Showbox

ALL THAT REMAINS, MISERY SIGNALS, THE HUMAN ABSTRACT: Wed Feb 7, El Corazón

OF MONTREAL, ENON: Fri Feb 9, Showbox