THE FLAMING LIPS, BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW
(Paramount) See music section.
DECIBEL FESTIVAL: DIPLO, SWITCH, SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO UNIT, DJ FOURCOLORZACK, PRETTY TITTY
PETER BJORN AND JOHN, THE CLIENTELE, MARISSA NADLER
(Showbox at the Market) What is it about Sweden? The socialized health care? Liberal funding for the arts? Good genes? Constitutional monarchy? Herring? Whatever it is, the country seems preternaturally gifted at churning out ace pop music, from ABBA to the Knife to the (International) Noise Conspiracy. Peter Bjorn and John are no exception. The eponymous trio's most recent album, Writer's Block, continues to burn itself into my brain and dominate my MP3 rotation a full year after its international release (and six months after its official stateside debut). Every song is gorgeous and catchy—the anthemic graffiti of "Objects of My Affection," the whistling romance of "Young Folks," the stoned drag of "Amsterdam," the cagey dance of "Up Against the Wall," the cool kiss-off "Let's Call It Off"—and the band is pitch-perfect and fun live. ERIC GRANDY
LOW, SIR RICHARD BISHOP
(The Triple Door) For me, Low have always been about the slow, gray days of late autumn, when rain-slick leaves stick to your windows and the heavy sun barely climbs past the horizon. That's when the rich, complicated harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and his wife Mimi Parker (two-thirds of the Duluth band, with Matt Livingston on bass) strike just the right balance between hope and despair. The veteran band produce complex, textured soundtracks perfect for chilly afternoons when the streetlamps flicker on at four o'clock. The literate, precise vocals of Sparhawk and Parker dance like rain in the feeble light. For those sick of summer, this is your show. CHRIS McCANN
IMPERIAL TEEN, BELLA, DERBY
(Crocodile) Truly deep friendships can endure extended periods with little or no interaction; with best buddies, a half-decade apart seems like just a few days once you click back into sync. So it is with indie-pop rockers Imperial Teen. Five years have elapsed since the California quartet's last album, an interim filled with outside obligations—parenting, side projects, etc.—as the title of their latest, The Hair the TV the Baby & the Band, hints. But now they're reunited, and it feels... hell, great. "Sweet Potato" shimmies and shakes like a sock hop where the milkshakes are spiked with bennies, while "Room with a View" sounds wise and wistful, with the merest hint of silver at the temples. Welcome back. KURT REIGHLEY
NO AGE, SEX VID, TALBOT TAGORA, FLEXIONS
(Vera) Los Angeles duo No Age consist of two thirds of the excellent, deceased avant-punk band Wives. While No Age are far less aggressively mind-tickling than the more spastic Wives, their music is also more winningly free-roaming. Their recent debut on Fatcat, Weirdo Rippers, is, appropriately given its origin (the record is a compilation of various small vinyl releases), pleasantly all over the place. It veers from watery expanses of guitar murk to post-Ramones jolts of pop upheaval to dusty, soul-bleached instrumentals. Undoubtedly, their next record (conscripted for local zeitgeist lovers Sub Pop) will be of a more thought-threaded focus, but even in the action art messiness of Weirdo Rippers No Age manage many moments of unusual beauty. SAM MICKENS
JOHN IN THE MORNING AT NIGHT: MAPS, JAMIE T., VAMPIRE WEEKEND, DAS LLAMAS, JOY WANTS ETERNITY
(Crocodile) The cult of John Richards is sure to show up en masse to this late edition of his morning show simply to bask in his indie glory, but the bill more than stands on its own. Maps' We Can Create builds on the buzz from the trio of EPs the band released last year, combining the woozy atmospherics of My Bloody Valentine with the analog delicacy of Four Tet, and creating a new electro-indie-pop reference point. Vampire Weekend's hyperliterate pop draws from both indie classics and Afropop, making the perfect soundtrack for a day of Ultimate in the park. Joy Wants Eternity follow in the vein of post-rock posterboys Explosions in the Sky, skipping the overly long buildups in favor of getting right to rocking out with their collection of guitar pedals. DONTE PARKS
THE SATURDAY KNIGHTS, THEE EMERGENCY, SLENDER MEANS, SPEAKER SPEAKER THE HANDS, SHIPS, YOUNG SPORTSMEN, TRAUMAHAWK, WHITE TRASH WHIPLASH, THE LONELY H, SKULLBOT, KATHARINE HEPBURN'S VOICE, PATIENCE PLEASE
(Fremont Oktoberfest) See Stranger Suggests.
THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES, AKIMBO, KANE HODDER, MIKAELA'S FIEND
(Old Fire House) Redmond's Old Fire House Teen Center is turning 15 this month, and tonight's show is the culmination of a monthlong celebration for the pioneering all-ages venue. Appropriately, tonight's bill is stacked with bands that cut their teeth at the OFH over the years—metal monsters Akimbo, aerobic thrashers Kane Hodder, and neon noisesters Mikaela's Fiend (for whom tonight will be their final show). Then there are "secret headliners," These Arms Are Snakes, whose roots go way deep into the old Eastside hardcore scene. These days, the OFH may not be the lonely outpost for all-ages punk that it once was (post-TDO, the Seattle area is fortunate enough to have several all-ages-capable venues), but it's still a vital place that provides much needed recreation and services for area youth. Tonight's concert should make for a pretty kick-ass birthday party. Happy 15th, OFH! ERIC GRANDY
ENDFEST 16: SMASHING PUMPKINS, SOCIAL DISTORTION, BRIGHT EYES, SATELLITE PARTY, THE USED, HOT HOT HEAT, SHINY TOY GUNS, STRAYLIGHT RUN, PARAMORE, AGAINST ME!, MINUS THE BEAR, KAY KAY AND HIS WEATHERED UNDERGROUND, MONETA
(Qwest Field) Endfest this year has set itself up to be a day in which hormonally charged, mood-swinging teenagers can experience every conceivable emotion in one convenient location. If you go, here's your feelings schedule: Start out with stoned (Minus the Bear) and then check out cheerful (Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground). After your funnel cake, you might want to try parent-appropriate sincerity (Straylight Run) or robot sadness (Shiny Toy Guns). Next, move on to anger (Social Distortion), after which you may or may not want to check out worthlessness (Satellite Party). Top it all off with grief (Bright Eyes) and a little misappropriated arrogance (Smashing Pumpkins). All in all, it's a hell of a day. ARI SPOOL
ARCADE FIRE, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
(Bank of America Arena) See Stranger Suggests.
CIRCLE, GRAILS, ASSEMBLE HEAD IN SUNBURST SOUND
(Chop Suey) The only reason to listen to metal is because it's hilarious. The more brutal and serious it pretends to be—from its hard-line assaults of head nodding to its 8-year-old-under-a-blanket scary voices—the bigger the punch line. But Finland's Circle are one of those fancy-pants metal bands who name-drop Krautrock and cram as many sounds as possible into every song. They're academic, allegedly experimental, but somehow still most effective when they're making a racket, hypermasculine guitars destroying their own attempts to relax the boundaries of the genre. All of which proves, clearly, that they come just in time for the return of Adult Swim's Metalocalypse. DEAN FAWKES
THE MAGNIFICENTS: RAHZEL, MC SUPERNATURAL, DJ JS-1
(Chop Suey) See My Philosophy.
THE CAVE SINGERS ALBUM-RELEASE PARTY
(Easy Street Records, Queen Anne) The cover of the Cave Singers' brand-new debut, Invitation Songs, is a haunting visual translation of their music: The three band members in a group embrace half-submerged in a grassy, minty-green meadow, backed by a pine-green sentinel of dark, silent forest. It's beautiful, ominous, like the band is taking comfort in each other before the arrival of an impending tragedy or sharing a final sentiment before permanently parting. The music within swells with similar mystery, sweetly pastoral but battered, bluesy, and raw. Performed onstage for months, these songs make the transition to record with added resonance. Simply put, Invitation Songs is stunning, a surprising debut and one of the best albums of the year. JONATHAN ZWICKEL
BONDE DO ROLE, JUICEBOXXX, NATALIE PORTMAN'S SHAVED HEAD
(Neumo's) I'm of the minority opinion that Bonde Do Role aren't really that great. Sure, they sample "Man in the Box" and "The Final Countdown," and that's cute. They rap in Portuguese, which means they could be dropping really brilliant, filthy rhymes for all I know. They crowd surf and break their arms and goof around in all the right ways. They're fun live, but their funk carioca (Brazil's answer to Miami bass, ghettotech, Baltimore club, and '80s electro/freestyle) inspired party jams feel insubstantial even by the forgiving standards of the party jam. Milwaukee MC/producer Juiceboxxx brings nerdy bedroom electronics, punk sass, and '90s nostalgia to his equally light dance-floor filler, but there's something endearing about his transparent, geeky glee. Call it the Girl Talk factor. ERIC GRANDY
DEF LEPPARD, STYX, FOREIGNER
(White River Amphitheatre) The only thing that could make this show better is if it were on ice. That's right, Def Leppard on ice, doing all the classics. "Photograph," "Foolin'," "Rock of Ages" with axel jumps. After 65 million albums sold, what else can you do? Then there's Foreigner's "Cold as Ice." See? Ice. For the finale, Brian Boitano in a Kermit the Frog suit skates out and does a triple lutz over Miss Piggy's head. He sticks it and sings Styx's 1979 number-one hit, "Babe." Kermie and Piggy glide in tandem, and he croons, "But I'll be lonely without you, and I'll need your love to see me through." TRENT MOORMAN
(Sunset) This week, two promising New York City bands play Seattle, and they couldn't be more different. On the sugary-sweet end of the scale, are Vampire Weekend, once described by a friend as a "drunker Paul Simon," doing a fleet-footed, big-hearted indie-rock approximation of Afrobeat-pop. Over on the razor-wire-sharp end are Beat the Devil, who sound like the burgundy lipstick smeared across the face of a crossdressing carnival barker slugging absinthe at the Moulin Rouge. Singer Shilpa Ray's voice is a lover's slap in the face, passionate and pissed off, but more concerned with pulling you in than pushing you back. The band's sparse, reverbed rhythm section gets a hummy glaze from her harmonium and theremin; it all comes together like a torrid, punkish romance. JONATHAN ZWICKEL