Thursday 4/30

Vivian Girls, Abe Vigoda, the Girls

(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests.

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Aqueduct, the Republic, Josh Ottum

(Tractor) Where Aqueduct's pop is playful yet self-deprecating, the Republic's is compassionate and emotional. But there's room on the bill for both acts. At times, the Republic's ballads like "Let Down" and "One Last Mistake" sound a little too tender, like they were crafted for those touching moments on a WB drama. But the Seattle quartet do the dynamic indie-rock thing really well in songs like "A Hole to Hide Your Head"—they elevate an optimistic chorus even further with sparkling guitars and bright drumming... it's all very pretty. Afterward, Aqueduct will tear you back down with songs about how relationships always go wrong. MEGAN SELING

Bangers & Mash: Drop the Lime, Nordic Soul, DJ Recess, Fourcolorzack, Tigerbeat

(See Sound Lounge) Tonight marks the debut of a Thursday-night weekly called Bangers & Mash that promises to shake things up at Belltown's swanky See Sound Lounge. Kicking things off is "international bass champion" Drop the Lime (aka Curses!, born Luca Venezia), who mangles Baltimore breaks, classic house, bassline, and anything else that abides a deep love of deep bass into dance-floor-killing frenzies. Supporting him are some of Seattle's finest party-starters: DJ Recess, Fourcolorzack, Tigerbeat (dude gets the people wilding out on fuckin' Mondays), and Nordic Soul, whose gleeful, anthem-blasting DJ set opening up for Simian Mobile Disco proves the Decibel head can work the hell out of a populist playlist. Future Bangers & Mash bookings include Tittsworth in May and Tommie Sunshine in June. ERIC GRANDY

Friday 5/1

Ghost, Six Organs of Admittance

(Crocodile) Japanese progressive-psychedelic explorers Ghost don't tour often (last Seattle date: fall 2004), so when they come around, fans of outward-bound rock would be wise to check out their ceremonial splendor and Zen-like intensity. (Plus, anyone who covers Cromagnon's "Caledonia" is jake in our book.) Leader Masaki Batoh once told me that "music falls from highest sphere," and that's as apt an explanation as any for Ghost's exalted, serpentine songs that roam from the hellish to the heavenly. Recent Seattle transplant Six Organs of Admittance (Ben Chasny) sends out similar pagan/elemental vibes with his guitar peregrinations. Six Organs gives folk music dazzling wings, transporting you Fahey from the madding crowd. (Sorry, it won't happen again.) DAVE SEGAL

x12k; Mighty Tiger; the Beats, Man; Hair Envelope

(Cafe Racer) The Beats, Man are the beatcentric effort from Erik Baldwin and Tim Cady of the defunct Pleasureboaters. Employing—among other things—electric guitar, keyboards, preprogrammed beats, and much vocal banter, the band sound much like you'd think two-thirds of the Pleasureboaters would in such a context: The beats are almost as outlandish as the raps are disarming, and the brazen delivery is oddly mesmerizing. Dudes are clearly having a lot of fun with this, but it takes some serious grit to jump this far out into such untested territory. The recipe is divisive, but love it or hate it, the Beats, Man likely don't care much either way. GRANT BRISSEY

Sleepy Eyes of Death, Constant Lovers, Weekend

(Chop Suey) God bless Schoolyard Hero Ryann Donnelly's impressive, opera-ready vocal cords, but pity Weekend, her new project with multitasking multi-instrumentalist Mark Gajadhar (also of Past Lives and Champagne Champagne), which finds the young diva trading gore-metal wailing for sultry pop-siren singing with middling to annoying results. Imagine, over beats that maybe didn't make the cut for Champagne Champagne, a Frankenstein's monster of Emily Haines (good), Gwen Stefani (guh), and, especially live, Julie Brown circa Earth Girls Are Easy (wha?). Sorry, guys—tough love. Sleepy Eyes of Death, though, merit nothing but the regular kind of love (soft love? that doesn't sound right). Their analog synth-heavy jams range from motorik grooves to ambient bliss to overwhelming audio air strikes, and live they're loud and lit-up as fuck. Tonight's their last regular club show for about six months, so get it while you can. ERIC GRANDY

Saturday 5/2

Spectrum, Mono in VCF, the Fading Collection

(Neumos) See Data Breaker.

Ladytron, the Faint, Crocodiles

(Showbox Sodo) Ladytron and the Faint are touring together behind what are arguably the weakest albums of each band's careers, Velocifero and Fasciinatiion, respectively (for some reason, I always start the Faint's career at Blank-Wave Arcade rather than Media). But each band's high points—Ladytron's run of 604 and Light & Magic, the Faint's Arcade and Danse Macabre—are classic enough to allow them some missteps. Both at their best make smart, stylish, and sexy electro, dark and deathly in the case of the Faint, cold and coy for Ladytron. Still, they're a hell of a double-bill live, and anyway, Ladytron's new one boasts a few songs nearly as good as anything they've done, especially the appropriately haunting singsong of "Ghosts." ERIC GRANDY

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers

(Chop Suey) It's hard to listen to Thao when it's raining. Her beats rollick with the rhythm of a sunny bike ride, and her lyrics sting with the sweet, sharp sadness of fleeting joy—only amping up the impatience for summer's glimmering abandon. Thao's searing voice holds both frailty and strength as her backing fellas, the Get Down Stay Down, provide bobbing percussion, twinkling tones, and ribcage-cracking crescendos. First go to their MySpace page and behold the "Swimming Pools" video: Thao et al. pedal through the Central District's alleys and parking lots, animated by brightly painted cardboard weather patterns. Then roll up your denim, dust off your ride, and glide over to this show, rain or shine. JESSE VERNON

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Benefit: Flight to Mars, Duff McKagan's Loaded, Shadow '86

(Showbox at the Market) It sounds so straightforward—"inflammation of the gastrointestinal system"—but the effects of Crohn's disease and colitis are intricately horrific, hobbling sufferers with an array of life-ruining symptoms, from ulcers and fistulae to an existence ruled by minute-by-minute bathroom concerns. Someone who understands this well: Pearl Jam's Mike McCready, whose glorious life as a rock star has been tempered by the realities of ulcerative colitis. Tonight McCready revs up his side project—the UFO tribute band Flight to Mars, which join Duff McKagan's Loaded and a reunion of McCready's original band Shadow '86 at the seventh-annual benefit concert for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. DAVID SCHMADER

Secret Mommy, Why I Must Be Careful, Tinsel, Cut***Loose

(Healthy Times Fun Club) In this age of Gregg Gillis crowd-surfing, Dan Deacon pied-piping, and every "lo-fi" punk band Twittering from iPhones between sets, it can be hard to recall that there was a time when seeing some laptop jockey rock a punk-house basement via screwed-up, glitchy electronic music seemed like a serious culture clash. Even if it's lost some of its futuristic luster, the work of Vancouver, BC, audio mulcher Secret Mommy (aka Andy Dixon, formerly of the Red Light Sting, proprietor of Ache Records) remains perfectly fucked-up. Like peers Matmos, Secret Mommy builds his epileptically groovy albums out of conceptually grouped samples (one record is all samples of his wisdom-teeth-removal surgery, another's sounds are sourced entirely from recreation centers) without losing the bump 'n' grind to academic wankery. ERIC GRANDY

Sunday 5/3

The Grouch & Eligh, Afro Classics

(Neumos) L.A. underground hiphop group Afro Classics (Very and Scarub) have the usual concerns about what Foucault calls "care of the self"—eating well and cultivating life-positive habits. These health (or brobo) concerns come with the standard worship of hiphop virtues (collecting records, finding rare samples, spitting knowledge) and beats that are retro-futuristic. In short, nothing in Afro Classics's work stands out or seems to move forward. It's just underground hiphop with no real dialects, nothing to work against, to challenge or reverse. When innovation becomes innovation for its own sake, what you get is the enervated music of Afro Classics. CHARLES MUDEDE

Monday 5/4

Bob Log III, Willem Maker

(Crocodile) See preview.

The Shins, Delta Spirit

(Showbox at the Market) The Shins have been awfully quiet lately. Following 2007's fair but not life-changing (sorry) Wincing the Night Away, the band split with Sub Pop and announced vague plans to self-release a fourth album. Since then, not a peep. So, who knows? Tonight might see the band unleashing a slew of untested new material, or it might just see them leaning on their considerable catalog of impeccable indie pop. Either way, expect the band's live set to be relatively quiet as well, as the Shins tend to fade waaay back onstage and let their songs speak for themselves. Or, less charitably: They're kind of a ho-hum live act. Fortunately, their fainting pop songs are still perfectly, painfully eloquent. (Both shows are sold out.) ERIC GRANDY

Iron and Wine, Yogoman Burning Band

(Vera) Grouse about the ad world's appropriation of your favorite band if you must, but understand such deals can mean the difference between your favorite artist praying she never needs the health insurance she doesn't have and your favorite musician driving to her chiropractor in a fully functional automobile and designer shoes. Presumptive case in point: Iron and Wine, whose recordings have been used to sell everything from M&M's and Ask.com to the fourth-season finale of House M.D. and the prom scene in Twilight. As good as the residuals: the musical work to which Sam Beam will devote the rest of his life. Tonight's show at the Vera Project (and tomorrow's at the Triple Door) comes in advance of the release of Iron and Wine's Around the Well, a compilation of B sides and rarities (including Beam's well-loved covers of New Order and the Postal Service) due out on Sub Pop May 19. DAVID SCHMADER

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express

(Triple Door) For 40-plus years, Brian Auger's been making his Hammond organ purr, snarl, roar, and burble in a slew of jazz, R&B, rock, and funk songs that all sorts of producers have sampled (check out Bentley Rhythm Ace's use of the stunning "Tiger" in "Midlander [There Can Be Only One]"). The British keyboardist excels at high-energy dance music, but, especially with singer Julie Driscoll, he has displayed a supple melodic sensibility, too. At age 69, Auger may not have the vigor of his prime, but his repertoire abounds with thrilling cuts, and recent videos prove that this ivory tickler hasn't lost his swift, deft touch. The latest incarnation of Oblivion Express includes Auger's son Karma on drums and daughter Savannah on vocals. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 5/5

The Shins, Delta Spirit

(Showbox at the Market) See Monday.

Iron and Wine, Alela Diane

(Triple Door) See Monday.

Wednesday 5/6

Helios, Lusine, Rena Jones, Seattle Pianist Collective

(Triple Door) See Stranger Suggests.

Napalm Death, Abigail Williams, Kataklysm, Toxic Holocaust, Trap Them, Gravenloch

(Studio Seven) Back in the late '80s, I used to ride around with this kid who'd sell marijuana joints out of an old beat-up Chevy Citation. Napalm Death's From Enslavement to Obliteration was the only cassette he ever had in that shit car. We listened to it forever. One day, the car smelled of terrible smoke. When I checked the glove box, a spontaneous electrical fire shot out and burned my legs. Instant blisters. It's been over 20 years since the glove-box incident—and over 20 more albums from grindcore kings Napalm Death. I just heard the brand-newest, Time Waits for No Slave, and, call me crazy, but my legs tingled a little bit. Instant blisters, baby, all over again. KELLY O

Support The Stranger

Ball of Wax Release Party

(Sunset) When something happens on a regular basis, it's easy to take it for granted. So it might be with Ball of Wax, Levi Fuller's quarterly anthology of music. Now on its 16th edition, Ball of Wax is one of those clockwork pleasures that are always good. So maybe it's time to reignite your passion for BoW with tonight's show, which features the ethereal, pretty Secret Highways and also Jeremy Burk, who's an exciting new banjo-playing up-and-comer with an album on the way. BoW is the best way to learn about local new music that I can think of. PAUL CONSTANT

Destroyer, Azita

(Crocodile) Dan Bejar's Destroyer project allows the Vancouver guitarist/vocalist/lyricist to indulge his most heartfelt Ziggy Stardust fantasies. As Bowie manqués go, Bejar is among the best, if sometimes annoyingly adenoidal. But you can't deny the man's melodic sophistication, orchestral-arranging prowess, and passion, which he'll probably flex more strenuously than usual in this solo performance. Azita is one of Drag City's slickest artists—verging on Steely Dan slick. Which is shocking in light of her past as part of the Scissor Girls and Bride of No No, neo–no wave units whose music radiates a stark, unsettling aura. Azita's latest album, How Will You?, finds her writing engaging tunes sung with the blunt gravity of Patti Smith and early Liz Phair. It's a case of a challenging artist "maturing" into more conventional modes, but the results surprisingly don't rankle—although her cover of Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" raises WTF red flags. DAVE SEGAL

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