Matt Dunlap

Thursday 7/8

Kevin Seconds, James Hunnicutt, Jefferson Death Star, Simon and Go Fuck Yourself, the Drama Montage

(El Corazón) Dear every dude to ever front a punk-rock band: STOP GETTING OLD AND PLAYING INTROSPECTIVE ACOUSTIC SINGER-SONGWRITER BULL- SHIT. This time, it's Kevin Seconds of 7Seconds. Like many of his contemporaries (Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, Ben Nichols, Tony Sly, etc.), Mr. Seconds has traded in the stage dives and high fives for banjo-laced songs more suitable for campfire sing-alongs. I get it. It's the next logical step. You don't want to give up music, but the old bones aren't letting you thrash around a stage like you did in '85. And you certainly don't want to look a fool like Mike Ness (who's still singing about being mommy's little monster at the age of 48??), but YAWN, dudes. I'm bored. Let's rock! MEGAN SELING

John Roderick

(Triple Door) Recently, John Roderick appeared at a group reading at the Sorrento Hotel. Roderick read from his book—he's the author of a small, funny collection of Twitter posts, titled Electric Aphorisms—and played a few songs. Unlike the awkwardness of most readings with musical elements, Roderick's songs fit right into the scene: His songwriting is thoughtful, intelligent, and austere enough to easily work in a reading atmosphere. But if you put him in a good music venue like the Triple Door, he's funny, dramatic, and skilled enough to make an audience of hundreds stay riveted in their seats. That easy transition—from intimate intellectual venues to giant rooms, maintaining the same level of sincerity and craftsmanship in both—is why I'm a die-hard Roderick fan. PAUL CONSTANT

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band

(Seattle City Hall Plaza, noon) Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band have outsize hustle and ambitions—and not a little talent, too, which is always appreciated. Picked by Alternative Press as one of "100 Bands You Need to Know" in 2009 and recipients of a thumbs-uppy feature in SPIN, the Seattle quartet appear destined to commandeer stages at large festivals and place songs in blockbuster Hollywood flicks. On their sophomore release for respected indie label Dead Oceans, Where the Messengers Meet, MSHVB come off as a more refined, less psychedelic Wild Orchid Children. Mt. St. Helens' grandiloquently melodious and rhythmically boisterous songs manage to swell to fill Grand Canyon–sized spaces without sounding all U2-ish about it. At a time of epidemic indie-rock underachieving, MSHVB's towering aspirations and maximalist song structures deserve respect. DAVE SEGAL

Friday 7/9

Carissa's Wierd, Aveo

(Showbox at the Market) See preview.

West Seattle Summer Fest

(West Seattle Junction) See Saturday.

Fol Chen, the Pica Beats, Mostly Dimes

(Sunset) Fol Chen want to be weird and mysterious; there are masks and pseudonyms and band communiqués that read like some poor publicist wrote them in the throes of an ayahuasca ritual. On Fol Chen's new sophomore album, Part II: The New December, their sound scatters from zoned-out psych folk to twee acoustica to choppy instrumental breaks to cubist kitchen-sink electro funk, with unidentified male and female vocalists trading sweetly sung surrealist lyrics on top of it all. Sometimes it recalls Broadcast, sometimes No Kids (whom Fol Chen have remixed), sometimes a dozen things at once, all of them skewed; and when it's not overwhelming, it's intriguing stuff, alternately grooving and soothing. The Pica Beats make sense against Fol Chen's mellower moments, but overall the lately too-quiet Seattle band seem like an odd match, their pastoral indie folk/pop guileless and sweet rather than willfully obscurantist. ERIC GRANDY

Too Beautiful to Live, the Long Winters

(Columbia City Theater) Too Beautiful to Live, the local freeform talk-radio funnytimes show from Luke Burbank and company, proved in fact to be too beautiful for commercial radio. But the show lives on as a podcast (i.e., "now with swears!"), and it continues to inspire a cult following for good reason. Tonight, they take the show to the Columbia City Theater's recently reopened stage for a live taping, like some nongeriatric version of A Prairie Home Companion, featuring live bands (tonight: indie-rock raconteurs the Long Winters; tomorrow: populist hiphoppers Blue Scholars), special guests, and a karaoke afterparty. Tonight's show is sold out, and tomorrow's may be by the time this goes to print. You can always wait for the podcast and imagine how much more fun it must've been live. ERIC GRANDY

Neil Hamburger, Girl Feelings, Nervous Energy

(High Dive) His jokes are intentionally atrocious (Q: What do you get when you cross Sir Elton John and a saber-toothed tiger? A: I don't know, but you better keep it away from your ass!). But Neil Hamburger is all about bombing. He sweats bullets (or at least looks like he is), hacks like a lifelong smoker, and is prone to unsettling facial spasms and grimaces. If he wins his audiences over, he does it through a painstaking combination of off timing, awkward silences, and sheer persistence. In 2008, he released Neil Hamburger Sings Country Winners, with song titles like "How Can I Still Be Patriotic (When They've Taken Away My Right to Cry)" and "Please Ask That Clown to Stop Crying," and he's a longtime collaborator on the Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Get here tonight if you like your comedy truly discomforting. GRANT BRISSEY

Saturday 7/10

Too Beautiful to Live, Blue Scholars

(Columbia City Theater) See Friday, and Stranger Suggests.

West Seattle Summer Fest

(West Seattle Junction) Wait, there's a West Seattle now? I kid, I kid. It's lovely out there. They've got a record store and "artisanal cupcakes" and everything! Oh, and this weekend, they have a big ol' three-day street festival of music and food and merchants and Roller Derby, and it's all free and family-friendly and just too damn neighborly for words. Musically speaking, Saturday may be your best bet, with ex–President of the USA Caspar Babypants's kids'-bop-that-won't-drive-grups-crazy, Whalebones' rootsy laid-back rock, Curtains for You's occasionally hammy piano pop, Mark Pickerel and the Praying Hands' dusky country balladry, and Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter's expansive folk music. Other days include female AC/DC tribute act Hell's Belles, country/rock 'n' roll traditionalists the Dusty 45s, and the precociously talented School of Rock All Stars. ERIC GRANDY

Monotonix, Pierced Arrows, What What Now

(High Dive) I'll admit it: I drank the Monotonix Kool-Aid. Their sloppy punk/garage rock fails to move me via compact disc, but have you seen them live? They light their drum set on fire! They strip down to metallic neon Skivvies and prance around in all their hairy-chested, gold-chained glory. And they almost always take shows out of the venue and onto the street, luring the dancing, dropped-jaw audience members behind them like pied pipers. But after seeing it a few times, it's obvious that it isn't spontaneous at all. Show after show, there the singer goes, climbing on top of the floor tom to be carried around the room. Oh look, someone just dumped a trash can over someone else's head in the middle of a song. Again. Now that we've all seen their shtick, Monotonix need to either start writing songs that can stand up on their own or graduate to the next level of textbook shock treatments: feces, blood, animal sacrifice. MEGAN SELING

Tool

(KeyArena) Maybe it's the overly serious and asexual nature of prog rock. Maybe it's their Lovecraftian fantasy-horror aesthetic. Maybe it's their few scant degrees of separation from the Ozzfest crowd. Whatever the reason, there is something distinctly unfashionable about Tool. Yet it's that deliberate anticoolness that makes their rhythmically propulsive dark psychedelia so persistently rewarding. Tool weren't interested in the landscape of popular music when the band won mainstream success with the MTV Buzz Bin hit "Sober" back in the early '90s, and it seems they care even less about industry convention now. With every new release, Tool grow increasingly ambitious, nimble, visionary, and difficult to unravel. Maybe that's why this show sold out in less than an hour. BRIAN COOK

The Coup, Sol, Canary Sing, DJ Funkscribe

(Neumos) Boots Riley and his Oakland-based rap/funk band the Coup perform showtime surgery. By the power and aura of Boots's Afro, the band cuts, glides, sutures, and maintains flow to the essential funk aorta. Boots preaches, prances, and chimes in with politically charged messages. You, the crowd, undergoing this operation, will dance. Boots may sing, "I love to laugh, love, fuck, and drink liquor," but he could just as easily be singing, "I love to read, vote, protest, and challenge the government to budget more money for education." Known also for his work with Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave's Tom Morello as the Street Sweeper Social Club, Boots is an activist, the son of a Black Panther, and a political player at heart. Thus, the Coup's operation goes off without a hitch; Boots with mic/scalpel in hand says, "This won't hurt a bit." TRENT MOORMAN

Treetarantula, SubArachnoid Space, Misericords, the Fool the Magician

(Funhouse) Led by guitarist Melynda Jackson, Portland via San Francisco quartet SubArachnoid Space have been disgorging controlled chaos into the stratosphere for 14 years. Their freewheeling brand of instrumental space-rock orbits familiar constellations traversed by Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Hovercraft, and Acid Mothers Temple, but it does so with fiery dexterity. The years have seen the group add weight and density to their sound, but it's muscle, not fat. Although there's more drag to their outward-bound trajectories, SubArachnoid Space can still take you on a vertiginous trip. Local guitar-drums duo the Fool the Magician wield some magically foolish heaviness themselves, generating a fruitful fury where metal, psychedelia, and prog rock converge. DAVE SEGAL

Sunday 7/11

Nice Nice, Viper Creek Club, Jatun, Object Object

(Chop Suey) See preview.

West Seattle Summer Fest

(West Seattle Junction) See Saturday.

Emeralds, Gypsyhawk, Audiwasska Travelers

(Rendezvous) With one foot in the grave and one arm in the sky, the six-headed serpentine beast known as Emeralds (featuring members from Red Liquid, Same-Sex Dictator, and Broken Nobles) is not one to fuck with, unless you want to get fucked up. These long-haired, Chevy-heavy madmen drive their classic metal riffs into an astral vortex of glam and hard rock with invigorating controlled chaos. Unless these fellas repent their sins, God will likely shun them from walking through the gates of Heaven; lucky for them, the devil has always had better taste in music. Anyone who likes the weed/heavy-music combo should take a hit of Pasadena's Gypsyhawk, as well as openers Audiwasska Travelers, who bend heavy psychedelics around their rigid metal jams. TRAVIS RITTER

Kirsten Wenlock, Travis Barker

(Columbia City Theater) There comes a time in every straight man's life when he has to confess that he finds Cyndi Lauper's voice to be much more affecting than he's comfortable admitting. The reason this is such a difficult process is that Lauper has never been backed by music that's even remotely cool; remove those vocals, and you're suddenly in an elevator somewhere. Kirsten Wenlock's vocals have some significant Lauperness to them: an unabashedly appealing plaintive, heartfelt quality. But Wenlock has the good sense to wrap her voice in interesting, ambient sounds—at times she's the only warm thing in a jagged wasteland of noise—and it's her talent as a composer that makes her songs into something cool and un-Lauper-ish, something it's okay to like. PAUL CONSTANT

Monday 7/12

Fuck Cancer: Terry Radjaw, the Redwood Plan, Sweaty

(Neumos) The Redwood Plan have a plan. They're gonna team up with the band Sweaty and one DJ Terry Radjaw (Mad Rad, Fresh Espresso), along with the folks from the Elysian Brewing Company, and invite you to come drink some beer and dance. Not just because it's any old Monday night in Seattle, but because a nice fellow named Chris "Cavy" Cavanaugh has acute lymphoblastic leukemia. You might know Cavy from the Elysian, Charlie's, or Brouwer's Cafe, where he bartended. You might know leukemia as that scary son-of-a-bitch type of cancer that develops in blood and bone marrow. The plan is to raise some dollars for Cavy—and have a good time while doing it. Everybody wins. Fuck cancer. KELLY O

Sugar Sugar Sugar, Soft Healer

(Sunset) Before I even heard them, this Bellingham trio drew my ire with their excessively repetitive name (see also "For Repeat's Sake," page 35). But once I checked out their music, almost all was forgiven. Sugar Sugar Sugar rock conventionally, but do so with a swaggering panache, lots of wicked guitar tones, and a sweet sweet sweet knack for sing-along hooks. Their music shamelessly flings one back to the glam-rock-intensive '70s, when debauchery was par for the rock-and-roll course and bands wore their STDs with pride and made it a priority to write songs to which people could fuck with abandon. Sugar Sugar Sugar succeed on that last score, at least—even if their name does stick in my craw. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 7/13

Ariel Pink, Puro Instinct, Magic Kids

(Neumos) Some critics were quick to credit L.A. musician Ariel Pink, aka Ariel Rosenberg, with anticipating "chillwave" and all of its warm and hissy retro evocations. But whereas Washed Out (and others) nicked from vintage-lite artists like Gary Low, Pink is more the type to take measured inspiration (rather than outright samples) from Low and his tacky pop contemporaries. True, Pink's ample back catalog of material has its fair share of tape-warped sampling, but his latest record, Before Today, is winningly original while somehow simultaneously feeling half-remembered and familiar. Pink and band take their listener straight to Hook City—but as poppy as Before Today gets, it still manages to feel a little rough-hewn and collagey, like much of Pink's earlier work (all his albums "before today," you might say). The record's glorious centerpiece, "Round and Round," is, to date, the best song of the summer. JASON BAXTER

Quintron and Miss Pussycat

(Chop Suey) Mr. Quintron is a wizard, weirdo, and one-man band who was born in Germany, started his first club in Chicago, and has spent the past decade-plus operating out of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, where he makes musical inventions and operates a private nightclub called the Spellcaster Lounge. (The Spellcaster was shut down by the hurricanes but has been renovated and reopened, says Quintron's website, with "air conditioning, tree-stump tables, museum-quality pinecone-art displays, two bathrooms, and custom-made subwoofer seats.") Quintron plays swampy, psychedelic, fun-time dance music on his organs, oscillating drum machines, and other gadgets. One, called the "spit machine," is an electric organ that uses saliva as a conductor for tuning. Another, called the "drum buddy," is too complicated to explain here, but it uses a punctured coffee can and lightbulbs to trigger a photoelectric cell that makes drum and synthesizer tones. Quintron frequently appears with his wife, a puppeteer and maraca player called Miss Pussycat. They're a spacey, soulful pair and probably throw some of the world's best parties. BRENDAN KILEY

Wakey!Wakey!

(Sunset) As I write this, summer has been kind of a bust: Everything's cold and shitty and gray, and even those die-hard jackasses who refuse to wear long pants after April 20 look miserable in their cargo shorts and sandals. This is why it is imperative that you go see Wakey!Wakey! Their songs are tremendous, catchy anthems ("Almost Anything" is U2 mixed with just the appropriate amount of Billy Joel, which sounds awful but manages to become the most natural thing in the world) with hooks dropped every which way. Lead singer Mike Grubbs steals the piano back from Ben Folds and makes it an instrument of awesomeness again: If this kind of huge, vibrant pop can't summon summer, nothing can. PAUL CONSTANT

Support The Stranger

Wednesday 7/14

Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube

(Paramount) See My Philosophy, and Stranger Suggests.

Steve Miller Band

(Chateau Ste. Michelle) Fuck it, I don't care if my rep takes a hit: I like Steve Miller. I hear his songs on the radio, I pump up the volume (unless it's "Abracadabra"; that's beyond the pale). Liking Miller doesn't make me a dudefratbro—it just means that the guy chanced upon a shaggably likable form of good-time rock and roll with indelible hooks and riffs that guitarists will be playing till the electricity's gone; you'd have to be a terminal grouch to deny the appeal of that. Plus, Miller and his band were funky, in their way: "Macho City," "Take the Money and Run," "Livin' in the USA," and "Fly Like an Eagle" all get the job done. How many times have you heard the intro from the latter tune sampled by hiphop producers? Many times. They know. "Tick tock/Dit dit doo doo." DAVE SEGAL

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