Wednesday 9/14

Le Sang Song, Kitchen's Floor, Fat History Month, Baby Guns

(Comet) Le Sang Song is the solo endeavor of ex–Lights/current Love Tan guitarist/vocalist Craig Chambers. In this guise, he flexes his troubadour muscles to rewarding ends. Chambers exudes a loner-folkie vibe with his pleasantly morose tunes and low, deadpan singing. Think Bill Callahan and Syd Barrett, but with a higher metabolism rate, writing songs for when the campfire has been reduced to embers. Do yourself a solid and search for Le Sang Song's self-titled 2010 LP on Dragnet Records. Fat History Month is a great band name, and their music—judging by their six-song Fucking Despair release—isn't bad, either. They hark back to '90s indie-rock worthies like Butterglory and the Grifters—scrappy tunesmiths with a knack for askew guitar tones and surprising song structures. DAVE SEGAL

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Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands, Amy LaVere, Sherilyn Segrest

(Sunset) While it's true that Mark Pickerel's hair does, indeed, possess superpowers, they wouldn't be nearly as potent if he weren't so talented. Watching him play drums is a hoot, but watching him perform his wickedly dark and hopelessly romantic country noir is pure awesomeness. Possessed with an innate sense of showmanship, Pickerel is also blessed with a storyteller's eye—and the sense to surround himself with the right folks to nail his vision. Combine that with his mischievous grin, aforementioned magical hair, and the best (and most dangerous) dance moves in town, and it all adds up to a helluva good time. BARBARA MITCHELL

Thursday 9/15

"Weird Al" Yankovic

(Puyallup Fairgrounds) Things you can learn about Alfred Matthew Yankovic from his website (www.weirdal.com): His full name (see above), what other artists think of his songs ("Most artists... consider it an honor to have Weird Al parody their work. Some groups [including Nirvana] claim that they didn't realize that they had really 'made it' until Weird Al did a parody of them!"), his beef with Coolio ("Al sincerely apologizes to Coolio for the misunderstanding"), and what instruments he plays ("the accordion has always been Al's main 'axe'"). The 51-year-old parodist is playing at the Puyallup Fair, so go snag a corn dog and sing along. (You know how sometimes you start singing along with a song, only to realize that you're singing the Weird Al version instead? No? Um, yeah, me neither.) ANNA MINARD

Def Leppard, Heart

(White River Amphitheatre) At first glance, it might seem like a strange fit, but it was only a matter of time before Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart teamed up with the testosterone-driven bombast of UK pop-metal legends Def Leppard. As far as "classic rock" bands go, these two are among the remaining few that have the chops to bring amphitheater-sized crowds to their feet by way of talent and not just blind nostalgia. While I'm sure both bands will pepper in a few of their newer songs, it's safe to say both Def Leppard and Heart know their audiences well enough to realize a majority of the crowd will be crossing their fingers for a comprehensive "best of" set, one where "Barracuda" and "Pour Some Sugar on Me" ignite the grassy hill with the last great sing-along of the summer. KEVIN DIERS

Friday 9/16

Sera Cahoone, Betsy Olson, Maggie Bjorklund, Alessandra Rose, Shelby Earl, Side Saddle

(Neptune) See Underage.

La La Vasquez, Brilliant Colors

(Cairo) See Underage.

Alexander East, Ramiro Gutierrez, Dev-j, and Robotika

(Electric Tea Garden) See Data Breaker.

Stranger Genius Awards: Wheedle's Groove, Wild Orchid Children, OC Notes, Emerald City Soul Club

(Moore) Nine years ago, The Stranger commenced the annual Genius Awards, in which five worthy art-makers are given $5,000 each just for existing—no application process, no strings attached. Last year, The Stranger began bestowing a Genius Award for music, and the performance of last year's first-ever Music Geniuses—Shabazz Palaces—is something everyone present will tell their grandchildren about. This year's Music Genius is the prickly and brilliant pop band the Intelligence, and the performers at tonight's Genius Awards party at the Moore are the legendary soul collective Wheedle's Groove and the genre-fucking psycho-pop outfit Wild Orchid Children, along with DJ sets by OC Notes and Emerald City Soul Club, all for only seven bucks. DAVID SCHMADER

Low, Bachelorette

(Neumos) Few bands can entrance an audience to a still, perfect silence like Low, the long-standing Duluth trio spearheaded by spiritual lovers Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. Last year, the band rolled through town just as winter started to settle in, and the entire room was as silent as the night in "Silent Night." They not only dropped a few holiday songs from their vaulted repertoire (including "Silent Night"), but we got a whole chunk of numbers from their then-forthcoming album C'mon, which Sub Pop released this year. With C'mon, the band continues to stretch and broaden the cozy confines of "slowcore," maximizing a sound that's decidedly minimal, but evocatively beautiful, strange, and full of hope. Two standouts, the lead single "Try to Sleep" and "Witches," are the kind of songs you want to close your eyes and get close to, the songs you want to nurture that end up pounding lasting mental bruises into your black-and-blue soul. With Low, you hear the music where there is air and hear heartbeats where there is silence. Most people won't be going home alone tonight. Those who do will be crying themselves to sleep and/or viciously masturbating. TRAVIS RITTER

Branford Marsalis

(Jazz Alley) The great saxophonist Branford Marsalis, who is a member of jazz's royal family (the Marsalises—Ellis, Wynton, Delfeayo), is famous for participating in Sting's only decent solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, leading the band on Jay Leno's show in the mid-'90s, and working with DJ Premier on jazz/hiphop collaboration Buckshot LeFonque. He is less well known for the ribbons upon ribbons of beauty extracted from Igor Stravinsky's "Pastorale"—a piece on the album Romance for Saxophone. Branford Marsalis is also known for upsetting his more famous brother Wynton. Branford loves popular culture; Wynton hates it. CHARLES MUDEDE

Ancient Warlocks, White Orange, Princess, Serial Hawk

(Funhouse) Portland's White Orange's self-titled debut is a fun, wholly heavy, and appropriately amplified riff factory. Someone needs to book a show with White Orange and Hobosexual and Red Fang right now. Put it on your to-do list, people! Speaking of riffs, newish Seattle quartet Ancient Warlocks seem to be setting up their own factory here. Fuck it. Let's get 'em all together. GRANT BRISSEY

Esseno, Grynch, Sonny Bonoho, Eldridge Gravy, Kevin Gardner

(Nectar) Seattle hiphop has several high achievements. One of them, however, is little known or mentioned in the press and community as a whole. It's a collaboration between Grynch ("My Volvo," "Time," "Chemistry") and DJ Sabzi (Blue Scholars, Common Market, Made in Heights), and was offered for free on the website for the now-defunct Massline Records (2005 to 2008). The track is called "The Life I Chose" and features Grynch rapping about his love for his art, hiphop, and his commitment to keeping things real (in the words of another rapper: "Stay true to who you are and don't you ever forget") as Sabzi wondrously chops up Journey's "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)." A great sample always comes out of nowhere. You can sample, say, Sly and the Family Stone, but that's not great because it's so obvious, it's coming out of somewhere. Coming out of nowhere is a sample from a Journey tune. And rapping to such a strange sample (a nowhere sample) like it ain't no thing is what Grynch does on this superb track. If you doubt for one minute Sabzi's greatness, listen to what he does to "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)." He totally kills it. CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy.

Grave, Blood Red Throne, Pathology, Gigan, Crush Your Enemies, Bloodhunger

(El Corazón) As of late, the crunchy guitar tone made famous by a barrage of early '90s death-metal bands has made a bit of a resurgence, with Nails, Black Breath, and Trap Them borrowing the "buzzsaw," only to find headbangingly awesome results. For those unacquainted, Swedish death-metal crew Grave are one of the forefathers of said tone, riffing through nine full-length albums, countless world tours, and five member changes, all the while sticking to their overdriven, distorted brand of brutality. Florida trio Gigan spice up the beefy slab of death metal served to us by adding a touch of tech-death-wizardry. Show up early for Tacoma's Bloodhunger as they prepare the audience for the evening's platter of chunky treats. KEVIN DIERS

Megasapien, Cristina Bautista + Gold Parts, Boom City

(Sunset) I thought my raging crush on Seattle's Cristina Bautista—as seen in Visqueen!—had reached its pinnacle, but then she goes and releases Gold Parts, an addicting pop record full of guitar-driven melodies, vocals saturated with confidence, and appearances by local beloveds Eric Howk, Kirk Huffman, Garrett Lunceford, and others. While the song "Heartless" flirts a little too closely with KISS 106.1 pop jamz territory, "The Cyrkle (Champion)" and "Long Divisions" are completely enjoyable and commanding end-of-summer anthems, proving Bautista is capable of delivering songs as solid as anything Kelly Clarkson's done, only here you don't have to be embarrassed to admit you like it. MEGAN SELING

Saturday 9/17

Branford Marsalis

(Jazz Alley) See Friday.

Devo, Psychedelic Furs, Tom Tom Club

(Redhook Brewery) See Stranger Suggests.

Seattle Symphony Orchestra: Opening Night

(Benaroya Hall) "What a cool concert," one person said. "Oh my god," the other said. "How cool was that?" the first repeated. They could not stop, and they were not alone. Surprised and happy crowds were walking out of Bumbershoot, out of the theater where the Seattle Symphony performed at the festival for the first time in the symphony's entire history. Unlike most "pops" concerts, in which orchestras attempt to ingratiate themselves with people who don't like classical music, this was a real concert—with music that was what it was—not a lite version of some other music. A bassoonist plugged into a bunch of pedals and improvised trippily with himself, as though there were a dozen plugged-in bassoonists up there. A double bass player gave a talk about failure. Who was responsible for bringing this night of real music to life? Ludovic Morlot, the man everyone's been waiting for, Seattle Symphony's new 37-year-old French music director and conductor. Tonight is the formal opening of his tenure at Benaroya Hall. No pressure, but I expect the world. JEN GRAVES See also Stranger Suggests.

Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Bob Log III, Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout!

(Tractor) I feel like we've told you about Bob Log III million times, so we're going to try something different and show you a picture of him. GRANT BRISSEY

Sunday 9/18

Tomten, the Elderly, Sebastian and the Deep Blue

(Chop Suey) Hey, kid! You've got something to learn from Seattle's baroque pop outfit Tomten. About this time last year, they entered Sound Off!, the EMP's annual underage battle of the bands, and with a charming stage presence, playful pop songs, and impressive musical skills, they won first place. As a result, they just wrapped up their summer by playing Bumbershoot. Does that sound like something you'd want to do? Well, you can! If you're a 21-year-old or younger musician in any genre, visit www.empmuseum.org/soundoff to get all the Sound Off! rules and submit an online application. Entries must be received by November 7. Then go to Chop Suey tonight to see what a winning band looks like. MEGAN SELING

Monday 9/19

Shove some cake in your piehole.

Tuesday 9/20

Stop Biting: Mr. Dibia$e, Suttikeeree, Absolute Madman, WD4D, Introcut, Sho-Nuph, Eardrumz

(Lo-Fi) See Data Breaker.

Junior Boys, Young Galaxy

(Neumos) Vancouver, BC's Young Galaxy's first two albums contain the sort of hushed and expansive rock that warms the cockles of latter-day Mercury Rev fans. The Canadian group's 2011 album, Shapeshifting, was produced by Dan Lissvik of the Swedish duo Studio, and it reflects his predilection for cool-headed dance music. It's a departure from Young Galaxy and Invisible Republic, and despite Lissvik's smooth mixing-board skills, this sugary, clubby, and stilted direction doesn't serve YG well. Fellow Canadians Junior Boys have made a lot of fans by being a sort of Smiths for electronic-music aficionados. Their introverted emotronica—marked by Jeremy Greenspan's understatedly romantic croon—possesses a dignified bearing and rarely breaks a sweat. If many electronic-music artists strive to turn your bedroom into a discotheque, Junior Boys desire to convert the disco into a boudoir. Their latest full-length, It's All True, is their most satisfying since 2004's Last Exit. DAVE SEGAL

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