Lori Baily

Thursday 11/19

Plump DJs

(Trinity) See Data Breaker.

Built to Spill, Disco Doom, Finn Riggins

(Showbox at the Market) Built to Spill's recent performances—whether revisiting the entirety of Perfect from Now On or structuring their set lists based on their fans' requests—have found the indie veterans dwelling on their back catalog. So if you've seen the band in the last 18 months, you've probably caught an uncharacteristically nostalgic angle of Doug Martsch and company. It's unfortunate—while Ancient Melodies of the Future and You in Reverse have yet to achieve the cult status of their early albums, it doesn't mean they're not incredible records. With last month's release of their seventh studio full-length, There Is No Enemy, it's likely the majority of tonight's set will feature newer material. And that should be every bit as exciting as hearing the band play "Car" again. BRIAN COOK

Thunderheist, Winter Gloves, DJ Colby B

(Chop Suey) Canadian duo Thunderheist (MC Isis and Grahm Zilla) set the party off with a flagrant electro-disco-hiphop-R&B group grope. They exude that Spank Rock–ish/Amanda Blank–esque 'tude that makes blood rush to your pelvic region even as their music's prodding your limbs into akimbo (and compromising) positions. Their self-titled 2009 album on Big Dada may be responsible for a slight spike in next year's birthrate. Montreal's Winter Gloves play that jittery, skinny-jeaned, whiny-boy-voiced rock that makes you sashay your way through Urban Outfitters and American Apparel shops with a ridiculous spring in your step. Their most recent album, About a Girl, is more about the Rapture than it is Nirvana. DAVE SEGAL

Chali 2na, Gift of Gab, Mr. Lif, Lyrics Born

(Neumos) Here we have four very recognizable voices to anyone familiar with the last decade of underground hiphop: Chali 2na's bassy bounce, formerly (the only reason you listened to the raps) of Jurassic 5; Gift of Gab, the breathless, fourth-dimensional lungquistador from Blackalicious; recent Seattle transplant Mr. Lif, the ex–Def Jukie with the incisive, dead-on nasal flow and killer live show; and Lyrics Born, the Bay Area's hit-making, syrupy-singing MC. When their powers combine, a raucous and old-school-flavored party will no doubt jump off, with personality, skills, and funk to spare. LARRY MIZELL JR.

Jabon, Kelli Frances Corrado, Can the Boy Tell Time?

(Sunset) Can the Boy Tell Time? (Seattle's Peter Verdoes and Shannon Barry) recorded their album The Llama Tapes with production and a little keyboard and vocal help from the great Scott Colburn (Animal Collective, Sun City Girls, Arcade Fire, etc.). Not surprisingly, the result is a nine-track disc of wide-screen, orchestral rock that revels in the friction that ensues when melodiousness and discordance clash. One can hear in Can the Boy Tell Time?'s work aspirations to Flaming Lips' robustly ethereal mood-setting and deep-space, emotional fragility. This local band's grandiose visions command respect; their cloying moniker, not so much. DAVE SEGAL See also Stranger Suggests, page 23.

Friday 11/20

Built to Spill, Disco Doom, Finn Riggins

(Showbox at the Market) See Thursday.

Mount Eerie, Cars & Trains, Naomi Punk, Secret Colors

(UW HUB) Tonight, the UW's student-run, web-only radio station RainyDawg Radio (KEXP and KUOW use up all of the university's actual airwave allotment) hosts its third annual local-music showcase. Headlining is Anacortes's Mount Eerie (aka Phil Elverum), whose latest album, Wind's Poem, finds Elverum using slow, muddy metal riffing as almost ambient backdrops for his usual soft-edged singing. Opening is Seattle act Secret Colors (aka Matt Lawson), whose latest release, Infinite Wandering, is straight-up ambient, no riffing about it. In between are Portland one-man band Cars & Trains, who accents singer-songwriter acoustics with twee, twitchy electronic touches, and locals Naomi Punk, who play slo-mo, sun-bleached rock with the vocals reverberating in from way back in the mix. ERIC GRANDY

Girls Rock! Benefit: Goodness, the Redwood Plan, Eighteen Individual Eyes, Alicia Dara

(High Dive) An invaluable defense against the ever-present sexism of the music business and the world in general, Girls Rock! is the nonprofit devoted to "building positive self-esteem in girls and encouraging creative expression through music." Tonight's benefit helps guarantee the continuance of the Girls Rock! mission—including the legendary Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls—and features a quartet of femme-powered acts, from Lilith-friendly folk pop (Carrie Akre's Goodness, Alicia Dara) to post-riot-grrrl-y spike pop (Lesli Wood's the Redwood Plan, Eighteen Individual Eyes). DAVID SCHMADER

Android Hero, Lozen, Madraso, Dog Shredder

(Sunset) Though the name is new, Dog Shredder are essentially the continuation of defunct Bellingham trio Cicadas. Aside from a new bass player and moniker, the gist is pretty much the same: They aim to play the most blaring, technical, breakneck instrumental thrash you've ever heard. Though sheer musicianship is at the forefront, Dog Shredder are more than just a group of guys who excel at their instruments—they're striving to write monumental prog masterpieces, and their chops and their intentions work together most harmoniously. They've recently added the raddest prog song of all time, Yes's "Heart of the Sunrise," to their repertoire. Dog Shredder possess that rare combination of lofty ambitions and phenomenal skill that is downright unfuckwithable. JEFF KIRBY

Eek-A-Mouse

(Neumos)

Bong bong bitty bong bong. The ganja smuggler himself, roots superstar Eek-A-Mouse, is here to stay. Reggae fans worldwide have loved the Mouse's comic, OG singjay stylings since he first hit in 1980—particularly in live settings, where his six-foot-six frame, lunatic toasting, and gift for hilariously inventive gibberish (even by reggae standards) can charm the hemp pants off of any crowd. Eek's sharp storytelling can be heard in the classic "Ganja Smuggling," which details that job's unglamorous lifestyle, or the wondrous "Peeni Walli," the touching story of a man getting hit by a motorcycle. Beyond all that, the Mouse is a cultural innovator: Internets sensation Reh Dogg bit his entire uncomfortable steez from Eek's epically awesome "Schizophrenic" video. Wa-Do-Dem. LARRY MIZELL JR.

Jazzanova, SunTzu Sound, DJ Riz, DJ Struggle & D'Jeronimo

(Chop Suey) We cannot separate Berlin's Jazzonova from the '90s (the group formed in 1995) in the same way that we cannot separate Kruder & Dorfmeister from that time. Personally, I have always experienced their music as a kind of beat-tourism. Their tracks transport me to a variety of places and situations. For example, the dubby "Bohemian Sunset" is set in the tropics, with its passionate birds and restless reptiles. The broken beats of "No Use" take me to an urban club that features a soul singer from one of America's northern cities. "Introspection" ushers me to the underground of an even larger and more mysterious city. As for the group's masterpiece, "Coffee Talk," I'm transported to a whole other planet, namely Venus, with its warm mists and velvety skies. Each place I visit, I always find the ground of a fresh beat that has either a hint of hiphop or a touch of bossa nova. CHARLES MUDEDE

Wolfmother, Thenewno2, Heartless Bastards

(Paramount) Borrowing from early rock giants is a tricky task. Nods to guitar titans like Blue Cheer and Deep Purple can earn you points with the old guard, pop-culture historians, and music nerds, but the not-so-subtle referencing can render you a novelty act—a band with a great record collection, but one lacking any concept of what's relevant in the present age. Wolfmother are a perfect example. Their vintage pre-metal groove is solid, but the context is troubling. These kinds of songs don't pose the same threat they did 30 years ago, rendering their more visceral attributes inert. But perhaps they're merely aiming to be a pop band with a little classic-rock grit, in which case they're better off selling their albums at Starbucks. BRIAN COOK

Kids and Animals, New Faces, Black Whales, Conservative Dad, Colonies, Post Harbor

(Vera) Tonight's show is a release party for both Kids and Animals and Conservative Dad. For the past year, Conservative Dad have been experimenting with their sound and releasing quarterly EPs of the results, from heavier rock to catchy pop; tonight they issue the last EP of the year. Kids and Animals still have a lot of growing up to do, but their self-titled debut shows promise. Their youth is apparent in the silly lyrics of songs like "46th Street" and there are obvious nods throughout the record to Lonesome Crowded West–era Modest Mouse, but they're also obviously competent musicians; they haven't picked a bad muse. Once they find their own direction, K&A have the potential to be an indie-rock force of their own. MEGAN SELING

Saturday 11/21

Hey Marseilles, Fences

(Vera) See preview.

Head Like a Kite, Foscil, the Animals at Night

(Crocodile) See preview.

Levi Fuller, Pufferfish, Emiko Blalock

(Conor Byrne) Where does Levi Fuller find the time to do everything he does? Besides holding down a day job, he curates the delightful quarterly musical anthology Ball of Wax, he plays bass in space-rockers the Luna Moth, and he's passionate about DJing at Hollow Earth Radio, too. And now he's gone and made an album called Colossal. It's aptly titled—many of Fuller's efforts have been intentionally quiet, but Colossal is big-time. The title track features a chorus of voices raised in song ("We are colossal," they sing, and it's an empowering anthem for anyone who has ever wondered if he/she's the only one in the world who has doubts), and every other number is accessible, catchy, and strong as titanium. It's a giant leap forward for an already formidable talent and one of the best albums I've heard this year. PAUL CONSTANT

M.A.N.D.Y.

(See Sound Lounge) Cofounders of Berlin's Get Physical Records, one of those dance labels that's more consistently likable than flat-out lovable, M.A.N.D.Y.—the duo of Philipp David Jung and Patrick Bodmer—are one of the more agreeable faces of German electro house. Their many CD-length DJ mixes—including 2007's Fabric 38 and two new ones, for Renaissance and for the 7th Anniversary Compilation for Get Physical—go down easy and get the blood circulating, but don't leave anything in the way of aftertaste. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

The King Khan & BBQ Show, Those Darlins, DJ Danger Nun

(Chop Suey) King Khan and Mark Sultan (aka BBQ Show) haven't exactly changed up their approach for Invisible Girl, the duo's latest album on In the Red Records. But, really, why fuck with such a winning formula? With little more than tambourine and snare; simple, ramshackle chord progressions; and a sense of humor, the King Khan & BBQ Show blend doo-wop, punk, and soul for some thoroughly catchy tunes. And good God damn, if that Sultan isn't a crooner. Take the lilting waltz of "Third Avenue" or the rollicking, feel-good jam "I'll Be Loving You," for example—dude holds his own with those early R&B greats. GRANT BRISSEY

Them Crooked Vultures

(Paramount) John Paul Jones on bass and keys! Dave Grohl on drums! Josh Homme on vocals and lead guitar! That other guy! Verily, this is a mighty rock 'n' roll supergroup. And if you're a fan of Led Zeppelin's godhead stomp and Queens of the Stone Age's smarmy, sultry desert-rock riffs, you'll probably find this fusion totally fulfilling. (If you're not, surprise, you'll probably find it kind of rote.) But, really, even if these players were just goofing around in one of their (presumably giant, gold-plated) garages—as is sometimes the impression you get from their self-titled debut—the results would no doubt be instantly arena-ready. Reports from the band's early live shows are encouraging, with audiences reportedly rocking out to the songs long before the album was leaked. ERIC GRANDY

Sunday 11/22

Ben Hills Memorial Show: Champagne Champagne, the Absolute Monarchs, Shiny Beast, Tiny Light, Wildildlife, Hotels, the Greatest Hits, Broken Nobles

(Comet, 2 pm) See Fucking in the Streets, and In Memoriam.

Julian Casablancas, the Strange Boys

(Showbox at the Market) Former Strokes frontfop Julian Casablancas has maybe two good songs on his synth-addled solo debut, Phrazes for the Young—the glassy, lazily rocking "Left & Right in the Dark" (with its funny fade-out fake-out) and the smooth-moving dance-floor number "11th Dimension," which rides a keyboard riff that might as well "Jump" right off the track. Beyond those two opening tracks, though, the album is a real slog, simultaneously overcrowded and insubstantial. The odd, twangy-but-synthetic, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink (organs! banjo! drum-machine click tracks!) approach of trad-rocking "4 Chords of the Apocalypse" and dirge "Ludlow St." take Casablancas's trademark listlessness to such grating heights. And after those mid-album tracks, man, do things really drag (the weird, overbearing upbeat of "River of Breaklights" annoys more than it enlivens). This isn't it. ERIC GRANDY

Gladiators Eat Fire, Loom, Rad Touch

(Rendezvous) Salt Lake City's Loom seem to live on the road. They tour virtually nonstop in a full-size school bus that they've painted black and converted to run on vegetable oil. Their electrifying set in Seattle last April recalled some of the best heavy and melodic independent bands of the last 10 years. They feature an electric violin player who absolutely shreds; guitar riffs that echo the highlights of Hot Cross, Cancer Conspiracy, and Faraquet; and a dazzling light show, controlled by the lead singer, that meticulously matches and enhances every shift and swell of the music. (Don't bother showing up for Rad Touch.) JEFF KIRBY

Monday 11/23

The Hidden Cameras

(Triple Door) You kind of dig yourself into a (glory-)hole when you open and close your breakthrough album of choral pop with songs about water sports (and I ain't talking about synchronized swimming!). Do you attempt to up the dissonance factor with yet raunchier lyrics set to even more delicately baroque ditties? Do you just try to gracefully back out of the bathhouse? Well, if you're the Hidden Cameras—the pride of Ontario—you opt more or less for the latter. The band's songs are still as joyfully sung and artfully arranged as ever, but they've gradually dialed down the naughtiness and winkingly inflammatory politics of songs like "Ban Marriage" in favor of maybe more sincere but certainly less uniquely striking pop songs. Still, they're just adorable live. ERIC GRANDY

Talk Normal, Wet Hair, Broken Water, King Dude

(Josephine) What if early Yeah Yeah Yeahs subsisted on a steady diet of Ut and Siouxsie and the Banshees LPs, and then heavily immersed themselves in the No New York comp? Something like Talk Normal would emerge. The young project of drummer/vocalist Andrya Ambro and guitarist/bassist/vocalist Sarah Register, Talk Normal play a vital strain of nervy, veiny rock that wreaths your head in barbed wire. Mostly tart, but a little sweet, the songs on their Secret Cog EP and Sugarland full-length induce a lot of beneficial pain and agonizing pleasure for a two-woman unit. Within Talk Normal's music, noise and melody engage in plenty of hate-fucking, and everyone leaves the scene thoroughly drained. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 11/24

Joker

(War Room) See Data Breaker.

The Books

(Triple Door) I admit that I started listening to the Books because I really like their name (they don't call me "books editor" at this here rag for nothin'). But it didn't take long to become obsessed. Most band names are only obliquely related to their sound, but the Books just makes sense as a name for these guys: The lyrics are literary, thoughtful, and moody. They make music you can read to—understated, thoughtful, not one plucked guitar string or ambient loop out of place to distract you from the page. I suggest bringing a copy of Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City to this show; try reading a chapter in the middle of their set and you'll see exactly what I mean. PAUL CONSTANT See also Stranger Suggests.

Peaches, Amanda Blank

(Showbox at the Market) Peaches and Amanda Blank represent the cream (pun intended) of the not particularly overcrowded white-female sex-rap field. The former is now an elder stateswoman for lyrical raunch and electro-rock crunch, but her once-libido-liberating shtick has brought increasingly flaccid returns since her peak with 2000's The Teaches of Peaches. Amanda Blank made the most of cameos on hipster-rap titans Spank Rock's "Bump" and "Blow," and parlayed that fruitful association into a solo-artist deal with Downtown Records. Blank's speedy XXX-ploitation flows have been somewhat tamed on her debut album, I Love You, on which she combines coquettish singing with her precision-tooled yet sultry rapping. Her producers—Diplo, XXXchange, and Switch—bring their B games, but Blank's charismatic cockiness will keep horndogs and the women who dig 'em listening. The homages to LL Cool J's "I Need Love" and Romeo Void's "Never Say Never" are utterly unnecessary, though. DAVE SEGAL

Kelly Clarkson, Eric Hutchinson, Parachute

(WaMu Theater) Is Kelly Clarkson the most normal pop star ever? I ask this in earnest and mean it as a compliment. From her grassroots triumph on American Idol through her universe-conquering megahit "Since U Been Gone" (currently riding high in best-of-the-decade roundups) through her bravely petulant battles with her record label, Clarkson has remained the type of girl you might see working at Orange Julius if she wasn't touring the world with multiplatinum albums. Besides her attractive normalcy, Clarkson's secret weapon remains her humongous voice, which will be wrapped around her hits, almost hits, and cherished album tracks tonight at WaMu Theater. DAVID SCHMADER

Wednesday 11/25

CunninLynguists, Grieves, Budo

(Neumos) Yes, when I first heard CunninLynguists' name, I groaned. Of course! But Kno, Deacon the Villain, and Natti have long put to bed any question of their legitimacy, having toured all over the world, packing clubs, selling shit-tons of merch, and building a legion of devotees. Plus, they're part of the talent-deep QN5 family, one of the great (and undersung) indie-hop dynasties, which cranks out their Southern-fried grown man-nerisms 100 percent independently. Grieves and Budo, both very familiar names to Seattle hiphop fans, are on the bill, as well, bringing their thoroughly musical, emotive everydude rap back home before their next big look—and just you stay tuned. LARRY MIZELL JR.

The Fascination Movement, Copy, Recess

(Chop Suey) Eighties nostalgia seems to have begun in earnest sometime around January 1, 1980, and hasn't let up since—understandable, given that decade's great leaps forward in synthesizer technology (and excellent club drugs). Seattle act the Fascination Movement take a reverent (and sober) approach to recreating that golden age of new wave, with neat arrangements of perfectly plinking synth arpeggios, hollowed-out keyboard pads, and vocals that alternately recall Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and New Order (weirdly, on "Runaway," the vocals sound like nothing so much as contemporary revivalist Paul Banks of Interpol). The Fascination Movement's is a classic sound done with impeccable care. Portland's Copy is similarly geeked out on synthesizers, but where the Fascination Movement make moody, painstakingly sculpted vocal synth pop, Copy makes raw instrumental electro jams. ERIC GRANDY