Thursday 12/16

Hair Friend, Dancer and Prancer, Taco Leg

(Funhouse) Fuggin' Christmas music: All you want to do is shoot out the speakers when you hear it. And don't even get you started on grocery stores and malls and photo shoots with Santa this time of year. Well, FORGET YOU! The holidays make me think of one thing and one thing only: Bad Santa drinking a pint of cheap whiskey while hangin' 10 on a SHORT BOARD. Thank Ol' Saint Nick then for Seattle's recently incarnated surf-rock/Christmas-song band! Add one part Pete "Shades" Capponi (drums), one part Ian Barnett (guitar), one part Harry Dean Hudson (guitar), one part Bryan Standridge (bass), 17 parts reverb, six parts tube amps, and four parts choreographed stage moves, then pour holiday whiskey all over it, and BLAM! You've got Dancer and Prancer—the best holiday treat since spiked eggnog! GRANT BRISSEY

Voltage Control

(Living Room) Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the synth pop that bloomed in the post-punk years and the kosmische keyboard explorations launched by lysergically inclined German eggheads during the era of long sideburns and outrageous bellbottoms. These musical styles compose part of Voltage Control's agenda; the other components include academic forays into electronic music, usually realized with the help of computers the size of a van, and basically any synth-based sounds generated before techno and house took over club land, circa 1983. Local DJ/producers the Naturebot (Ian Scot Price) and Electrosect (Patrick Haenelt), plus guests, acutely guide you through these fascinating, oft-overlooked sonic zones. DAVE SEGAL

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Imaginary Office Holiday Party: the Tripwires, the Young Evils, John Vanderslice, Jose Bold, DJ Greg Vandy, Indie Rock Santa

(Columbia City Theater) Three Imaginary Girls is the "sparkly indie-pop press" website that's been adoring and supporting the Seattle music scene since 2002 (that momentous year of "Work It," Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and dead Layne Staley). Tonight brings another of its beloved sparkly indie-pop holiday parties. On the bill of tonight's show: the Tripwires, the Young Evils, John Vanderslice, Jose Bold (aka John Osebold of "Awesome"), and DJ Greg Vandy. Added attraction: photos with "Indie Rock Santa," featuring a real-life indie rocker dressed up as the actual Santa Claus. (Historically, Indie Rock Santa has been portrayed by John Roderick, but this year it looks like we'll be treated to Santa Vanderslice. Did the Girls finally discover that Roderick is five-eighths Jewish?) Bonus benefit: All the evening's proceeds benefit the young-and-homeless-supporting Teen Feed. DAVID SCHMADER

Friday 12/17

Tricky, Truckasauras

(Neumos) See Data Breaker.

Buzzov*en, Akimbo, Atriarch, Dirt Worshipper

(Funhouse) Mastodon, Baroness, Kylesa, and every other scummy punk-infused Southern metal band making waves lately owes a debt of gratitude to North Carolina's sludge forefathers Buzzov*en. While the appropriate adjectives to describe the blunt force of the band's feedback-stained power chords and drugged-down lurch have been exhausted on the recent tide of unwashed beardos slinging guitars tuned to drop C, it's crucial to remember that back in 1992 this stuff was unlike anything else. Buzzov*en were violent, reckless, and terrifying. The band suffered from drug problems, lineup changes, and bad record deals, eventually leading to their breakup in 2001. With recent reissues from underground mainstays Alternative Tentacles and Relapse, the band is back on the radar and ready to deliver a history lesson to the mangy hordes. BRIAN COOK

Constant Lovers; Men, Martians & Machines; the Coyotes; John Atkins

(Comet) The forthcoming, tentatively self-titled LP from Seattle's Constant Lovers is just what you'd expect if you've heard the band live and/or heard the propulsive and rollicking self-titled EP, only here everything—even premastering—sounds bigger. Joel Cuplin's harried yowl has seen another year or two of whiskey and cigarettes, and it and the throaty bass and shotgun-blast drums figure most prominently throughout, while guitarist Eric Fisher's and Cuplin's guitar-feedback squalls wind in and out. Several high points from the EP—"Eye for an Eye," "This Pain," and "My Love"—are revisited here and given girth by Chris Common's capable engineering. Cuplin says the record still needs some final touches and that it should be released next spring. Expect big things. GRANT BRISSEY

Kinski, This Blinding Light, Brain Fruit

(Sunset) Brain Fruit are one of the best DIY electronic bands in Seattle, so it's strange to see them matched here with seasoned face-melters Kinski and sludgy psych-rockers This Blinding Light. It's just as well, though, since Brain Fruit's vintage synth arpeggios; hissing, clackety percussion; and fathoms-deep bass throbs make a big impression (their requisite psychedelic visuals don't hurt, either). Like that of the best gearhead knob-tweakers, Brain Fruit's material runs the gamut from pepped-up cyberspace chase music to calmer, subtly pitch-bent efforts. Brain Fruit's sets tend to be (at least marginally) different every time they play, but they're not unpredictable, improvisational mages in the White Rainbow mold. Rather, they're ace producers with a reliably awesome live show despite the fact that, in member Jon Carr's own words, they "remain largely undocumented, like a huge titanium deposit lurking under an unassuming salienated wasteland." JASON BAXTER

The Dead Kenny G's, Master Musicians of Bukkake

(High Dive) Saxophone pharaoh Skerik and his Dead Kenny G's play a heavily busted mongoloid jazz. Skerik says, "We want smooth jazz to die, as soon as possible." The band—three-fourths of Critters Buggin—has been in Austin, Texas, rehearsing for their second album, which is another tribute to Bad Brains. This past summer, they toured with Gogol Bordello and Primus. Drummer/vibraphone/tabla man Mike Dillon stands while he plays and sings about managers being pimps. Then he sits down and rifles through a hardcore mine field of riffage. Skerik says, "We just started dressing up like dead Kenny G every night, so that means death makeup, blood, and Kenny G wigs. Our costumes make us GWAR jazz." With the holiday season upon us, Skerik says, "If I were Santa, I'd give everyone Buckminster Fuller books and Eyvind Kang CDs." TRENT MOORMAN

Saturday 12/18

Electric Ladyland performed in its entirety: Kurt Bloch, Judd Wasserman Band, Huge Spacebird, Jellyrollers, Tea Cozies, the Fixers, the Basements, Jeff Fielder and the Electric Landladys, and others

(Tractor) MusiCares is the amazing organization that provides crucial support and social services for music folk, and since 2002 (that ridiculous year of Norah Jones, depressed Beck, and stupid Interpol), it's been raising funds and celebrating its existence with an annual double album Christmas benefit show. This year's double album is Electric Ladyland, the Jimi Hendrix Experience's colossal 1968 rock trip with vast, bluesy tangents, which will be performed in its entirety and in order by many talented folks. DAVID SCHMADER

The Maldives, the Moondoggies, Drew Grow & the Pastors' Wives

(Showbox at the Market) The Maldives and the Moondoggies are the obvious draws on this bill—both bands have been playing excellent folk tunes in the Northwest for years now, rightfully building up a loyal (and mostly bearded) fan base all the while. But I beg you, do not miss the chance to see Drew Grow & the Pastors' Wives. They have it all—an organ-infused psych-rock tune in "Company," a tender folk-tinged ballad in "Friendly Fire," and even the occasional flirting with sexy slide guitar in the grittier rock tunes like "Spider." This show's a trifecta of the Northwest's folk scene—with so many laid-back beats and harmonies in one evening, you're definitely gonna leave this show feelin' real all right. MEGAN SELING

Agalloch, Allerseelen, Alda

(Neumos) Over their 15-year existence, Portland's Agalloch have amassed a cultlike following. Their infrequent tour schedule and scant press coverage have added to that a thick layer of mystery and intrigue. Pick up one of their albums and see for yourself. Are they black metal? Neo-folk? Post-rock? Yes, yes, and yes. Combining their signature brand of soaring, melodic, doom-tinged black metal with beautifully arranged pagan folk, Agalloch live outside conventional art-constricting genres. It's fitting, then, that when they finally decide to tour, the quartet would bring along a band like Allerseelen, a longtime Austrian oddity of sound that blend industrial and folk like they were always meant to be. KEVIN DIERS

Sunday 12/19

Portland Cello Project

(Triple Door) Being late to the table as usual, I only got turned on to Portland Cello Project by way of the group's 2009 collaboration with Thao Nguyen (of Thao with the Get Down Stay Down) and Portlander Justin Power, The Thao and Justin Power Sessions, which was also my introduction to both singer-songwriters. I can't recommend that record and PCP's latest, this year's all-instrumental Thousand Words, enough—and I usually listen to loud, chaotic rock. Live, this amorphous collective, led by Portland cellist Douglas Jenkins, is known to play for two to three hours, often executing unique material for each performance. That means you could find them covering Pantera (as on Sessions) or music from the hit video game Halo: Reach (as on Words), or carousing in much more traditional classical territory. Tonight's show features collaborations with Kaylee Cole, Drew Grow, Typhoon, and Golden Bears. GRANT BRISSEY

Danko Jones, Witchburn

(Crocodile) When did metal wind up in the hands of extremists? Douchebags have had their mitts on metal for way too long, insisting that songs can only be about drinking and fucking and partying and living the metal life. It gets so tiring; metal has become a niche, like Star Trek fanaticism, or furries. Danko Jones is pulling the kick-ass guitars of metal back into a pop framework and using those catchy riffs as vehicles for songs that are about, you know, normal stuff like regret and dating and Joan Jett. He gets his sexy on—"Lovercall" is the best Jon Spencer Blues Explosion tune to be written in the last 10 years—but he keeps things accessible, bringing metal back where it belongs: in the hands of the masses. PAUL CONSTANT

Monday 12/20

The Mothers Anger, Minor Tiger, the Turpentines

(Comet) The Mothers Anger recall certain Sub Pop bands from an era when that label leaned more toward heavy angst and ornery male vocalists than its recent tilt toward winsome folkiness and soft-cushioned indie pop. Think Afghan Whigs before Greg Dulli started to believe the loverman hype; Mudhoney's scathing cascades of Stooges muscle-flexing; a little Love Battery–style psych brutalism; Truly's heroic, grungy tunefulness. Like that. The Mothers Anger's songs will make any LOSER-T-shirt-owning mofo want to wipe away his tears with a flannel hankie. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 12/21

For the Love of Music Release Party: Champagne Champagne, THEESatisfaction, Cloud Nice, Fresh Espresso, Macklemore, Mash Hall, Shabazz Palaces

(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests, My Philosophy, and Sound Check.

Nog for the Needy: the Donner Vixens, Santa Daddies, Sugarplum Elves

(Comet) Helping others is especially fun when all you have to do is show up to a great bar, listen to holiday tunes played by bands featuring members of some of your favorite local groups, and drink eggnog (that'll no doubt be spiked with something). Santa Daddies feature members of the orchestral indie rockers Hey Marseilles, the Donner Vixens feature Tim Franklin of the chamber-pop band Pillow Army, and Sugarplum Elves are cute, candy-striped men and women who double as a local singing-telegram service. It'll be one of the best holiday parties ever, and all proceeds from the door and eggnog sales will be donated to Noise for the Needy, so drink up and dance your ass off—it's for charity! MEGAN SELING

Wednesday 12/22

JusMoni, Rocky Rivera, Brothers from Another, DJ WD4D

(Chop Suey) See My Philosophy.