Playing Monday 7/26 at Neumos.

Thursday 7/22

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

(Neumos) Bassekou Kouyate, a Malian musician with a serious international reputation, plays an instrument called the ngoni, which, according to Wikipedia, is made of nothing more than a piece of wood and dried animal skin, and is the ancestor of the banjo. The instrument is as small as a ukulele, and yet it can produce a wealth of melodies, often rapid and emotionally intense. When Kouyate plays the ngoni, it is easy to understand why his form of traditional African music is associated with the blues of the Mississippi Delta—in both we hear that sad, introspective twang. It is nothing but good news to see a venue like Neumos opening its doors to bands that are way outside of hipster and hiphop circuits. Capitol Hill needs more access to other sounds, other worlds. CHARLES MUDEDE

Zony Mash, McTuff

(Tractor) Masterly Seattle-based keyboardist Wayne Horvitz is one of John Zorn's first-call players, and a cursory trawl through Horvitz's catalog easily reveals why: He's a supremely gifted instrumentalist blessed with dexterity, melodiousness, soul, and rhythmic grittiness. Zony Mash—named after a track by the Meters—are Horvitz's sincere and righteous homage to that New Orleans band's ever-vital, humid funk. Zony Mash's instrumentals swing and swerve with a cool, seductive force, not unlike a Pacific Northwest Medeski Martin and Wood. Tonight, Zony Mash will kick some brass with a hefty horn section. Local quartet McTuff feature Joe Doria's expressive Hammond-organ sermons and Skerik's tightly coiled sax exhortations. They put a jazzier slant on Zony Mash's instrumental, libidinal groove science. DAVE SEGAL

Mike Hipple Legal Defense Fund Benefit: Tennis Pro, Jupe Jupe, Chadwick, Bryan Cook, DJ Connor

(Sunset) Mike Hipple is a local photographer who's being sued for having sold to a stock-image company a photograph of a woman dancing on Jack Mackie's Broadway Steps, the bronze dance steps inset as public art on the sidewalks of the Capitol Hill strip. On Slog, Stranger arts editor Jen Graves has called the legal dispute—involving artists' rights, copyrights, and public art—"a fairly confusing situation," and I'm inclined to defer to her expertise on that point. So, then, back to the areas of my expertise: Tennis Pro play bratty, sometimes brassy power pop with (ahem) pretty good swing; Jupe Jupe do cryogenically preserved electro pop that doesn't always thaw back to life the way you'd like it to; solo artist Chadwick plies similarly vintage if more synth-pop sounds—alternately melancholy and nerdy and libidinous—with a higher success rate. ERIC GRANDY

Friday 7/23

Capitol Hill Block Party: MGMT, Holy Fuck, Yeasayer, Shabazz Palaces, Bear in Heaven, Unnatural Helpers, Fences, Champagne Champagne, Head Like a Kite, Naomi Punk, Macklemore, U.S.F., others

(various) See guide and preview.

Photosynthesis Festival

(Dragon's Sphere Recreation Park; Randle, Washington) See Data Breaker.

GOD, Battlehooch, Tag Alongs

(Black Lodge) As unGoogleable as their namesake alleged entity is supposedly unknowable, Seattle band GOD are the one great surprise to come out of Lynn Shelton's $5 Cover: Seattle web series for MTV, which premiered here in March, but appears to still not be online yet. At the Seattle screening, if you missed the hand-drawn title at the top of GOD's episode, as I did, you likely would have had no idea who was that band onscreen wielding cello and synth to make their moody, intriguing indie rock. I vaguely recall some conversation in which I learned that, at the time of the series's filming, GOD didn't really exist; GOD was dead, or dormant, or just kind of a pick-up side project of the Corespondents—I can't exactly recall (and if I've written about it already, I can't seem to find that, either). It's all very mysterious, but I'm certain GOD is worth searching for. ERIC GRANDY

Cock Block Party: Night Beats,Virgin Islands

(Comet) The Comet's been having a weekend-long "Cock Block Party" during the Capitol Hill Block Party for years. And I've been avoiding it for years, 'cause hey, who wants to go see a show where no one can get anyone's phone number and NO ONE CAN GET LAID? I got the Comet on the phone and demanded an explanation. "We are not trying to prohibit ANYONE from getting man tool. It's more like a smaller block party FOR COCKS, not for 'blocking cock.'" Hmm, still not sure if I trust it, but I can say you should trust that shaggy-headed garage-psych-blues rockers Night Beats will bring some heat. Their howling neo-psychedelia channels classics like Led Zep, Hendrix, and the Velvet Underground (all bands that have been helping people get laid for centuries). KELLY O

Android Hero, No World, the Grindylow, Ardentvein

(Funhouse) BloodHag, Seattle's premiere sci-fi/fantasy/horror metal band, used to throw books by literary giants like Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick at their audience. Though the band called it quits in April, guitarist Jeff McNulty isn't finished promoting his recommended reading in song, as evidenced by his latest project Android Hero. No, they won't hurl books at you, but the obsession with fantastical fiction remains intact. And lest you think the less aggressive advocacy of his favorite authors is evidence that McNulty's grown soft, rest assured that he hasn't compromised his mean-ass riffs. Take a little bit of Nomeansno's winding, toothy bass growl, add Karp's pawnshop-gear grit, and you have a close approximation of Android Hero's unruly sound. It's a good excuse not to stay in and read tonight. BRIAN COOK

Saturday 7/24

Capitol Hill Block Party: Atmosphere, Blonde Redhead, !!!, the Night Marchers, Obits, Blitzen Trapper, Eastern Grip, Zola Jesus, others

(various) See guide and preview.

Photosynthesis Festival

(Dragon's Sphere Recreation Park; Randle, Washington) See Data Breaker.

Apple Jam

(Triple Door) Seattle's Apple Jam are Beatlemaniacs with skills. They've devoted their musical lives to replicating with impeccable nuance the Fab Four's classic-intensive catalog. They've also branched into Beatles members' solo material; tonight they'll tackle in its entirety Paul McCartney and Wings' massively popular 1973 album Band on the Run, with an addendum featuring cuts from Apple Jam's Off the Beatle Track (a collection of songs written by the Beatles, but never issued by them—that's how obsessive these cats are). Band on the Run is one of Macca and company's '70s peaks, and Apple Jam surely will do it justice. I'm especially curious to see how they render the weird keyboard emissions in "Helen Wheels." DAVE SEGAL

OTEP, the Birthday Massacre, Beneath the Sky, the Agonist

(El Corazón) Listening to OTEP is like listening to Live Through This–era Hole hate-fucking System of a Down's Toxicity. The 10-year-old L.A. metal band are fronted by a woman named Otep Shamaya who sounds tough as shit as she screams, growls, and booms over chugga-chug bass lines and blasts of typical metal guitar, but the music almost makes my ears bleed. They have their obligatory "damn the Man" anthem in "Rise Rebel Resist" and a tender ballad called "UR A WMN NOW" (seriously, that's how they spell it). The music could leave you thinking they're just vapid cash cows for Victory Records, but Shamaya is very outspoken with her support of gay rights and she was nominated for Outstanding Music Artist in the GLAAD Media Awards earlier this year. So even if the music isn't good, at least their message is. MEGAN SELING

Sunday 7/25

Capitol Hill Block Party: the Dead Weather, Blue Scholars, Harlem, the Dutchess and the Duke, Cynic, Fresh Espresso, Victor Shade, Truckasauras, Villagers, Flexions, Mad Rad, others

(various) See guide and Sound Check.

Photosynthesis Festival

(Dragon's Sphere Recreation Park; Randle, Washington) See Data Breaker.

Consignment, the Goodnight Loving, the Shackles, the Wayward Girls

(Funhouse, 4 pm) Dear Capitol Hill Block Party, you might have added a third day to this year's festival, but guess what? Some of us aren't going! We are leaving your land of milk and honey for the Funhouse, where the fantastic local narco-garage band Consignment will be playing, alongside Milwaukee's the Goodnight Loving and local joy-luck popsters the Shackles (who released a split cassette with Consignment some months back). Like a sedative elixir for your soul, Consignment make lethargic, lo-fi garage-pop songs less upbeat than they are beat-up, with guitarist Matt Nyce nonchalantly singing into a mic that's muddled in reverb. The Shackles are on the cuter side of garage pop, with Carlos Lopez (director of Consignment's awesome "Always Tired" video) and wife Cathy leading the five-piece band through sets of piano-flavored, unflappable noise pop. If any of those cassette splits still exist, your tape deck needs a new best friend/lover/confidant. TRAVIS RITTER

Intronaut, Dysrhythmia, Book ofBlack Dudes, Galdr

(Funhouse) I've never heard Intronaut or Dysrhythmia—bands from Los Angeles and Brooklyn, respectively, that are both often described as "progressive metal" and combine harsh vocals and death-metal stylings with jazz. JAZZ?!? Death-metal saxophone-ing? Who dare?! I've never heard Book of Black Dudes, either. I DID, however, hear rumors that they sound a whole helluva lot like Seattle metalheads Book of Black Earth, who just played Capitol Hill Block Party earlier today. These are just rumors though, okay? And please, you didn't hear it from me. KELLY O

Monday 7/26

Etran Finatawa, Baba Maraire and Nhaka Yedu feat. Lora Chiorah

(Neumos) The electrified blues emerging from the Sahara Desert in Niger represents some of the most affecting music in the world. Etran Finatawa have broken out of their heat-ravaged region to take this sound to global prominence. Greatly assisting that cause are the group's rousing call-and-response vocal parries that soar momentously over mantric, rolling rhythms and spider-web-intricate electric-guitar riffing. You likely won't have the foggiest what Etran Finatawa's superb vocalists are singing, but the intense feelings translate with piercing clarity. Overall, the sound is fairly light on its feet, but its emotional impact is heavy. Etran are in town supporting their moving new album, Tarkat Tajje. It means "let's go," which is advice you should heed. DAVE SEGAL

Wolf Parade

(Showbox at the Market) Wolf Parade is more than a band, it's a dialectic. The interaction of, contention between, and ultimate cathartic synthesis of Spencer Krug's and Dan Boeckner's musical instincts are what makes Wolf Parade a fun band to parse, both critically and casually. Their latest, the freshly dropped Expo 86, shimmers like hot-spring waters in which Boeckner's and Krug's egos dissolve into effervescent slough. No one on Expo 86 hogs the limelight at the expense of the rest of the band, and the songwriting is all so lockstep (yet characteristically woolly and manic) that it's often marginally if pleasantly taxing to try and puzzle out who's really in the driver's seat at any given moment. Their new material, though not as searing, snarled, or bohemian as that of their nigh-infinite slew of side projects, should still sound great live. JASON BAXTER

Tiny Light, Tecumseh, Barn Owl,Karnak Temples

(Funhouse) Newly signed to Thrill Jockey, San Francisco duo Barn Owl (Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras) launch skyward guitar drones into optimally modulated, meditative hazes. Their music is for long-attention-spanned individuals, which is commercial suicide but, for those blessed with the ability to enter Zen consciousness, hearty spiritual nourishment. Their new album, The Conjurer, at times bears similarities to Earth's recent Badlands twangy-blues minimalism, but Barn Owl still keep the tonal planes more astral than earthbound. Tiny Light, who changed their name from Oko Yono and added Portable Shrines guru Aubrey Nehring on guitar, impressed at a recent Comet show with their moodily mind-expanding rock. Portland's Tecumseh (featuring Seattle noise-drone dude Garek Druss) generate overcast sonic ecosystems to soundtrack existential crises. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 7/27

These United States, the Pica Beats, Ships

(Tractor) The Pica Beats' Ryan Barrett has one of those distinctive-yet-familiar, made-for-indie voices (call it "swaggering quaver" or "quavering swagger")—one that tends to dominate the band's compositions. But it's worth giving the Beats' instrumentation a close listen. Theirs are not lazily slapped-together Starbucks-ready jams but surprisingly rich (if dangerously safe and palatable) quilts of sitar, synthesizer, piano, ghostly vocalisms, acoustic strummage, and shy, wallflower drumming. By this point, the band has well earned a place in the NW's crowded, hallowed annals of sensitive-minded indie pop acts. If you're the kind of music lover who can't see the Woods for the twees, then you need to scope out the Pica Beats ASAP. JASON BAXTER

Kinky Friedman, Bob Malone

(Triple Door) I know what you're thinking: Who is the Frank Zappa of country music and why aren't I listening to him right now? Lucky for you, Kinky Friedman—singer, songwriter, author, Jewish humorist, former candidate for Texas governor, and alleged Redneck Zappa—takes the stage at the Triple Door tonight for an evening of story and song that's likely to include Friedman's celebrated country song about the holocaust, "Ride 'Em Jewboy." Joining Friedman are two former Texas Jewboys (did they flee Texas, Judaism, or both?) and bluesy roots-music dude Bob Malone. DAVID SCHMADER

Wednesday 7/28

Retic, Miles Tilmann

(Triple Door) See Data Breaker.

Grum, Flat Black, Case One, Sean Majors

(HG Lodge) See Data Breaker.

The Song Show: David Bazan, THEESatisfaction, Loch Lomond

(Triple Door) Another edition of the Song Show at the Triple Door, another opportunity to see some fine Seattle bands play acoustic or otherwise stripped-down/adventurous sets and then endure (or, if everything goes just right, excel at) live onstage interviews. From an audience's perspective, the best of the former is almost certainly worth the worst of the latter. Hell, troubled, fallen Christian troubadour David Bazan probably has some weird, affecting stories to tell about faith and doubt and Cornerstone Festival and the demon booze. And from a musical/identity-politics niche on the whole other side of the spectrum, THEESatisfaction can speak to what it means to be young, gifted, and bi in the Seattle hiphop scene. Loch Lomond can dress down music journalists for the lazy Decemberists comparisons. And everyone can enjoy the shrimp (unless you're allergic). ERIC GRANDY

Free Moral Agents, Nocando, Scriptures, Says

(Comet) Long Beach, California's Free Moral Agents ply a strange blend of ornate goth rock and rock-ribbed dub, without succumbing to the rote tropes of either genre. Featuring the Mars Volta's Ikey Owens on keyboards and the Siouxsie-esque vocalist Mendee Ichikawa, FMA create a cavernous, spectacularly dramatic sound that should bulge the tight confines of the Comet. L.A. battle rapper and Low End Theory regular Nocando has a great new album on the unimpeachable Alpha Pup Records titled Jimmy the Lock. "If I'm not the future of the West, the West has no future," Nocando bluntly states on "Hurry Up and Wait," just one plausible boast on one of the year's most riveting rap tracks. The rest of the album hits ruthlessly hard, too, like a Cali-fied Clipse. DAVE SEGAL

Support The Stranger

We Are Scientists, the Black Whales,Rewards

(Neumos) Coming on like Franz Ferdinand's angry younger brother and unafraid of Hall & Oates–levels of hookiness, We Are Scientists are the New York-by-way-of-Pomona band that, like a handful of American "cult" acts, crosses the Atlantic to become mainstream UK stars. What this means for American audiences: intimate club dates with a band that's acquainted with stadiums. In other words: Hurrah. Opening the show: Seattle's lovingly Brit-poppy Black Whales and Brooklyn's spacey synth-wrangler Rewards. DAVID SCHMADER

We Are Scientists

(Sonic Boom Capitol Hill) See above.