(Trinity) See Data Breaker.
(Neumos) Chart-topping superstars in their native Denmark, Mew are Pitchfork-beloved art rockers in the U.S., where their poppy, proggy, melodic swoon storms have earned them a small but impassioned fan base. Touring in support of their 2009 release, which boasts the Fiona-length title No More Stories/Are Told Today/I'm Sorry/They Washed Away/No More Stories/The World Is Grey/I'm Tired/Let's Wash Away, Mew play tonight at Neumos. Expect a stadium-sized show in an incongruently cozy space. DAVID SCHMADER
Z-Trip, Kid Koala, DJ Elad
(Showbox at the Market) It isn't simply because Z-Trip and Kid Koala are two of the best-known and just plain best hiphop scratch DJs around that their pairing here is so fortuitous. It's also because Z-Trip is best known for his brilliant "Rockstar" and "Rockstar II" (from the first two volumes of Bomb Hip-Hop's Return of the DJ compilation series) and Koala's new project is the Slew, a collaboration with Seattle's Dynomite D that focuses on rock samples and beats. The Slew's 100% (Puget Sound) isn't as focused or polished as Koala discs such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Some of My Best Friends Are DJs, but tracks like "Robbin' Banks (Doin' Time)" bring the noise nevertheless. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
TC Izlam, Khanfidenz, Type, Helladope, Rik Rude
(Rendezvous) What can I say about Type that hasn't yet been said about Afghanistan? Send 30,000 of your best friends to troop on over and party with Seattle's clown prince of TMI-rap; from confessions of once unknowingly dating an escort (hilarious) to the new rumored-to-be-HUMP!-worthy video for his bro-love jam "Man Crush" (danger, Will Robinson!), the rapper known to his (no doubt) proud parents as Jeff Tune continues to amaze crowds and fellow rappers alike with his willingness to go to any uncomfortable length to get a reaction. Awkward! Did not enough people come to his birthday parties as a kid? The answer is a resounding fucking yes, and now we're all paying for it. God save us. On second thought: Fuck you, God. This shit is your fault. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Corea, Clarke and White
(Jazz Alley) What we have here is three-fourths of rococo fusion titans Return to Forever in acoustic mode (guitarist Al Di Meola apparently has better things to do). Chick Corea (keyboards), Stanley Clarke (bass), and Lenny White (drums) are some of the most accomplished and flamboyant players ever on their respective instruments. So while some fusioneers may pine for the electrified razzle-dazzle of LPs like Romantic Warrior (a record that foreshadowed Squarepusher's insane rhythmic virtuosity) and Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, they will have to "settle" for a more restrained mode of jazz on this tour. Still, any chance to catch these high-flying badasses in the flesh should not be missed. DAVE SEGAL
Pierced Arrows, the Cripples, the Chemicals, Thee Headliners, Don't
(Funhouse) See preview.
Corea, Clarke and White
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
The Cops, Thee Sgt. Major III, Eugene Wendell & the Demon Rind
(Tractor) See Stranger Suggests.
3 Inches of Blood, Red Fang, Heiress, H.M.P.
(El Corazón) Portland's Red Fang have been making it up to Seattle a lot lately, hopping on a number of great bills and getting some deserved exposure. At this point, Red Fang are the perfect opener—they've got a solid debut album filled with tasty riffs and one certifiable monster jam. Thankfully, the band is well aware of the sheer force of "Prehistoric Dog," and when they closed their set with it a few months ago at the Comet, they brought the house down, propelling themselves in the minds of everyone who was watching from a good opening act to a great one. Once they get a few more songs of that caliber in their repertoire, I doubt they'll be an opener too much longer. JEFF KIRBY
Melt-Banana, Tera Melos
(Chop Suey) The snarky indie fanzine Chunklet once mused that for every type of band in America, there is currently a band in Japan doing it better and to a more extreme degree. For the noisy spazz-rock set, it's obvious that Japan's Melt-Banana outblaze their stateside contemporaries. Even when their songs teeter on the brink of cacophony, there is a masterly element of control and a knack for hooks. When the band veers toward more traditional hypercharged punk, there is still both an obvious musical discipline and a passion for the unexpected. California's Tera Melos are a suitable challenge to Chunklet's assertion, sharing Melt-Banana's adrenaline-charged tempos, wacked-out arrangements, and playful dexterity. Prepare to scoop your jaw up off the floor tonight. BRIAN COOK
The Dandy Warhols, Hawkeye
(Neumos) For a group whose members have a reputation for debauchery, the Dandy Warhols sure have had a long, consistent career in the music biz. Nine solid albums in 14 years is commendable, even if the group's songwriting range hasn't varied much in that time. The Portland quartet simply knows what works for it, and they keep refining those few things: a streamlined, candy-coated psych rock with deadpan vocals descended from Lou Reed, casually danceable beats, new-wavey synth textures and songwriting dynamics, and the odd spacey, drone workout to keep the true heads listening. The Dandy Warhols keep reinventing their own wheel and it keeps rolling very smoothly and a lot of people remain happy about that state of affairs. DAVE SEGAL
(Triple Door) It may come as a surprise to some, but I did not really grow up in an environment with an appreciation for reverb-drenched surf guitar. Beach-minded rock in general (I carried a blind hatred for the Beach Boys for most of my life) did not jibe with my memories of the wilds of Venice and Santa Monica, to which the soothing tones of an Ice-T or Suicidal Tendencies tape was an infinitely better fit. I'm sure I'm not the only one whose introduction to the quicksilver fingers of Dick Dale was the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. It was all downhill for me from "Misirlou" on, homie—not talking about the Black Eyed Peas' jack of it on "Pump It"; I'm thinking mainly of monies spent on Man or Astro-man? CDs here—but, goddamn, he is the King of Surf Guitar for a fucking reason. Kiss the ring. LARRY MIZELL JR.
J. Tillman, Pearly Gate Music
(Crocodile) A prolific solo artist both before and after signing on as Fleet Foxes' harmonizing drummer, J. Tillman specializes in slow, quiet, stripped-down neo-folk music, much of which is made simply by the man and his guitar. The results will either enchant you madly or bore you silly. Opening the show: brother Zach Tillman's Pearly Gate Music, recently signed to Barsuk Records and trafficking in similar acoustic folkstuff, spiced up with artsy four-track layering and welcoming melodies. DAVID SCHMADER
Guns of Barisal, Glassy Globe, the Fraus, Scandal from Bohemima
(Rendezvous) There is very little info on the World Wide Web about Seattle instrumental metal outfit Guns of Barisal. (No, I will not call them "instru-metal"; fuck off.) Their internet portal states that two members—Jeff Schatz (guitar) and Adam Manthey (drums)—came from a band called Recap and that Brian Trimble (bass guitar) came from a group called Ninety Pound Wuss. It would not be unfair to qualify Guns of Barisal as less-jagged, less-terse descendants of Seattle's long-defunct Swarming Hordes—only with darker, brooding constructions. And with great Seattle metal acts like the aforementioned Hordes and Girth no longer taming these sonic realms, more activity from this trio would be a most welcome development. GRANT BRISSEY
Corea, Clarke and White
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
(Motor) See Data Breaker.
Zero 7, Phantogram
(Showbox at the Market) London-based Zero 7 (Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker), who have released four albums over this decade, is often and wrongly compared to Air. A much better comparison is with Bristol's Alpha, a duo who, like Zero 7, works with singers and produces elegant and lush pop tunes. Alpha, however, is much more dubby and experimental than Zero 7, whose music is very clean and rarely overflows. The duo's best album is their second, When It Falls (2004), which seemed to correct the mistakes made on the first album, Simple Things (2001), which had a few tracks that sounded way too simple and clean (indeed, "Simple Things" had the kind of plain writing and chord changes that you'd expect to find on a Sting record). Zero 7's new Yeah Ghost certainly has its moments, the main of which is a pop tune, "Mr McGee," which features the Zimbabwean singer Eska Mtungwazi. Zero 7 also dropped an excellent DJ mix on the Another Late Night series, revealing their excellent musical taste. CHARLES MUDEDE
KEXP Yule Benefit: the Thermals, the Cave Singers, the Builders and the Butchers, Grand Hallway
(Neumos) One peril of being a pop band is the notion that your work is shallow, pedestrian, and, ultimately, disposable. Yet for the Thermals, their simple brand of garage guitar pop contains surprisingly deep lyrical themes, irreverent agendas, and clever melodies that dodge the kind of obvious chord progressions that afflict so many of their peers. While it's unlikely anyone would argue that repeated exposure to their albums reveals hidden layers or subtle complexities, the power trio manages to craft albums that grow increasingly catchy and maintain their relevance. For a pop band, there is no greater achievement. Finding that magic formula where pop transcends its bubblegum veneer and attains high-art status qualifies the Thermals as a Northwest treasure. BRIAN COOK
The Squirrels, the MoonSpinners, Henry Boy
(Tractor) Since 1984, the Squirrels have been pumping out their signature blend of gooftastic comedy rock, drawing on such diverse influences as the Firesign Theater, the Mothers of Invention, the Monkees, and Time-Life collections of AM-radio pop hits. Tonight at the Tractor, the Squirrels perform their final show ever, closing out their 25-year ridiculous rampage with a farewell show also featuring '60s-style popsters the MoonSpinners. Expect Christmas-themed Clash spoofs, Barry Manilow medleys, and unfettered foolishness. DAVID SCHMADER
(Re-bar) Chicago techno DJ/producer Frankie Vega creates and spins no-frills, high-impact tracks for epic dancing feats in warehouses and clubs. As someone who's worked in Chicago's Hot Jams record shop for over a decade, Vega knows what the hell makes people lose it on the floor; by this point, he's got crowd control down to a science. That experience, coupled with exquisite taste (tracks by Speedy J, the Advent, Angel Alanis, Robert Babicz, and other elite techno-icians find their way into his sets), goes a long way toward a pleasurable night of perpetual rhythmic motion. DAVE SEGAL
He Whose Ox Is Gored, Into the Storm, Dirty Sidewalks, Ubik
(Comet) Ubik is an enigmatic band. Singer Michelle's delivery and demeanor recall the fiery feminist punk energy of Spitboy. Their stage-right bass player conjures the apocalyptic funk-skronk of Skeleton Key. Their stage-left bass player—perhaps compensating for the absent guitar player—churns out heavily effected proggy leads. Together, their sound is a perplexing blend of the more experimental anarcho punk of the late '80s and early '90s (Dog Faced Hermans, Submission Hold, Contropotere) and the rowdier descendants of the prog-rock scene (Primus, Mr. Bungle, Victims Family). Ubik is certainly not for everyone, but they're definitely a band that should be explored by adventurous listeners. BRIAN COOK
Spurm, the Greatest Hits, Stabbings
(Comet) I can't tell you how relieved I was when I heard the actual CD inside the (nicely screen-printed and numbered) cover for the eponymous Spurm EP and it wasn't some fucked-off hobby rap with unwittingly stupid lyrics. Instead, it's some fucked-off, UHF-ass (Weird Al imagery intended) carnival punk rock, issued by the plucky hobby label GGNZLA, with admittedly stupid lyrics like "enchilada, lotta leftovers" and "I wanna get a bong and hit it like a gong"—plus, no shortage of, uh, spunk. It sounds exactly like the kind of dumb shit your ass-hole friend would be jamming at high volume in the van to drive you to the brink of sleep-depped insanity as you're trying to catch some desperate z's. I kind of love it. LARRY MIZELL JR.
El Vez, Los Straitjackets, the Lovely Elvettes, King of Hawaii
(Tractor) Get your Navidad properly felized at this Mexi-themed Christmas bash starring the one and only El Vez, also known as the world's foremost Mexican Elvis impersonator, responsible for such records as Graciasland, GI Aye Aye Blues, and Merry Mex-mas. Filling out the bill are Tennessee's Mexican wrestler–masked surf rockers Los Straitjackets (who'll play both solo and with the king of rock y roll) and Seattle rockabilly band King of Hawaii. DAVID SCHMADER
Deck the Hall Ball: Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Metric, 30 Seconds to Mars
(WaMu Theater) See preview.
(See Sound Lounge) See Stranger Suggests.
U.S.F., Mighty Tiger, the Benjamin Clocks
(Comet) Jason Baxter and Kyle Hargus of U.S.F. (formerly Universal Studios Florida) are spearheading the Seattle branch of the shadowy subgenre some seriously (and mockingly) call "chillwave." Eric Grandy's feature last month thoroughly summarized the duo's tropical sonic forays into other people's vacation memories. I'll just add here that U.S.F.'s laid-back, shimmery space dub and drifting psychedelia will surely act as a balm amid the Northwest's pewter-skied winter bleakness. Locals Mighty Tiger play earnest, effusive pop that charms its way past your hard wall of cynicism and ruffles your hair in a nonobnoxious way. It's soft-impact, skillfully written and played stuff with sonic DNA derived from the Association, Sagittarius, the Mamas & the Papas, and many of the literate, gentle souls who followed in their wake. DAVE SEGAL
Coconut Coolouts, the Cowabunga Dudes, the Mean Jeans, Partman Parthorse
(Funhouse) Man, it's so exciting to see Dirtnap Records' name resurface again! The former Seattle label, started by Ken Cheppaikode in 1999, turned me on to some of my all-time favorite Northwest punk bands—the Spits, the Epoxies, the Cripples. Cheppaikode, who's now based in Portland, is at it again, releasing the Mean Jeans' new LP, Are You Serious? The trio—Billy Jeans, Jeans Wilder, and Howie Doodat—is often accused of aping the retardo pop-punk sensibilities of the Ramones. They recently told the Portland Mercury, "We like the Ramones, Riverdales, the Queers. I think when we first started out, we were trying to be a band that ripped off a band that ripped off the Ramones." Whether it's rip-off or reinvention, I say if Ken Dirtnap buys it, then so do I. KELLY O
(Crocodile) British four-piece One eskimO plays hushed, soft-lit bedroom pop-soul that splits the difference between Nick Drake and Norah Jones. There's a lot of this sort of thing about now, but One eskimO do it well. Vocalist Kristian Leontiou exudes a subdued warmth, with easy leaps into creamy falsetto as well as forays into mellow belting offering diversions from his typical breathy croon. The acoustic-based music won't disturb a sleeping infant, but rather than coming across as anodyne, the songs on One eskimO's self-titled album induce a very pleasant calm, a platonic, consoling hug in the guise of coffeehouse soul—sort of like the Beta Band with all their quirks whittled away. It could be worse—much worse. DAVE SEGAL
The Globes, Post Harbor, Oregon Donor
(Comet) Sometime in the new year, the new decade, we should be getting a very nice present from local guitar-loving indie rockers the Globes, as they've spent several weeks this past fall working on their debut full-length with John Goodmanson, the man behind the magnificent, clean production on records by the Long Winters, Los Campesinos, and Harvey Danger. The Globes record has been something worth anticipating since the band first came into the scene with their self-titled EP modestly wrapped in cardboard. Those songs didn't boast any big, boisterous choruses; instead, the music quietly impressed with a lot of really nice pop-laden subtleties. I can't wait to hear what Goodmanson does with them. MEGAN SELING