Japan Relief Show: Ill Cosby, Eugene Fauntleroy, Shawn D
(Baltic Room) See Data Breaker.
Niki and the Dove
(Crocodile) Newest Sub Pop signees Niki and the Dove—Stockholm, Sweden's Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf—follow a long line of slick and atmospheric pop from that country. The duo's recent single "DJ, Ease My Mind"/"Under the Bridges," released on UK label Moshi Moshi, features pulsing bass drum; clean, sparse synths; and fluttering drum samples over Dahlström's soaring vocals. It's a beautiful track, and certainly a promising prospect for our city's flagship label. What's more, proceeds from tonight's show—rumored to be a bargain at five dollars—all go to disaster relief in Japan. GRANT BRISSEY
(Triple Door) Henry Rollins's reputation from his days fronting Black Flag—half-naked, muscled and covered in tattoos, seething with rage, combating the audience—might lead you to assume his spoken-word performances are merely some breed of tortured-artist poetry, nihilistic shock monologuing, or hypermasculine motivational speaking. But he's not Bukowski, Palahniuk, or Tom Cruise's character in Magnolia. Rather, he's an engaging cultural commentator who could easily fit within NPR's This American Life format. Sure, most every Damaged-owning Seattleite would secretly love to see Hank take the stage at the Triple Door with veins throbbing at his temples, pounding a microphone into some heckler's teeth, but seeing the remarkably human side of a punk icon, especially one as gifted a storyteller as Rollins, is definitely worth the cost of admission. BRIAN COOK
(Crocodile) Late last year, Sub Pop surprised everyone and signed Shabazz Palaces, whose next album will be the biggest thing to happen in music since Burial's self-titled album in 2006. Sub Pop surprised everyone again in February by signing another local hiphop act, THEESatisfaction, the rappers Stas and Cat. These two signings, along with Macklemore's growing popularity, are the fruits of a third moment in local hiphop, a moment that began in 2005 and has yet to die. The direction that Shabazz Palaces are taking with Sub Pop is set and clear; the direction THEESatisfaction are to take is not so clear. Will they continue as before (lo-fi rebel hiphop)? Or will they add some pounds to their original sound? Only time will tell. CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy.
Ice Cube, Fatal Lucciauno
(Showbox at the Market) Is there an essence of Ice Cube? Meaning, is there one thing that says everything about this veteran rapper and filmmaker? Can we find a line, a rhyme, a track that fills up Ice Cube's whole mode of being? I think there is, but it would be hard to locate, because Ice Cube has accumulated a huge body of work. Only the most dedicated fan could come close to this one thing. For me, however, there are five words in an Ice Cube track that capture not the essence of the rapper, but the essence of a time (the early 1990s) and place (the West Coast). Those five words, which are in "It Was a Good Day": "The Lakers beat the SuperSonics." CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy.
Derek Plaslaiko, Albert, Ctrl_Alt_Dlt, Murdoc
(Re-bar) See Data Breaker.
Emeralds, Wildildlife, Nether Regions, Black Wizard CANCELLED
(Comet) For the past half a decade (and then some), local riff-masters Emeralds have graced the stage of every Seattle dive bar and basement, pounding in eardrums with their well-crafted mix of Sabbath-ian dirges and Thin Lizzy–esque melodies, a musical equation that makes for a damn-near perfect soundtrack to getting fucked-up off cheap beer. But like many bands before them, Emeralds must step down from their throne of classic-rock-inspired wizardry. Never again will we be able to bask in the glorious feedback of "The Hanged Man," so make it count while you still can, dude. Openers Wildildlife play a similarly ferocious brand of fuzzed-out riffage, only with a few more traces of that sweet, sweet psychedelia. KEVIN DIERS
Moon Duo, Young Prisms, Diminished Men
(Funhouse) Colorado's Moon Duo (guitarist/vocalist Ripley Johnson of Wooden Shjips and keyboardist Sanae Yamada) excel at the repetition-as-transcendence mode of rock. Like a more stripped-down Wooden Shjips, Moon Duo write songs redolent of white-line fever, ideal soundtracks for accelerating down freeways in the wee morning hours as you speed toward a debauched encounter. They take on Suicide's raw, cool sexuality—Johnson's vocals loll somewhere between Alan Vega's and Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom's—along with that deadpan duo's linear, minimalist attack, while also nodding to Hawkwind's space-trekking propulsion. Moon Duo's new album on Sacred Bones, Mazes, finds them gaining melodic accessibility without losing their scorched-ear sensibility. It's going to make a lot of smart people's top-10-of-2011 lists. DAVE SEGAL
Brite Futures, Los Gentlemen, the Unibroz
(Vera) Brite Futures (can I stop saying they're the band formerly known as Natalie Portman's Shaved Head now?) were hibernating all winter, and rightfully so—the local group hits you with a flurry of bright beats, neon sunglasses, and dance parties, so it's totally not appropriate for a meek Northwest winter. The Brite Futures you see tonight will probably be a different band than you remember, though—last September, only a couple months after they rereleased their 2008 record Glistening Pleasure 2.0, drummer Liam Downey Jr. announced he was leaving. If the "teaser" video Brite Futures posted a month ago is any indication, it seems they're moving forward as a quartet, losing the live drummer, but keeping all the neon, dance beats, and confetti. MEGAN SELING
Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, Mimicking Birds, Eugene Wendell & the Demon Rind
(Tractor) Word on the street (i.e., Ballard Avenue) is that Jesse Sykes's new album is a more psychedelic, rockin' affair than her past efforts. While that's an interesting development, the most fascinating thing is that Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter have both a local gig and new material in the can. Sykes's spectral vocals can raise the hair on the back of the most grizzled muso's neck without her breaking a sweat, while musical cohort/guitarist Phil Wandscher crafts a perfect canvas for her to emote upon. Other combos might get more ink, but Sykes and company will always take the cake when it comes to naked, truthful tunes that cut to the chase. BARBARA MITCHELL
My Goodness, Whalebones, DJ Sean Cee, DJ Blairly Legal, DJ Case One
(Rendezvous) Tonight is the record-release party for explosive blues-saturated rock duo My Goodness—drummer Ethan Jacobsen and guitar man/squaller Joel Schneider (also of the excellent Absolute Monarchs). See this band before they blow the lid off. Opening are Whalebones, who also have a new long-player dropping soon, and the always charming DJ Sean Cee. As this may be too much awesome for the cozy Jewelbox Theater, organizers have opened up the Grotto downstairs and armed it with DJs Blairly Legal and Case One. This will be a big night for all involved. GRANT BRISSEY
Wet Nightmare, Same-Sex Dictator, So Pitted, Nod Off
(Radar Hair and Records) See Underage.
(Cairo) See Underage.
Simon Henneman, Wah Wah Exit Wound, the Contraband Countryband, Bad Luck, Greg Keplinger
(Josephine) See album review.
Lightning Bolt, Flexions, the Planets
(Healthy Times Fun Club) At its best (which is pretty much all the time), Lightning Bolt's music represents some sort of culmination of noise-rock evolution. Over five ferocious albums, their no-wave speed-metal pyrotechnics have made a convincing case for Uzi-fied beats and OCD riffmongering. Drummer/vocalist Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson have hit upon a formula from which they rarely deviate, because doing so would be a tragic waste of such awesome firepower and dynamics. Lightning Bolt typically set up on the floor and let crowds converge on them, creating an almost unbearable sense of claustrophobia for both parties. The emergency-state raging that commences makes nearly every Lightning Bolt show an exercise in catastrophic catharsis. Expect some new material—including one song that sounds like Motörhead, according to Chippendale—along with a grip of old warhorses. DAVE SEGAL See also Stranger Suggests.
The Pharmacy, Ononos, Stickers, Ziskis
(Funhouse) I recently saw Yoko Ono perform her "screaming song" at SXSW. It sort of made me want to kill myself. I know that she's all "arty" and "weird" and "cool," but listening to her chant and scream and chant some more really hurt my feelings. I didn't understand, and I didn't want to understand. This brings us to the issue of people still thinking that Seattle art punks Ononos are a Yoko Ono cover band. This is an insult, if you ask me. Ononos have original songs—really excellent original songs, too. They do some covers, but really excellent covers of really excellent songs like "Die Die My Darling" by the Misfits. Ononos don't just stand there and scream about nothing, so stop perpetuating this rumor right now. Die, Yoko rumors, die! KELLY O
(Vera) Hailing from New Jersey and trafficking in passionately anthemic rock 'n' roll, Titus Andronicus draw easy comparisons to the overarching young Springsteen. Blessed with a singer who sounds shockingly like Paul Westerberg, Titus Andronicus also earn comparisons to prime Replacements. In a rare occurrence, the comparisons fit (though the band is young enough to perhaps be drawing what I call Springsteenisms from the Hold Steady). Whatever the case, they're awesome—smart, passionate, dramatic, and fuck-it-all lovable. Tonight's show at the Vera Project (Seattle's best-sounding rock room) should be something to remember and/or regret missing. DAVID SCHMADER
Foals, Freelance Whales, the Naked and Famous
(Showbox at the Market) See Sound Check.
August Burns Red, Set Your Goals, Texas in July
(El Corazón) Such a shame, what happened to Set Your Goals. Their debut EP, Reset, was a catchy, rad blast of posi-hardcore/pop punk—no reinvention of the wheel, of course, but it wasn't a complete cliché. It was reminiscent of Latterman, even—dudes just doing it for fun. Then Set Your Goals signed to Epitaph, their album covers looked like really ugly tattoos, their songs featured folks like Paramore's Hayley Williams and New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert, and the band quickly transformed into an overproduced poster band for Warped Tour. Sigh. MEGAN SELING
Cults, Magic Kids, White Arrows
(Crocodile) New York's Cults create heat-hazy, sucrose-heavy pop that exudes youthful innocence and earnestness. Cute female/male vocals, neck-hair-raising glockenspiel embellishments, euphoric keyboard swells, and immediately catchy melodies put Cults on the same fast track for medium-sized stardom down which Best Coast are zooming. They are going to be intensely loved by many people in their late teens and early 20s. And then they won't anymore... sooner rather than later. DAVE SEGAL
(McCaw Hall) In the mainstream rock universe covered by Rolling Stone, there are two types of superstars. The first type: popular acts with a modicum to surfeit of artistic ambition and/or undeniable cultural import (U2, Jay-Z, the Rolling Stones). The second type: lucky friends of Jann Wenner whose popular and artistic accomplishments fall far short of the lifelong honors afforded them by Rolling Stone. Exemplars of this second type: former J. Geils Band singer Peter Wolf and former John Cougar Mellencamp, both of whom Rolling Stone has forever tried to present as megastars on the level of Springsteen and Dylan, with each new Wolf/Mellencamp release earning breathless bluster from RS writers while record buyers (remember them?) yawn. This is particularly unfortunate in the case of Mellencamp, who has made some great records (Scarecrow, The Lonesome Jubilee) and deserves a good reputation unstained by corporate overstatement. DAVID SCHMADER
Rise Against, Bad Religion, Four Year Strong
(WaMu Theater) It makes sense that Rise Against would tour with Bad Religion. In fact, Rise Against should be so fucking lucky—if it weren't for Bad Religion's angst-ridden SoCal punk (they've been at it since 1979), Rise Against never would've come into existence 20 years later. It's not like Rise Against haven't put in the work—10 years and six records compose a career of consistently blistering melodic hardcore that's as aggressive as it is politically correct (some members of the band are straight-edge, they all support PETA, and they often sing about human rights). But do they really get to headline over Bad Religion? I mean... it's Bad Religion! (Related: Get off my lawn!) MEGAN SELING
(Seattle Art Museum) If you think Insane Clown Posse are finally going all high art on us with orchestral renditions of such classics as "Miracles" and "Halls of Illusions," you're sadly mistaken, Juggalos. The ICP Orchestra—aka the Instant Composers Pool Orchestra—are an Amsterdam-based improvisational jazz ensemble founded almost 45 years ago by drummer Han Bennink and pianist Misha Mengelberg, who have played with such luminaries as Eric Dolphy and Sonny Rollins. Bennink is one of the world's finest jazz drummers to ever syncopate time, rhythm, and space. The 10-piece group, filled out by seasoned string and brass sections, will inundate the air of Seattle Art Museum with chaotic spats and loose, swinging up-tempo arrangements that can violently shift at a moment's notice. TRAVIS RITTER