(Nectar) Calling all Seattle hiphop peoples for video representation. SEA may not be ATL, but with Choklate, it gets close. She's a solid Mary J, Lauryn Hill, T-Boz, with throwback soul gravity to Pam Grier's Foxy Brown—if you're in a chase scene, let Choklate drive. Her self-titled album, produced by Vitamin D, is heavy with its own hiphop weight. She was on everyone's album this past year—De La Soul, Breakestra, Blacksheep, and Chali 2NA of Jurassic 5. SEA is getting heavier by the second. This Nectar show is Choklate's video shoot and her birthday. I don't know if there will be any chase scenes, but be ready for the shot just in case. TRENT MOORMAN
BLACK NITE CRASH, THE CLEAN PROPHETS, SHAKE SOME ACTION!, GO FEVER
(Comet) If you have an exclamation point in your name you better be pretty! god! damn! exciting!, okay? Don't go flaunting that !!! shit and then supply melodic power pop that is more pop than power. But really, that's the only complaint I have about Shake Some Action! Fronted by Jeunes's James Hall, SSA! are self-defined power pop but they're more like Superchunk meets They Might Be Giants. (No telling if they'd be insulted by that or not, but they shouldn't be.) There's humor and fun, there's deep and bright vocals like TMBG, but there's also some pretty solid melodies, guitar solos, and plenty of times to involuntarily get caught up in singing along and/or clapping your hands. There's just no big, loud Boom! Pow! Punch! moments, so maybe they should drop the "!". MEGAN SELING
MIKE DILLON'S GO-GO JUNGLE, SKERIK, STEVE MOORE TRIO
(Tractor) Longtime Seattle resident Mike Dillon (Critters Buggin, Hairy Apes BMX) currently calls New Orleans home, but the vibraphone sorcerer's new trio (also featuring former Billy Goat bandmates J. J. Richards and Ray Pollard) looks to Washington, D.C.'s go-go scene for inspiration. Battery Milk, the debut disc from Dillon's Go-Go Jungle, combines percussion-driven funk, chilled-out jazz melodies and massive drums-and-vibes breakdowns. Every track could be mined for hiphop samples, and one already yielded a golden groove: "Hercules," in its original Aaron Neville incarnation, rumbled behind Biz Markie's uproarious drag-queen mix-up "A Thing Called Kim." The Jungle uses Richards's smooth vocals sparingly yet effectively, especially during his cut-and-paste duet with George W. Bush. (Richards, crooning: "He's a bad man." Bush, in an unflatteringly edited speech snippet: "Attack the innocent.") ANDREW MILLER
AKIMBO, LESBIAN, TRIUMPH OF LETHARGY, SKINNED ALIVE TO DEATH
(Crocodile) It takes stones for an all-male metal band to call themselves Lesbian. But the Seattle quartet who traffic under that provocative name don't seem to be doing so for cheap outrage, but rather out of respect for an oft-beleaguered segment of society. Lesbian grind out pugnacious metal that frequently grows serpentine tendrils of prog-rock introspection and subdued virtuosity. You can hear this approach to compelling effect at their gigs and on the band's forthcoming Power Hor album on Holy Mountain Records. There, Lesbian craft four epic suites of mullet-shredding, high-IQ metal interspersed with pastoral filigrees of King Crimson—oid prog beauty. Lesbian's mastery of dynamics and dramatic mood swings keep their music interesting; they realize that your head is there for more than just banging. DAVE SEGAL
SEATTLE IMPROVISED MUSIC FESTIVAL: BONNIE JONES, ANDY HAYLECK, JASON E. ANDERSON, JAIME POTTER, KYLE BRUCKMANN, JESSE CANTERBURY, CHRIS STOVER, JONATHAN SIELAFF
(Gallery 1412) This, the inaugural night of the 22nd annual installment of the consistently remarkable Seattle Improvised Music Festival, is programmed with the most illustrative diversity of any of this year's shows. With three separate small groups over the course of the concert, the evening's sonic content will veer from the bejeweled drones and granular brushstrokes of modern electronic-based improvisation to the less micromanaged but probably no less unusual ventures of an acoustic horn trio. In the truest spirit of the SIMF, this night will recombine these potential extremes into new shapes and linear discourses, quick-burning and unrepeatable beauty wrought from the minds and musicianly faculties of the players. This year's performers are, as ever, a deftly curated assortment of local and international improvisers, and not to be missed. SAM MICKENS See also The Score, page 74.
POST HARBOR, RUXTON TOWERS, KILL KILL ORCHESTRA, DICK SCOTCH
(Kirkland Teen Center) Clearly the boys in Seattle's own Post Harbor are big fans of any and all things Jeremy Enigk, but Post Harbor's melodic and sometimes mathematical landscapes aren't nearly as daunting as their influential champions of the "emotive rock" genre (think early Sunny Day Real Estate and Christie Front Drive). The band does successfully capture the same dark and lonely moods of their predecessor while occasionally offsetting those shadows with the fluid beauty of simple strings and bursts of energy via explosive feedback, but they're a bit more coy with their delivery, as their songs can take some time to build to the promised climax, as though they're unsure of whether or not they actually want to get there themselves. But they always do, and there's always some interesting teasing along the way. MEGAN SELING
OF MONTREAL, THE BLOW, AQUEDUCT
(Showbox) The Blow are Khaela Maricich singing truth to soul power over Jona Bechtolt's chopped and glitched pop programming. On their brilliant Paper Television, Marcich's lyrical voice is nimble and incisive and Bechtolt's laptop productions bounce and wiggle effortlessly—"Parentheses" twists punctuation into personal connection (like the magic child from Me and You and Everyone We Know) over a sampled Spector-al beat, "Pile of Gold" explores the microeconomics of affection while beats stutter apart, "Fists Up" is an exercise in elevation, and "True Affection" playfully conflates depth and distance in a Unicorns-style sea ballad. And these are only highlights from a consistently great record. Live, the Blow show some Olympia roots, engaging audiences with unusually intimate conversation, clap-along games, and endearingly awkward dance moves—it's as cute a subversion of the live rock show as their recorded work is of pop music. ERIC GRANDY
OUTRAGED, IN DISGUST, SEX VID, FUNEROT, WHITE BOSS
(Camp Nowhere) Sex Vid are part of a newish trend in music that I quite like: bands whose names defy the all-querying powers of Google. And suspiciously, adding the term "hardcore" to the search doesn't seem to help matters any. Slippery web presence aside, Sex Vid are a force to be reckoned with, whether they're rumbling through the walls of their practice space or flailing and screaming at you in somebody's basement. Their last show at Camp Nowhere was reportedly packed so tight that the band could barely move, which is a shame because the members of Sex Vid are all dangerously, entertainingly kinetic performers. With enough room to properly thrash, they become a fitting live embodiment of their airtight, chest-pummeling sound. ERIC GRANDY
SOUND OFF! SEMIFINALS: DREAMWRIGHT, EMI MEYER, LEFT AT THE CASTLE, NATALIE PORTMAN'S SHAVED HEAD
(EMP) See Underage, page 73.
SEATTLE IMPROVISED MUSIC FESTIVAL: BONNIE JONES, JAIME POTTER, KYLE BRUCKMANN
(Gallery 1412) See Friday and The Score, page 74.
DITA VON TEESE, THE ATOMIC BOMBSHELLS
(Triple Door) For the last few years, troupes and performers like Burning Hearts and Tamara the Trapeze Lady have been putting the bump back in Seattle's grind, the body back in its politic. But long before Miss Indigo Blue first glued pansies to pasties, pioneer revivalist Dita Von Teese (née, poetically, Heather Renée Sweet) was perfecting her routine. She's been a ballerina, lingerie saleswoman, and costume designer, all of which color her acts, as do the feathers, horses, compacts, hearts, showerheads, martini glasses, and Betty Grable's ghost. Von Teese's body is Playboy-style unlumpy beautiful, but her sass is still uniquely substantial. Plus, she recently filed for divorce from Marilyn Manson. If anything could fire a live show, it's that. MAIREAD CASE
MERLE HAGGARD, NEKO CASE
(Paramount) If your country-music library numbers five titles or less, one of the selections really should be last year's rock-solid Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard. Starting with "The Bottle Let Me Down" in 1966, he's been writing and singing classics that reflect both his expansive musical tastes and hard-lived life (during one stretch in the big house, he saw Johnny Cash play San Quentin in 1958): "Mama Tried," "Sing Me Back Home," "Workin' Man Blues." Stop squirming over the hippie-bashing pose of "Okie from Muskogee"—real right-wing nuts don't pal around with Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. Since his edgy 2001 return-to-form Roots, Vol. 1 on Epitaph, Hag has softened his sound a tad, but live the 69-year-old road warrior remains full of piss and vinegar. KURT B. REIGHLEY
(Neumo's) If you're anything like me—and god help you if you are—chances are you only have room in that soft spot of your heart for one sappy, overly precious indie rock band at a time. Seeing as there's no shortage of twee pop creeps vying for your limited affections, it seems only appropriate to occasionally remind you about Camera Obscura—the sour-pussed Scots who are roughly a country mile ahead of the fray. With a sonic foundation that borrows more than a little from vintage Belle & Sebastian, songwriter Tracyanne Campbell's effectively plainspoken couplets are elevated to pure poetry as they pass through the tightlipped melancholy of her girlish tone—the power of which has never been more evident than on the band's most recent full length, Let's Get Out of the Country. ZAC PENNINGTON
THE SATURDAY KNIGHTS
(Neumo's) See Data Breaker, page 71.
DJ DARA, THE DOWLZ, DJ DASH, AQUASION
(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker, page 71.
SPARKLEHORSE, JESSE SYKES & THE SWEET HEREAFTER
(Showbox) See preview, page 55.
(Jazz Alley) Bobby Caldwell is one of hiphop's favorite blue-eyed soul sangers. His adult-contemporary standards provide soft, cushy bedding for a number of big, schmaltzy singles for rappers including 2Pac ("Do for Love"), Biggie ("Sky's the Limit"), and Common ("The Light"); and of course let's not forget "Age Ain't Nothin' but a Number"! Well that's all fine and good but Caldwell really is breezy Sunday-morning music of the highest order—"Open Your Eyes" is simply one of the finest songs ever penned, the kind of joint you slap yourself when you realize you don't have on your iPod, as I'm doing now. Goddammit! LARRY MIZELL JR.