Ben Von Wildenhaus, Angelo Spencer et les Hauts Sommets, Baltic Cousins, Jon Sampson
(Black Lodge) See preview.
Chrononauts, Guntown, Evander Brolyfield
(Rat and Raven) Guntown Mountain is an Old West–style "fun family attraction" just off I-65 in Cave City, Kentucky, that includes a re-creation of one of Jesse James's most famous gunfights, a "haunted" hotel, and black-light mini golf. Guntown, the three-piece power-pop, post-punk band, come from the Old Western town of San Francisco. They have a song called "Jaime Burrito," and their Bandcamp page has a mean-looking cactus wearing a red bandanna and holding a six-shooter. Has Guntown ever played at Guntown Mountain? I don't know! But, fellas, YOU SHOULD! KELLY O
(Tractor) See Stranger Suggests.
Skream and Benga, Artwork, Alvin Risk, Hijak, SGT Pokes
Yppah, Anomie Belle, Surrealized
(Chop Suey) Yppah (aka Long Beach–based multi-instrumentalist/producer Joe Corrales Jr.) is one of those rare Americans who record for England's venerable Ninja Tune label. On his new full-length, Eighty One, he constructs moving electro-organic instrumentals not too different from those of celebrated veteran Ninja Tune acts like Cinematic Orchestra and Bonobo. Yppah creates the illusion of leading a full band (perhaps one produced by orchestral-funk genius David Axelrod and enamored of shoegaze rock), but Eighty One consists only of his handiwork, along with exquisite parts on four tracks by classically trained Seattle violinist/vocalist Anomie Belle. Should be a grand(iose) night. DAVE SEGAL
(Jazz Alley) En Vogue's second album, Funky Divas, was a multiplatinum success in 1992, packed with radio hits and accompanying glory-days MTV videos. "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" and "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" featured the Oakland quartet singing perfect harmonies and exploding with sex appeal in silver and red dresses, while the "Free Your Mind" video showed them wylin' out and belting female-empowerment lyrics over rock-guitar riffs. It was all very badass, but Dawn Robinson, lead singer on many of these hits, is not on this tour. However, it should still be cool to see the rest of the original lineup perform some classics with a live three-piece band. MIKE RAMOS
Kelly Clarkson, Matt Nathanson
(ShoWare Center) I will go ahead and admit right now that in writing this preview, I have researched and intentionally listened to Kelly Clarkson for the first time in my life. Here are three things I have learned: (1) She won American Idol in the summer of 2002. (2) After an initial attempt to make it in Hollywood, she returned to her hometown of Burleson, Texas, and took jobs at a movie theater, promoting Red Bull, and as a cocktail server. (3) Mike Watt did some guest work on her 2007 record, My December. GRANT BRISSEY
Michael Gira, Sir Richard Bishop
(Triple Door) Michael Gira's mellowed since his heaven-lowering days with the early incarnation of Swans. He'd likely be dead if he hadn't. But even in his 50s, Gira projects a stoic badassness, even if it's more in the vein of sparse, Jandek-ian anti-troubadourism than it is the apocalyptic noisemongering of his '80s-era actions. His new album, The Milk of M. Gira, finds him in declamatory yet sensitive mode, somewhere between Phil Ochs and Leonard Cohen. Sir Richard Bishop is a nimble-fingered eclectic guitar virtuoso who can dazzle you with many European, Arabic, African, Asian, and American idioms—and hellish noise, if the spirit takes him. DAVE SEGAL
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
Magma Fest: White Rainbow, Katie Kate, Metal Chocolates, Side Pony
(20/20 Cycle) A few of the Northwest's premier young producers will be setting it off in this small CD bike shop. Adam Forkner's solo project White Rainbow has long been supplying trippy, ambient, combination electronic/live-instrumentals, but his recently released Infinity Beat Tape is a reminder of Forkner's hiphop influences. Katie Kate's entirely self-produced and rapped Flatland is still finding new listeners almost six months after its initial release, and Metal Chocolates' MC/producer/DJ OC Notes' versatile production styles have helped make their April 2011 self-titled a modern local classic. Catch all of them here for free. MIKE RAMOS
(Neptune) Kronos is a string quartet—hey, wake up!—that's been doing strange stuff for nearly 40 years. (Trivia: While they're based in San Francisco and associated with that city's freaky experimentalism, violinist David Harrington founded Kronos in 1973 here in Seattle.) They've played everything from Shostakovich—hey, wake up!—to Ornette Coleman to Jimi Hendrix, along the way commissioning more than 750 new works and arrangements for string quartet. (Trivia: Payment for the first commission was a bag of doughnuts.) Tonight at the Neptune, they play Omar Souleyman, Laurie Anderson, and more. You will not fall asleep. BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT
Lozen, Shrouded Strangers
(Comet) You already love the brutal and beautiful sounds of Helms Alee (I mean, right? I hope!). Now make some room on your record shelf for Lozen. The noisy Seattle-based duo features HA drummer Hozoji Matheson-Margullis on guitar and Justine Maria Valdez on drums, and their songs—with dueling vocals, fuzzy guitar, and pounding drumming—will definitely appeal to fans of Helms and Shellac. The band hasn't released anything since 2009's Oona (which you can hear at www.ruralwolf.bandcamp.com), but those of you already in the Lozen fan base will be happy to hear there are plans to release their follow-up, Para Vida, very soon on their own label, Silent Queef (which, as far as I'm concerned, gets the Record Label Name of the Year award). MEGAN SELING
The Robert Glasper Experiment featuring Bilal, Fly Moon Royalty, Parker X and Lace Cadence, J-Justice
(Neumos) First: Bilal is one of the illest, pimpin'est soul singers out there. If you have not heard his voice before, begin, I beg you, with "For You," which is produced by Dr. Dre. As for Robert Glasper, a jazz pianist, his musical genius resolves jazz, hiphop, and neo-soul into one smooth and limpid stream of sound. If you are not familiar with his work, and you probably are but do not know it (he has worked with Common, J Dilla, Erykah Badu and Jay-Z), a great place to start is his version of Sade's "Cherish the Day." Who knew you could squeeze even more beauty out of that already very beautiful tune? Robert Glasper makes music for a black race that has been to space and back. CHARLES MUDEDE
Hunx and His Punx, Grave Babies, Heavy Cream, Tacocat
(Crocodile) I got Seth Bogart, aka Hunx, on the horn to ask him if there is gonna be anything special at this Friday night show. "Live tigers and blowjobs!" he replied. Now, I can see some Siegfried & Roy–style tiger action being possible, but BLOWJOBS? I called Hardly Art, Hunx's record label, to confirm. Publicist Jason Baxter begged me not to talk—to ruin the surprise—and instead hoped I'd tell you that this is the first of several showcase concerts of bands on the Hardly Art roster to celebrate the label's fifth anniversary. Aha! Everyone knows the best way to celebrate any anniversary is with blowjobs! KELLY O
Dreamtone: Mono/Poly, DJAO, Jon François, Ozma Otacava, Al Nightlong, Triceratop, Rap Class
(Vermillion) See Data Breaker.
Of Montreal, Deerhoof, Kishi Bashi
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
Magma Fest: King Tears Bat Trip, Figeater, WA, T'th & Hare
(Chapel Performance Space) See Underage.
Dancin' for Hansen: DJs Mars One, Sosa, Pho Sho, Miguel Rockwell
(Radar Hair & Records) Several months ago, beloved Radar Hair & Records co-owner Betsy Hansen was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and she's been in a tough fight ever since. Tonight, the shop is throwing a dance event to raise funds to help Betsy continue the fight. #DANCECULT DJs will be on hand spinning for this '80s-themed costume party (costume optional), and beer, wine, champagne, hot dogs (with vegan options), and other food are all available for donations. Alternately, you can donate to Betsy's cause here: betsyhansenfund.chipin.com/betsy-hansen-cancer-fund. Power on, Betsy. GRANT BRISSEY
African Music Night: Anokye Agofomma, Sol Afrique
(Royal Room) When I asked one of the owners of the Royal Room, Steve Freeborn (the other two are Tia Matthies and Wayne Horvitz), if the club would be devoted to jazz, I was told it would be open to other kinds of music. I, of course, took this to mean: We will have rock shows. Why? Because rock is so popular in this town. You must imagine my surprise to learn that the Royal Room not only started an African Music Night, but that night is on Saturday. Tonight, Anokye Agofomma, a drumming ensemble that's led by Yaw Amponsah, a Ghanaian, and Sol Afrique, a band that plays the sounds of urban Africa, are jamming and hoping to get your back up off the wall: "Mama-say mama-sah..." CHARLES MUDEDE
White Rabbits, Gull
(Crocodile) In 2012 Brooklyn, plenty of bands surely sound like White Rabbits: agreeably tuneful, handy (footy?) with guitar pedals, rhythmically tough, accessibly yet edgy dance rock for on-top-of-it twentysomethings. Their new album, Milk Famous, flits by with a handful of semi-memorable melodies that will not impede your shopping errands or disrupt your coding session. Sorry if this sounds like damning with faint praise. White Rabbits, who originate from Columbia, Missouri, have some interesting, dissonant guitar textures and hummable tunes, and they're far superior to the Strokes and Interpol and their disciples. But something about this group strikes an overly contrived note. I bet they have stylists. DAVE SEGAL
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
Claps and Slaps Tour: Black Milk, J.Pinder, A.Dd+
(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests.
Queer Adult Rock Camp Showcase: Secret Shoppers, Tender Forever, Fucking Dyke Bitches
(Chop Suey) See The Homosexual Agenda.
Sharon Van Etten, the War on Drugs
(Neptune) It's been a big year for New-York-by-way-of-New-Jersey singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten and her chilling songs of sorrow and resolve, and it's been a big year for her latest label, Jagjaguwar, which signed her at last year's SXSW. Since then, Van Etten released Tramp (produced by the National's Aaron Dessner), built up a reputation for stunning and delicate shows, and received accolades in the press. Also, she plays the Omnichord and harmonium, the latter of which is like a stationary accordion. Van Etten's young and has a promising career ahead of her. GRANT BRISSEY
Lucero, the Drowning Men
(Neumos) Breaking news: Lucero's new album, Women & Work, features Southern barroom rock songs about women, ghosts, and drinking. There's slide guitar, there are horns. There's a high-energy love song about a woman with a kiss like lightning and a weepy, self-deprecating tune about the one who got away. Hunky singer Ben Nichols says the words "baby," "darlin'," "honey," and "drink" over and over again. Women & Work is everything that every Lucero record has been before. But goddamn if I don't fall for it each time. MEGAN SELING
Lou-Lou, Bath Party, So Pitted
(Comet) Portland's Bath Party somehow manage to make surf rock not sound kitschy, an amazing feat that should net them an opening slot on a future Dick Dale tour. Not sure how they do it, but Bath Party make this old genre sound vital rather than like museumy nostalgia bait; check their phenomenal track "Black Hole Blues" for proof. Locals Lou-Lou have carved out a distinctive niche in Seattle's underground music milieu; their handmade, lo-fi recordings have slithered among IDM, hiphop, and electro pop with baffling dexterity, like a Northwest Quintron or Residents. Every Lou-Lou release and show is an adventure. DAVE SEGAL
Young Jeezy, Fatal Lucciauno
(Neptune) See My Philosophy.
Bad for Jazz #14: Brain Fruit, White Leopards, Dracula Spacecraft, Gerald Stokes
(Black Lodge) See Underage.
(Easy Street Records, Queen Anne) THEESatisfaction deserve all the hype they've been accruing. Their debut album proper for Sub Pop, awE naturalE, drops today, and it's destined to be one of the best specimens of 206 hiphop in 2012; Cat and Stas have proved themselves to be as idiosyncratic musically as their buds/labelmates Shabazz Palaces. THEESatisfaction's tracks mercurially and smoothly traverse soul, girl-group pop, avant jazz, fusion, and funk while the duo's voices alluringly and authoritatively weave through the productions. So many good vibes and smart words transmit from their minds to yours. DAVE SEGAL See also preview.
Poor Moon, Lost in the Trees, Low Hums
(Tractor) "We're a band," Low Hums state on their Facebook page, and such matter-of-factness aptly conveys the spirit of their stark, unmaudlin folk rock. For a quick hit of what Low Hums lay down, check "Lightning, pass on by," an instant classic of subtly ominous songcraft. Unlike many local folkcentric groups, Low Hums imbue their music with hints of danger and darkness, which makes a welcome change from the prevalent milquetoastiness. Named after a righteous Canned Heat song, Poor Moon—led by Fleet Foxes' Christian Wargo and filled out by fellow Fox Casey Wescott and the Christmas Cards' Ian and Peter Murray—strip things down to a humble hush on Illusion, their debut EP for Sub Pop. It is pleasant, feather-light folk pop that makes me think of Art Garfunkel's 1960s hair. DAVE SEGAL