TALKDEMONIC, BIRD SHOW OF NORTH AMERICA, BRONZE FAWN
(Crocodile) The legacy of Portland's music scene seems to be slipping farther and farther from rock and roll, and Talkdemonic's rising popularity is a clear example. Beat Romantic, the band's sophomore album on Arena Rock Records, sustains a delicate balance between organic chamber folk and laid-back electronica. The addition of coaxing stringstress Lisa Molinaro to the former solo project has gifted warm, acoustic regality to Kevin O'Connor's already sophisticated musical vision. Like many of Post Rock's progeny, Talkdemonic's choice to go down the instrumental road can put a bit of a drag on the proceedings, but that's when O'Connor calls in his secret weapon: mad drum skills. Onstage, when the multi-instrumentalist gets behind the kit, his energetic finesse stirs up the pools of ambient euphony into a deep, satisfying boil. JOSH BLANCHARD
FACTUMS, SABOTEURS, DUCHESSES, DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND
(Artworks, 619 Western Ave) Featuring members of San Diego performance-art punk band Business Lady and Abortion Camp, Duchesses are truly postpunk; they quite literally employ and embody an ethos that punk is for children, and Duchesses are most certainly grown-ass women. While generally/ostensibly/aesthetically they label themselves as a black-metal band, they are most accurately a part of the current forest of bands that have moved beyond the lines of the most extreme metal and reintegrated with other strains of rock DNA. At times, they recall the roiling foghorn drama of Thrones, the proactive spaz ostinatos of Lightning Bolt, and, yes, the Goblinesque vocals of Death. They are, as their name suggests, regal yet debauched rulers of modern West Coast heavy music. SAM MICKENS
CANCER RISING, NITE OWLS, MURDER DICE
(Comet) Finally—a hiphop show at the Vomit! I mean, the Comet. I love, love, love seeing shows here—bands right on the floor, right in your face. Be sure to get there in time to see Oldominion's newest hotshots, the Nite Owls, comprising Seattle's premier beat-builder, Mr. Hill; rapper and comedian Barfly; and now, just added, Sir Gatsby from Cancer Rising. The self-titled Nite Owls disc is one of my absolute favorites from 2006. I can only imagine that the addition of rappin' by Gatsby is going to make them pretty much invincible in '07. And since all the fun hiphop shows always seem to be in the South End, downtown, or Fremont, all you Capitol Hillbilly heads really need to stumble over to 922 E Pike and check this out. This year, we need more Mr. Hill in Capitol Hill—we really, really do. Whoop! KELLY O
HERMAN JOLLY OF SUNSET VALLEY, BRENT AMAKER AND THE RODEO, DIRTY BIRDS
(Jules Maes) Like Robyn Hitchcock, former Sunset Valley frontman (and current Seattle resident) Herman Jolly has a knack for writing wonderfully off-kilter yet oddly beautiful pop songs—the kind that are so distinctive they'd sound strange and slightly forced coming from anyone else, but fit his faintly cracked voice and tilted worldview to a T. He's returned to performing under his own name after disbanding his short-lived project Lake Society (although he's joined onstage by a rhythm section) and he's got a new album coming out really soon, so hopefully '07 will see this talented feller get the recognition he deserves. BARBARA MITCHELL
WELCOME, THE CAN'T SEE, SICK BEES
(Crocodile) See preview, page 31.
KRAKT: DJ RECESS, JUSTIN BYRNES, TEKGNOSIS, KRISTINA CHILDS, MC ANTON BOMB
(Re-bar) See Data Breaker, page 45.
ENDLESS GREY, TEMPEREDCAST, MIDST OF AUTUMN, FUTURE FOSSILS
(El Corazon, early) Last September, Endless Grey cut ties with guitarist Ryan Dufendach. On Saturday, the group officially bids farewell to bassist Little Ben, whose robust bass lines gave the band's goth-pop tunes their dance-floor groove. With all this parting, it's no wonder the Seattle-based quintet specializes in sweet sorrow, expressed through symphonic synthesizers and lush, atmospheric melodies. While Endless Grey's influences are almost exclusively European, singer Darin Wrigley demonstrates refreshing restraint by failing to affect a British accent while dramatically intoning his elegantly depressive lyrics. After this performance, it will be the fans' turn to mourn, as Endless Grey begins a four- to six-month hiatus from live shows. Their debut disc, tentatively titled The Addition of Strangeness to Beauty, should appear during that interim, making the absence easier to bear. ANDREW MILLER
THE COPS, THE OLD HAUNTS, THE HANDS,
(Tractor) Goddamn! The Hands just might be the perfect soundtrack for the worst day ever—screaming hardcore just makes the headache worse and that melancholy shit is for babies. So maybe today sucked, maybe everything went wrong (or at least nothing went right)... well get ye to the Tractor and let the Hands make you shout and shake your ass back into Feelgood City. It's straight up rock and roll with a little bit '60s, a little bit garage, a whole lot catchy, and all kinds of fast. And if the Hands can make you feel that good after feeling oh so bad, imagine what they'll do to your insides if you hit the dance floor already beaming! Prepare for a full-on eargasm, my friends. Just sayin'. MEGAN SELING
(Neumo's) See preview, page 29.
ROB DICKINSON, PAUL HIRAGA
(Tractor) While former Catherine Wheel frontman Rob Dickinson's newly released solo material doesn't boast the same cathartic mid-'90s energy as his work in the beloved former band, his most important musical contribution—his voice—is still gorgeously showcased against a pretty tapestry of guitar, drums, and piano that's dynamic in its own right. During his lengthy live sets, he, of course, showcases a good amount of material from his debut solo full-length, Fresh Wine for the Horses, but he's also smart enough (and perhaps appreciative of the material himself) to know that his fans have a favorite or two in CW's back catalog. At a previous Seattle appearance, the crowd was so appreciative of his presence, they enthusiastically cheered before and after every song. "This is such an ego trip being up here, it really is," he laughed in response. The crowd just cheered him on more and to thank them he played "Eat My Dust You Insensitive Fuck." The room filled with excited screams, and rightfully so—it's a great fucking song. MEGAN SELING
GOOD FOR COWS, MARY HALVORSON/JESSICA PAVONE, EYVIND KANG
(Gallery 1412) See preview, page 33.
CONRAD FORD, AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR, KELLI HANSON
(Tractor) Seattle's Conrad Ford put out a debut release, Don't You Miss Yourself, on local label Tarnished Records just last year, and if you weren't paying attention, its understated alt-country-twinged melancholia might have slipped past you. Andy McAllister's raspy and reedy vocals will draw inevitable comparisons to the Eels, but hey, since when was that a bad thing? And speaking of elegant yet tragically overlooked releases, Kelli Hanson's 2005 release, Lullaby for an Astronaut, was likewise swoon worthy, featuring a feast of diverse yet delightfully cohesive tunes. Since Hanson has relocated from Seattle to San Francisco, make sure you catch her in town while you can. DANA BOS
PLANES MISTAKEN FOR STARS, AKIMBO, LAHAR, ABSENCE OF GRACE
(Hell's Kitchen, Tacoma) Akimbo drummer Nat Damm is damn near one of the best drummers in this city. He hits the skins like a beast, but with the precision of a metronome. His timing is impeccable, his energy unmatchable, and his uncontrolled mop of curly hair absolutely unfuckwitable. Alternative Tentacles no doubt recognized Damm's skills and Akimbo's mind-blowing wall of crushing hardcore, as the label plans to release the band's 2002 debut full-length, Harshing Your Mellow, next month. (Not only is it a pretty stellar album, but it's got one of the best record titles in history, especially fitting for Akimbo.) The new pressing has been remastered by Ed Brooks, and, along with new art, it'll also include a cover of the Screamers' song "Vertigo." In other Akimbo news, singer and bassist Jon Weisnewski celebrated the holiday season by getting the word "Eggnog" tattooed on his forearm (photo available at www.myspace.com/akimbo), which is both hilarious and awesome. That shit better not be fake. MEGAN SELING
THE LIARS CLUB,THE GLASSES, VALU-PAK
(Crocodile) Paul Beaudry, former co-frontman of Bellingham-based popsters Five Gears in Reverse, has never been musically satisfied with a single outlet, leaving him to frequently experiment with numerous sonic ideas. Once his old band called it quits, Beaudry thrust himself into a musical orgy, hooking up with anyone he could make sounds with. Valu-Pak was born out of this creative soup as a bare-bones garage band, replete with raunchy lyrics and ridiculously catchy choruses. Dusty Haze (ex-Nevada Bachelors) and Marty Ballew (Half Acre Day) round out the punchy trio, and together they demonstrate that when skilled musicians play the simplest and best parts of rock, they do it extremely well. MATT GARMAN
ESTRELLA, LA RUE, GRYNCH
(Nectar) Playing to a sparse crowd at Lo_Fi a few months back, these three heads recently moved down to Seattle from Bellingham to infiltrate the city's local hiphop community. Backed by the grandiose beatslinging of one DJ Swervewon, Taylor "Taybot" Napolski and his poof-haired compatriot Praxis take on the usual talking points for the educated MC: the cultural divide, the pursuit of enlightenment, the government, and all around wackness in general. But if you're lucky, they might freestyle about your sports coat and drink. SAM EWALD