Michael Macioce

Thursday 1/15

Fountains of Wayne, Jon Auer

(Triple Door) Fountains of Wayne exist among the handful of wry pop-music portraitists invariably compared—no matter how drastic the differences in instrumentation and execution—to Randy Newman, the longtime master of wry pop-music portraiture. It's a tricky game: Such songwriting demands a succinctness that risks glibness, which is conquered (when it's conquered) only by the richness and vividness of the collected details. Fountains of Wayne ride the glib/concise divide like no others, and when they're good—the majority of 2001's Welcome Interstate Managers, a smattering of tracks from the others—they're very, very good. Tonight the band play a full acoustic show of old favorites and new tracks from their forthcoming 2009 release. Power-pop bonus: Jon Auer opens (he's also headlining Triple Door on January 17). DAVID SCHMADER

Friday 1/16

Frivolous, the Martin Brothers, Introcut, Claude Balzac, Noisemaker, Jisaan & the Lovevirus

(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker

Saturday 1/17

Sleepy Eyes of Death, Head Like a Kite, Loving Thunder

(Neumos) See preview, and Stranger Suggests.

Visqueen, Dept. of Energy, the Tripwires

(Tractor) Seattle's Visqueen remain a bright planet in the power-pop universe where Cheap Trick are God (i.e., the image in which all others are created) and Kurt Cobain is Jesus (i.e., a great talent turned into an oppressive figurehead after his stupid and untimely death). At the helm: Rachel Flotard—she of the angelic voice, red locks, and ridiculously entertaining stage banter—who'll lead her band (road-tested across Europe opening for Neko Case) through a set of their signature sunny racket and face-punching melodicism. DAVID SCHMADER

Battle Hymns, Pablo Trucker, the Banyans

(Sunset) There's something so magical about tuneful guitar paired with a well-worn, slightly-off-key voice. Music by artists like Bonnie Prince Billy, Edith Frost, and Bill Callahan never get the tired feeling from which so much music suffers after a few years in the shuffle. Battle Hymns lead singer Cameron Elliott has a voice like that, and, paired with a catchy, roots-on-steroids sound the band refers to as "American Noise," it results in songs that are memorable, heartbreaking, and—sometimes—surprisingly anthemic. PAUL CONSTANT

Inverse, Cancer Rising, Know Choice, Akrish

(Chop Suey) Rappers Toby and Tunji from the Los Angeles crew Inverse are Jewish-American and Nigerian-American, respectively. Tunji's ethnicity connects him with a new wave of Africans in the West who are transforming the very idea of what it means to be an African—Kodwo Eshun (writer/theorist), Tunde Adebimpe (lead singer of TV on the Radio), and David Adjaye (architect). The music Tunji makes with Inverse is lush, large, dramatic, and outward; the raps, by contrast, are very personal, sensitive, and turned inward to the soul. The lyrical subject matter focuses on the care/situation/examination of the self, and the beats always unfold like a shimmering, thriving, and wonderful city. L.A.'s hiphop underground is still alive and kicking. CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy.

Logic Probe, Obelus, ndCv, Greg Skidmore, NoisePoetNobody

(Occidental Gallery) Logic Probe (Derek Linaman and Dave Ford) celebrate their 10th anniversary and fifth album, Duel Panther, tonight with a free show (though donations are welcome). The Seattle duo create meticulously designed melodic electronic music that's occasionally ruptured by glitches and microscopic fissures. They also can generate splenetic beats and renegade video-game atmospheres when the whim takes them. Logic Probe's music harks back to those turn-of-the-millennium days when IDM was flooding the bins weekly with innovative releases. Their punchy rhythmic convolutions and ability to create chilling atmospheres and moody melodies signify a reverence for Autechre, but in this game, you might as well draw inspiration from the best. DAVE SEGAL


(Comet) Is this the Saeta? The very same sad and beautiful miniature orchestra who used to serenade the hardcore kids gathered at the old Paradox on the Ave? It is! After being quiet since 2004, Saeta are releasing Else Another Light Might Go Out on January 20, and the music is as aching as I remember it being nearly 10 years ago. Strings swell through the choruses, piano dances lightly along the strums of acoustic guitar, while the songs tell stories of longing, empty promises, and other such topics that probably shouldn't sound as pretty as they do. Sigh. Saeta. MEGAN SELING

Sunday 1/18

Al Kooper

(Triple Door) See Stranger Suggests

Monday 1/19

Champagne Champagne, Strong Killings, DJ Mamma Casserole

(Chop Suey) Who knew Nate Mooter from the Lashes was such a badass? The Lashes are radio-friendly pop punk, after all, and dude's been spotted playing the accordion in local parks just for kicks! Badasses don't do that. But then there he is, slaying on the guitar in Strong Killings, who are absolutely fierce (as in rabid wolves, not Tyra Banks). They're messy and loud and totally inappropriate for a Monday night because you're probably too hung over from the weekend to want to deal with that, but you should go anyway. After Strong Killings' set, Champagne Champagne will tell you how they like to fuck! (Spoiler alert: head down, ass up.) MEGAN SELING

Orkestar Zirkonium

(Neumos) If you've lived in Seattle for any length of time, you've probably caught (unawares, most likely) Orkestar Zirkonium, the city's premier 14-piece Balkan-centric band. OZ are predisposed to spontaneously marching around town, crawling through pubs, and soundtracking street parties with their uproarious drum-and-brass-laden dance music. Their compositions possess an archetypal old-world European charm, of course, but they're also vital as hell. Listen to them, and you can't help feeling your pulse race and your face crease into a wide grin. Orkestar Zirkonium's recent self-titled album has titles like "Nekemtenemmutogatol Oro" and "Zece Prajini," but the sounds are much less brow-furrowing than those words would imply. To quote Kool & the Gang, it's a celebration—even if you can't understand it. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 1/20

Tapes 'n Tapes, Wild Light

(Neumos) Lord knows I'm loath to give blog commenters any more of a platform than they already have, especially those that aren't even from The Stranger's own blog, but I have to give it up to a recent Idolator comments thread regarding people's most disappointing purchases of 2008, in which one waggish reader savaged Minneapolis band (and 2006 Pitchfork darlings) Tapes 'n Tapes thus: "They went from releasing the great lost follow-up to Trompe le Monde to releasing an album of outtakes from The Cult of Ray." Ooh, motherfucking burn! Indeed, Walk It Off is perhaps no The Loon, but "Hang Them All" is a pretty damn winning single, and, fickle critical whims of the internet aside, the band are engaging enough live. But, damn, Cult of Ray. Ouch. ERIC GRANDY

Wednesday 1/21

Jenny Lewis

(Meany Hall) Last year I got into a long argument about Jenny Lewis. At issue was a line from "Portions for Foxes," the Lewis-penned semihit from Rilo Kiley's More Adventurous: "The talking leads to touching/And the touching leads to sex/And then there is no mystery left." This, my friend swore, was the worst lyric ever written by man or woman. I begged to differ, launching a defense of summing up dumb, shallow sex with language befitting a dumb, shallow worldview. My friend wasn't having it, but I didn't care—more for me and good for Lewis, who's talented enough to use a good line even if it makes her look stupid. Tonight, Lewis plays a solo show (with a band that aren't Rilo Kiley) in support of her good-not-great new record, Acid Tongue. DAVID SCHMADER

Support The Stranger

John Spalding Memorial Benefit: Damien Jurado, David Bazan, See Me River

(Chop Suey) There have already been a handful of benefit shows for John Spalding this month (Minus the Bear and Helms Alee both headlined shows at the Showbox and the Sunset, respectively, last week), and now it's time for the singer-songwriter portion of the program with Damien Jurado and Pedro the Lion frontman David Bazan. Spalding played in both Ninety Pound Wuss and Raft of Dead Monkeys, and later made a gorgeous pop record with friends under the guise of LoveLand—he rocked as much as he crooned. Tonight, with Spalding on everyone's mind, Jurado and Bazan's passionately delivered ballads will be especially poignant. MEGAN SELING

Paramount Styles, Robert Roth, Red Jacket Mine

(Sunset) Girls Against Boys, true to their name, introduced a certain amount of good old-fashioned (hetero)sexual rock 'n' roll tension into the arguably homoerotic (sublimated into machismo) D.C. hardcore scene when they formed in the late '80s/early '90s. Central to their sound were the smoky, sultry vocals of lead singer Scott McCloud, who now smooth-operates with the band Paramount Styles. McCloud's voice has mellowed over time, and Paramount Styles match him with mostly midtempo rhythms, acoustic and relatively reserved electric guitars, and piano. It didn't hit me until looking up the band's personnel, which includes a sideman from the reunited Psychedelic Furs, but McCloud's singing has just a touch of Richard Butler to it—not at all a bad thing. ERIC GRANDY