kelly o

Thursday 11/25

It's Christmas, you turkey! See feature.

Friday 11/26

No Age, White Boss, HPP

(Neumos) Maturity is a double-edged sword. When it means soft gums, hardened arteries, and an inability to laugh at dead-baby jokes, it's a bad thing. But when it means lacing your gorgeous bratty noise explosions with bolder melodies and words that say something, it's triumphant, and in No Age's case, it's the most natural thing in the world. Anyone tempted to gripe about the band's advances on Everything in Between can spend the rest of their days listening to Weirdo Rippers and hating life. The rest of us can thrill to an art-punk band making brave, artsy progress while still creating music that makes you want to jump around like an idiot. Also on the bill of tonight's show: Olympia hardcore punks White Boss and HPP. DAVID SCHMADER See also Stranger Suggests, and preview.

The Physics, Jake One, Yirim Seck

(Nectar) Let's give this a little thought: What is the rapper about in a moment that finds little to no meaning in such designations as underground and mainstream? What is the role of the rapper in this new condition, this new economic, technological, and cultural climate? The rapper can no longer be just about rapping; he/she must have other things happening in his/her world. For example, Geologic, the rapper of the Blue Scholars, is also one of the best film critics in our town. Another excellent example is Thig Natural, the main rapper for local hiphop crew the Physics. In addition to steadily producing hiphop tracks, he is a talented blogger, photographer, and curator of the website That's Tite. The rapper of the 21st century has to excel in contexts and mediums that are outside of trad hiphop. CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy.

The Dutchess and the Duke, Ziskis, Yukon Blonde

(Tractor) The Dutchess and the Duke were never going to conquer the world. Founded as a duo by childhood friends Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison (and later expanded to a live band), the Dutchess and the Duke crafted grim, jangly folk rock with just a slight psychedelic tint and with lyrics that touched on subjects as local as your neighborhood's "Reservoir Park" and as personal as Lortz's becoming a father. Fine stuff, but not exactly bursting with ego or ambition; they're regional royalty, you know, not the King and Queen or the Emperor and Empress. So when it was announced that tonight's show would be the band's last, it didn't seem sad or premature or anything. They released two solid albums in as many years, played tons of shows, even landed their hit song on HBO's Entourage—if they didn't achieve everything they set out to accomplish, they at least had a very good run. And, of course, Lortz continues to make music with Case Studies, and Morrison, should she choose to further her musical career, probably won't be without another band for long. ERIC GRANDY

The Pharmacy, Makeup Monsters, Tit Pig, Pony Time

(Black Lodge) Yeah, yeah, I know, the internet is this miraculous thing that's totally opened up the vaults and given everyone instant access to a near infinite spectrum of music. We can now be dilettante fans of all kinds of obscure artists with a few keystrokes. Call me a Luddite, but I miss the mystery. Maybe that's why Seattle's Tit Pig are so fascinating—they have no web presence whatsoever. Moreover, you can't even Google their name without dragging up a bunch of gnarly stuff you probably don't want to see. But folks are talking about their art-damaged hardcore freak-outs, and the rumors make them sound infinitely more awesome than the latest oversaturated web sensation. If you want more info on the band, you'll just have to check 'em out yourself. BRIAN COOK

The Frames

(Showbox at the Market) Remember that movie-musical Once, starring the Frames' frontman/sweetheart/baby-cheeks/widdle-ickle-cutesybottom Glen Hansard? I wish I didn't: Once was too much. It introduced me to a world of saccharine Irish vanilla-rock that made me a little ashamed of my people for a minute. First I thought things couldn't get any worse than the sanctimony of latter-day Bono. Then there was Boyzone—that had to be the nadir, right? WRONG! Hansard might be a saint in person, but he sings like a sensitive beardo in some college dorm room trying to make the girls swoon with his Sarah McLachlan impression. "I don't know you, but I want you/All the more for that/Words fall through me and always fool me/And I can't react." Please. Spare us. BRENDAN KILEY

Unsane, Android Hero, Cold Lake, Great Falls

(Funhouse) I've never been so lucky as to see Unsane perform live. All I remember about them is that they're HARD-HARD-hard-EST-core noise-rock screamers of the early 1990s, with a devoted-as-all-hell cult following. I also remember that they had a record cover with a picture of a decapitated guy lying on some train tracks in a pool of blood. I think I also remember reading that their original drummer died of a heroin overdose, and that the lead singer was stabbed a million or so times in the guts on a European tour. I shoulda seen 'em when they toured with Slayer. Back then, I was one of those nut jobs that just stood around chanting "Slay-YERR!" instead of paying attention to any opening band. I'm pretty sure I'm not hardcore enough to listen to any of Unsane's six albums at home anymore—not the old stuff or the three brand-new tracks released this month via Coextinction Recordings. I am still hard enough, however, to go see them play live. Any self-respecting punk or metalhead should do the same. KELLY O

A Tribute to Harry Smith: Zoe Muth, Pufferfish, Gravel Road

(Columbia City Theater) Every serious American musician—from grubby folk acts all the way down to electronic-music impresarios who never touch "real" instruments—should own a copy of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. It's a weird, wonderful collection of sounds from the depths of history, arranged in a very specific—if totally inscrutable—fashion. (I could not tell you why the records, or CDs if you're lame, are arranged by elemental forces, but I love that they are.) The set basically amounts to the secret first volume for a biography of a quirky, unflappable character named American Music. Tonight's concert features local artists who get the importance of Harry Smith's contribution to American Culture; hell, they're preaching the gospel of Harry Smith every day. PAUL CONSTANT

3 Inches of Blood, Witchburn, Deathmocracy, Helles

(El Corazón) With song titles like "Destroy the Orcs" and "Battles and Brotherhood," it's safe to say the dudes in 3 Inches of Blood know their Tolkien. Born in the shire of Vancouver, BC, these four warriors wield mighty weaponry—wailing guitar solos, lightning-fast thrash riffs, and falsettos that would make Rob Halford jealous and LOTR nerds giddy. If you're a fan of Southern riff-laden doom, chances are you probably already know about openers Witchburn. They're easily one of Seattle's hardest-working bands, bringing their sludge to anyone and everyone with a set of ears to destroy. Get ready for a night of battle cries. KEVIN DIERS

Saturday 11/27

Grinderman

(King Cat Theater) See preview.

David Bazan, the Head and the Heart, Damien Jurado

(Showbox at the Market) See Underage.

Os Mutantes, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

(Neumos) Sérgio Dias, the last man standing from the original Os Mutantes, has been circling the globe with a backing band of young whippersnappers, delighting the fans of Tropicalismo by charging through old favorites and playing a few new songs from 2009's Haih or Amortecedor. Ariel Pink and his Haunted Graffiti, a four-piece from Los Angeles, are the contemporary heirs to Os Mutantes' sense of psychedelic, swinging euphony. Pink can play energetic 1960s soul, noodle around deeply trippy covers of drug-rock classics (his "Light My Fire" sounds like Jim Morrison stuck in a K-hole), and sometimes use his own mouth and armpits as a rhythm section. Mutantes and Pink, yesterday and today, touring together. It's a survey course in psychedelic history. BRENDAN KILEY

Night Beats, Red Hex, Midnight Sun, Tommy Dean

(Black Lodge) Seattle's Night Beats are not exactly reinv—AW FORGET IT!!! This is the type of band about which Mike Nipper would say something like "The 13th Floor Elevators did this 40 years ago, and they did it way better." To which I would say: "FORGET YOU, NIPPER! Who cares if 13th Floor Elevators did it better 40 years ago? They DON'T MAKE RECORDS ANYMORE." Who cares, when Night Beats do such a fine job of conjuring the greatness of bands like the Elevators and the Stooges. How can you listen to those discographies without wanting more? GRANT BRISSEY

Sunday 11/28

Candysound

(Sunset) Candysound are adorable. They're fresh-faced, mop-topped youngsters from Bellingham whose MySpace page says they've "been lucky enough to share a variety of stages with some rad bands/people including: Parenthetical Girls, Evangelicals, PWRFL Power, the Lonely Forest," and much more. So humble. Adorable! But they use their adorableness as a kind of judo to flip your expectations at every turn: When you see them take the stage, you half expect some kind of cushy, fluffy boy band that sings chaste ballads about holding hands. And then they play and it's rock that alternates from jangly, mopey heart-tugging choruses to balls-out murder riffs in the same song, and suddenly they're not adorable anymore; they're just really, really good. PAUL CONSTANT

Monday 11/29

Black Mountain, the Black Angels

(Showbox at the Market) Rumor has it Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers/Gutter Twins fame refuses to play outside or in the daylight. Hence, Gutter Twins' Sub Pop 20 performance was at the Showbox instead of Marymoor Park. Having once caught Vancouver, BC's Black Mountain playing midday at an outdoor show at SXSW, I suggest the 1970s rock revivalists adopt a similar stipulation. No offense to Black Mountain—they sounded totally on-point on that sunny stage—but those smoky riffs, Rick Wright–esque keyboard lines, and somber acoustic passages were meant for a dark stage in a dank, booze-soaked cavern of a venue, not for fresh air and sunshine. If the Showbox was appropriately gloomy for Dulli, it should suit Black Mountain perfectly. BRIAN COOK See also Sound Check.

They Rise, We Die; Radar vs Wolf; Cyrus Fell Down

(Comet) From the ashes of beloved Tacoma instrumental-rock outfit Waves and Radiation comes Seattle quintet They Rise, We Die. Founding member Tristan McNabb (also a founder of the locally owned and operated pedal peddling Smart People Effects Co.) is angling his new band's sound in a gnarlier direction, though their three-guitar arsenal does draw obvious comparisons to the ultimately mellow-minded, pumpjack-miming axmen of Texan symphonic rockers Explosions in the Sky. Despite the fact that they've been playing together for less than a year, They Rise, We Die's sets are airtight and boast the formidable size and strength of a prehistoric megalodon shark. Those of us still smarting from the loss of Bronze Fawn may find something new to, uh, "fawn" over in They Rise, We Die's mountainous post-rock aggro-isms. JASON BAXTER

Tuesday 11/30

Passion Pit, Mister Heavenly, We Barbarians, Pepper Rabbit

(Moore) Passion Pit are five guys with brown hair who make pop music that sounds like the work of coked-up dance robots. The songs are all glitchy edges and squealing vocals and layers of indecipherable sounds piled on top of each other. They're collages. The video for "The Reeling," the single off their 2009 album Manners, looks like a collage, too: torn edges and random washes of color and a digital effect that makes people look like crinkly paper. The songs off their previous EP are great—"Sleepyhead" is my jam—though a friend who got a mix from me a couple years ago with a Passion Pit track on it admitted later that he always skipped it. Made him anxious. Still, fun to dance to. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Ahmad Jamal

(Jazz Alley) Ahmad Jamal is, of course, one of the giants of jazz piano. To watch him play, to see his fingers ripple over a keyboard, is to see an artist who is in the same magic circle with Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, and Hank Jones. All of these giants are dead (Jones passed away in May), but Jamal, who is 80, is very much alive and performs with a bassist and drummer. From the very beginning (the mid-'50s), Jamal's gift has been the ability to blend the percussive (the African) and the melodic (the European) into a single and elegant (and sometimes surprising) stream of sound. CHARLES MUDEDE

Wednesday 12/1

Ahmad Jamal

(Jazz Alley) See Tuesday.

Lucero, Drag the River, Success!

(Crocodile) Do not attend this show if you are susceptible to seasonal affective disorder. Seattle is nothing but rain and gloom for the next four months, and starting the season off with Lucero's drunken and heartbroken alt-country ballads could catapult you straight to your deepest, darkest emotional state. Granted, not all their songs are about wallowing in depression with a bottle of whiskey (see happier tunes like "What Are You Willing to Lose"), but, dude, if they crank out their cover of Jawbreaker's "Kiss the Bottle" or their own tune "Nights Like These," you're gonna be a slobbery mess in the corner of the Crocodile. Fuck, even if you are having an awesome day, these songs could completely wreck you. Then again, misery does love company, and chances are you won't be the only crybaby in the room. MEGAN SELING

Spanish for 100, Curtains for You, Lesli Wood

(Comet) I slept on Spanish for 100 for too long. The band has been around since at least 2003, but it wasn't until their latest record, Jezebel, released about a year ago, that I finally started paying attention. Jezebel, which was produced by Martin Feveyear, is a must-hear for fans of indie pop with wicked guitar work. Opening track "Spider" is reminiscent of the Posies circa Amazing Disgrace. "Precious" is more, well, precious and also upbeat, with hand claps and a hook-filled chorus. They're not reinventing the wheel when it comes to pop rock, but they are putting on an impressive display of talent. The band makes it real easy for you to check 'em out, too—you can download all the songs for free at their website www.spanishfor100.com. MEGAN SELING