Jason Tang

Wednesday 8/22

Sonny Bonoho, Esseno, Th3rdz, Peta Tosh

(Barboza) See My Philosophy.

Cannibal Corpse, Between the Buried and Me, the Faceless, Periphery, Veil of Maya, Job for a Cowboy, Goatwhore, Exhumed, Cerebral Bore

(Showbox Sodo) Let me tell you something. The world of heavy metal and its putrid subgenres can be a scary place—especially if you forget the dress code. I once accompanied a friend to a black-metal fest of some sort, and I was most excited to see Goatwhore, based on name and name alone. You have got to be kidding me, Goatwhore. As it turns out, NO ONE is kidding you at a black-metal fest, least of all the door person. Everyone was wearing black; I was wearing a bright-red ski jacket and all the neon-blue eyeliner one 22-year-old could pile on. I was carded, carded again, brought into the "you're in trouble/not metal" questioning area, and made to sign my name 20 to 30 times until it looked like the signature on my driver's license. I missed Goatwhore. EMILY NOKES See also Sound Check.

Allen Stone

(Easy Street Records, Queen Anne) Have you been hearing about this Allen Stone guy for a year or two now, but you just haven't gotten around to seeing him? (Maybe I'm projecting.) Perhaps it's because comparisons have been made to John Mayer, or because, as Megan Seling astutely pointed out, he "looks like a cross between John Roderick and Garth from Wayne's World." (Actually, that's more of an enticement, no?) But people love his soulful voice! And it's never too late to catch up. (I do it all the time!) A free in-store at a local record shop is a perfect excuse. It is never wrong to say, "Today is the day I will go put my actual physical body inside an independent record store, interact with other humans, and buy music I can touch with my hands." Go do it, and listen to this funny dude, too. ANNA MINARD

The Very Best

(Crocodile) The Very Best are turning on a lot of Westerners to the buoyant, uplifting tunefulness of traditional Malawian music, as filtered through the rhythmic prism of hiphop and electronic dance pop. Malawian vocalist Esau Mwamwaya emotes in a supple, declamatory manner over Swedish musician Johan Hugo's gently propulsive and rambunctiously bustling productions. Their latest album, MTMTMK, is full of broad melodic gestures and beat programming, and one gets the impression that there's some lowest-common-denominator world-pop pandering going on here, along with occasional displays of loftier ambition (see "Bantu" featuring Amadou & Mariam, Baaba Maal, and Jose Hendrix). DAVE SEGAL

Thursday 8/23

Calvin Johnson, Baby Island, Broken Water, Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles, Happy Noose, Laura Leif & APB, Shivas, the Memories, Skrill Meadow, Hysterics, Tomorrow's Tulips, Katie and the Lichen

(Vera) Two things you should read before the sunny summer dream is over: Mark Baumgarten's new book, Love Rock Revolution: K Records and the Rise of Independent Music, and the 2012 music issue of the Believer magazine. This show is part of the Believer Music Issue Road Show and the release of the cassette comp Love Songs for Lamps. In the liner notes, Calvin Johnson writes: "People love cassettes... Cassettes are cuddly. They are Star Wars while CDs are Battlestar Galactica... They come in colors; you can hang them on your wall. Use them as valentines. Don't have a cassette player? Go buy one at a thrift store for three dollars." Indie rock isn't dead. Baumgarten's book chronicles its birth and history, and Calvin Johnson keeps on being Calvin Johnson—curating the best of the best of the genre. KELLY O

Lesbian, Thac0, Broxa

(Barboza) Alternately labeled "doom metal," "stoner metal," and "sludge," local quartet Lesbian create mammoth dirges of metallic fury best accompanied by a massive bong load of medication. But unlike the straightforward heaviness of, say, Eyehategod, these dudes toss a heaping dose of psychedelic weirdness into the mix to weave together 8- to 10-minute collages of pure amplifier-driven fury. Their most recent release, Stratospheria Cubensis, finds the band mastering this formula and earning high praise from the metal blogosphere. My suggestion if you choose this mission: Bring your earplugs and a head full of clouds. KEVIN DIERS

Orca Team, Bandolier, Still Caves, Summer Babes

(Sunset) From the first clouded chord progressions of Portland quartet Still Caves' debut cassette, Static Lips, you know you're in for a maelstrom of volume and heavy guitar effects. Like a more melodic antecedent to that town's sadly departed Hunches, a parallel-universe version of Leave Home–era Men (the contemporary Brooklyn one), or distant cousins of France's J.C. Satàn, Still Caves trade in sinister, foggy-headed, and blissfully inchoate subterranean rock. What's more, they do so with a Neil Young and Crazy Horse sense of sonic immoderation and barbed brain-hooks. Still, you get the feeling that these song structures are echolocated by way of long and cathartic basement jam sessions, as loose as they feel. Still Caves are a most welcome addition to the market. GRANT BRISSEY

Jonquil & Mr Black Fashion Show, Jackie Hell, Artstar, the Witches Titties, Nicky Click, Scream Club

(Chop Suey) Jonquil & Mr Black is a man named Jordan Christianson who designs suspenders, leather spats, handsome menswear, and stage costumes of all kinds. Jackie Hell is probably the only woman in Seattle who looks perfect singing songs while wearing a muumuu, à la Mrs. Roper in Three's Company. Artstar has been known to wear hubcaps from cars on his head, and the Witches Titties channel the best of Salem, Massachusetts, if you added a whole lot of lipstick. Nicky Click and Scream Club are neon-queer-feminist-punks from Portland. Those who love to say that the Northwest has no fashion sense should go to this show and drink a really big glass of shut-the-hell-up. KELLY O

Friday 8/24

Grynch, RA Scion, Neema, Fearce and BeanOne

(Crocodile) See My Philosophy.

Specs Wizard

(Living Room) See Data Breaker.

Royce the Choice, Nacho Picasso, Keyboard Kid, Malitia Malimob, Porter Ray

(Neumos) Shabazz Palaces—creators of some of the best, most distinct rap/hiphop to ever come out of Seattle—are presenting this event, and the bill accordingly features some of the latest local artists with their own unique takes on the genre. Gonzo-goon Nacho Picasso and #based beat pioneer Keyboard Kid have gotten plenty of deserved local and national attention for their quality projects, and Royce the Choice, who has been working with both recently, is hitting a stride with his recent Razorr Ramone and following singles. Also featuring the raucous Somalian Malitia Malimob and under-the-radar Porter Ray, this one is worth showing up early for. MIKE RAMOS See also My Philosophy.

Kristin Hersh

(Triple Door) From about 1986 to 1991, Throwing Muses challenged the Pixies for supremacy among New England rock groups. Kristin Hersh was the most compelling songwriter in Throwing Muses; her songs skittered unpredictably with a thrilling energy and a knotty beauty, and her lyrics artfully sketched scenarios of romantic turmoil and confounding mental instability. Hersh's post-Muses career has had some high points (the harder-rocking 50 Foot Wave, especially), but, sadly, I've lost touch with her solo output. Her newest release, the trenchant and enchanting Crooked, reprises Hersh's stylistic modes with an acuity that shows her playing and writing have weathered the years well, even if her voice has lost some flexibility. And a line like "I'm jumping out of my skin again" sounds strangely comforting now. DAVE SEGAL

Saturday 8/25

Octopus Fest 2: Moon Duo, Lumerians, This Blinding Light, Hair and Space Museum, Rose Windows, The The The Thunder, Brain Fruit

(Lo-Fi) See Stranger Suggests.

The Physics, the Bar, Brothers from Another, Jake One

(Neumos) See My Philosophy.

Reilly Steel, WD4D, Introcut, Recess

(Electric Tea Garden) See Data Breaker.

Vibrations Festival: Dantasia, King Dude, Night Beats, White Rainbow & OC Notes, USF & Secret Colors, Witch Gardens, Stickers, Erik Blood, Detective Agency

(Volunteer Park) Cairo's second-ever Vibrations Festival is easily the best bet for a righteous late-summer Saturday afternoon/evening. Take some time to check out the vendors and art and video installations, but spend most of it lying in the grass and enjoying free live sets from a wide range of frequent Cairo collaborators. Erik Blood will perform material from his celebrated recent LP Touch Screens, and Witch Gardens' breezy pop jams should sound perfect in the setting. USF and Secret Colors, and OC Notes and White Rainbow, respectively, will be performing #rare collaborative sets, and Truckasauras are closing the night with an even #rarer "special project" they're calling "Dantasia." MIKE RAMOS See also Underage.

Cat Lamb & Bryan Eubanks

(Chapel Performance Space) Cat Lamb, performing her own work for viola and filtered oscillators, gets at "microscopic color variances... [and] the elemental/spectral interaction between tones and their shadows." Bryan Eubanks designs "unstable instruments" involving open circuits, samplers, radio transmission, feedback, and digital synthesis. He will unstably play the soprano sax, too. Wobble, waver, oscillate. JEN GRAVES

Dead Ghost, Detective Agency, Dads

(Rendezvous) Vancouver, BC's Dead Ghosts have a knack for that Southwestern brand of skuzzy, vintage dude reverb (dudeverb) that pleasantly channels bands like the Gun Club and Black Lips. Detective Agency play sweet garage pop with a sprinkle of surf rock—perfect for sailing a hot-tub boat around the lake while drinking Twisted Tea with your besties. I'm pretty excited about the band Dads. They are a young, lo-fi Seattle duo that play snaky guitar tunes and sing songs that are sometimes about actual dads (in a funny way, not in a therapy way). EMILY NOKES

Desaparecidos, Virgin Islands

(Showbox at the Market) Your heart can ride an emotional roller coaster when a beloved band decides to reunite but then brings a batch of new, unfamiliar music with them. Yay! I can't wait to see them again! Boo! The new songs are so terrible that they're tainting the perfect memories we have together! Life can be tough. But fear not, Desaparecidos fans—Conor Oberst and crew are not only hitting the road again, but the new material they've released since reuniting sounds just as great as the Bright Eyes side project ever has. "MariKKKopa" is a politically fueled power-pop track aimed at Arizona's racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio, while the strident "Backsell" delights in taking on the music industry by way of Auto-Tuning, samples of voice mails left by record execs, and lyrical puns like "I was scanning through the stations, every channel sounded clear." Ha! Tonight your heart will feel nothing but squishy happiness. MEGAN SELING

Sunday 8/26

ZZ Top

(Snoqualmie Casino) The first thing I noticed about ZZ Top was the frog voice used by Billy Gibbons on the band's 1973 radio hit "La Grange," which I found terrifying. (I was 5.) The second thing I noticed about ZZ Top was the effect their early-'80s videos had on my dad, who scoffed at the hours I spent in front of Prince and Eurythmics videos but would come from wherever he was if he heard the boob-heralding guitars of ZZ Top. (Truly, the time we spent together watching "Legs" and "Sharp Dressed Man" is some of our best.) Now it's 2012, and ZZ Top are coming to work their bluesy, beardy magic on the outside stage at Snoqualmie Casino against a stunningly gorgeous mountain backdrop. DAVID SCHMADER

Monday 8/27

The Hate My Day Jobs, Mugen Hoso, Death Mountain Rotor Cloud

(Funhouse) Finally, these four New York City dudes captured in their name the plight of most musicians since the dusk of time. So how's the music? Damn good, actually. A vocalist who sounds like a better-adjusted Jad Fair fretfully barks over frayed-nerve garage rock that colors outside of the lines with deft disdain, somewhere between the White Stripes and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. It's not a fresh concept, but the Hate My Day Jobs execute it as if something vital is at stake and make this jaded old critic care. If they play their cards right (whatever that means for a rock group in 2012), the Hate My Day Jobs may soon render their handle obsolete. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 8/28

Bizzart, Suttikeeree, Introcut

(Lo-Fi) See Data Breaker.

Support The Stranger

Black Mountain, Quest for Fire

(Neumos) Black Mountain's big-sky/wide-screen rock has been encroaching into more conventional territory, moving from 2005's Black Mountain to 2010's Wilderness Heart toward that Neil-Young-circa-Zuma-shaped place in the cosmos. The Vancouver quintet's shaggy bonhomie has never really allowed their psychedelic inclinations to stray far away from their earthy roots. But with the previously unreleased songs on this year's Year Zero, Black Mountain have shaken off their shackles and soared into some of the most exciting space-rocking zones of their career (see "Mary Lou" in particular). Let's hope they'll be as interesting this time as Black Mountain leader Stephen McBean's sister group Pink Mountaintops were last time they hit Neumos. DAVE SEGAL

Refused, Sleigh Bells

(Showbox Sodo) Can I scream?! Because Refused, one of the most influential experimental hardcore bands of their generation, are back together again! The radical Swedish band broke up in 1998, right after they released the critically acclaimed The Shape of Punk to Come, and it was a goddamn crime. While some might scoff at their unexpected reunion tour (which has featured high-profile gigs at Coachella, Groezrock, and, uh, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) as nothing more than a quick cash-in, Refused have explained the sincerity behind the decision to regroup: "We never did The Shape of Punk to Come justice back when it came out, too tangled up in petty internal bickering to really focus on the job... We wanna do it over, do it right... We feel that you deserve it, and we hope the feeling is mutual." Fuck yes, it's mutual. I've been waiting for this show for almost 15 years. And I'll be shocked if the Showbox's foundation doesn't crumble after they tear through their fiery set. MEGAN SELING