Curren$y, Nipsey Hussle, Dom Kennedy, Smoke DZA, Fiend, Corner Boy P, DJ Swervewon
(Neumos) See My Philosophy.
Pop Surgery: Dr. Troy, Nathan Chambers
(Rendezvous Grotto) See Data Breaker.
Dyno Jamz, Theoretics, Flying Sneakers Crew
(Chop Suey) See My Philosophy.
Horse Feathers, Y La Bamba, Hooves & Beak
(Tractor) With delicate, downtrodden songs about drinking, losing love, and other such melancholy things, local harpist Hooves & Beak (aka Whitney Flinn) fits right in with the sadder parts of the Northwest's music scene (Tiny Vipers, S, etc.). Comparisons to Joanna Newsom are inevitable—how many women in pop music play the harp?—but Flinn's voice isn't nearly as off-putting. Her stage banter is one part nerves and one part attempt to be so cute it hurts—swearing and then apologizing for swearing, babbling about how she can't stop babbling—but once she stops talking and sings, those minor annoyances are forgiven thanks to her pretty and emotional ballads. MEGAN SELING
Christian Mistress, Tit Pig
(Comet) The real "TitPig" is a burly gay porn star named Steve Hurley ("hairy, muscular, and hard as rock"). Supposedly one of those hardcore performers so relentlessly willing and salacious that they become a minor celebrity even outside of the usual smutty circles, Hurley's head-turning nickname provides the inspiration behind the name of an enigmatic local hardcore outfit. Their custom T-shirts feature a crude-but-effective rendering of Hurley on the receiving end of an audacious sex move (rhymes with "anal misting") and thus far constitute the buzzed band's main source of, er, penetration into the local media matrix. Tit Pig are legitimately analog, have zero web presence and no official releases, and rely only on word of mouth and their spit-take-worthy name and merch to cultivate a following. Musically, I understand they're hard. Hard as rock. JASON BAXTER
Mad Rad, Champagne Champagne, Viper Creek Club, White Fang
Kylesa, Lesbian, Book of Black Earth
(Funhouse) Any band that releases albums with Holy Mountain and Important—two of the world's most adventurous labels—has to have something special going on. Seattle four-piece Lesbian issued 2007's Power Hor with the former and just released new album Stratospheria Cubensis for the latter. Impressive! Unsurprisingly for an act with those associations, Lesbian's punishing brand of doom metal is expansive enough to let in invigorating elements of psych and prog rock. The low end generated by bassist Dorando Hodous and drummer Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy is painfully enveloping, crushing you with ocean-bottom pressure. Up top, guitarists Arran McInnis and Daniel La Rochelle can dazzle you with baroque, filigreed beauty or blitzkrieg slashes of the heaviest metal American musicians can deliver. And Hodous's anguished vocals can scar your cochlea with nightmarish intensity. This music hertz like a motherfucker. DAVE SEGAL
Midday Veil, Barbara Manning, Can You Imagine?
(Sunset) California singer/songwriter/guitarist Barbara Manning enlivened the underground-rock landscape in the 1980s and '90s with stellar groups such as 28th Day, World of Pooh, and S.F. Seals, as well as with a grip of albums under her own name. Besides writing immediately catchy songs that nuzzle you with easygoing jangles, niggle at you with subliminal tension, and haunt you with minor-key darkness, Manning excels at covering gems from underappreciated artists (e.g., the Bats' "Smoking Her Wings," Amon Düül II's "Marcus Leid," etc.). Manning was justifiably a pretty big deal in the 1990s while recording for Matador, and her overflowing canon of should've-been-hits will surely make for a memorable night at this rare Seattle appearance. Opening are Can You Imagine?—a pop band featuring studio wiz Steve Fisk and notorious comic artist Peter Bagge—and local psych illuminati Midday Veil. DAVE SEGAL
(Triple Door) God willing, Bob Mould will return to play Seattle every year until either he or the city is dead, but finding novel ways to hype his return engagements is a funky chore. Should I just eternally reiterate the obvious, that Mould is an American treasure responsible for some of the greatest alterna- rock ever made as well as numerous solo albums? Or should I focus on the kooky side stuff, like Mould's moonlighting as a DJ in NYC, and his eternal love and occasional scriptwriting for World Wrestling Entertainment? I've already exploited both these tacks in previous years, so allow me to report on a glorious reunion I recently had with the art of Mould, facilitated by an iPod shuffle landing on "Divide and Conquer," one of a handful of ferocious Mould songs on Hüsker Dü's Flip Your Wig, which on this day required me to play the song on repeat for the next hour and a half. Tonight, Mould brings his bad self to the Triple Door. DAVID SCHMADER
The Queers, the Riptides, the Femurs, Kepi Ghoulie, Dreadful Children
(El Corazón) The Queers are adult babies. They chew too much gum and release albums with titles like Love Songs for the Retarded, Grow Up, Too Dumb to Quit, and My Old Man's a Fatso. They are NOT gay. They are from the East Coast. The band's lineup is forever changing, except for one constant member—inventor/singer/guitarist Joe King. Joe King, or Joe "Queer," once told press that he started the band as a joke to "piss off the art fag community that acted all high and mighty, strutting around town like they were better than everyone else." The Queers sound like the Beach Boys dry-humping the Ramones. The Queers aren't ever going to apologize for this and have been making the same bone-headed brand of pop punk since 1982. They're not going away anytime soon. They're here, they're (not) queer, and you better get used to it. KELLY O
Benefit for Andy Kotowicz Family Foundation: A Frames, AFCGT, Fruit Bats, Mudhoney, Michael Yonkers, Pissed Jeans, Shabazz Palaces, Vetiver, Wolf Eyes
(Showbox at the Market) See preview.
(See Sound Lounge) See Data Breaker.
Blue Scholars, DJ Mike Nipper
(Crocodile) Tonight, 206 hiphop leaders Blue Scholars play the Crocodile for a "Rad Winter Party" (no war on Christmas) put on by Redhook (and, full disclosure, cosponsored by The Stranger). This is cool because Blue Scholars only play in town a couple times a year, and when they do, it's usually to big rooms/crowds, like the Block Party or their multiple-night stands at the Showbox or Paramount (and for more than 10 measly bucks). To see them in a space as cozy as the Crocodile is rare. Also, there will be beer, two glasses of which are included in the $10 ticket price. It is truly the most wintry time of the year. ERIC GRANDY
The Books, the Black Heart Procession
(Neumos) Supposedly, listening to Mozart increases "spatial-temporal reasoning" and, according to a 1998 study at the University of Illinois Medical Center, can reduce the number of seizures in epileptics. The moral of the story: Listening to Mozart is good for your brain. So is listening to the Books, a NYC duo that makes sound-collage "folktronica." Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong play all kinds of instruments and noninstruments—guitar, cello, banjo, toys, filing cabinets—and arrange samples from thrift-store cassettes to create sonic snapshots of American life in the 21st century. Both beautiful and brainy (and probably therapeutic), songs by the Books sound like codes. When Pitchfork began streaming "Beautiful People" from new record The Way Out, Zammuto described it as "a three-part Christian harmony mixed with a sort of Euro-disco-trash beat, an orchestra's worth of sampled brass, and lyrics about the twelfth root of two (my favorite irrational number), trigonometry, and tangrams." Tangrams are a kind of Chinese puzzle. Plus, dude has a "favorite irrational number"! If you don't know the Books, get your ass to tonight's show posthaste. BRENDAN KILEY
Wet Paint DMM, Stephanie, U.S.F.
(Cairo) Tonight, Seattle says farewell (for now) to two energizing exemplars of our city's resurging art-punk and no-wave scene: Wet Paint DMM and Stephanie, both of which are losing crucial members to travel in the coming months. Stephanie's lead singer is moving to the Netherlands for an indefinite amount of time, while Wet Paint DMM's drummer, whose hard-hitting and unmoored drum fills give the band much of its kinetic power, is going to China for six months. The level at which these bands operate—all-ages shows at houses and hole-in-the-wall gallery spaces, silk-screened shirts and homemade cassettes/CD-Rs, the occasional "proper" 7-inch—is always prone to flux. Bands break up each and every day. Here's hoping these groups' remaining members find other projects for the meantime (special new bands, even) and that this little corner of Seattle's subterranean music scene keeps on bubbling up. ERIC GRANDY
Smooth Sailing, Sandrider, Dog Shredder, Grenades
(Rendezvous) At the nexus of metal's harsh tonalities, punk's anti-aspirations, and indie's creative cross-pollinations, there exists a cluster of bands bashing against those realms' respective campy aesthetics, downgraded musicianship, and pop sensibilities. Tonight's a perfect opportunity to add to your diet a few different flavors from that peculiar cross section of unglued and unapologetically cerebral aggression. Have a healthy portion of Grenades' heavily syncopated rhythm section and spacey guitar leads, chew on Dog Shredder's frantic and furious seven-minute opuses, sample Sandrider's allegretto single-coil snarl, and finish things off with Smooth Sailing's tech-metal/post-rock hybrids. It's quite a combo platter. Stringent Headbangers Ball, Maximumrocknroll, or Pitchfork consumers, however, are bound to be unsatisfied. BRIAN COOK
Shenandoah Davis, Cataldo, Ivan & Alyosha, Thousands
(Columbia City Theater) This fall, Seattle-based singer-songwriter Shenandoah Davis used the fundraising platform Kickstarter to help pay for her second full-length album, and she had no problem meeting her $5,000 goal. In addition to being an impressive solo performer (with a degree in opera singing, by the way), Davis also plays keyboards in Grand Hallway, fills a number of roles in the Seattle Rock Orchestra (everything from vocals to piano to percussion), and has collaborated with the Portland Cello Project. She is a beloved presence in the Northwest music scene. Now that Davis has met her financial goal, we can expect the new record in 2011, over two years since she made her debut. Surely we can forgive her for taking so long—she's been busy—but I can't wait to hear the finished product. MEGAN SELING
Keak Da Sneak
(Studio Seven) For a minute, it seemed like Keak Da Sneak could've been a rap superstar—that minute being the summer of 2006, when E-40's massive, Lil' Jon–produced hyphy hit "Tell Me When to Go" had 40 Water thinking about growing dreads (he did) and suburban grandmothers ghostriding the Previa. It was Keak's granite-gargling verse that stood the fuck out, and word is the majors came calling, as hyphy was being touted as the next big thing. The rest of the nation may have gotten off the Bay's collective hype, but independent-minded Keak (whom I first heard on 3X Krazy's Newport-smoker classic "Keep It on the Real") remains pure Yay Area. He's dropped records with a plethora of labels and like-minded artists since then, including some from the 206: "Soil Raps," his song on Jake One's 2008 White Van Music, is seriously underappreciated for its mournful magic. LARRY MIZELL JR.
John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension
Les Savy Fav
(Neumos) "We still got our app-e-tite," Tim Harrington and the boys of Les Savy Fav chant on "Appetites," the lead track on their latest album, Root for Ruin. And for the most part, they still do, even if the sonic wildfires of their early work—or even 2007's Let's Stay Friends, for that matter—have been tamped down to a somewhat more controlled burn. For instance, "Poltergeist" is a monster, winding in with heavily reverbed guitar feedback while Harrington recites some menacing lines under the current, but it stays on that trick, only building tension for nearly four minutes. "Appetites" and "Dirty Nails" boast ardent vocal passages and switchblade-sharp guitar work. But if there's a flagship track, it's "Let's Get Out of Here," whose pensive lyrics and relatively hushed instrumentation reveal a band that's comfortable slowing down the party train—just so long as it doesn't come to a complete stop. As always with LSF, this will be one of the best live shows of the year, and I'll bet you $100 on that. GRANT BRISSEY
Blind Guardian, Holy Grail, Seven Kingdoms
(Showbox at the Market) Guitar Hero veterans Dragonforce might be the band that blew up the epic fantasy metal spot for the mainstream music world, but truthfully, there are none within that genre quite as triumphant as Blind Guardian. Hard at work since the late '80s, the German four-piece recently released their ninth studio album of guitar bravado and geekology, At the Edge of Time. The band's vision is simple yet effective: Lift an entire vocabulary from Tolkien, and team it with jaw-dropping Yngwie Malmsteen–esque guitar wizardy. The sheer theater of it speaks to the nerd in all of us. The Hobbit never sounded so evil. KEVIN DIERS
Peter Hook Presents Unknown Pleasures
(Showbox at the Market) See preview, page 37.
N-Type, Kid Hops, Michael Manahan, Grym, Aksion
(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker.
Deck the Hall Ball: Broken Bells, the Black Keys, Jimmy Eat World, Cake, the Temper Trap, Sleigh Bells
(WaMu Theater) At last year's Deck the Hall Ball, the annual winter concert put on by local corp-rock radio station The End, there were at least two good reasons to go: unflappably cool Frenchmen Phoenix and the smart and sweet Vampire Weekend, who were just beginning to tour for their outstanding second album, Contra. This year? Yeesh. Broken Bells are basically the Shins, but with everything but the boring bits removed. How the Black Keys' bloozy rock classicism has taken them from barrooms to WaMu is a complete mystery. Jimmy Eat World haven't recorded anything good since the A-side of 2001's Bleed American (ridiculously retitled Jimmy Eat World after 9/11, which is a wuss move even for an emo band). Cake did that deadpan, trumpet-spiked frat-party cover of Gloria Gaynor's disco hit "I Will Survive," with which I actually have no real beef, but "The Distance" remains unforgivable. Also, what year is it, The End? Do you have Tripping Daisy backstage there, too? The Temper Trap aren't even worth ragging on here. And everything on Sleigh Bells' crushingly compressed album Treats (except for one airy Funkadelic sample) went from intriguing to fatiguing in like 2.5 spins. Better luck next year, Entercom. ERIC GRANDY