Thursday 1/22

Khingz, Step Cousins, Waves of the Mind, DJ WD4D

(Nectar) See My Philosophy.

The Neil and the Damage Done: Neil Young Tribute Night

(Sunset) One of the most exciting aspects of a Neil Young tribute night is its potential for a wide variety of rackets: art punks banging away at "Sedan Delivery," electro acts working magic with Trans, and, of course, a bounty of sensitive singer- songwriters helping themselves to the heartrending melodic delights to be found in every era of Neil. At the Sunset Tavern's "The Neil and the Damage Done," softly rocking melodicism seems to be the name of the game, with each of the night's confirmed acts—Amateur Radio Operator, Elder Mason, At the Spine, and Herman Jolly—a strummy guitar-based outfit. If they do their jobs right, it will be beautiful. DAVID SCHMADER

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s The Nutcracker is Back Onstage at McCaw Hall! Tickets start at $27.
Join PNB for a timeless tale of holiday adventure performed by PNB’s amazing dancers and orchestra.

Tera Melos, Astronautalis

(Vera Project) Roseville, California, trio Tera Melos made their rep as a spazzy math-rock unit with a fine grasp of hairpin dynamics, like a more tune-conscious Hella. But with Idioms Vol. 1, they've morphed into maximalist, kinetic indie rockers who recall oddballs like Alice Donut and the more frantic bands on NME's C86 cassette. On this EP of covers that guitarist Nick Reinhart claims influenced their band, Tera Melos color way outside the lines with bent crayons in vivid colors. On these songs by the Beach Boys, the Clash, Pixies, Rivers Cuomo, and Polaris, Tera Melos spill effusive melodies like sugared-up teens who channel their ADHD into stunning creative energy. DAVE SEGAL

Friday 1/23

Earth, Joy Wants Eternity, the Correspondents, This Is a Process of a Still Life, Perish the Island

(Chop Suey) See preview.

Neema/Unexpected Arrival, Grynch, Wizdom, DJ Money D

(Neumos) See My Philosophy.

Ruff Gemz

(Lo_Fi Performance Gallery) See Data Breaker.

The Corner

(Rendezvous) My Philosophy.

Prince vs. Michael: DJs Dave Paul and Indica Jones

(Nectar) At this stage of history, it seems almost cruel to cast Prince and Michael Jackson as rivals. While the former continues to compose, record, perform, and tour with the obsessive artistry that has distinguished his three-decades-and-counting career, the latter is content to repackage old hits ad infinitum and skirt bankruptcy by the skin of what's left of his nose. About the only forum where Prince and Jackson can contend as near equals is on the dance floor, where the greatest dance records of each remain universal intoxicants. Tonight, DJ Dave Paul, founder and CEO of San Francisco's legendary Bomb Hip-Hop record label, returns to Seattle, bringing his renowned "Prince vs. Michael" dance party—featuring hits, rarities, and remixes of both icons—to Nectar. DAVID SCHMADER

Katy Perry, Alphabet

(Showbox at the Market) In a recent interview with New York magazine, Antony "and the Johnsons" Hegarty said he thought Sean Penn's portrayal of gay politician Harvey Milk in Milk was "like blackface... it's a continuing Hollywood minstrel show, co-opting queer stories and perversely building up the careers of these heterosexual bastards." So, Hegarty's probably not a huge fan of Katy Perry's breakout single, "I Kissed a Girl," in which evangelical spawn Perry affects some limply titillating bi-curiosity but still hopes her boyfriend "don't mind it." (This is of course to say nothing of her other atrocious single, "Ur So Gay," which reduces homosexuality to little more than the wearing of an H&M scarf.) Still, such lyrical offenses might be excusable, even enjoyable, if only the music were at all interesting (cf. the gender/identity tourism of Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes/Georgie Fruit). I would go just to see Danish wonky popsters Alphabeat, though. ERIC GRANDY

Ms. Led, Wallpaper, the Camellias

(High Dive, late) All good things must come to an end, and tonight, after nine years of post–riot grrrl post-punk ass-kicking, Seattle's Ms. Led perform the final show of their career. "Regular" Ms. Led live shows are smashing dance parties, and tonight's finale should be an ecstatic massacre. Go and get your last fix of a band that's been fighting the good fight for the past near-decade, and scream loud enough to power leader Lesli Wood onto whatever glories shall next be wrought from her significant talent. DAVID SCHMADER

Unnatural Helpers, the Fresh & Onlys, Idle Times

(Sunset) Unnatural Helpers could be considered Seattle's Replacements (pre-Tim Replacements, that is): ramshackle, noisy, tuneful, and fun. There's nothing original about Unnatural Helpers, but there's plenty good about them, including their knack for writing concise songs with great hooks. Rudimentary wins the day. Featuring members of the Catheters, Unnatural Helpers, and Tall Birds, Idle Times are like UN's more accomplished doppelgängers, although they're far from slick—they may remind some of the excellent Soundgarden side project Hater. No-frills rock with a sweet balance of raucousness and tunefulness: In the right hands, that's quite enough. The Fresh & Onlys craft spot-on facsimiles of regional American teen-beat hits circa 1966. DAVE SEGAL

Black Eyes & Neckties, Prize Country, Madraso, Rad Touch

(Comet) It's likely that no local band is more stoked about the Murder City Devils' upcoming Seattle shows than Bellingham's Black Eyes & Neckties. Or, maybe not, actually.... The goth-rock dance band borrows heavily from Murder City's haunted rock-and-roll sound with live performances just as blistering as the most memorable Spencer Moody and company moments (last summer, the band's thrash-happy singer broke his ankle onstage, for example). And with MCD long gone, BE&N could nicely fill the hole in our hearts. If there's not enough room in the Northwest for both bands, I propose a battle—of wits, rock, and dance moves. May the best fake-blood-soaked, sweater-vest-wearing, electric-organ-pounding band win. MEGAN SELING

Saturday 1/24

Hypatia Lake; Beast, Please Be Still; Deelay Ceelay; the Luna Moth; Unlearn

(King Cobra) See preview.

Curumin, Project Lionheart, the Let Go, DJ Million

(Nectar) Straight outta São Paolo, Brazil, Curumin busts kinetic raps in Portuguese over spicily funky productions that are more street than cozy world-music-fusion snoozin'. The true-school heads at Quannum Projects signed Curumin (aka Luciano Nakata Albuquerque), so stateside cred shouldn't be doubted. You may not pick up every lyrical nugget Curumin is layin' down, but you can't deny the South American's appealing blend of bossa-nova/Tropicália suaveness and rap grit. Looks like we get some baile funk in our boom-bap tonight. DAVE SEGAL

The Walkmen, Beach House

(Neumos) NYC band the Walkmen manage the difficult trick of evoking ghosts of Bob Dylan without coming off like cheap charlatan conjurers. This is largely thanks to lead singer Hamilton Leithauser's strained-thin wails and willfully slurred words. But the Walkmen's songs have a certain bleary-eyed, neighborhood-bar-drunk romanticism that distinguishes them as their own. The band's drunk-night and hungover-day range is well demonstrated by two of their best songs, 2004's "The Rat" and last year's "In the New Year": The former is a bilious pre-blackout kiss-off with what might be the most heartbreaking quatrain about aging out of the nightlife ever; the latter is a slightly haggard but heroically hopeful look ahead. Beach House's candlelit séance vibes are less iconically fixated but more reverently hushed and quietly haunting. ERIC GRANDY

We Wrote the Book on Connectors, H Is for Hellgate, the Dead Americans

(Skylark) Hooray for Ben Baier! Who is Ben Baier? Ben Baier is one of the happiest men on the planet. He's in both We Wrote the Book on Connectors and H Is for Hellgate. Not only is he a teller of good jokes, but he loves to say "hooray" about as much as I do. Hooray! Tonight, for the second annual Ben Baier Appreciation Night, Baier showcases his multiple musical personalities by performing in both his bands. First in H Is for Hellgate—a moody rock band with dark and driving energy—then in We Wrote the Book on Connectors, who are very goofy. They sing songs about dinosaurs, cake, and bloody torsos. Hooray! MEGAN SELING

Sunday 1/25

Bronze Fawn,, Snowman Plan, the Friendly Skies, Waves and Radiation

(Vera Project) See preview.

Metronomy, the Mae Shi, Sam Rousso Soundsystem

(Chop Suey) Metronomy's debut, Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe), was an endearingly lo-fi affair, the product of one guy tinkering around on an old computer and not-quite-state-of-the-art software. That album's "How Say" is still earwormed into my brain to this day. But an artist can't just rely on being "endearing" forever; eventually he/she has to get on with it. For Metronomy, that's meant doing a bunch of remixes—their take on the Klaxons' "Atlantis to Interzone" ranks among my three favorite remixes of that band—and expanding to a full three-piece live band, and recording sophomore album Nights Out. The chintzy synths of Pip Paine are still present, but now they're leading studio-polished electro-rock songs arranged for a trio, and it's sometimes an odd fit. Still, the album's catchiest numbers—such as "Heartbreaker," "Back on the Motorway," and "On Dancefloors"—update and expand the band's sound to great success. ERIC GRANDY

Lil Wayne, T-Pain, Gym Class Heroes, Keri Hilson

(KeyArena) Lil Wayne might actually think that menstruation is a venereal disease. Or he may just be fucking with you. He's probably just fucking with you. Then again, he may also think he's a great guitar player. It's hard to tell with Wayne where the weedy, wheezy punch lines end and anything else (is there anything else?) begins. But that hazy play is much of the fun with his prodigious, if not entirely even, output. On the best of his stuff—"A Milli," Da Drought 3 mixtape—Wayne tosses words around like so many toys, his wit simultaneously blunted and razor sharp. On the worst of his stuff, he's singing Auto-Tuned candy-as-sex pap or playing that aforementioned and godawful guitar. Wayne may not be the Best Rapper Alive, but he's possibly the most entertaining. ERIC GRANDY

Monday 1/26

Mighty Tiger, the Know, France vs. Germany

(Sunset) There's obviously something Sufjan Stevens-y about Mighty Tiger: the voices raised in chorus, the ornate instrumentation, the bold fearlessness of taking masculine vocals up to the higher, soprano end of the scale. Some of their songs sound as though they could fit into the soundtrack of a Wes Anderson movie with no problem at all. But there's an edge to their music, a willingness to actually rock, that has pushed Mighty Tiger up on my playlist: They're proof that you can make sensitive, thoughtful music and not sound like a namby-pamby, weak-kneed wuss. PAUL CONSTANT

Tuesday 1/27

Stop Biting

(Lo_Fi Performance Gallery) See Data Breaker.

Support The Stranger

Wednesday 1/28

Department of Eagles, the Cave Singers

(Neumos) Department of Eagles consist of Fred Nicolaus and Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen, who met and recorded what would become their first album, Cold Noses, as roommates at NYU. Since Rossen joined Grizzly Bear, the two have collaborated largely by e-mailing audio files back and forth while Rossen toured and Nicolaus worked a day job, pausing from their respective duties (Nicolaus apparently "worked from home" on the days he needed to do vocal takes) to record their most recent album, In Ear Park. The album showcases the same delicate singing and deft songcraft that Rossen has brought to Grizzly Bear, with a cycle of wistful songs largely inspired by Rossen's deceased father. ERIC GRANDY

Lunch Buddy Program, the Raymontane, Iris I

(Sunset) Local trio Lunch Buddy Program (bassist Jesse Dosher, drummer Ben Torrence, guitarist Robbie Hunt) sound like they've assimilated the underground rock that made Louisville and Chicago hotbeds of left-of-center rock in the '90s. Their roots derive from a proud tradition of nonflamboyant groups like the For Carnation, Dianogah, and early the Sea and Cake. LBP's melodies are tempered by an earthy pragmatism that's perhaps the natural outcome when two-thirds of your band work in construction, as Torrence and Hunt do; the tunes contain glimmers of hope, but they don't get carried away. That being said, many numbers on their 2007 album Rest Stops & Roadmaps will nestle into your mind like splinters. LBP are furiously working on their new album and have two more Seattle shows before going on hiatus in March, so don't sleep. DAVE SEGAL