Lauren Dukoff

Thursday 10/21

Sub Swara

(Trinity) See Data Breaker.

Roky Erickson, the Maldives, Massy Ferguson

(Neumos) For his work with garage-psych legends 13th Floor Elevators, Roky Erickson is a rock god; anyone who disagrees deserves to have his/her ears dunked in Nickelback. Erickson's articulate howls and incisive harmonica and guitar playing remain forever distinctive in the underground-rock canon. While his solo career never really connected with me, its obsession with demons, zombies, two-headed dogs, myriad B-movie tropes, and manifestations of a mentally disturbed mind struck a deep chord with many. Considering his history of psychiatric problems and involuntary electroshock treatments, it's a victory that Erickson's even alive and performing in 2010. However, his serviceable backing band and diminished vocal and instrumental powers in recent live performances have left this hardcore Elevators fanatic underwhelmed. Still, you'll get chills when they inevitably do "You're Gonna Miss Me." DAVE SEGAL

Phosphorescent, People Eating People, Daniel G. Harmann & the Trouble Starts

(Chop Suey) I loaned Phosphorescent's latest, Here's to Taking It Easy, to my brother, because he is married with two kids and my sister-in-law only lets him listen to anodyne music in the house. Phosphorescent's Alabama-born Matthew Houck has a knack for pensive but jovial road jams that have drawn comparisons to Bob Dylan and Will Oldham. Houck is an accomplished songwriter, and it shows on songs like "It's Hard to Be Humble (When You're from Alabama)," possibly the most rousing bit on the record, on which he delicately sings, "Now, baby, all these cities, ain't they all startin' to all look the same?" over rollicking guitars, keys, and just-right horns. Even at its most raucous, though, "Humble" and its considerably subdued brethren passed the Sister-in-Law Test. See also the lovely "Nothing Was Stolen (Love Me Foolishly)." GRANT BRISSEY

Friday 10/22

The Vaselines, Dum Dum Girls

(Neumos) See Sound Check.

Show and Bonk: Bob Hansen vs. Eva, Jon McMillion, the Sight Below

(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker.

Sammy Dee

(Produkt Loft) See Data Breaker.

Head Like a Kite, Brent Amaker & the Rodeo, Atomic Bombshells

(Crocodile) It takes a lot of balls to play country music. Some think it's cliché, a thing of the past, something for your grandpa's grandpa. Seattle's Brent Amaker and his Rodeo are smashing this notion to bits. Though they sound like classic country, they bring an Iggy Pop–like ethos to their live shows—that and lots of whiskey. They did a Kraftwerk cover at Bumbershoot. They have rabid, cultlike fans who call themselves the "B.A.R. Brigade." Girls feel compelled to show the band their bare-naked breasts. Brent Amaker & the Rodeo have a brand-new album, Please Stand By, which will be available at this show. They recorded a version of the title track with local rapper Tilson. They're making country tough again—for you, not for your grandpa. KELLY O

Escalator Fest: Blood Red Dancers, Night Beats, Dahga Bloom, Jeffertitti's Nile, This Blinding Light

(Lo-Fi) Local psych collective Portable Shrines kicks off the first night of the bong-stoking second annual Escalator Fest with a diverse mix of some of Seattle's rising garage/psych talent. The haggard and charred gloom barons Blood Red Dancers will ascend from the depths of hell's cabaret to headline the night, along with Night Beats, a tear-riffic psychedelic-garage trio whose fuzz doesn't kill the buzz. Rounding out the bill are two bands from SoCal: Fullerton's Dahga Bloom, a transcendental psychedelic-gypsy sextet, and Topanga Canyon's Jeffertitti's Nile, a group of shamanistic, peyote-eating desperado dreamers. Seattle's sonic alchemists This Blinding Light open the show. Expect a phantasmagorical kaleidoscope of sights (provided by Dumb Eyes and Portable Shrines), heady steady sounds, and, if you're in the right place at the right time, freshly harvested smells. TRAVIS RITTER

Saturday 10/23

Big Boi, Neema, Fatal Lucciauno, DJ Swervewon

(Showbox Sodo) See preview.

She & Him

(5th Avenue Theatre) See preview.

Escalator Fest: The Curious Mystery, Moon Duo, Midday Veil, Edibles, Climax Golden Twins

(Lo-Fi) See Stranger Suggests.

Foals, Esben and the Witch, Pica Beats

(Neumos) Oxford, England's Sub Pop–signed Foals are a must-see quintet, and Yannis Philippakis is a must-see singer (and guitarist). In concert, speakers become his tightly staccato'd pop-up book of pounded sound. Math-rock-ticked guitars push and pull metered tabs of foundation while Philippakis's tense vocals conduct the action of the story. In the throes of performance, Foals are a cyclone. Their sets contain a measured/unmeasured fury. Shit can break. Onstage, Philippakis may swing a mic into the floor tom or jam a guitar into his amp. He says, "Every time we come to Seattle, shit breaks; that's why we like it." Be it math or not, it's destructive, it's rock, and it's beautiful. Welcome to Seattle, Yannis—we're ready for you to break shit. TRENT MOORMAN

Crookers, Douster

(Showbox at the Market) American audiences probably know Italian production duo Crookers best as the remixers responsible for transforming Kid Cudi's bleary half-time rap ramble "Day 'n' Nite" into a big, ravey club record (with one hell of a wobbly synth lead). They've also remixed artists ranging from Fever Ray and Wiley to Lady Gaga and U2. Their style is typified by growling synths that bend between notes and glide off in weird directions, jumpy ping-ponging effects, and hard-slapping 4/4 beats occasionally loosened up with a classic drum loop (the "Think" break shows up on their remix of Diplo and Rye Rye's "Wassup"). These guys don't radically reinvent electronic music or anything, but they reliably pump out what the kids used to call "bangers." ERIC GRANDY

DJ Spooky with Joshua Roman

(Triple Door) The chameleonic sonic philosopher DJ Spooky has worked with everyone from Yoko Ono to Slayer's Dave Lombardo to Kool Keith to Thurston Moore to jazz heavyweights like Matthew Shipp, Joe McPhee, and William Parker. He is almost never not interesting, no matter in which style he's playing or with which configuration he's involved. For this Earshot Jazz/City Arts Fest date, Spooky's collaborating with Seattle Symphony cellist Joshua Roman and a local string quartet. They'll be performing Spooky's "North/South" and "Ice Music," which reportedly are inspired by the hexagonal shapes of ice and snowflakes and the sounds of the earth's poles, as well as a solo cello piece composed for Roman. DAVE SEGAL

Andy Friedman, Dave McGraw

(The Mix) Story time. First trip to New York City. I was 18, gawky, not really clear how the world worked, and relentless, and I walked to the offices of the New Yorker to see what there was to see. There was this mail-room employee named Andy Friedman sitting at the front desk. "There's one thing I can show you," he said, and took me to see a wall that James Thurber had drawn on. We rode an elevator with two old, dusty white guys, and as we got off, Friedman asked if I knew who they were. No idea. Joe Klein and Roger Angell—Roger fucking Angell! (CliffsNotes: E. B. White's stepson.) Then I was back out on the street feeling stupid for bothering the mail-room guy, stupid because I hadn't recognized a couple of writer heroes, just feeling stupid. But Friedman didn't mind how stupid I was. There's something weirdly magical about him. Sufjan Stevens says: "I think the world of Andy Friedman. I've always wanted to be Andy Friedman." Some time later, he quit the New Yorker and hit the road with a multimedia show involving reading poetry while showing projections of his drawings (he still draws for the New Yorker). When poetry-plus-overhead-projection didn't take the country by storm, he picked up a guitar and started writing cryptic, arty country songs. He's playing tonight at the Mix in Georgetown, the ideal neighborhood for "hardtack country originals that bear the mark of a true artist," as his songs have been described by no less an authority than, uh, the New Yorker. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Sunday 10/24

Noah Gundersen and the Courage, the Raggedy Anns, Cliff Perry and Laurel Bliss

(Tractor) Noah Gundersen is a local singer-songwriter whose smooth-voiced ballads will no doubt appeal to fans of Rocky Votolato and Damien Jurado. Some songs are almost too precious (in "Jesus, Jesus" he asks God's son if he wants to meet for coffee so they can work out the problems of the world), but Gundersen isn't always so naive. "Oh Death" is a darker, gorgeous tune that starts out with a heart-crushing violin solo. His voice gets a little shaky and broken as he starts to ponder mortality and flirt with the idea of dying, then he and a choir sing out, "Oh, death, where is your sting?" Gundersen is still fairly new to the local music scene—give him a couple years to fine-tune his sentiments, and he could be another Northwest great. MEGAN SELING

Monday 10/25

Born Ruffians, Meligrove Band, Ambulance

(Chop Suey) On record, Toronto trio Born Ruffians can appear timid and reserved; they occasionally burst into sing-along choruses but still retain their indie-rock cool. Live, they loosen their ties, as if leaving the confines of the office, and let it all go. Last time they rolled through the Emerald City, sweat dripped onto the Vera Project's dance floor as drummer Steven Hamelin provided slightly sped-up beats, allowing room for Luke LaLonde and Mitch Derosier (guitar and bass) to pack their infectious Vampire Weekend–ish melodies with bombastic fervor. Born Ruffians simply turned up the fun. Now that they've passed the all-ages test, proving they can get a party started without the aid of alcohol, it's time to see how wild things can really get. KEVIN DIERS

Christoph Heemann

(Chapel Performance Space) It's hard to predict what a show by Christoph Heemann will sound like in 2010, but you can be assured that it'll be weird and unique. (In a recent interview, he said, "I try to make each [performance] different and often decide on details of the contents of a set right before I start.") Heemann's group Hirsche Nicht Aufs Sofas (aka H.N.A.S., which flourished from 1983 to 1993) propagated surrealist sonic collages in the freewheeling, absurdist spirit of The Faust Tapes and Nurse with Wound's more whimsical releases. He later went on to play in Mirror (desolate drone-tone poetry with Andrew Chalk and Jim O'Rourke) and Mimir (electroacoustic improv with O'Rourke and members of the Legendary Pink Dots), while also producing and engineering records by Charlemagne Palestine, Keiji Haino, and Organum. The man's credentials are impeccable and his instincts perverse and sublime. It would be foolish to miss this rare Seattle appearance. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 10/26

DJ Shadow

(Showbox at the Market) See preview.

The Apples in Stereo, Fol Chen, BOAT

(Crocodile) Three Elephant 6 bands are in town this week: the Apples in Stereo, Of Montreal, and Elf Power. Coincidence? Could be... but if there were ever a week you might see Jeff Mangum hanging around some coffee shop in Seattle, this would be it, so keep your eyes peeled. (Although, you know, not really.) Sasquatch sightings aside, the Apples in Stereo's latest album, Travellers in Space and Time, is plenty strange and pleasantly surprising on its own, wedding the band's reverse-engineered 1970s AM pop sound to an increasing amount of electronic squiggles and casually strutting into lite disco territory. As always, bandleader Robert Schneider seems to spin these tunes out with unstudied ease (an impression perhaps belied by all the nerdy "Non-Pythagorean" tinkering). Fol Chen, on the other hand, revel in making their music as weird and inscrutable as possible, despite the occasional prettiness or groove. ERIC GRANDY

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Willy Mason

(Neumos) She's the angel-voiced cellist who came up with Belle & Sebastian, he's the long-suffering rock dude whose great, gravelly rasp lit up the Screaming Trees, and together they're the rare side project with stamina and 3-D proof of the attraction of opposites. Having released their third LP, Hawk, this summer, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan bring their low-energy, high-drama songcraft (think Portishead unplugged with a guy sharing lead vocals) to Neumos. Opening the show: Conor Oberst–endorsed neo-folkie Willy Mason. DAVID SCHMADER

Isobel Campbell

(Sonic Boom, Capitol Hill) See above.

Wednesday 10/27

Of Montreal, Janelle Monáe

(Paramount) Surprise! Of Montreal have made another singularly strange record. With False Priest, Kevin Barnes and band—with help from Jon Brion, Solange Knowles, and Janelle Monáe—complete their metamorphosis from synthy indie pop (a phase that peaked with the twin epics of 2005's The Sunlandic Twins and 2007's Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?) to weirdo roller boogie and electrofunk. (In retrospect, the fractured business of Skeletal Lamping looks decidedly like growing pains.) If Of Montreal's shape-shifting has exhausted its ability to shock, it continues to yield some outstanding songs. From the hilarious spoken-word asides of "Our Riotous Defects" to the unfettered, melancholic pop bliss of "Famine Affair," the bulk of False Priest stands easily against the band's best work. Videos suggest that their live shows for this tour are less besieged by costumed monsters than before, which some might find a relief; plus, Monáe joins the band. ERIC GRANDY

Deerhunter, Casino Versus Japan, Real Estate

(Showbox at the Market) On Halcyon Digest, Georgian shoegazers Deerhunter grapple with the ghosts of their past and the weight of their already formidable musical legacy—ironic for a band whose distinctive sound is built from the spectral remains of past genres. Impossibly gifted frontman Bradford Cox sings, "I'm only bored as I get older" and "I don't want to get old." While these sentiments might read as petulant, in the context of Digest's booming, beaming argument for an "aging" Deerhunter, they feel more inspired than indignant. The band's been around long enough to have the first half of its Behind the Music episode locked (early struggles, death, disease, hiatus, loss of a member, side projects, addition of a member), but they're still relatively young, if accomplished. Halcyon Digest is such an assured, consistent indie-pop record that it makes the days when, as Spin magazine once put it, Deerhunter were "the blogosphere's most voyeuristically monitored and savagely assailed band" seem like ancient, innocuous history. Halcyon, even. JASON BAXTER

Russian Circles, Keel Haul, Call Me Lightning

(Neumos) Russian Circles' dark instrumental songs are fantastic any time of year, but if there's ever a time to see the band live and really get into their music, it's now, when Halloween is around the corner and everything feels a little bit spooky. The Chicago-based trio (featuring Seattle and The Stranger's own Brian Cook on bass) is basically a really well-done soundtrack to my nightmares. Their epic sonic journeys (many of their songs reach the eight-minute mark) give you a few chances to relax, with moments of sweeping melody and beautiful guitar work, but mostly they sound like what you might hear when foolishly wandering through a haunted house—right before whatever undead monster lives there makes a meal out of your brains. MEGAN SELING

Women, Elf Power, Manchild

(Vera) With these three together on one bill, you might initially think this is an ecosexual gathering. You know, like something you'd see in the "Purple Wedding to the Moon" section of Annie Sprinkle's new website Loveartlab.org. But then you realize this bill has nothing to do with third eyes, the Appalachian Mountains, or porn-stars-turned-lesbian-feminists and everything to do with three bands that do lo-fi, fuzzy guitar rock really well. Especially Women. Who are actually men. Their first two albums—a self-titled debut on Chad VanGaalen's Flemish Eye label and Public Strain on Jagjaguwar—have earned them a special spot in even the darkest hearts, like those of music critics at Pitchfork, Filter, and the BBC. KELLY O