Saturday 8/10 at Heartland

Wednesday 8/7

The Hussy, Fuzzy Cloaks, So Pitted, Ubu Roi

(Black Lodge) See Underage.

The Sword, Castle, American Sharks

(Neumos) I keep thinking I'm going to like Austin quartet the Sword more than I actually do, due to their striking album covers. But when I finally hear the music, it underwhelms me with its meatloaf-and-mashed-potato'd conventionality. Granted, I'm a dabbler with regard to modern metal, so I may be missing some nuances that more obsessive followers are discerning. What I'm mostly hearing in the Sword's recordings is medium-heavy guitar/bass crunching and squealing in easily digestible patterns, with Ozzy-dazzled vocals projecting over the top of it all. I mean, it's good and all, but it just doesn't seem all that super-special on a technical/sonic level. Maybe I—or the band members—need to be higher... DAVE SEGAL

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The Ring: Siegfried

(McCaw Hall) For beginners, the simplest way to put it is that The Ring is four operas that tell one epic story: Das Rheingold (the gold of the Rhine), Die Walküre (the Valkyries), Siegfried (a hero born of incest who goes on to slay a dragon), and Götterdämmerung (the twilight of the gods, when Valhalla burns down, the gold of the ring is purified, and order is restored to the Nordic, Nordic universe). The operas are hours and hours long: To experience the whole outsize thing is an achievement and an experiment, and by the end of it, you have a memory bank that's wild and woolly, and then your life starts over again, and sometimes little parts of The Ring show up in your dreams. Seattle Opera is known for its Ring; this was one of the earliest American companies to start doing full cycles, and they've become fetish events. This particular production—created more than a decade ago, all woodsy and "naturalistic" and PNW-y—is probably about to be retired after this summer for a new concept. You can trust Seattle Opera, and with The Ring, you always know what you're getting: high S/M with a side of gods. Tonight is Siegfried, the third opera of the cycle. JEN GRAVES

Thursday 8/8

KnowMads, Raz Simone, Sam Lachow, La

(Neumos) See My Philosophy.

Gogol Bordello

(Neptune) To record their latest album, Gypsy-punk heroes Gogol Bordello got themelves to El Paso, Texas, aka the closest you can get to the deadliest place in the Western world without actually being in the deadliest place in the Western world. Does the proximity of Ciudad Juárez make itself heard on Pura Vida Conspiracy? Not so you'd know—it's just another rich, raucous collection from the big-brained, huge-hearted Eugene Hütz and his inexhaustible band. Expect friendly mayhem. Second show Friday! DAVID SCHMADER

The Exquisites, Wild Moth, Health Problems

(Heartland) The first reason I love the Exquisites' self-titled debut is because there is a big, stern-looking, and aqua-eyed kitty face on the cover. I will listen to anything with a cat on the cover. The second reason, and, I suppose, the most important reason I love the Exquisites' debut is because it's so great! It's hard not to recall Built to Spill's feedback-filled jam sessions in the swirling guitar of "Dead End Streets," and in "Embrace Moments of Pain," singer Jason Clackley's vocals are delivered with cathartic urgency while also carrying a catchy melody. Throughout the album, the Exquisites are both abrasive and graceful. Wild Moth and Health Problems open. Maybe the cat will be there, too. MEGAN SELING

Gladys Knight & the O'Jays

(Chateau Ste. Michelle) Gladys Knight overcame her unbeautiful first name and became one of the boldest glossy soul belters ever to grip a mic. She and the Pips have the distinction of doing one of the most thrilling versions of one of the greatest songs, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." Philadelphia soul troupe the O'Jays had a phenomenal run in the '70s, buttering the airwaves with inspirational soul and funk jams like "Love Train," "Back Stabbers," "For the Love of Money" (best phased/wah-wah'd bass line ever?), "I Love Music," and "Give the People What They Want." Both artists flourished in a time when radio hits were damn near high art, not crass hackwork. Go and hear some all-time classics—and, as a bonus, see some stiff-jointed middle-agers try to relive their youths. DAVE SEGAL

Friday 8/9

The Ring: Götterdämmerung

(McCaw Hall) See Wednesday.

Useless Children, Dreamdecay, Stickers, Naomi Punk

(Black Lodge) See Underage.

Zomboy, Eptic

(Showbox at the Market) See Data Breaker.

Gogol Bordello

(Neptune) See Thursday.

Balmorhea, Benoît Pioulard

(Columbia City Theater) Led by founders Rob Lowe (aka Lichens) and Michael Muller, Austin sextet Balmorhea make instrumental rock for patient, long-attention-spanned people. In 2013, that instantly limits their audience, but one senses that Balmorhea don't care that much about market share. Nevertheless, for those so equipped, Balmorhea's contemplative, gently meandering compositions yield refined pleasures. Spangly and incisive guitars intermingle with astringent strings (from violin, cello, and double bass) and ambling rhythms to form sophisticated soundtracks for reading 19th-century literature or gazing stoically at the countryside. Balmorhea is where beautiful chamber rock clinks champagne glasses with cerebral post-rock. DAVE SEGAL

Atomic Bride, Spiderheart, Blue Skies For Black Hearts

(Lo-Fi) Unless you plain ole hate music, you probably know Stranger receptionist/Emerald City Soul Club DJ extraordinaire Mike "Calf Show!" Nipper. He owns about 4,578,234 vinyl records and has impeccable taste in music. He doesn't like much of new cookie-cutter garage-rock (see his daily column "GFY—You're in a Rad Garage Band" on Line Out—The Stranger's music blog). In fact, if you make a garage-rock album in 2013, and you get an official Nipper nod, you should consider casting your entire band in 14-carat gold. Atomic Bride are a Nipper-approved garage band. He says they "know their shit!" He says singer Astra Elaine's vocals "have the sass of Cherie Currie" and the band channels a bit "of the Rezillos." This equals news I can use! KELLY O

Hell's Belles

(Neumos) Hell's Belles is a sweet, fist-pumping concept: an all-female AC/DC tribute band. American women playing raunchy, female-objectifying songs by Australian louts while rocking the fuck out is a righteous kind of retribution, if you want to think about it that way. Or you can simply revel in Hell's Belles' ripping interpretations of the AC/DC songbook, which is chockablock with some of the most basic and libido-stoking hard rock ever laid down. Without a doubt, Hell's Belles will—drumroll, please—shake you all night long. DAVE SEGAL

Saturday 8/10

Panabrite, Guenter Schlienz, Celestino

(Cairo) See Stranger Suggests and Data Breaker.

The Ghost Ease, the Echo Echo Echoes, the Webs, Mary Pauline Diaz

(Heartland) See Underage.

Noisegasm + Distorrent

(Chapel Performance Space) See Data Breaker.

Khia

(Chop Suey) "My Neck, My Back (Lick It)" is the song for which rapper Khia Chambers will forever be remembered; if she could be considered the 2000s-era Adina Howard, then this song is her "Freak Like Me." Its demands are simple: Come with some reciprocity (and thoroughness) on the oral—a sex act that male rappers typically demand three times before they even say their own name on a song. The best sentence I read on Wikipedia today: "The main poetry of the song is an encouragement of both cunnilingus and anilingus." Yes, the stakes were raised on "Lick It," and we should rightfully consider Khia a warrior for women's proper due between the sheets and between the cheeks—the fact that she couldn't seem to spell the word "respect" during her brief tenure on VH1's Miss Rap Supreme (possibly her only other claim to fame) notwithstanding. LARRY MIZELL JR. See also Homosexual Agenda.

The Spits

(Neumos) Are your live punk-rocks show missing something lately? Too serious? Not enough costumes? Zero smoke-machine action? Listen, you, it's the last good month of summer, and you've only got so many warm-ish days to get your freak out, so you might as well do it with the Spits—a band known for their onstage theatrics, catchy mush-mouthed snot punk, and bruisey-fun shows. Like if the Ramones really did sniff glue and Devo actually were Mongoloids. After 12 or 16 albums (who can tell, most of them are self-titled), the Spits are still your best bet for a sweaty, beer-soaked good time. EMILY NOKES

Nude Pop, the West, Yevtushenko

(Columbia City Theater) Few things make me happier than watching young Sound Off! bands deservedly continue to do great things–seeing 2012's winners, Nude Pop (formerly just Nude), continue to get recognition has been no exception. As masters of fluid and technical indie rock, Spokane's Nude Pop have toured, released a great EP (Splintered Selves—have a listen at nudepop.bandcamp.com), gotten an in-studio performance on KEXP, and worked on a farm. Wait, what? Yeah, they made the most of a two-week break during a two-month tour by responding to a Craigslist ad to work on a farm in Vermont. They fed goats! And speaking of Sound Off!, the EMP started taking applications for the underage battle of the bands early this year, so if you're under, 21 and a Northwest-based maker of music, what are you waiting for? Get your poop in a group and turn that application in. Details are at empmuseum.org. MEGAN SELING

Davey Suicide, the Bunny the Bear, the Defiled

(Studio Seven) I was ready to come at this with my wit blazing, hoping to take down Davey Suicide in a storm of snide remarks about how ridiculous he is. I mean, it's the sonic equivalent of dangling car keys in front of a baby—shiny, noisy, and enticing, but totally worthless. But, sigh... I'm exhausted. Complaining about the worst there is in music—Falling in Reverse, Brokencyde, and anything on the Mars Hill record label—just isn't fun anymore. And really, of all of them, this dude who wants to pretend he's Marilyn Manson isn't so bad. I mean, he is, I find his music unlistenable, but at least, unlike former tourmates Blood on the Dance Floor, he has songs about questioning authority and mainstream media as opposed to seeing how many girls he can fuck. Yay? I guess? MEGAN SELING

Sunday 8/11

Best Coast, Cumulus

(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests and Sound Check.

The Blind Photographers, Bandolier, the Webs

(Sunset) The fun, dark, synth-based group Blind Photographers recently rounded out their Smiths-esque pop duo with the addition of a few new members, which means more hands on deck to help steer their chillwave cruise ship toward the destination of Annie Lennox Island. The return of the Webs brings back Seattle's Cub-worthy surf trio, as they sweep us up in their sweet wave of mischievous twee witchery—think K Records' Heavenly by way of the Cranberries. Cory Budden's drumming pops up as naturally as the bubbles in a bottle of Cook's, while their lyrics navigate the spaces between dreams and cranial caves. Finally, Bandolier will be flooding the Sunset Tavern with their artfully executed '60s vibes that pay homage to early Motown records by way of DIY basement-rock shredding. BREE MCKENNA

Monday 8/12

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Har Mar Superstar

(Marymoor Park) Though it came a solid 10 years after their debut, Fever to Tell, and five since their last album, It's Blitz!, this year's Mosquito was a welcome return for pioneering New York indie-rock trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs. (Its cover, however, is a different story.) Though not much has changed over the years in their up-tempo dance-punk sound—other than adding more electronic elements to "keep up with the times" and pushing their experimentalism to the point of a Dr. Octagon collaboration—Karen O and co. have outlasted most other bands from this genre/time period with the quality of their records alone. Their live shows, which have always been somewhere between a prop-adorned arena-rock performance and rowdy basement punk-club show, likely haven't faltered a bit, either. MIKE RAMOS

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Tuesday 8/13

Daryl Hall & John Oates

(Marymoor Park) Putting the blue-eyed soul crooners and architects of some of the most ubiquitous, recognizable pop hits of the '80s, Hall & Oates, on this stage in the middle of a giant park in Redmond will likely draw two main types of crowds: younger, somewhat-ironic appreciators (so-called "hipsters," if you will) that missed or just didn't get enough of them two years ago at Bumbershoot, and East Side–dwelling parents and adults who actually listened to this stuff when it was tearing up the charts. But regardless of age, where one's appreciation comes from, or how much better of a song Stevie Wonder's "Part-Time Lover" is than "Maneater," the duo's deep catalog of smash hits will ensure that the slightly offbeat dance moves keep coming and the white wine keeps flowing all night. MIKE RAMOS

Graves at Sea, Atriarch, Same-Sex Dictator

(Highline) Anyone who can appreciate the connection between Dystopia's sludgy crust and Asunder's sprawling metal dirge (i.e., just about every single Highline regular) should be first in line for the Graves at Sea show. Even though this isn't Graves at Sea's first Seattle date since last year's resurrection after a four-year hiatus, tonight's lineup is still pretty much mandatory for fans of the grim and grimy. Atriarch garnered a decent amount of attention in the underground-metal world with last years' Ritual of Passing album, which blended the somber death rock of Rozz Williams–era Christian Death with payloads of cataclysmic blackened doom. Local duo Same-Sex Dictator round out the bill with their combination of Man Is the Bastard–style bass-driven violence with ethereal passages of synth and Fender Rhodes. BRIAN COOK