Thursday 4/15

Akufen, Stephen Beaupré

(Nectar) See Data Breaker.

Wojack, Candidt, Xperience, DoughKain, Eeetree

(Rendezvous) See My Philosophy.

Florence + the Machine, Holy Hail

(Showbox at the Market) Florence + the Machine is London-based artist Florence Welch; my first exposure to her was via the xx's typically muted remix of her song "You Got the Love," a deceptive first impression, given the unabashed expressiveness of the original. Welch's vocals are rafter-raising and soulful, her songs tromping and weirdly triumphant. Kate Bush and Annie Lennox comparisons are perhaps inevitable—beyond the flighty vocals, there's also the choreographed "artiness" of their videos and the incorporation of instrumentation uncommon to pop music, such as Welch's harps. But Florence + the Machine's songs tend toward more dance-floor-friendly rhythms, perhaps thanks in part to the production input on her debut album, Lungs, from '00s electro icons Paul "Phones" Epworth and Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford. Where Florence flirts with the ethereal, Holy Hail snarl with sensuality. However, their newer tracks (as opposed to, say, "County Fair" or "Dig My Grave with the Songs I've Sung") tend to obscure their disco beats, twitchy guitars, and alternately sung and almost-rapped boy/girl vocals with an unhelpful haze of reverb and synth padding. ERIC GRANDY

Say What!: Truckasauras, Recess, Darwin, Blondzie

(Chop Suey) Chop Suey's new 18+ dance night plows ahead with this month's booking of local lowbrow techno party-starters Truckasauras. The Truck recently hauled their heavy analog gear down to SXSW for the kind of showcasing that's all too common there: a killer performance, and their only show the whole weekend, which unfortunately played to only a couple dozen people, half of them fellow Seattleites also in town for the festival. But Truckasauras forge on undeterred (or, as they might say, "Fuck it"), and their new material, from forthcoming sophomore album Quarters, has made their recent sets more propulsive than ever, as their 808-bounced, eight-bit electro swing turns toward more straight-ahead, acid-flecked techno grooves. On hand as always at Say What! are resident DJs Recess and Darwin, both of whom are accomplished deck rockers, along with Club Pop veteran Blondzie. ERIC GRANDY

Horse Feathers, Megafaun, Breathe Owl Breathe

(Tractor) Portland band Horse Feathers make some goddamn fine country-and-bluegrass-influenced music, but they're not a novelty act, or a retro cash-in. Unlike most bands that linger in the sawdust-and-haystack genre, you get a real sense of evolution, an understanding that their songs aren't just created in a vacuum. They live in a world where artists like Cat Power and Bonnie Prince Billy make music, and they understand that good music is a dialogue with everything that comes before. "Finch on Saturday" is a sad, beautiful song that couldn't have been written before Sufjan Stevens, but it's still indisputably bluegrass. It's just the next step. PAUL CONSTANT

Friday 4/16

Dark Time Sunshine, Jake One, Mash Hall, Tilson, Helladope, Night Fox, DJ Swervewon

(Neumos) See preview.

The Let Go, MC Pigpen, Dumb Luck, Pat Maine, Yze, Dusk

(ToST) The Let Go are the quintessential hiphop unit: one producer and two MCs. The former position is filled by Captain Midnite, a beatmaker strangling soul tracks into submission and saddling them with giant, plodding drum tracks; the latter is occupied by bald-headed dynamic duo Kublakai and Type. With the Let Go, Type steps out of his default mode—penning raunchy, chuckle-laden raps about man crushes, incest, and white boys with dreadlocks—and injects his verses with a surprising amount of honesty and passion, qualities that have always been prominent in Kublakai's tracks. When the two go to work over Midnite's bold and triumphant instrumentals, whether it's a house party anthem or a rainy lament, it'll be something to crack a smile to. KALEB GUBERNICK

Exene Cervenka

(Easy Street Queen Anne, 6 pm) As a cornerstone of the great X, Exene Cervenka married old-school femininity (housewife dresses, wifely duties) with cutting-edge feminism (of the get-the-fuck-out-of-my-way-I'm-an-artist variety), forging an undeniable place for herself in the pantheon of punk royalty. (For Exene 101, proceed directly to 1981's Wild Gift.) When not working with X, Cervenka continues to write, release, and perform her own music and poetry. As for her current tour: "The reason I am touring independent record stores from San Diego to Seattle this April is that I want to play for free, to people of all ages, at a reasonable hour, in a place we love to be," writes Cervenka on her website. "I'm touring at my own expense, because I don't want the economy to stand between my music and people that might want to hear it. Yes, I hope I sell some aprons and a few CDs, but bring your X records, the kids, shop independent, and let's have a party! xo exene." DAVID SCHMADER

Helms Alee, La Fin du Monde, Nine Worlds, Abominable Iron Sloth

(Comet) Warning: You will lose at least 10 percent of your hearing tonight at the Comet—earplugs or no. Abominable Iron Sloth are pissed off and heavy as fuck, screaming about God knows what and drilling the undecipherable message into the pit of your gut by way of throbbing bass lines and metal-tinged guitars. Instrumental band La Fin du Monde are less explosive, but still pretty brutal—imagine the pretty intricacies of Bronze Fawn colliding with the noisy doom of Russian Circles. Seattle's own rock lords Helms Alee will close out the set, and I've seen the trio play so loud that lead singer Ben Verellen's amp nearly shook off the stage. Your ears are fucked. MEGAN SELING

Bitch and the Exciting Conclusion, Gina Young, Camille Bloom

(Triple Door) All lyrics are poetry, but it's rare to see a musician employ elements of written and spoken poetry in their work. It's rarer still to see them succeed at it. You get the feeling that lyrics are vital to Bitch and the Exciting Conclusion. Phrases like "There's a highway between us/And I'm about to get on it" lead the music around by the nose, instead of vice versa. Which is not to say that they're not catchy songs or that the music is somehow inferior; I just haven't heard a singer live as comfortably in her own lyrics since the days of Soul Coughing, or possibly Le Tigre. PAUL CONSTANT

Killfest 2010: Overkill, Vader, God Dethroned, Warbringer, Evile, Woe of Tyrants

(El Corazón) Love is the blessed human capacity to understand the thoughts and feelings of others. Love gives us the strength to be vulnerable. The love and spirit of life is like a flower steadily bestowing fragrance upon the air—a rose, perhaps. Killfest shits on that rose, then eats it, shits it out again, and lights it on fire. Killfest crushes the ashes of that rose back into the dirt of the earth where it came from. Yes, New Jersey–bred Overkill are celebrating 25 years of real metal business. They scream, "Scare the angel, fly away/Let the devil have his way." Netherlands-based God Dethroned recently had a show canceled in Romania because Romanians were afraid of their "Satan Black Rock." Well, Seattleites are not afraid. TRENT MOORMAN

Saturday 4/17

John Prine, Dan Reeder

(Paramount) You know John Prine, the great American songwriter who wrote "Angel from Montgomery" and the playful working-class love duet "In Spite of Ourselves." Last year, Bob Dylan told the Huffington Post: "Prine's stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree." Fair enough. Joining him is Dan Reeder, a cranky, funny, and reclusive songwriter who doesn't tour much and who plays guitar and layers vocal tracks over each other for his down-home, sometimes lewd call-and-response songs: "Whattaya want?/I want food and pussy/How come?/It's just the way God made me/Is it all right?/I guess it must be okay/Hoo-bop bop bop shanga-langa-lang-lang." Reeder sometimes plays a guitar he made out of a ravioli can. BRENDAN KILEY

HIM, We Are the Fallen, Dommin, Drive A

(Showbox Sodo) The Finnish heavy-music scene has a long and rich history of amazing bands that never gained significant exposure beyond their Nordic border. There was the early-'80s blistering hardcore of Terveet Kådet, the scratchy off-time attack of Radiopuhelimet, the pioneering primitivism of black-metal act Beherit, just to rattle off a few. But the biggest Finnish "heavy" act of all time? That title, unfortunately, belongs to the Jackass-hyped "love metal" of HIM. If Evanescence are a little too edgy for your tastes, then the upbeat, glossy, emasculated pop of Finland's most popular hard-rock export might be right up your alley. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and avoid this sugary shit like the plague. BRIAN COOK

The Posies, the Tripwires, Curtains for You

(Crocodile) In 1993, the Posies released their third record, Frosting on the Beater. It's a nearly perfect pop record, boasting some of the band's best songs (personal favorites include "Love Letter Boxes," "Solar Sister," and "Flavor of the Month"). While some might argue their more rock-inclined follow-up Amazing Disgrace is even better (and those people would be right), Frosting on the Beater was still the album that made many fans' feelings for the band go from like to love. And to prove they're not just a thing of the past, they will wrap up the show by debuting some brand-new material they plan on recording and releasing later this year. MEGAN SELING

Ruff Gemz: Blank Dogs, Cosmetics, Sam Rousso Soundsystem, DJ FITS

(Lo-Fi Performance Gallery) Brooklyn's Blank Dogs (aka Mike Sniper) creates muzzy, bedroom- fidelity electronic pop that traffics in the same sort of consoling melancholy as Magnetic Fields and Fad Gadget. Sniper infuses textural and structural weirdnesses into the generally straightforward songwriterliness of the project to keep things from getting too predictable or cutesy. His special talent is a kind of nonchalant tunefulness, so his hooks lift the corners of your mouth into a smile, but one that doesn't expose your teeth. Vancouver trio Cosmetics describe themselves as "Grace Jones on estrogen," which is witty if not entirely accurate. Rather, they sound like a more introverted, less propulsive Adult. Their electro pop achieves a not unattractive chilled alienation that'll make you want to watch Liquid Sky (again). DAVE SEGAL

Dirtybird 5 Year Showcase: Justin Martin, Christian Martin, Worthy, Awggie, Ramiro

(Neumos) Run by Detroit transplant Claude VonStroke (aka Barclay Crenshaw), San Francisco's Dirtybird records has become a fertile font of techno and house music that is functional, funky, and funny. To toast five years of consistently high-quality releases and off-the-hook performances, Dirtybird is sending out Justin and Christian Martin and Worthy to inspire you to move, smile, and shake your head over how damn crazy their eccentric, floor-rippling dance music makes you feel; check Justin's "My Angelic Demons," Christian's "Ghosts," and Worthy's "Work the Walls" for prime examples. Dirtybird is one of America's most interesting dance-music labels, and Uniting Souls DJ Ramiro deserves credit for bringing its weird, exuberant energy to Seattle for this auspicious occasion. DAVE SEGAL

Sunday 4/18

Hair Police, Awesome Color, This Blinding Light, Beyond the Soul of the Demon Goddess

(Josephine) Lexington, Kentucky/Ypsilanti, Michigan's Hair Police stand as one of America's foremost wreckers of hearing currently operating. Like many noise units, the trio of Trevor Tremaine, Robert Beatty, and Mike Connelly (the last of whom is also in Wolf Eyes) deal in extremities of frequencies and emotions. They strive to push you to your mental and physical threshold with their eruptive, emergency-room-panic splatter of tones. Hair Police translate into sound the spirit of Sam Kinison at his most vein-bulging end-of-tetherness. By contrast, Awesome Color—who record for Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label—dig their Motor City rock roots with faithfulness and fervor. You know the litany: Stooges, MC5, Alice Cooper, Nugent. For this Detroit native, it's a rust-belt-raunchy sound that's as familiar and comfortable as a mother's heartbeat. You may like their meaty garage rock, too. DAVE SEGAL

Monday 4/19

La Roux, Colby B

(Showbox at the Market) Watch one of their videos and you might assume La Roux was a solo act, showcasing a flame-haired British girl with a tasteful screech of a voice and a fixation with the most disposable of early-'80s synth pop. In truth, it's a rotating collaboration: On record, La Roux means producer/composer Ben Langmaid and singer/songwriter/spokesmodel Elly Jackson, who share songwriting credits on all tracks. Onstage, Langmaid is supported by a band of two synth players and a drummer, leaving singer Elly Jackson to drive the show with her Tilda Swinton–androgyne shtick. Musically, La Roux remains BKFK (that's "by kids, for kids"), but the kids are alright. DAVID SCHMADER

Psychedelic Horseshit, Eat Skull, Wet Paint, Eel Eater

(Comet) It's not just their shitgaze maelstroms (or acid-tongue lashings out at contemporaries like Wavves) that have garnered Psychedelic Horseshit a beefy following and critical respect, it's also their knack for off-the-cuff experimentalism. This impulse—to flavor garage-rock jams with mysterious and atypical flourishes—is likewise a key ingredient in the sonic recipe of leading local lights Eel Eater and Wet Paint. Portland's Eat Skull adhere to more well-established sonic strictures but are, like this exceptional bill's headliner, unafraid of mountainous servings of distortion and reverb. Front-to-back, this lineup is a winner, especially for those of us who like our gnarly guitar rock as kooky and carefree as possible. JASON BAXTER

Tuesday 4/20

Public Image Ltd.

(Showbox at the Market) See preview.

Yeasayer, Sleigh Bells

(Neumos) I'm less taken than most critics by Brooklyn band Yeasayer's brand of vaguely apocalyptic, quasi-tribal, vocal-harmony-heavy rock, but I'm as intrigued as everyone else by Sleigh Bells. The duo is composed of guitarist/producer Derek Miller, formerly of Florida hardcore footnotes Poison the Well, and vocalist Alexis Krauss, who previously performed in a teen-pop act called Ruby Blue. As Sleigh Bells, they meet somewhere in the vast area in between those polar extremes, with Miller laying down noisy but ultimately poppy guitar riffs and big, drill-team hiphop beats over which Krauss shouts bratty, peppy threats and coos odd come-ons. Imagine a lo-fi and less annoying version of the Tings Tings, maybe, or Yeah Yeah Yeahs on a Xanax jag and a cruddy mic. Could be good fun live. ERIC GRANDY

Splatinum, Knowa KnowOne, Michael Manahan, Gel-Sol

(Westlake Park) Splatinum are the Seattle-based electronic act of Andrew Luck and Dosadi, DJs and producers who pump bass-centric beats and promote cheeky, booty-slapping silliness ("the sonic adventure of two intergalactic space pimps"). Dubstep is a launch pad, but so are the breakcore shenanigans of Mochipet, whose Daly City Records label has released Splatinum's debut, Der Schplatzl 2010, and whom Luck and Dosadi remix on two of the album's tracks (also included is their grimy remix of Sleepy Eyes of Death's "Pierce the Air"). The duo made a splashy live debut at last year's Decibel Fest, unofficially, orbiting Neumos with a bicycle-powered mobile sound system that eventually got politely shut down by the cops. Tonight, the space pimps have all their earthly permitting in place for a free, public masque-rave in Westlake Park (6–9 pm); masks, costumes, Hula-hoops, and "anything safe, fun, and clean" are encouraged. ERIC GRANDY

Wednesday 4/21

Growing, Eric Copeland

(Vera Project) See Stranger Suggests.

Support The Stranger

The Song Show: Matt Bishop of Hey Marseilles, Ben and Eric of the Lashes, P Smoov of Mad Rad and Fresh Espresso, Kristen Ward

(Triple Door) The Song Show series at the Triple Door combines the intimacy of seeing Seattle bandleaders playing rare solo (or at least stripped-down and often acoustic) sets with the supreme awkwardness of watching them then be interviewed live onstage. Don't get me wrong, a live interview can be a fine thing, and what I caught of the last Song Show had about a 50-50 rate of entertaining talk to snoozy or stilted exchanges—without the benefit of editing. Maybe what made the concept most awkward is that the interviewers sat on chairs onstage while the performers played (it was weirdly distracting). Still, it's the only show of its kind in town, and tonight's lineup should make for a good one, with Ben Clark and Eric Howk of the Lashes (the latter of whom plays his mean-ass guitar from a wheelchair following a unfortunate accident some years ago), Matt Bishop of orch-pop septet Hey Marseilles, DJ/producer/keyboardist/rapper P Smoov of Mad Rad and Fresh Espresso, and singer-songwriter Kristen Ward. ERIC GRANDY

The Wedding Present

(Crocodile) Seattle's anglophile aesthetes of a certain age will flock to the Croc tonight to revel in the jangly adrenaline rush of choons that characterizes the Wedding Present's Bizarro. David Gedge and company will run through the beloved 1989 LP in order, from "Brassneck" to "Be Honest" (maybe they'll throw in their covers of Pavement's "Box Elder" and Tom Jones's "It's Not Unusual" for the encore). Open-veined confessionals about love gone awry pervade the record, with Gedge's everybloke, sing-speak vocals battling the effusively swarming guitars for supremacy in your mind and heart. The show should be worth the price of admission if only for "Kennedy," "Granadaland," and "Take Me!" three of the most galvanizing rock songs of the 1980s. For many die-hard Weddoes fans, Bizarro represents the band at their (non-George) best. Bring a hankie. DAVE SEGAL