Thursday 1/6

Teengirl Fantasy, Pictureplane, U.S.F.

(Vera) See Stranger Suggests.


Pop Surgery: Dr. Troy, Nary Guman

(Rendezvous) See Data Breaker.

Iron Kim Style, Trimtab, Rik Wright's Fundamental Forces

(Mars Bar) Trimtab are Seattle's foremost purveyors of R. Buckminster Fuller–influenced jazz. Jason Goessl, the group's guitarist and composer, strives to apply Fuller's ideas about architecture, philosophy, and inventions to his music. The result is compositions that move unpredictably and with an economy of motion, but not without an enigmatic, contemplative beauty. Fans of Bill Frisell and Terje Rypdal should explore. Local quintet Iron Kim Style deal in a slightly more frenetic brand of jazz, spilling over into volatile fusion territory. The players—led by guitarist Dennis Rea—clearly have gone through the crucible of electric-period Miles Davis and immersed themselves in other mercurial outfits like Mahavishnu Orchestra and John Abercrombie's trio circa Timeless. Iron Kim Style temper their rigorous dexterity with soulful passion. Those seeking sterile technical proficiency—you know who you are—should look elsewhere. DAVE SEGAL

Friday 1/7

Yuni in Taxco, Seapony, Blue Skies for Black Hearts

(Rendezvous) Local trio Seapony swim in dangerously crowded waters. Their pop ditties are dreamy, retro-indebted, and sweeter than a honey-glazed Christmas ham (they even have a track called "With You" that handily rivals the summery charm of Best Coast's "When I'm with You"). Double Denim—the blog/label that's been proffering their material—has gifted the band with explicitly chillwave-y album art (beaches, sunsets, swimwear babes), and their latest music video features sun-soaked footage of a long-haired brunette frolicking in the woods and cavorting on the beach in an American Apparel one-piece. You'd think all this would guarantee their dismissal by backlash-happy snarksters, but Seapony are damn good at what they do. Their music thwarts any attempts at condescension, and it sounds just as pleasant in the dead of winter as it would in high summertime. JASON BAXTER

Damien Jurado, Widower, Tony Kevin Jr.

(Columbia City Theater) One word of advice: Do not lollygag on your way to this show, because you do not want to miss a minute of Widower, a local outfit capable of playing some of the saddest, drunkest, sad-bastardiest alt-country songs you've ever heard. For the perfect example, listen to "Come Monday Morning," a six-and-a-half-minute crying fit that alternately copes with and curses out a broken heart through slow drumbeats and weepy slide guitar. The title of their song "Lucky Bastard" might sound more optimistic, but it's actually written about another man, the man who gets the girl. As sad as the songs are, they're also gorgeous and touching and worth listening to—no matter how badly they break your heart. MEGAN SELING

Saturday 1/8

Eprom, Take, Splatinum

(Chop Suey) Some producers begin with a bang and then slowly (or quickly) cool down. Some producers begin cold and then slowly (or quickly) heat up. Take (aka Thomas Wilson), who is based in L.A. and is managed by the same company that manages the queen of dubstep, Mary Anne Hobbs (Eleven/Eleven Agency), is definitely in the latter category. He began his career coolly, with the local but defunct label Buttermilk Records—during this period (2002 to 2003), he made post-triphop instrumentals that were not bad but were by no means exceptional. However, as time passed, and as he changed labels, his productions became more and more beautiful, distinct, and melodically enchanting. His 2004 album Colossal put him in the same league as Prefuse 73. His 2010 album Only Mountain put him in the same league as Flying Lotus. He has something new coming out this year, and this is very good news because Take is a man, an L.A. state of mind, who seems to only know how to grow. CHARLES MUDEDE See also Stranger Suggests.

The Curious Mystery, Corpus Callosum

(Comet, matinee) No offense to the Comet, but why are the Curious Mystery still playing rooms the size of the Comet? They should be selling out huge clubs by now. All the elements are there: Shana Cleveland's winsome, sharp vocals; a dense instrumental palette that includes strings, piano, and banjo; and killer hooks that would make the back wall of Neumos shudder in pleasure. Not that I'm complaining: I bet in the sweaty mass of beer-smelling people that is the Comet, the Curious Mystery will sound amazing. But sometimes a too-crowded concert can be a pain, and this show is sure to be one of those "I saw them when" sets that will bring folks out in unreasonable numbers. PAUL CONSTANT

Gypsy Rose Lee Centennial

(Triple Door) One hundred years ago today, America's most famous stripper was born in Seattle. Gypsy Rose Lee was a childhood vaudeville performer but an accidental stripper—according to a 1937 story from the Laredo Times, it all began when Lee had a garment failure that brought the house down. (She was maybe 16 or so at the time.) Her strip and burlesque performances were more naturalistic and witty than the serious, "herky-jerky" styles of the time, and Lee became a coast-to-coast hit. Trying to describe her classier, more dignified demeanor, H. L. Mencken coined the word "ecdysiast" (from the Greek ekdysis: "to shed, to molt"). Lee became a strip-burlesque icon, a not-terribly-successful Hollywood actor, a memoirist, a novelist (she wrote a detective novel called The G-String Murders), the subject of a musical (Sondheim's Gypsy), and now a latter-day saint for the neoburlesque crowd of the 21st century. That crowd is throwing her a party tonight with Catherine D'Lish, Lily Verlaine, Inga Ingénue, Nick Garrison, 77-year-old "legend of burlesque" Joan Arline, a reading from American Rose by Sarah Rudinoff, and others. BRENDAN KILEY

Hot Bodies in Motion, the Golden Blondes

(Tractor) Statistically, January is the month that most touring bands forget about. That's great news for up-and-coming local bands, which benefit from an increase in available dates to play at venues that aren't just shitty dives with finicky PA systems. Such conditions could be behind tonight's bill at the Tractor, featuring dirty-pop trio the Golden Blondes and the Black Keys–flavored Hot Bodies in Motion. The Golden Blondes, the latest creative endeavor of former Lillydale frontman Josie Markiewicz, make music that leaves a bit of grime under the nails of your nicotine-stained fingers. Their sound comes from a garage full of well-oiled machines cranking out crunchy riffs and slick power-pop hooks that can run for miles without breaking down. Only five months have passed since the Golden Blondes played their first show, but with a debut EP slated for release this spring, expect to hear more from these charismatic tunesmiths down the road. TRAVIS RITTER

"Appetite for Awesome" cover night featuring members of ON, Poverty Bay Saints, Betrayed, Heiress, Black Breath, Blood Elk, the Great White North, Grenades, Gravemaker, Between the Buried and Me

(El Corazón) You can see Motörhead play in February, but maybe you don't want to wait that long. You can still catch an increasingly rare Descendents or 7 Seconds tour, but they grew up and didn't stay young 'til they died. You can take a risk on Guns N' Roses tickets, but Axl might not show up. You can hold your breath for another Gorilla Biscuits reunion tour, but it's not 1989 and CBGB's closed, so why bother? And by now you should realize you'll never see Jawbreaker or Pantera perform again because Blake is too smart for that shit and Dimebag is dead. So your best option is to go see members of your favorite local hardcore bands slug out covers by the aforementioned acts tonight instead. BRIAN COOK

Sunday 1/9

Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, Water Tower, Bucket Boys

(Tractor) The easy critical impulse is to point out that Cahalen Morrison & Eli West sound like they've stepped out of a crackly record or wax cylinder from the 1920s. And it's easy for a reason: They've got the kind of classic voices that beautifully complement roots music and, sure, they stick to the old-timey instruments. But any schmuck can chew on a corncob pipe and call it a nostalgia act. Morrison & West can write gorgeous, solid songs with harmonies that'll wake you up in the middle of the night when your subconscious remembers how fine they are. That kind of songwriting isn't nostalgic. It lasts, is all. PAUL CONSTANT

Monday 1/10

The Pentacles, Happy Birthday Secret Weapon

(Comet) Garage-rock bands breed like rats, so at any given time there are way more of the things than the public can absorb. One can become blasé about this state of affairs, especially in 2011, some 45 years after the genre's first-wave peak. But the form is durable, and people still love it for good reason: When it's done well, garage rock delivers visceral thrills with tight, no-bullshit impact. The parameters are narrow and familiar, but the effects can be oh so satisfying. Oakland quartet the Pentacles excel at these garage-rock maneuvers, but unlike many in the style, they emphasize immediately infectious melodies over abrasiveness and rawness. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Pentacles tour in the near future with the Fresh & Onlys and attain a medium-sized indie success. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 1/11

Dead Meadow, Sweet Apple, Blood Red Dancers

(Tractor) If you know the name J. Mascis, chances are you're familiar with his unique ability to write catchy hooks amid puzzles of fuzz and feedback. Best known for his work within '90s alt-rock semipowerhouse (they have their own signature Nike dunks at least) Dinosaur Jr. and Boston hardcore punks Deep Wound, Mascis has kept busy during Dino downtime by indulging his poppier tastes as vocalist and drummer for Sweet Apple. Headlining tonight are Dead Meadow, a three-piece that doses classic heavy rock with subtle strains of psychedelic awesomeness. Expand your mind, duuuuuuude. KEVIN DIERS

Ain't Misbehavin'

(Jazz Alley) Ain't Misbehavin' is the Tony-winning musical revue revving up the music of Fats Waller into a song-and-dance tour of the Harlem Renaissance. This week at Jazz Alley, a bevy of world-class Ain't Misbehavin' veterans from across the nation bring the whole stylish thing to life once more. The songs—"Honeysuckle Rose," "'T Ain't Nobody's Bizness," "I Can't Give You Anything but Love," "Black and Blue"—are eternal classics and, in the hands of gifted theater artists, blowout showcases for awesomeness. DAVID SCHMADER

Wednesday 1/12

Illum Sphere, Nordic Soul, Sleepyhead

(Baltic Room) See Data Breaker.

Little Dragon, Billygoat, SunTzu Sound

(Nectar) Honestly, it took Gorillaz' excellent 2010 album Plastic Beach for me to really pay any attention to Swedish band Little Dragon. Before that, I knew the name, vaguely associated them with a brightly collaged album cover, and had maybe watched a music video or two for the sake of writing some half-assed blurb about them (ahem). On Plastic Beach, though, Little Dragon's Swedish/Japanese vocalist Yukimi Nagano is a perfect accessory to Damon Albarn's alternately grim and glittering machinations—a cool, melancholic chanteuse whose shushing enunciation and low-toned singing hints at some thawing warmth underneath. With Little Dragon, that warmth more often comes to the surface, with Nagano hitting higher, breathier registers over her band's giddy, busy electro-pop backgrounds. While performing live with Gorillaz this fall, Nagano's stage presence for a couple of slower songs was overshadowed by all the crazy spectacle (and, really, it's hard to compete with Bobby Womack and Bootie Brown), but Little Dragon's last show at Nectar was by all reports a total kaleidoscopic pop blowout. ERIC GRANDY

Support The Stranger

Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, Ravenna Woods, Exohxo, Let's Get Lost

(Neumos) You'd probably tell me to fuck off if I said Ravenna Woods were like a modern day Simon & Garfunkel, right? I know, that's too far of a comparison to make, even if there is truth in it. But hear me out! Ravenna Woods play intricate, fluttering melodies on acoustic guitars (with a little drumming and tambourine, too), they deliver poetic lyrics with great harmonization (not as stirring as Fleet Foxes, but still more impressive than your average singer-songwriter stuff), and their songs build to climaxes that could absolutely be used in a scene from The Graduate. I mean, no, Ravenna Woods' song "In the World" isn't "I Am a Rock" (especially because good ol' S&G would never have opened a song by threatening to shoot someone), but like I said, they're modern! They're like if Simon & Garfunkel were born in a post-N.W.A. world with slightly more violent tendencies. MEGAN SELING

Spurm, the Shots, the Sound of Music, Kunt Kuntrol

(Comet) Spurm's ramshackle, junky party jams will do you just fine on record or live. How can they go wrong with dollar-store keyboard riffs, occasional saxophone freak-outs, uncomplicated '80s chord progressions, and lyrics like "I want to get a bong and hit it like a gong/Pshhhhhhhhhhhh/I want to get a problem and tell you all about it/Pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"? It all takes on a new life onstage—whether it's frontguy Jordan T. Adams's madcap stage antics or that just about anything worth its salt comes off a little more unhinged live—but if you're looking for something to crank on the boom box for your 3:00 a.m. dance party, just put in the tape! GRANT BRISSEY