THE BONA BROTHERS
(Chop Suey) Seattle's own rap eccentric—scratch that—fuckin' weirdo Sonny Bonoho has teamed up with his homey Playboy Tre from Georgia Durt (which also includes Lil' Jon signee Bohagon) to form the Bona Brothers. Tre is from Atlanta's own Attic Crew, the same click that spawned the Youngbloodz and hitmaker Polow Da Don. Both a Seattle fixture and far-flung MC (having rocked stages with flair from here to Germany), Bonoho carefully crafts craziness to bless us with both the very underrated Life of a Backup Singer LP and the spit-heavy Wonderland mixtape in the last year. Having become a well-known face in the on-fire Atlanta scene as well, Sonny's made some valuable connects. It's clear there ain't no stopping his stride—especially if he's got his cowboy boots on. LARRY MIZELL JR
BOAT, THE SHAKY HANDS, DOLOUR, THE WESTERN STATES MOTEL
(Crocodile) Though it was released this past spring, Portland's the Shaky Hands have crafted my favorite album of the summer. From the marine intro of "Whales Sing"—with its ebullient chorus, atmospheric keyboards, and jaunty percussion—all the way through the album's anthemic capper, "Summer's Life," the band's eponymous debut full-length is crammed with irresistible hooks, clever lyrics, and songs that stick in your head from sunup to sundown. The sound contentedly occupies a middle ground between quirky pop and stripped-down rec-room rock 'n' roll—think the Shins visiting the Modern Lovers for a long weekend. It's perfect music for riding around with your friends as the blacktop unfurls beneath your humming tires. And at a mere 36 minutes, it's just the right length for a glorious Northwest summer sunbreak. CHRIS McCANN See also album review, page 43.
KJ SAWKA, DJ KRADDY OF GLITCH MOB, ZACHARIAH
(Neumo's) Nothing sets off the alarm like hearing the words "live" and "musician" around drum 'n' bass. The more electronic producers experiment with tangible instruments—particularly in front of an audience—the more they sound orthodox and unintentionally conventional, missing the point. Seattle's KJ Sawka, though, complicates things. Hammering on an ordinary drum kit and fiddling with a flank of widgets, Sawka reproduces jungle beats and samples well enough for you to think it's a hoax. Two albums in, with the latest featuring Blake Lewis, the range and speed of his skills deserve attention, and it's an effectively refreshing lesson in musicianship—even if it's more impressive to watch than to listen to. DEAN FAWKES
SUNN O))), EARTH, WEEDEATER, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
(El Corazón) With the metal genre experiencing a small but widespread return to credibility over the last few years—from professional blog battles to the gradual hardening of indie guitar music—bands like Sunn O))) are attracting fans once hostile to hostility. Born as a tribute to coheadliners Earth, Sunn O))) joined with Japan's Boris to distill a career of holler-at-the-walls doom into last year's Altar, an album of distorted sub-rhythms, black-hole drones, and waves of bass for a morgue. An ambient effort, really, made out of metal's guts. The guest vocals and constant crashes of bad cymbals can get in the way, but Sunn O))) have unleashed a remarkably oppressive comedown and helped give closet metal fans something to cheer for without embarrassing themselves. DEAN FAWKES
MARTYRS OF THE APOLLO GUILD, MIAO YIN, BEESTINGS, BLUE LIGHT CURTAIN
(Kirkland Teen Union Building) Beestings may have you fooled by their name. Getting stung by a bunch of bees—that's pretty tough, right? Wrong. They're not that kind of bee sting. These Beestings are more like the brooding, yet unassuming, prepubescent chest kind of bee sting. This band effectively uses all the best parts of my favorite '90s groups, mixing together the sentiment and styles of Hum, Duster, and "blue album" Weezer to create a sound that's new and exciting while staying rooted in the comfortingly familiar. Their songs have a wonderful sense of anxiousness and hopeful longing, well aware of their unrefined but limitless potential. With enough time Beestings will blossom into something larger—warmer and softer—something every boy will want to see and feel. JEFF KIRBY
THE SHAKY HANDS, BOAT, EUX AUTRES, PATIENCE PLEASE
(Vera Project) Eux Autres is French for "the others," but this bro/sis duo's hometown is a long way from Paris. Hailing from Portland via Omaha, Eux Autres is Heather Larimer—best known, until now, as Stephen Malkmus's tambourine-playing ex-girlfriend—and her brother Nicholas. She plays drums, he plays guitar, they both sing, and their infectious debut record, Hell Is Eux Autres, is enough to make you forget those Pavement connections for good. The band's description of itself is probably more accurate—and entertaining—than anything a rock critic could cook up: "Sounds like: riding shotgun with Jacques Dutronc while the Vaselines eat fried Mars bars in the back seat on the way to Françoise Hardy's house where Super Furry Animals are playing snooker with Helium and [Olivia Tremor Control's] Dusk at Cubist Castle plays on the stereo." Or something. MAYA KROTH See also Album Reviews, page 43.
DEFTONES, DIR EN GREY, THE FALL OF TROY
(WaMu Theater) You know how in high school there was always that gang of screw-up, dirt-punk assholes who didn't give a fuck about anything, flunked all their classes, and were usually defacing or breaking something that wasn't theirs? Well out of that crew you were always sure to find one kid who wasn't an idiot, and he wasn't an asshole, and you didn't really know why he was hanging around with those shitbags when he was capable of so much more. That kid was Deftones, and his shitty friends were the now-defunct nü-metal acts of the late '90s. It never made sense that they hung out together, but for some reason they were always a package deal. Through all the garbage mainstream rock spit out over the last two decades, Deftones have somehow managed to continuously keep putting out good albums, always changing their style just enough to stay fresh. They've been a band for 18 years now, long enough to graduate and really make something of themselves, unlike their stupid, stupid friends, who now live on the Ave bumming change. JEFF KIRBY
CRYPTACIZE, ARRINGTON DE DIONYSO, AARON MANNINO
(Comet) Cryptacize are Kill Rock Stars recording artist Nedelle, ex-Deerhoof and current Curtains guitarist Chris Cohen, and percussionist Michael Carreira. The band's apocryphal story begins in a tilted apartment across the street from the C&H Sugar Factory in Crockett, California (pop. 3,194). Burning sugar and continuous vertigo are their source materials. "Cryptacize" is their magic, steadying word. Though their songs have some of Deerhoof's unhinged, wide-eyed wonder, Cryptacize eschew that band's chaotic, tangential postrock for relatively uncomplicated pop and vintage folk. Their lyrics are similarly simple and awe-inspired musings about possibility ("every note is an unfinished song"), loss ("we'll never dream again"), love, and the "cosmic sing-along." Nedelle and Cohen sing alternately and in harmony, Cohen low and hollow, Nedelle high and clear. ERIC GRANDY
THE DOCUMENTS, PALE HOARSE, RESISTOR VS LEVITATOR
(Rendezvous) Square is the opposite of freak, right? Or straight, maybe? It's worth asking because, in the wake of the last few years' freak folk explosion (folk explosion!), there's been a growing crop of what you could call square or straight folk. This recent revival ignores the additional psychedelic possibilities presented by the digital delays and laptop layering used by bands like Animal Collective in favor of more traditional, simpler sounds. Seattle's Arthur & Yu and the Cave Singers could be part of this wave, as could San Francisco's Pale Hoarse. The duo of Kim Pierce and Kyle Damon Ranson (also a striking visual artist) play plaintive, fallow songs ("Jesus just let me be... darkness has taken over me") built around spare acoustic guitar and the pair's wounded, yearning harmonies with no unnecessary adornments. Pale Hoarse's The Gospels was recently recorded by Ohsees freak John Dwyer. ERIC GRANDY
TUESDAY 7/10You need a checkup from the neck up.
BLUE LIGHT CURTAIN, HUNGRY PINES, H IS FOR HELLGATE
(High Dive) Blue Light Curtain's music is very well crafted, very well put together, and very good for floating—a bright and fertile collection of pop-glazed beats and distantly working harmonics. Their self-titled EP is somber and reflective. If you're driving and have it on repeat, you could easily end up in the next state. Paul Groth, Laura Bratton, and Sky Lynn have been together since 2002, and their closeness shows through in Blue Light Curtain's arrangements. Then there's the band's fourth member: the Korg ES1 Sampler. It never has to drive, never helps set up or break down, and it sits there saying nothing. I asked the ES1 if it was worried about resentment from the others, but it had no comment. TRENT MOORMAN
LOS AMIGOS INVISIBLES, DJ DAREK MAZZONE
(Neumo's) Los Amigos Invisibles have always enjoyed cult status in bigger cities, places with Venezuelan communities looking for solidarity and a sweaty night out on the dance floor. Their playful, panting pairing of sticky funk and Latin rhythms spiked songs like "Masturbation Session" and "Cuchi Cuchi" making for high-spirited, if low-brow, party music. But their 2004 release, The Venezuelan Zinga Son, Vol. 1 (rough translation: "The Venezuelan Fuckfest"), brought out a new, more sophisticated side to the band and turned them into international disco superstars. With funky house gurus Masters at Work on production, Zinga Son posited Los Amigos as jet-setting dons, electrified, beat driven, and still fun as hell. That's the party they bring to Neumo's tonight. JONATHAN ZWICKEL