Joseph P. Traina

Thursday 1/14

Tash, the Bayliens, League 510, X-Kid, Oly Ghost

(Chop Suey) Tha Alkaholiks' lead MC Tash (FKA Catastrophe) is a perennially underappreciated lyricist, a guy who was Ludacris before Ludacris was: "I'm too hot to handle/Got more soul in my pinky/Than a niggy pickin' his Afro/In a leopard skin dashiki," he spit on the classic 1993 Liks single "Likwit." Tha Alkaholiks are slept on as an L.A. rap institution (although Tash, like partner E-Swift, both hail from Columbus, Ohio), and so too has Tash's solo work flown under the masses' radar for too long. His solo debut, Rap Life, was one of the best hiphop albums of 1999, brimming with fun and funk, and the fact that Tash holds his own so well alongside guests like Raekwon, Kurupt, and Outkast speaks volumes. So show your love—buying the man a drink would be more than appropriate. LARRY MIZELL JR.

The Webelos, Charles Leo Gebhardt IV, Corespondents

(Sunset) Charles Leo Gebhardt IV's Unfaithful EP (on local basement label GGNZLA Records) kicks off with the rousing "Look Out, Look In"—a sunburst of guitar, a stomp of drums, and Gebhardt singing, with an ever so slightly English affect, "Wake up, wake up, honey/You're gonna be late for the day/And what a fine day for love/Today could be." Throughout the EP, Gebhardt does a kind of backcountry ramble that's more British pastoral than Americana, an almost-folksy jangle plugged into an amp and electrified. "Lake Serene" is a driving escape marked by swerving guitars and piped in "woo-ooh" backing vocals, "Better at Love" is a domestically blissed-out daydream whose initial rockabilly guitar motif sounds like a Brian Setzer Christmas song (but it doesn't suck), "King of the Mountain" is an easy swaying ballad with a lightly galloping backbeat, and the album-closing title track is a weary coda, with just a faint echo of Nico's "These Days" to its descending central line. Fine stuff. ERIC GRANDY

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Friday 1/15

Dubtek, cB, the Dowlz

(Contour) See Data Breaker.

Whitney Ballen, U.S.F., Hoquiam, Cumulus, A Locket

(Old Fire House) See Underage.

Infected Mushroom, Steve Aoki, Kreeper, DJ MYK

(Showbox at the Market) Despite some questionable career decisions (like mentoring an aimless former sitcom star) and being pretty hard to divorce from the much-maligned "hipster" phenomenon, Steve Aoki is the real deal. One doesn't just garner a planet-wide rep as an inimitable DJ for no good reason—Aoki has a magician's ear for mashups. He's the kind of dude who could turn the House of Lords into an ecstatic, pansexual rave in 15 minutes or less. If you're willing to check your cynicism at the door, this show—also featuring straight-faced Israeli psych/trance bad-asses Infected Mushroom—could be your ticket to butt-shaking paradise. JASON BAXTER

Jaguar Love, Slender Means, Nazca Lines, Blood Cells

(Vera) Johnny Whitney's voice is an amazing thing. It coos and cracks and strains against higher pitches than you'd ever expect any man's voice to reach. At any moment (especially on the twists and turns of "Bonetrees and a Broken Heart") you expect him to cough a couple times and start singing in a voice two octaves lower, like a very drunk frat boy failing at his attempt at Prince's "Kiss" on karaoke night. But it just keeps on being amazing again and again. And Jaguar Love are the perfect agent of propulsion behind that voice: Their sound is tight enough to allow Whitney's voice to dance and play nimbly through all the beats and licks. PAUL CONSTANT

Blunt Mechanic, Mal De Mer, Aqueduct

(Chop Suey) Ben Barnett has spent most of his musical life writing songs and performing under the guise of Kind of Like Spitting, an unpredictable project that released eight albums, including their standout, 2002's Bridges Worth Burning (one of my favorite records of last decade, for its aggressive drumming, shamelessly honest lyrics, and guitar riffs even heavier than the thoughts that were clearly weighing on Barnett's shoulders). Soon after that, Barnett disappeared from my radar. Kind of Like Spitting ceased to release new material after 2006, and it all felt like a dream. But now Barnett is back! And while it's too early to tell how I feel about his new band, Blunt Mechanic (I've only heard two songs), it's exciting that such a fearless songwriter has returned to the spotlight. MEGAN SELING

Sera Cahoone, the Moondoggies, Widower

(Tractor) The biggest problem with the outlaw country music of the 1970s is that there were no women who could keep up with Waylon and Willie and Merle and all the rest. Sera Cahoone doesn't get quite as rowdy as the men of outlaw country did—there's a bigger bluegrass influence on her album Only as the Day Is Long than any of those guys dared to show at the time—but the spirit is there. Cahoone sounds like she smashed against the wrong side of morning and took a few drinks too many somewhere in her past. I'm not talking about steroidal Gretchen Wilson tomboy antics here; Cahoone sounds like a woman who has lived, and is okay with that, and wants to be free to live some more. PAUL CONSTANT

Saturday 1/16

Julia Nunes

(Vera) See preview, and Stranger Suggests.

Bronze Fawn, Gladiators Eat Fire, This Blinding Light

(Black Lodge) See preview.

Sera Cahoone, the Moondoggies, the Magic Mtn

(Tractor) See Friday.

Grudge Rock: Head Like a Kite vs. BOAT

(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests.

School of Rock Presents: SST vs. Dischord

and

Chris Cab's Birthday: Cover sets of Guns N' Roses, Cock Sparrer, Black Flag, Jawbreaker, Minor Threat, Face to Face, 7 Seconds, Screeching Weasel, plus more, performed by members of Kane Hodder, the Hollowpoints, Sunday Night Blackout, Sirens Sister, Black Houses, Betrayed, Heiress, Beach Rites, Everyone's Fault

(El Corazón) Tonight, El Corazón offers up a double dose of some of the best music ever made—played by other bands. First, for the all-ages show that starts at 6:30 p.m., the kids of Seattle's School of Rock will cover their favorite bands from the legendry SST and Dischord labels—expect to hear songs by Bad Brains, Fugazi, Descendents, Dinosaur Jr., and more. Then at 9:30 p.m., the adults can stick around for the 21-plus birthday celebration for one Mr. Chris Cab, a man who wears many hats, but mostly is just the geekiest music geek ever to geek out. To ring in his 31st year of life, friends from bands like Kane Hodder, Schoolyard Heroes, Sirens Sister, Heiress, Shook Ones, and many more will cover his favorites by Minor Threat, Guns N' Roses, Screeching Weasel, and Cock Sparrer. MEGAN SELING

Spaceman, Fresh Espresso, Helladope, Steelo

(Chop Suey) See My Philosophy.

Past Lives, World's Greatest Ghosts, Blood Cells

(Sunset) Past Lives' debut full-length, Tapestry of Webs, finds the band spinning its already dubby post-punk sound out in some unexpected and exciting ways. The album opens with the undead Roy Orbisonism of "Paralyzer," all "here she comes" bass and drum groove anchoring Jordan Blilie's murmuring verses and Devin Welch's shimmering and squalling guitars, all culminating with a ghostly chorus. Elsewhere, the band forays into dreamily discordant rock on "Don't Let the Ashes Fill Your Eyes" and "Vanishing Twin," and eerie balladry on "Deep in the Valley" and almost-hymnal album closer "There Is a Light So Bright It Blinds." Past Lives still exhibit some of the jagged, cluttered angularity that made the Blood Brothers so electrifying on songs like "Falling Spikes" or "Hex Takes Hold," but it's backed by an alternately jittery and queasy brass sound that lends the songs a winning no-wave flair. I've yet to see the band pull all these looks off this flawlessly live, but that could all change tonight. ERIC GRANDY

Sunday 1/17

KEXP 'Expansions' MLK Show: Kid Hops, DJ Riz, Masa, SunTzu Sound

(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests.

Binary Star, Massive Monkees, D.Black, Canary Sing, DJ Marc Sense, hosted by Vitamin D

(Nectar) The first record by Binary Star (Pontiac, Michigan's One Be Lo and Senim Silla), Waterworld, was released in 1999, the year after which underground hiphop completely broke with the mainstream. The two scenes have been apart ever since. Binary Star's album was one among several releases—mostly coming from NYC and L.A.—that proved that the underground could "go it alone," go with little to no marketing, money, and access to national distribution networks. Binary Star not only produced a number of classics, such as the dreamy, starry track "OneManArmy," but also helped establish the codes of the underground: Keep it unreal, nothing but skills on the mic, and no wack beats. CHARLES MUDEDE

Le Sang Song, Climax Golden Twins

(Rendezvous) Le Sang Song is the solo project of the Lights and Love Tan guitarist/vocalist Craig Chambers. He recorded a self-titled album in 2007, but it's only now peeping daylight via Dragnet Records, which issued it January 12. If you're familiar with the Lights and Love Tan's spiky, raw, and tuneful garage punk, you'll probably cotton to Le Sang Song. Chambers's deep deadpan vocals still darken the music's edges, but they're in service of more stripped-down tunes occasionally augmented by violin and thumb piano. The vibe is more loner troubadour—Skip Spence, R. Stevie Moore—than a full-on band experience, but Chambers's strong songwriting and sharp rhythmic skills gleam in this context, too. Plus, paraphrasing the immortal bass line from Curtis Mayfield's "Super Fly" in "Aloha" grants him countless cool points. Live, Le Sang Song expands to include Chambers's wife, Adria Garcia, on guitar and vocals, Love Tan bandmate Matthew Ford on drums, and A Frames/AFCGT's Min Yee on bass. DAVE SEGAL

Monday 1/18

Slayer canceled, dude. God hates us all.

Tuesday 1/19

Tes La Rok, Just One, DJ Collage, Control Bass

(Nectar) See Data Breaker.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic

(Showbox Sodo) With alarming frequency (seemingly every four to six months), George Clinton and his vast entourage come through Seattle to preach the funk gospel in their rambling, scatterbrained manner. Trouble is, their sermons have slackened into an undisciplined sprawl of flabbier-than-is-optimal musicianship. Granted, Clinton/P-Funk were never known for their James Brown–ian crispness, and their loose long-windedness does have its advantages when the material warrants it. Past their prime they may be, but old George and his debauched troupe have one of the most potent back catalogs in the annals of good-foot-gettin'-on jams—truly the food of the sex gods to which you should be listening till you're senile. Occasionally at this late date they can still do those classics justice. At other times, they seem to get lost in a purple haze of pot smoke and hoary scatological "humor." DAVE SEGAL

Photon Pharaoh, Ocelot Omelet, Pony Time

(Funhouse) Photon Pharaoh are a brand-new Seattle duo who don't reveal much about either themselves or their music on their MySpace page. All that's available there are a couple of messy, punky, drum-and-guitar instrumentals, which the band ambitiously calls "bubblegum thrash." Thrashy, sure, but bubblegum it ain't. There's nothing cute, sincere, or innocent about their sloppy power chords, rampant feedback, and overzealous cymbal fixation. Not to say this music is bad, but it could definitely use some fine-tuning. On the other hand, Seattle's Ocelot Omelet have been grinding through their psychedelic dirges for a number of years, with a heady, steady stream of brain-warping tunes you can toot your horn (and pipe) to. TRAVIS RITTER

Behemoth, Septicflesh, Lightning Swords of Death, Those Who Lie Beneath

(El Corazón) Black metal doesn't always translate well in the live setting. The haunting aura of blearier atmospheric bands can turn into a murky wash onstage. The dramatic power of their more elaborate and symphonic brothers can wind up comical. Polish black-metal band Behemoth promises to avert these common pitfalls thanks to a smart synthesis of styles. Shedding the more blatantly blackened elements of their sound several albums back, they have adopted death metal's mechanical precision and malice, providing the harrowing bleakness of their corpse-painted peers with the riffs and chops of their more technically adept and aggressively precise musical cousins. Behemoth's latest offering, Evangelion, garnered significant praise in the press and metal community, making their rare stateside appearance worthy of your attention. BRIAN COOK

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Wednesday 1/20

Anti-Flag, Aiden, Cancer Bats, Broadway Calls, Trash Talk, plus free afterparty with Dreadful Children

(El Corazón) While all of these bands reside under the broad umbrella of "punk," it's still a really odd lineup. Do fans of Trash Talk's nihilistic, Infest-inspired tantrums really want to sit through Anti-Flag's Anglophilic punk revival? Will the beards-beers-and-BO hardcore crowd really want to stick around after the Cancer Bats' set to see a bunch of teenagers dressed up like Tim Burton characters fawning for the emo power-balladry of Aiden? And do any of the aforementioned folks want to see Broadway Calls' clean-cut pop punk? Strangely, this tour is titled "The Economy Sucks, Let's Party Tour." If you can somehow appreciate the intended crossover appeal within this eclectic bill, you're in luck. Otherwise, paying $16 to see one band during a recession ain't much of a party. BRIAN COOK

The Greyboy Allstars, Orgone

(Showbox at the Market) San Diego's Greyboy Allstars have always struck me as amiable, middling funk acolytes who have their hearts in the right place but have never really raised the roof, to say nothing of setting it on fire, like some of their more flamboyant peers. Maybe one needs to see them live to experience the true impact of their worth. L.A.'s Orgone, by contrast, kill it in the flesh and on record. Fully cognizant of funk, soul, and Afrobeat history, Orgone infuse those styles with an athletic grace and stealthy, sensual power that bespeaks of serious hours in the lab. This large ensemble's grunt work pays off, enabling you repeatedly to emit grunts of pleasure to their humid groove excursions. DAVE SEGAL

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