Glass Candy, Chromatics, Ononos, Mike Simonetti
(Chop Suey) Do Italians still Do It Better? In 2007, the niche Italo disco revivalist imprint (a brainchild of Troubleman Unlimited founder Mike Simonetti) was widely lionized, with its After Dark comp, Chromatics' Night Drive, and Glass Candy's B/E/A/T/B/O/X all riding a wave of newfound love for the genre. The timing of Chromatics' "comeback" seems ill-conceived—with three years' worth of evolved electronic strains (chiptune, dubstep, chillwave) currently crowding the stage—but the band has a new double LP of dusky old-school synth-pop on the way, and Johnny Jewel has been keeping busy as a solo artist and in the band Desire with Megan Louise. Strange timing for an Italo-disco re-revival? Perhaps, but to borrow a phrase from genre forefathers Black Devil Disco Club, "Timing, Forget the Timing." JASON BAXTER See also The Homosexual Agenda.
Dirty Projectors, Dominique Young Unique
(Showbox at the Market) Just got the "Expanded Edition" of Dirty Projectors' fine 2009 album Bitte Orca in the mail, and was hoping that its handful of live tracks, recorded at NYC's esteemed Other Music record store, would take me back to times I've seen them perform in the past year. The recordings, though typically lovely, are acoustic renditions, and while they highlight the band's acrobatic vocal interplay—the way David Longstreth, Angel Deradoorian, and Amber Coffman will fracture a melody so that each of them is responsible only for certain shards of it, then turn around and land on a sweet, simple three-part harmony—they lack the full live band's appeal, especially Longstreth's own bright sprays of electric guitar. Better just to go see them tonight to get the full effect. ERIC GRANDY
(Triple Door) The last time I saw John Roderick, he was naked in a bathtub at the Sorrento Hotel, his junky bits covered with makeshift manties fashioned out of Mr. Bubble while he conversed with Spencer Moody, who sat on a nearby toilet. (It was part of a pre-Bumbershoot spectacular called "12 Writers, 12 Musicians, 12 Conversations" assembled by One Pot.) Tonight, Seattle's beloved singer/songwriter/raconteur continues his residency at the Triple Door, where each month he lords over an indie cabaret of words and song. I have no idea what's going to happen at tonight's show, but I do know that John Roderick is a talented person who understands that we're all dying every minute, which makes him worthy of your attention for a couple hours. DAVID SCHMADER
Coasting, Idle Times
(High Dive) Brooklyn's Coasting (guitarist Madison Farmer and drummer Fiona Campbell) flex foxy muscles in the familiar nexus where scruffy garage rock meets seductive girl-group pop. Vocals are intricately arrayed over distant-sounding, reverbed guitar and dustbin drums in a manner that will bring to mind groups like Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls (for whom Campbell also drums), and Slumber Party. The coy charm of bands like this will always appeal to a certain type of indie-rock appreciator—people who like their romantic come-ons veiled in tentativeness and indirectness, bangs permanently obscuring eyes. It's telling that their most thrusting, direct song, "Coasting," is an instrumental. This is a band that makes beating around the bush sound very appealing. DAVE SEGAL
Das Racist, Mash Hall, DJs Toast and Tang
Rusko, Kid Hops, Ill Cosby vs. Crooked Clef
(Showbox at the Market) See Data Breaker.
Wheedle's Groove, Sol, Mike Nipper, Marc Muller
(Neumos) History lessons aren't supposed to be this fun and joyous, but the Wheedle's Groove collective bucks that truism. An amalgam of musicians from various groups who populated Seattle's underrecognized late-'60s/early-'70s soul and funk scene, Wheedle's Groove in recent years have returned to the stage on the back of two excellent releases by the local Light in the Attic label: Wheedle's Groove: Seattle's Finest in Funk & Soul, 1965–75 and Kearney Barton. Tonight's show features key players Overton Berry, Pastor Patrinell Staten Wright, and Ron Buford, plus members of Black on White Affair; Broham; Cold, Bold, & Together; Cookin' Bag; and Robbie Hill's Family Affair. Their Bumbershoot performance proved that Wheedle's Groove haven't lost their flamboyant, prodigious skills; their songs still sound regal and righteous. DAVE SEGAL
U.S.F., Secret Colors
(Cairo) Secret Colors (not to be confused with Chicago's Secret Colours) is the solo project of Seattle's Matt Lawson. Judging by his MySpace offerings, he's a fine purveyor of bedroom-brewed bliss pop. His songs gently cascade and shimmer, wafting beautifully around the room like a benevolent gas. The track (and its title) "Hammock Vibe" totally captures Lawson's steez. It's easy and enjoyable to lose yourself in his winsome ditties. U.S.F. have a new album in the can titled The Spray, which finds the Seattle duo expanding their textural palette, varying their rhythmic repertoire (there's some impressively intricate beat programming happening here), and wringing more loveliness and knowing innocence out of their beatific melodic sensibility. U.S.F. have crafted a fetching collection of tunes that satiates 21st-century youth's lust for hazy beauty coupled with danceable grooves. DAVE SEGAL
Sir Richard Bishop, Bill Orcutt
(Josephine) See Stranger Suggests.
Nymph, Jabon, Forrest Friends, Brain Fruit
(Black Lodge) The press release for Nymph's self-titled album name-checked so many of my favorite musicians (This Heat, 13th Floor Elevators, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Steve Reich, Erkin Koray, John Coltrane, Can, etc.), it seemed impossible not to love the shit out of it. And while it doesn't quite match the immortal heights of those artists' best work, Nymph is a supremely exciting release. These four Brooklynites harness a powerful centrifugal force in their psych-rock/noise-jazz fusions that is indeed This Heat–like, and Kirk's rococo, reedy trills rear their freaky heads here and there. Nymph vocalist Eri Shoji scatters urgent scats over the tumultuous din and the sparse, suspenseful passages like a jittery Yoko Ono, and Matty McDermott picks out some complexly pungent, Koray-esque guitar motifs. "Namu," the album's 22-minute finale, possesses the sort of phenomenal instrumental freakinetics that used to conclude classic '70s krautrock LPs. Maybe that record-label hype is justified after all. DAVE SEGAL
Ravenna Woods, the Physics, Beat Connection
(Sunset) Ravenna Woods were a pleasant surprise at this year's Capitol Hill Block Party. The Seattle trio churns out brawny folk driven by Matt Badger's upright drumming, which employs two sideways-mounted kick drums, and frontman Chris Cunningham's swift but heavy acoustic-guitar work and determined vocal timbre. Third member Brantley Duke deftly operates tambourine and xylophone, among other things, and sings backup vocals, subtly rounding out the band's girth. Tonight, Ravenna Woods are somewhat oddly (ingeniously?) booked with sunshiny hiphop trio the Physics and lately buzzed-about duo Beat Connection, whose beachfront, reefer-hazed electronic thump will be well worth catching if it sounds as good live as it does on record. GRANT BRISSEY See also preview.
Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside, the Foghorns, Basemint
(Tractor) K Records' lo-fi bubblegum rockers Wallpaper might have stripped their walls clean and put that band in the trash bin, but two of those three young men from Auburn have dug themselves out from the dump, picked up two more members, and are now hanging ten as Basemint. Combining instrumental surf-rock tunes that the mid-'60s Hobie Super Surfer Skateboard Team would've slalomed barefoot to with lo-fi garage rock that current Ty Segall fans can't seem to get enough of, Basemint will make you yearn for an endless summer when the weather outside is shitty. Tonight they open for Portland headliners Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside, who have a more Tractor-favored big-beat rockabilly swagger, and Seattle's mellow Icelandic folk rockers the Foghorns. TRAVIS RITTER
The Black Keys
(Paramount) The Black Keys singer/guitar player Dan Auerbach denies that he sold his soul to Satan à la Delta bluesman Robert Johnson. But I don't know. The Black Keys' Ohio-born, lightning-blues, two-man rock sound is so potent and spellbound that something must be going on. Maybe Auerbach is just renting Satan his soul, with an option to buy. Or maybe it's just the power and hypnotizing momentum of a band at its peak. With the release of their sixth studio album, Brothers, peaking is exactly what Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney are doing. They've never sounded better, performed better, or had better presence. Now is the time to see the Black Keys. But you might want to wear a garlic necklace, or bring a chicken gizzard, whatever you use to ward off the devil—he might be sniffing around the Paramount, looking to complete a sale. TRENT MOORMAN
Del the Funky Homosapien, Bukue One, Moka Only
(Nectar) This is from a review of The Best of Del tha Funkee Homosapien: The Elektra Years (2004): "[It] includes most of the best moments from I Wish My Brother George Was Here and 1994 follow-up No Need for Alarm, making it valuable for those who haven't been able to track them down. However, those who have followed Del all along should also take note; this set also contains a small bounty of B-sides, most of which are of some import... The package scores bonus points for its informative liner notes, not to mention the shout-out to borderline-genius writer Kodwo Eshun." If I have any claim to hiphop history, it is that I wrote the liner notes to this collection, which contains most (not all—Del's work with Gorillaz and Dan the Automator is not included) of the best work by one of the greatest West Coast rappers (Ice Cube's cousin, no less) in the history of the art. From Del to infinity. CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy.
Dungen, the Entrance Band
(Neumos) Dungen stand as perhaps Sweden's greatest rock export of the 21st century. Throughout the '00s, multitasking leader Gustav Ejstes proved his mettle by wedding serpentine, synapse-crisping psych-rock riffs with pretty, pastoral prog peregrinations. With Dungen's latest full-length, Skit I Allt (translation: "Fuck It All"), Ejstes and company have toned down the fire and wind and instilled more water and earth to their well-wrought compositions. Tranquil flute motifs, piano, strings, and zither dominate more of the stereo field here, making for a more subtle, less freak-flag-flying listening experience—although "Högdalstoppen" roils with a Hendrixian brio. Skit I Allt is one of those albums whose charms gradually sneak up on you and mellow you out in super-fine Scando style. Live, Dungen emphasize their flamboyant virtuosity, bringing their floridly eventful songs to vivid life. DAVE SEGAL
The Sword, Karma to Burn, Mount Carmel
(Showbox Sodo) The last time I saw the Sword, they sounded like garbage. It was no fault of the band's, though. KeyArena's unflattering acoustics didn't do too much for the Texas quartet's brand of 1970s-influenced groove metal. Oddly, as soon as headliners Metallica took the stage, it was as if the sound engineer flipped a switch from "suck" to "flawless." No need to worry, though, this time around it's all about the Sword. The band's third LP, Warp Riders, once again channels the spirit of Sabbath and allows it to resonate deeply, filling listeners' ears with rich, deep melodies and bong-rattling riffs. Call them "hipster metal" if you must; I'll just dig the tunes, maaaaan. KEVIN DIERS
The Drums, Surfer Blood, the Dewars
(Neumos) It makes sense that Brooklyn band the Drums' self-titled debut opens with breathy moaning and lyrics about waiting on "the hood of your car"—sighing recline and wistful longing seem to be the band's most natural positions. That sampled breath and drumbeat are like some wimped-up idea of Elastica's "Car Song," while the next two tracks have the kind of down-stroked guitars, slight melodic lines, and metronomic-yet-propulsive drums that typified the Strokes' streamlined approach to rock rhythm. These are all front-loaded red herrings, though, as the album soon settles down into hand clapping, classicist dream pop, and fey 1950s doo-wop, submerging playground jump-rope cadences ("Let's Go Surfing") and Beach Boys choruses (the mopey "fun fun fun" of "I Need Fun in My Life") in lightly reverbed melancholy, all swooning guitars and affected British accents and the kind of fainting pleas that Morrissey has made his life's work (although without Moz's occasional snarl). For boys who feel the pains of being soft at heart. ERIC GRANDY
Klaxons, Baby Monster
(Chop Suey) Now safely removed from the magazine-cover-baiting fashion joke of "nu rave" by a few years, we Yanks can simply take British band Klaxons for what they are, which turns out to be way more interesting than the second coming of Day-Glo and the smiley face, anyway. Their new album, Surfing the Void (you know, the astronaut cat cover), cements them as a panoramic rock band with their sights set on otherworldly vistas and astral planes, and with lyrics evincing passing fondnesses for po-mo lit, occult mysticism, and altered states of consciousness. (It's 2010, and bands are still redecorating Aleister Crowley's mansion.) Nothing on Surfing is as immediately attention-grabbing as the highlights of their debut, but it proves that (minus some synthesizers) the band's formula—haughty, operatic vocals given to frequent falsettos; solar-flaring guitars echoing in from a safe distance; thick anchoring rhythms—still holds up in the near future. ERIC GRANDY
Pigeon John, Dark Time Sunshine, DJ Abilities
(Nectar) Pigeon John once told an interviewer for LAist that his nickname was given to him by Jesus. "I was walking through Inglewood one day, when out of nowhere Jesus rolled up on me in a '77 Cutlass Supreme... four doors, gray," he said. "He hopped out and handed me a dead pigeon. He whispered, 'Please have a good time, you're really bumming me out.' I watched him sink back into the cushioned seats and drive quickly away. And that's when it happened, the pigeon started shaking violently and became awake, picked up and flew away. I don't think I had a choice... it was 'pigeon' or die." Dark Time Sunshine's name is perhaps related to a lyric from their second album, Vessel: "You can find me hiding in the sunshine." Pigeon John and Dark Time Sunshine both make hiphop that's everything gangsta rap isn't: positive and hopeful. No bitches, no hos, no guns, no bumouts. Go to this show and have a good time. KELLY O