THURSDAY 1/4

SNEAKY THIEVES, THE LEVITATIONS, THE WESTERN STATES, WHITING TENNIS
(Comet) Seattle's the Levitations do country-tinged rock with enough herk 'n' jerk to pull an unready audience into a potentially unsightly dance-floor clusterfuck. Think Between the Buttons—era Stones, but with a singer who's a better drinker than braggart and a lead guitarist who probably wonders why the Small Faces weren't at least a little bigger in the States. Their songs demonstrate an adept ability to capitalize on a minimalist country aesthetic that's fortified by both subtle punk information and tuneful riffs. GRANT BRISSEY

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APE CITY R&B, SUPER DESTROYERS, THE BILL COLLECTORS, THE PATHOGENS
(Funhouse) It's safe to say that Ape City R&B haven't exactly reinvented punk or garage rock, but c'mon dude, what do you really want from a band that unabashedly includes a genre reference in their name? If you're really that bummed about it, you probably have a blog where you rant aimlessly about a bunch of other stuff that your friends pretend to agree with. Pretty much anyone's gonna have a hard time claiming Ape City don't deploy a respectable amalgamation of just a few of the things punk rock has always done best: volume, speed, and real catchy hooks. And anyone who recognizes the uncontrived visceral energy of bands like the Black Lips or New Luck Toy is totally not reading your blog anyway—they'll be too busy getting drunk and dancing belligerently at this show. GRANT BRISSEY

FRIDAY 1/5

Head Like a Kite, Hypatia Lake, the Prids
(Chop Suey) See Rocka Rolla

THE RUBY DOE MADRASO, HOLLYWOOD LIGHTWEIGHTS
(Crocodile) See Rocka Rolla

VINDALOO, EVERYDAY HEIRS, SPARROWS, DIOSA
(Blue Moon) I originally liked Vindaloo simply because they reminded me that I need to go out for Indian food more often, but luckily the quality of their material elicits much more than hunger pangs in me now. Skating precariously close to fret-burning wankmanship, the Loo avoid sounding like caricatures by flexing the sheer muscle rippling through their rhythm section and capitalizing on the sardonic, slyly sexy delivery of frontman Ben Harwood. They are hoping to head into the studio with iconic producer Jack Endino sometime soon, a logical pairing that could take them to the next level in the local rock hierarchy. HANNAH LEVIN

BLUE LIGHT CURTAIN, JOY WANTS ETERNITY, CAVES, RED MARTIAN
(Comet) Ten dollars says Blue Light Curtain were paying attention to the winter's recent dark days and pissing rain, because much like favorite repetitive guitar riffers/effects pedal enthusiasts My Bloody Valentine (or any other band that has helped you survive a midwinter breakup), this Seattle trio captures the mood of our city's gray life pretty damn well. Hopefully their set tonight will be a hair too loud for the meek; earplugs will only cheapen the experience. GRANT BRISSEY

THE QUIET ONES, LAKE OF FALCONS, VICTORY SMOKES, OPEN CHOIR FIRE
(Lobo) It's difficult, nay, impossible not to think that some of the Quiet Ones' songs are really long lost and unpolished first takes from Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot recording sessions—gems that were maybe beloved by Jeff Tweedy, but with their slightly noisier spine didn't completely fit in with the gentle flow of the highly revered record. Singer John Totten carefully delivers his words with the same mix of worn-down heartbreak and singing-will-save-me optimism that one can hear in Tweedy's voice, and their bright and slightly distorted indie rock by way of catchy pop sounds like it was created with as much care as any months-long visit in the studio, but the punk rock side of them won out in the end, causing them to bare their hearts in the less-than-perfect basement instead. MEGAN SELING

LLAMA, THE TRIPWIRES, LUND BROS.
(Tractor) Llama's self-titled debut album (produced by the legendary Kurt Bloch) was one of the best local releases of 2006, humbly exemplifying power pop's hallmarks: crisp, taut rhythmic rock with a hummable melody, giving exactly the right amount at the right moment, no more and no less. Rusty Willoughby's songwriting has become so accomplished, so effortlessly satisfying and good, and it's no wonder: He once fronted both Flop and Pure Joy, has played solo in between, and has generally been perfecting his skills for 20 years. Scott Sutherland (ex-Model Rockets) produces McCartney-esque bass runs while Jim Hunnicutt (the Paul Lynde Fan Club and ex-Pure Joy) is the best kind of drummer: in the pocket and unshakable. MATT GARMAN

SATURDAY 1/6

JAMES MERCER, ERIC BACHMANN
(Neumo's) See Stranger Suggests.

THE BLAKES, SPOOK THE HORSE, PARTMAN PARTHORSE, THE VOMITING UNICORNS
(High Dive) It's a good thing they now have taxi stands in Fremont, because this is one of those bills that will provoke unplanned, heavy drinking in even the most disciplined individuals. The Vomiting Unicorns offer more than the slap-dash novelty their name implies—Josh Ayala and his bandmates spin their psychedelic pop with a strong thread of conviction and gleeful buoyancy. If their opening act doesn't prompt you to order superfluous shots, then the Blakes surely will. The melodic chaos they deliver is utterly addictive, particularly for anyone who longs for a time when it was still acceptable to admit loving the Strokes. HANNAH LEVIN

TEAM AWESOME!, TERRORDACTYLS, SHORTHAND FOR EPIC, THE ORCATEERS
(The Wizard House, 7017 15th Ave NE) Here are three reasons to love the Terrordactyls' 80.5% Magic EP: (1) The cover boasts a scribbled and not-to-scale pie diagram, where the quirky little pop duo from Olympia breaks themselves into seven parts—2 percent music, 4 percent dinosaurs, 3 percent fighting bears, 3 percent coffee, 5 percent greed, 5 percent being real, and 80.5 percent magic. Apparently, as a whole, they total 102.5 percent. They're that magical. (2) On the inside of the CD's cardboard sleeve is a picture of the handsome young men, Tyrel and Michael, playing with plastic dinosaurs. One of them, I think it's Michael, seems to be trying to bite the head åoff a Tyrannosaurus rex. Or maybe it's an Allosaurus. (3) The music—acoustic pop with a little twee attitude—is just as good and charming as the packaging. Case in point: The song "Melaena," a slow tune about a birthday girl who's not having a good time, contains the line "Melaena, what's the matter? Birthdays make you gladder not more sadder." MEGAN SELING

SUNDAY 1/7

There's not a lot going on, so you should just stay home and meditate on the impending awesomeness of tomorrow night's My Morning Jacket show.

MONDAY 1/8

MY MORNING JACKET
(Moore) See preview and Stranger Suggests.

TUESDAY 1/9

KENNY GARRETT
(Jazz Alley) Despite his impressive, youthful tenure in the latter-day bands of Miles Davis, the musical thread Garrett has most directly taken up is that of the great end-of-the-line modal jazz of the mid '60s, just before the waves of totally non-idiomatic free improvisation came crashing in to wash away the sand castles of jazz tradition. The greatest artist of this period, and the greatest touchstone for Garrett's consistently great work, is John Coltrane and his brilliant bands of the period, which featured equally momentous artists like Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner (to whom Garrett's latest record, 2006's Beyond The Wall, is dedicated) and Pharoah Sanders (who appears on the bulk of the new album). SAM MICKENS

THE ASSAILANT, PLEASUREBOATERS, THIS FLOOD COVERS THE EARTH
(Camp Nowhere) The guitars don't glimmer, they pound and scream; the vocals don't soar, they tear and scare—but still the Assailant's heavy hardcore breakdowns aren't mushed-together compositions of all that is harsh (a route many bands mistakenly take in the songwriting process), they're actually very careful and concise. Think metal-tinged more than math-tinged, though. Colera, their most recent release on Roam Plow, bludgeons your head with layers of piercing guitar and brain-flooding bass and drums. But (and especially after seeing the band live), the most notable characteristic of the Assailant's music is the amount of vein-popping passion poured into each song, which is actually quite an amazing (and rare) thing to see from a hardcore band, since most "hardcore" musicians seem to just want to shred and destroy. The Assailant, though, they really mean what they play, and rarely does brutality ever mix this successfully with beauty. MEGAN SELING

WEDNESDAY 1/10

KENNY GARRETT
(Jazz Alley) See Tuesday.

Support The Stranger

NIGHT OF 1,000 BENATARS (PAT BENATAR COVER NIGHT): DUDLEY MANLOVE QUARTET, KIM VIRANT, THE SUN-UPS, EVERYDAY JONES
(Sunset) It's pretty easy to associate Pat Benatar with her latter-day roles as an Emerald Queen Casino headliner and provider of pro sports soundtracks (she'll probably be able to retire on the royalties she gets from every NFL use of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" alone), but revisit the deep tracks on her back catalog and you may be surprised how well it holds up. 1981's Precious Time and her hard-bitten 1979 debut, In the Heat of the Night, are particularly resilient collections of passionate hard rock. I'm having a hard time envisioning what the Dudley Manlove Quartet is going to do with her material, but I have no doubt that Kim Virant can kick out a killer version of "Heartbreaker." HANNAH LEVIN

JUANITA FAMILY & FRIENDS, THE BEAUTIFUL CLARKS, PELUSA
(Tractor) Juanita Family & Friends is the considerably mellower endeavor of Last of the Juanitas' bassist Lana Rebel. Far from Last of the Juanitas' complicated noise rock battery, Family and Friends instead provides a medium for Rebel's interest in (old) country music goodness. Backed by like-minded folks including Last of the Juanitas' John Schier and Federation X guitarist Ben Wildenhaus, Rebel delivers effortless ballads that emanate melancholy and hope. Shows are intimate events where the audience often seems like part of the family. GRANT BRISSEY

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