Thursday 1/8

Caro, Talkdemonic, the Sight Below

(Nectar) See Data Breaker.

John Spalding Memorial Benefit: Helms Alee, Born Anchors, Patrol

(Sunset) Tonight is the second of a handful of January shows paying tribute to dearly departed Seattle musician John Spalding (Raft of Dead Monkeys, Ninety Pound Wuss, and most recently solo-project LoveLand), who recently succumbed to a prolonged battle with cancer at age 33. If a man's measure can be found in how many people attend his funeral, then perhaps Spalding's impact as a musician can be gleaned from the number and stature of bands paying him tribute this month, which include a reunited Suffering and the Hideous Thieves, Minus the Bear, Rocky Votolato, the Cave Singers, Past Lives, Triumph of Lethargy, Damien Jurado, Dave Bazan, See Me River, MXPX, and of course tonight's lineup of amp destroyers Helms Alee, the simultaneously screamy and groovy Born Anchors, and moody rockers Patrol. RIP. ERIC GRANDY

Hey Marseilles, Fences, Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden

(Tractor) Local singer-songwriter outfit Fences write stripped down, compelling songs about ordinary subjects—girls, estranged fathers, relationships. So what? Boys in America sit down with an acoustic guitar and sing about those very subjects every 2.7 minutes. But there's something that makes Fences' efforts sound more genuine than most. Singer Chris Mansfield's lyrics are delivered with a gentle guitar and coy mumble, forcing you to really listen to hear the stories he tells. It's almost like he's ashamed, like he's playing this song because he has to and he's not quite comfortable about it yet himself, but the only other option is death or insanity. MEGAN SELING

Brightblack Morning Light, Daniel Higgs

(Vera) Still touring behind 2008's instant chill-out classic Motion to Rejoin, Brightblack Morning Light remain one of the most reliable blood-pressure-lowering bands working today. Gospeldelic blues doesn't get any better—or more lusciously lackadaisical and paradisiacal than this. Daniel Higgs is best known as frontman for Dischord drone-rock mainstays Lungfish. These days he more often goes it alone as a mystical troubadour playing jaw harp and banjo. I caught Higgs doing a jaw-harp set at Gallery 1412 about four years ago, and it was mesmerizing. If you're into mutant-insectoid, twangy drones (as heard on his Magic Alphabet CD), Higgs will thoroughly sate you. His 2007 album of banjo compositions, Metempsychotic Melodies, is strangely riveting, too. DAVE SEGAL

Early Man, Toxic Holocaust, Book of Black Earth, Black Breath, H.M.P.

(El Corazón, all ages) Drummer Joe Axler of Book of Black Earth has a big-ass tattoo scrawled across his chest that reads "DEATH TO FALSE METAL." What exactly is "false" metal? Avenged Sevenfold? P.O.D.? Spinal Tap? Kip Winger's teeth? Whatever it is, it does not apply to local heavies Book of Black Earth. On new album Horoskopus, BOBE frickin' mean it. And don't even try to argue with them. The release of Horoskopus launches a new U.S. tour for the band. If you miss this gig, the official send-off show is at the Funhouse on January 17. Also on the bill, and touring with a brand-new album, are NYC thrash-metallers Early Man. On new EP Beware the Circling Fin, they sound an awful lot like the early Metallica. Or maybe Megadeth. Eerily so. Does that make them true? Or false? I think I have to see them play it live to decide. KELLY O

Friday 1/9

Asva, Trees, Iron Lung, Pig Heart Transplant

(King Cobra) See Album Review.

Gel-Sol, Jerry Abstract, the Naturebot, the Algebra of Need, Erictronic

(Re-bar) See Data Breaker.

John Spalding Memorial Benefit: Minus the Bear, Rocky Votolato, the Cave Singers, Past Lives, Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death

(Showbox) See Stranger Suggests.

The Lonely Forest, Speaker Speaker, To the Waves, Daniel G. Harmann & the Trouble

(Sunset) Finally, the Lonely Forest are releasing a new record! They've been teasing for months, and now, with a new year, it's happening—the Anacortes trio (which recently became a quartet again) will release We Sing the Body Electric on April 21. The album is more pop rock than anything they've done before, while still maintaining the passion. In many songs, the piano, which has been the star in the past, takes a backseat to flawless, rolling drumming and chiming guitar. The Lonely Forest will undoubtedly be previewing some of the songs at tonight's gig, a showcase for local label Burning Buildings, which had a great '08 with releases from To the Waves, Speaker Speaker, and the Oregon Donor. With the Lonely Forest kicking things off, '09 looks just as promising. MEGAN SELING

Gabriel Teodros, Mystic, Canary Sing, DJ Ian Head

(Chop Suey) A central figure of the second wave of local hiphop that began in 2005, Gabriel Teodros is set to return in 2009. He made his first appearance as half of Abyssinian Creole, a Beacon Hill–based group that detailed in its soul-smooth tunes the experiences, challenges, and desires of young black immigrants. His last (and solo) CD, Lovework, was released in 2007 and provided local hiphop with the classic track "No Label." During 2008, Teodros spent a lot of time in Vancouver recording new material, and this show promises to reveal the effect that Seattle's sister city (its socialism, its black mountains, its Skytrain, its slim towers, its many immigrants) has had on his thinking and music. CHARLES MUDEDE

Miss Massive Snowflake, Bill Horist

(Comet) Miss Massive Snowflake's song "Shock and Awe" isn't the screamo guitar fuck you'd expect a song titled "Shock and Awe" to be: Instead, it's a quiet, thoughtful song with a jerky, lofty little chorus. With MMS, it's best to expect the unexpected. One song begins with something resembling a reggae riddim, tosses in some banjo amid the electronic bleeps and bloops when you're not expecting it, and ties the whole thing together with some Prince-like vocals. Another one sounds like the best Smog song not yet recorded. I don't know what to call it, but I like it a lot. PAUL CONSTANT

Ray Manzarek and Roy Rogers

(Triple Door) Like the Grateful Dead, the Doors polarize music fans into rigid positions of unstinting loyalty and spluttering hostility. Which means they've done something right. Ray Manzarek (who'll be 70 next month) played keyboards for the Doors, of course, and his fluid, rococo riffs and sprightly yet earthy blues-rock vamps won't be leaving the rock world's collective consciousness any time soon. What has he done for us lately? Besides an album of duets with blues slide guitarist and tourmate Roy Rogers, Ballads Before the Rain, and playing in a faux-Doors reunion band called Riders on the Storm, not much, but rarely do figures of his stature come through intimate clubs like the Triple Door. Besides showcasing some Doors classics for tonight's and Saturday's performances, Manzarek will also share anecdotes about his days with Jim Morrison and company. DAVE SEGAL

Saturday 1/10

Ray Manzarek and Roy Rogers

(Triple Door) See Friday.

Glasvegas, Carl Barat

(Chop Suey) See Album Review.

The Dwarves, ZEKE, the Insurgence, the Hollowpoints, Marginal Way

(El Corazón) Much ink has been spilled about the shock tactics and crass (read: boring) irony with which longtime San Francisco-by–way-of-Chicago punks the Dwarves dispense their particular brand of rock. Reportedly, though, the live-show component of said shock tactics has been in decline for years. Fair enough, dudes are getting old. Thing is, once you strip away the publicity-stunt mentality (the band were dumped by Sub Pop in the mid-'90s when they issued a fake press release claiming their guitarist had died), all we have left is a whole lot of really short, fast, rudimentary punk songs, replete with clichéd joke lyrics that are less funny now than they were when you were 15. The Dwarves Must Die, their latest album, is now five years old and it has a rap song. GRANT BRISSEY

Luke McKeehan, Sol Calderon, Matt Wood

(Re-bar) Owner of the respected Vancouver label Nordic Trax, McKeehan is touring behind the release of his Many Shades of House Vol. 2 mix. He's been DJing for over 23 years, so you can expect McKeehan to build a well-appointed house set full of luxury fixtures (i.e., congenial, uplifting tracks). He'll be appearing at Uniting Souls's Somethin About House biweekly. DAVE SEGAL

Sunday 1/11

Free Blood, Ben Cook, H.M.A.

(Chop Suey) See preview.

AFCGT, PWRFL Power, Linda and Ron's Dad

(Neumos), On their self-titled 180-gram white-vinyl LP for Uzu Audio, Seattle supergroup AFCGT (A Frames + Climax Golden Twins) create a species of antisocial rock that aspires to freedom through a coiled fury. The 10 songs here radiate a rancorous cacophony—thanks largely to at least three scabrous, wiry guitars—that often bleeds into the red, on more than one level. The quintet harbor a no-wave-like disregard for clean production values and conventionally "pretty" melody and the Fall and Flipper's roughshod repetitiveness figures heavily. I don't hear any hit singles. Linda and Ron's Dad favor rugged and playful funk productions tailor-made for adventurous MCs to rap over. PWRFL Power writes whimsical outsider pop songs that inspire mad love and vicious hate in equal measure. DAVE SEGAL

Monday 1/12

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

(Showbox Sodo) Season four of their live-action Cartoon Network hit Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! begins airing at the end of the month, but tonight, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim—the loopy goofs behind TAEAS,GJ! and its beloved animated predecessor Tom Goes to the Mayor—present their well-honed shtick from the stage of the Showbox. Fans of the aforementioned Adult Swim shows will love it. Fans of Mr. Show should like it. Folks who've seen none of the above and for some reason find themselves at the Showbox will be very confused. DAVID SCHMADER

Tuesday 1/13

A Leaf, Colonies, the Globes, Perry Acker

(Neumos) Ben Gibbard recently got engaged—to hottie actress/She & Him–singer Zooey Deschanel, no less. But don't cry, indie girls—there are many more frontmen in the world for the taking. If you need a new object of desire on which to focus your crush energy, I suggest local act Colonies. The band's songs ache with Death Cab similarities, but they're forgiven for doing it so well—crisp and clean compositions with spot-on harmonizing in the choruses. At times, singer Travis Shumate even has a rounded-mouth delivery similar to a young Gibbard—and he's cuter, too, actually. No word on if he's officially single, but at the very least you'll be able to cope with your loss by listening to Colonies' music instead of making things worse with Death Cab. MEGAN SELING

Wednesday 1/14

ndCv, WD4D, Eardrumz, Absolute Madman

(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker.

Joy Von Spain, Herpes Hideaway, Vox Vespertinus, Crime, Selectorhead Pigeon, Death Posture

(1009 E Union St) Highbrow neoclassical composition meets antagonistic noisician instincts in Joy Von Spain's compelling pieces. Her 2008 disc Seeking Stockhausen's Moustache comes shrouded in a bracing darkness and distinctive tonalities. It will one day be regarded as a classic in Northwest avant-garde music—if it isn't already. Her new work, Lady Lazarus, is going to flip some wigs and trigger some seizures, as well. Herpes Hideaway sound like "an icy finger" and the dank, gray radiator emissions from David Lynch's Eraserhead and a kind of diseased hybrid of industrial IDM, isolationist ambience, and noncheesy horror-film scores. DAVE SEGAL