Say Hi, the Velvet Teen, the A-Sides

(Crocodile) "A Captive Audience" from the album Elysium is by far my favorite Velvet Teen song. It's a captivating and gorgeous orchestration of piano and strings—it's gentle but bittersweet at first and then it bursts into a cathartic bomb of emotion and distortion. It's beyond all my words, and it stops me in my tracks every time I hear it. As beautiful a song as it is, it isn't the best representation of the Velvet Teen's catalog. The band can mend the heart as well as they can break it with songs that tug on hips more than heartstrings. The band's 2006 release, Cum Laude!, harnesses a bigger, louder energy that'll make you dance instead of weep, and it's the perfect balance of both sides that will get you through the impending winter. MEGAN SELING See also Album Reviews, page 59.

FRIDAY 11/16

The Cops, Pleasureboaters, The Whore Moans

(Crocodile) See Album Reviews, page 59.


(Showbox SODO) See preview, page 47.

Grayskul, Hangar 18, Glue

(Chop Suey) Makes for an arduous follow-up when you hang the title The Multi-Platinum Debut Album on your debut record, but NYC's Hangar 18—MCs Windnbreeze (Ian McMullin) and Alaska (Tim Baker), plus producer Paul "Pawl" Iannacchino—have pulled it off with Sweep the Leg (on hiphop haven Definitive Jux). Named for the Megadeth song of the early '90s, Hangar 18's sweeping sounds are indubitably danceable, their lyrics comfortably hokey, as the rapid-fire twosome spew their maniacal manifest in near-perfect wordplay. How will murkier tracks like "Jump Muthafuh" and "Feet to Feet" play in a live setting alongside shack-shaker "Bakin' Soda" and the staggeringly contagious "The West Wing?" And will Windnbreeze and Alaska, hiphop visionaries and devotees, leave in their wake an audience with minimal potency for any act that follows? SCOTT HOLTER

Taj Mahal Trio

(Jazz Alley) Inveterately awesome singer/guitarist Taj Mahal has accumulated over four decades of his remarkably consistent musical history. He remains one of the truest and most emotionally immediate practitioners of American blues, sidestepping the unpleasantly sanctified cheesiness of many of his contemporaries, and has also produced records focusing on everything from Hawaiian music to songs for children. For a man now in his 65th year, his shows are remarkably energized, weird, and sex laden, featuring tones ranging from celebratory to tickling to heartbreaking. His most revered songs, like the tender "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes" and his definitive cover of the reggae classic "Johnny Too Bad," breathe with the kind of timeless power that defies easy categorization. His first of eight shows at Jazz Alley is tonight. SAM MICKENS

Movin 92.5 House Party: Rob Base, Coolio, Tony! Toni! Toné!, Naughty by Nature

(Paramount) "I wanna rock right now/I'm Rob Base and I came to get down/I'm not internationally known/But I'm known to rock the microphone/Because I get stupid, I mean outrageous/Stay away from me if you're contagious/'Cause I'm the winner, no, not a loser/To be an MC is what I choose/Ladies love me, girls adore me/I mean even the ones who never saw me/Like the way that I rhyme at a show/The reason why, man, I don't know/So let's go, 'cause/It takes two to make a thing go right/It takes two to make it outta sight (Whoo! Yeah! Whoo! Yeah! Whoo! Yeah! Whoo! Yeah! Whoo! Yeah!)." ERIC GRANDY

Early Show: Alejandro Escovedo

Late Show: Tim Seely, Cory Branan

(Tractor) Alejandro Escovedo's decades-long catalog sounds as if Elvis Costello had run for the border—smart, self-immolating pop with Latin and country/roots grit to boot. The 56-year-old began in his teen years as a San Francisco punk rocker, only to end up an Austin songwriting institution. In the years between, he's racked up an impressive list of fans—Lucinda Williams, Jon Langford, Calexico, and John Cale are among the many who chipped in for a 2004 benefit record to help Escovedo pay for medical expenses. Hopefully, after Escovedo's early Tractor set ends, his thirty- and fortysomething fans will stay in their seats for the like-minded late show. Tim Seely has been a Seattle institution of sorts since his days as singer of the Actual Tigers, while Cory Branan is Memphis's most underrated No Depression-ite of the past few years, mixing the wit and intensity of Bobby Bare Jr. with the cruel romanticism of Ryan Adams. Stick around for what will certainly be an evening-long roots songwriting clinic. SAM MACHKOVECH


Taj Mahal Trio

(Jazz Alley) See Friday.

Little Party and the Bad Business, Talbot Tagora, Generifus, Mt. Alps

(Kirkland Teen Union Building) See Underage, page 73.

Book of Black Earth

(Comet) The ever-hustlin' Book of Black Earth serve as a kind of nexus point of Seattle metal; their past and present members are culled from grind behemoth Skarp, ever-faithful black metalites Wormwood, and deceased horror dudes Teen Cthulhu. What hails from this swirling vortex is a heady brew of elements of all of these bands, with a tirelessly grinding heart overlaid with epic synth drama and arch monster-voiced malice. Well entrenched at the juncture of satanism and hedonism, BOBE remain one of Seattle's most weirdly accessible and demonically satisfying bands. SAM MICKENS

SUNDAY 11/18

Taj Mahal Trio

(Jazz Alley) See Friday.

2K7 Sports Bounce Tour: Madlib, Peanut Butter Wolf, J Rocc, Percee P

(Neumo's) The West Coast Connection: Along with SoCal brethren Ubiquity Records and Seattle's Light in the Attic, L.A.-based Stones Throw Records composes the holy trinity of rare groove labels. Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw's founder, started the label partially to reissue classic funk and hiphop albums and partially as an outlet for the soul machine known as Madlib, possibly hiphop's most prolific artist. Expect a DJ set of hiphop and rare groove from Wolf; Madlib will MC (not his strongest suit, unfortch) with jazz drummer/production whiz Karriem Riggins—fresh off work for Common on Finding Forever—backing him on the kit. JONATHAN ZWICKEL

MONDAY 11/19

White Magic, Johanna Kunin, PWRFL Power

(Nectar) See preview, page 51.

Support The Stranger

Band of Horses, the Drones, Tyler Ramsey

(Showbox at the Market) It's a bummer when you constantly hear how much better shit used to be before you got there. Seattle was so much cheaper and the kids so much cooler and Kurt Cobain was always there to give you a friendly grunt when he fixed you a perfect latte at the one Starbucks in the universe. But that's all done now. Just like Band of Horses—they used to kick ass, before they moved back to Bumfuck and became popular and recorded a lukewarm second album and sold their soul to Wal-Mart. You know what? Fuck that. Ten months into being here, I can tell you that Seattle is thriving; with one BOH show under my belt, I can say that the band indeed kick ass. Deny it all you want, but just because you've gotten old and bitter doesn't mean the rest of the world sucks with you. JONATHAN ZWICKEL


Taj Mahal Trio

(Jazz Alley) See Friday.

Band of Horses, the Drones, Tyler Ramsey

(Showbox at the Market) See Monday.

The Round: Robb Benson, Bre Loughlin, Lesli Wood

(Nectar) If the idea of a multimedia experience that combines live music, poetry, and visual arts scares you just a bit, you're not alone—local troubadour Mark Pickerel admits his initial reluctance to participate when he was approached last year. In the wrong hands, the Round (a monthly event curated by Nathan Marion) could be a pretentious mess. Instead, it's a relaxed, down-to-earth and—gasp!—fun evening where songwriters trade stories and songs, quality poets ply their trade and visual art happens at the same time. "It's a cool way for different artists to connect," says Pickerel. This month's musicians are Robb Benson, Bre Loughlin, and Lesli Wood, which is reason enough to attend. Take a chance on something new and different. You might be surprised. BARBARA MITCHELL


Taj Mahal Trio

(Jazz Alley) See Friday.

Busdriver, Daedelus, Antimc

(Nectar) To see glitch-hop producer Daedelus perform live is to witness a mad scientist or maybe a magician. The musician born Alfred Weisberg-Roberts rocks a laptop and a custom-built machine called a Monome. The Monome is basically just a grid of backlit buttons that control everything from samples to drum sequences to effects. But watching Daedelus hunched over the device, wild-eyed, dancing and mashing that grid of unmarked buttons like some kind of Simon savant is something else. It would be only a novelty save for the fact that his inscrutable fingers manage to summon beautiful melodies and brain-busting beats from the arcane device. Tongue-twisting, backpack-shredding, Islands-visiting MC Busdriver headlines. ERIC GRANDY