sarah Cass

Wednesday 5/4

KJ Sawka, Splatinum, Partners in Grime, DJ Keano

(Neumos) See Data Breaker.

Zola Jesus, Naked on the Vague, Crypts

(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests and Data Breaker.


No Northwest Compilation Release Party: 214, Cedaa, Ill Cosby, qp

(Baltic Room) See Data Breaker.

TacocaT, Lust-Cats of the Gutters, Night of Joy, Sara Century, Glory Hole

(Rendezvous) I asked Bree—who plays guitar in TacocaT, one of my all-time favorite Seattle-bands-with-actual-real-live-females-in-them—what the deal was with this show. She said: "Well, um, Lust-Cats of the Gutters are the queens of the Denver DIY scene... two ladies, Robin and Alex, on guitar and drums, that shred super hard [and] are basically a band of TWO Courtney Loves... at her prime, of course. Everett True loves them. Night of Joy and Sara Century are also both female-fronted punk from Denver. I haven't seen either of them yet, but those Lust-Cats say they're good, so they must be amazing, 'cause they have great taste and don't sugarcoat the bands they hate. TacocaT—we'll play new stuff. And Glory Hole is a Hole cover band that only plays Live Through This. This night has so much Hole going on... and it's in the Grotto, which is also a hole." KELLY O

Exit to Main, Brain Crooks, Arpeggiator, Kithkin

(Comet) Here's a tip: Don't take too much daytime cold medicine (the good stuff with the pseudoephedrineit) and then listen to local math rock versus eight-bit video-game-soundtrack duo Arpeggiator. Their "songs" aren't even songs—they're more like four-minute-long races between seizure-riffic guitar work and blurs of drumming. As soon as you hit "play," you will immediately feel like your face is melting off. You will feel like bugs are crawling into your skull through your ears. Your heart will race (from the medicine or the music? Who can say?) and you will wonder what the fuck is happening inside your head, and shit might get a little overwhelming. Under other circumstances, though, like nonmedicated circumstances, Arpeggiator are really enjoyable. MEGAN SELING

Thursday 5/5

Battles, IG88

(Crocodile) See preview.

Secret Colors, Tadoma, U, Geist & the Sacred Ensemble

(Rendezvous) Like hundreds of other musicians, Tadoma contacted The Stranger out of the blue, looking for attention regarding an upcoming Seattle date. Unlike most other musicians who do this, Philadelphia's Tadoma (multi-instrumentalist Joe Patitucci) pretty much bull's-eyed my sweet spot. His 2010 album, Field Notes, sounds like some kind of mythical Boards of Canada space-rock opus produced by Popol Vuh's Florian Fricke. Enchanting, becalmed melodies twinkle and swell like the yoga breath of god in a blessedly vocal-free ether, and hey, Tadoma got you floating. Secret Colors (Matt Lawson and ex-Stranger columnist/Witch Gardens member Casey Catherwood) coax similarly pacific tones from keyboards and guitar. One of their tracks is titled "Hammock Vibe," which speaks volumes. DAVE SEGAL

Friday 5/6

Vivian Girls, No Joy, Unnatural Helpers, Witch Gardens

(Vera) See Underage.

DUG: DJ Frank Gossner, Christian Science, Jon François Stone, Greasy

(Lo-Fi) See Data Breaker.

Wanda Jackson, Red Meat, the Billy Joe Show

(Neumos) No, Wanda Jackson doesn't yowl and purr with the same ferocity she did back in the late 1950s, when she cut early classics like "Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad" and "Fujiyama Mama," and was going steady with Elvis. She's 73, for goodness' sake! But with some assistance from Jack White, she's enjoying a well-earned renaissance. Anyone who's caught the Queen of Rockabilly at the Tractor or Bumbershoot in the last 15 years knows she still puts on a lively show, but in the wake of her stellar comeback album The Party Ain't Over, she also has a slew of new songs to round out her road-tested hits—and display her maturing interpretive gifts. Plus she has the best wigs this side of the B-52s. KURT B. REIGHLEY

Lesbian, Grayceon, Fight Amp, Dog Shredder

(Chop Suey) Bellingham prog-metal trio Dog Shredder's highly technical constructions are like the Himalayas of local metal—long, jagged, and stretching on seemingly forever. These dudes—with their propensity for 10-minute tracks—possess both an impressive amount of manual dexterity and some serious stamina. Let's see you hold the pit for that long, bro. Check out the band's limited edition Boss Rhino EP, which came out last month. GRANT BRISSEY

Saturday 5/7

Beach Fossils, Craft Spells, Seapony

(Chop Suey) See preview.

Japan Relief Show: Butts, Stickers, Mountainss, Sundance Kids

(Healthy Times) See Underage.

Mogwai, Errors

(Showbox at the Market) There are folks who insist that Mogwai's breakthrough 1999 album, Come On Die Young, is the pinnacle of their recording career. They'll tell you how the Scottish post-rock band took Slint's beautiful and beastly extremes to new levels, and about how explosively loud they were live back in the day. But there were critics who initially panned the album, viewing it as a letdown after their promising Young Team debut. The thing is, Mogwai continue to expand their sound on every record, borrowing ideas from various corners of the rock spectrum, delivering everything from piano ballads to vocoder-enhanced pop songs to krautrock exercises. Their consistent creative adventurism and high-quality output ultimately make whichever album serves as your introduction the most likely to be cemented into place as your favorite. BRIAN COOK See also Sound Check.

Thao & Mirah, Led to Sea, Marissa Anderson

(Crocodile) When I heard that Thao and Mirah were making a record together, I admit my expectations climbed too high. They're both musicians I adore, and I was hoping their collaboration would bring something new into the world. Instead, their collaboration, Thao & Mirah, is just a good album. Sure, they try out different genres (Mirah slinks into R&B, Thao drags herself through the blues), but I was hoping the record would be less of a finished product and more of a process of experimentation. (Mirah made a brilliant record with Ginger Takahashi in 2003, Songs from the Black Mountain Music Project, that was a record of a season they spent together. In my ideal world, Thao & Mirah would sound more like a sequel to that album.) I expect that live, Mirah and Thao should bring more of that spontaneous, experimental fun to the fore. Start raising your expectations now. PAUL CONSTANT

Sunday 5/8

The Psychedelic Furs

(Showbox at the Market) It seems a little crazy that the Psychedelic Furs unleashed Talk Talk Talk 30 years ago, but it's true. The album—which features classic hits like "Pretty in Pink," "Into You Like a Train," and "I Wanna Sleep with You"—still sounds remarkably fresh and contemporary: a mix of raw energy, blunt sexual musings, and unimpeachably refreshing songwriting, marked by Richard Butler's distinctively sexy/dangerous rasp. The band is playing the album in its entirety, then taking a break and returning with a set of other classics. Whether you were born after the album was released or are old enough to own the original version, you should be here tonight. This is real music, and the band always delivers live. BARBARA MITCHELL

Raekwon, Fatal Lucciauno, Havi Blaze, DJ Swervewon

(Nectar) Two years (1994 and 1995) stand as RZA's summit, and also as the last summit of hiphop in the mode of a unified project (after 1997, hiphop splits into mainstream and underground). This summit is mostly composed of three albums: Method Man's Tical, GZA's Liquid Swords, and Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Weirdly enough, Raekwon's album is the best of these three RZA-produced albums. I say weirdly because there is nothing exceptional about Raekwon's style. He is not flamboyant (Method Man) or intellectual (GZA). His thing is simply this: dealing with the mean streets. Through the medium of Raekwon's unoriginal persona, a street hustler, RZA produced his most original work, Linx. CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy.

Cass McCombs, Frank Fairfield

(Tractor) I kept trying to put Wit's End on all weekend in order to come up with something new to say about it. I reviewed the thing right after SXSW, and Cass McCombs's hushed singer-songwriter lullabies were exactly what I needed for the downtime. (That and a bunch of weed.) This weekend was sunny and glorious. Every time I tried to put it on, I impatiently switched it out for something less apt to promote lethargy. Wit's End is a fine record; it's just not a record for the advent of the sun. As of this writing, there is a 50 percent chance of rain for tonight's show. GRANT BRISSEY

Monday 5/9

Joan of Arc, Air Waves, Themes

(Vera) If you're going to this show for Joan of Arc, chances are you've already been a fan for a while. Now 13 albums deep, Tim Kinsella's brainchild isn't exactly a "buzz band" (Pitchfork has repeatedly labeled them as "pretentious"), and oddball concept albums like The Gap and his newest release, O Brother, a completely instrumental four-song double album, aren't what you could call "accessible." But here are a few things you could call them: ambitious, sprawling, experimental—all fitting adjectives for the sounds Kinsella creates through his revolving door of musician friends with whom he's chosen to collaborate over the last 14 years. But if you're new to the "party" (FYI: This is not party music), just know you might get a little confused. If you fall in love with one of his acoustic ballads or noodly, guitar-heavy jams, keep an open mind, because just like that, he'll switch it up and drone your mind into a puddle of melted Jell-O. KEVIN DIERS

Cloudland Canyon, Midday Veil, Magnog, Fruiting Bodies, DJs Explorateur and Veins

(Comet) This stacked lineup of psychedelic- and space-rocking gallants is topped by Cloudland Canyon, a project headed by Kip Uhlhorn. Cloudland's last three albums—Silver Tongued Sisyphus, Lie in Light, and Fin Eaves (for the Kranky and Holy Mountain labels)—contain some of the most exquisitely wrought kraut-/space-/shoegaze-rock put to wax this century. Uhlhorn manifests his cosmic proclivities into towering, shimmering obelisks of sound—most recently on Fin Eaves, where he and various comrades-in-FX-pedals generate a profusion of flowery, fructose-y anthems for the sun. Guitars and keyboards oscillate wildly and soar in a vast hall of mirrors while Kip gauzily sighs in the distance. It's an overwhelmingly blissful and disorienting sound, although hooks abound; they're subliminal, but terminally infectious. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 5/10

The Black Angels, Sleepy Sun

(Showbox at the Market) It was beginning to seem like you could describe the sound of a Black Angels record before you even heard it: ominous guitars, grinding organ, loping bass lines, static percussion, and Alex Maas's sinister vocals. That being said, the Austin, Texas, five-piece does this thing quite well, and their latest, Phosphene Dream, finds them stretching out of their well-fitting sound, if only a little. There is less drone and more rocked-out blitzing here (see "Haunting at 1300 McKinley" and "River of Blood"). The jaunty "Telephone," clocking in at just 1:59, is straight-up garage pop. GRANT BRISSEY

The Cars

(Showbox Sodo) Yeah, the motherfucking Cars, man. Went platinum in 1978, broke up in 1988, remain a summertime-soundtrack staple for teenagers across America and across the world. (Right now, on every continent in the world—even Antarctica!—groups of people are drunkenly shout-singing: "I guess you're just what I needed!") And they've just released their first record in 24 years. The record—Move Like This—sounds like... the motherfucking Cars, man. Like someone flash-froze the dudes midsong sometime in the middle '80s and just got around to popping them in the microwave. The good part about that: They sound like the Cars you know and love. The bad part about that: Lots of things have happened since the middle '80s, and it's a little weird to try to learn to love new songs that sound like vague cousins of "My Best Friend's Girlfriend" and that other part punk, part synth, dash-of-rockabilly pop that you already know and love. The Cars getting back together is like your parents getting back together—the emotions are complicated. But, olly olly oxen free! Like it or not, here they come. BRENDAN KILEY

Support The Stranger

Dave Depper, Sean Nelson

(Crocodile) Here we have two local musicians (one from Portland, one from Seattle) who are each very talented in their own right (the former having played in Loch Lomond and Norfolk & Western, the latter being Harvey Danger's former frontman). They're setting aside their own musical explorations to pay tribute to a couple of the greats. Dave Depper (the Portland one) will be presenting a live performance of his forthcoming record, The Ram Project, a reconstruction of Paul McCartney's Ram. Sean Nelson (the Seattle one) will open the show with his own tribute to Harry Nilsson. Here's the cherry on top: The illustrious Joan Hiller—tenacious publicist and talented painter responsible for the one piece of art I have hanging in my kitchen—will be playing the role of Linda McCartney for the evening. MEGAN SELING

Peter Bjorn and John, Bachelorette

(Neumos) Led by Annabel Alpers, Brooklyn/Auckland, New Zealand–based Bachelorette is one of the oddest acts on the still hard-to-pigeonhole Drag City Records (kudos for remaining unpredictable for 21 years). On her third album, Bachelorette, she concocts bewitching pop songs that seem to emanate from some arcane, Martian house of worship by someone infatuated with early-'80s electro pop and late-'60s British folk. It's all so solemnly beautiful. Rare in this or any day, Bachelorette exudes a very distinctive vibe. The same can't be said for Sweden's Peter Bjorn and John, who are supporting their new Gimme Some full-length. It continues their long-running Scandinavian charm offensive courtesy of another batch of amiably scruffy, instantly catchy indie pop. DAVE SEGAL