Broken Social Scene, Grand Archives
(Showbox Sodo) Easy listening is a term most commonly deployed as a pejorative, but I think Broken Social Scene make a convincing case for its use as an accolade. The loosely defined, sprawling indie-rock collective's equally loose and sprawling guitar rock could not possibly be easier on the ears, but that's not to the detriment of their songs, which range from tiny pop treasures à la "Anthem for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" to careening yet controlled studio riots to impeccable chill-out music just the right side of yacht rock. Lately, BSS are nominally touring in support of the Broken Social Scene Presents series of "solo" albums (their live sets aren't limited to this material, though), which so far have highlighted founding members Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, but which tend to feature the usual friendly network of players. Expect tonight to be easy in all the right ways. ERIC GRANDY
Constant Lovers, Loving Thunder
(Chop Suey) They're only a duo, but Loving Thunder's driving stoner rock will knock you on your ass. Didn't you learn anything from Big Business? Two dudes, armed with the right gear, can be louder, harder, and more powerful than Zeus. And Loving Thunder prove that correct. On bass guitar and vocals is Colin Roper of Cobra High, and on drums is Sterling Callier of Death Wish Kids and 1776. Punk rock is in their blood. This is also the first show for Constant Lovers, a band composed of Joel Cuplin of Triumph of Lethargy/Suffering and the Hideous Thieves, and Gavin Tull-Esterbrook, also of Suffering and the Hideous Thieves. They're so new they don't even have music available to listen to yet. MEGAN SELING
AFCGT, Hank IV, Unnatural Helpers, the Lights
(Funhouse) Hank IV have nothing to do with the country-music dynasty started by Hank Williams. Rather, the San Francisco five-piece deal in a highly torqued brand of boozy, boisterous garage punk. In America, this is as common as PBR, but Hank IV execute it with maximum verve and crisp, vivid production from top-shelf fidelity providers like Tim Green and Bob Weston. Hank IV's latest LP, Refuge in Genre (Siltbreeze), abounds with no-frills, plenty- o'-thrills rock that will get your buzz and howl on. The bookers at the Funhouse certainly know their core audience, who should get thoroughly shit-faced on Hank IV's hooky, hectic rock. DAVE SEGAL See also preview.
P.O.S., Doomtree, Onry Ozzborn, Gigantics
(Nectar) In the way that the Twin City area produced Prince, it also produced P.O.S. Though separated by time and changes in popular music, the two artists are essentially the same, and this sameness results from the environment that shaped them, the Twin Cities (I'm taking this idea directly from something Cornel West once said about Prince). Most metropolitan areas in America cannot successfully produce black artists who have one foot completely in a white art (in the case of P.O.S., it is punk) and the other foot in a black art (for P.O.S., it is rap). And what is amazing about P.O.S.'s work (and this can also be said about Prince's coupling of funk and rock) is that there is no tension between the forms. Without a hint of gimmickry, rap and punk find a perfect meeting point in P.O.S. CHARLES MUDEDE
The Tailenders, Red Sea Sharks, the Pleasure Kills, the Bug Nasties
(Comet) Jesus Christ, don't you ever get tired of banging your head against guitar rock every weekend? Here, listen to the Tailenders. I know—that voice, right? It's deep and intelligent, and he sounds kind of like Robert Smith or early Scott Walker. It's a relief to hear a frontman who doesn't sound screechy. And those keyboards are really beautiful, too, aren't they? It's tuneful and just the right amount of mannered. It's like you've been wearing a punk-rock sweat suit for weeks, and you're finally putting on some fancy clothes and going out on the town. PAUL CONSTANT
(Chop Suey) Once you get over the novelty of hearing a rock band from Russia sing in Russian, you will find that Mumiy Troll are simply a moderately interesting art-rock group. Apparently, hailing from a land that uses the Cyrillic alphabet doesn't guarantee exotic coolness. Who knew? Still, the Vladivostok quartet wouldn't have lasted for a quarter-century without some redeeming qualities. They excel at a kind of dramatic, melancholy arena rock that could endear them to fans of the TV on the Radio and DeVotchKa. That being said, the highlight of Comrade Ambassador (a comp of MT's last two discs, Amba and 8) is "We Overslept," which paraphrases the funkier-than-thou bass line from Sly & the Family Stone's "Thank You." Soviet goes... DAVE SEGAL
Nightmares on Wax, Zac Hendrix
(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker.
Sweet Water, Western Aerial, the Valkyries
(Neumos) When Sweet Water reunited in 2007 to play a couple shows at the Crocodile, who knew the departed band (who broke up in the early 2000s) still had such a big following? The shows were sold out, and the hundreds of people crammed in the showroom were gleefully singing and dancing to the band's über-catchy pop-rock anthems such as "Superstar." Despite the success of the evenings, though, the band were unsure if they'd play again, let alone write new material. But after over a year of taking baby steps—writing, rehearsing, recording—they're releasing their first studio album since 1999's Suicide. Clear the Tarmac is just as catchy and anthemic at times, with a little more pop than rock... and even a little well-placed piano. They're more grown-up, but they're not old. MEGAN SELING
Fruit Bats, Sera Cahoone, Moon Pulls the Ocean
(Vera Project) After a couple years spent moonlighting with the Shins, Eric Johnson returns to his own band, the folk-rocking Fruit Bats, who'll perform their first Seattle show in years tonight at the Vera Project. Joining the Fruit Bats is their Sub Pop labelmate Sera Cahoone, who's done her own moonlighting with Seattle legends Carissa's Wierd and Band of Horses while making a name for herself with her delicate melodic guitar strum and gorgeously weary singing voice. DAVID SCHMADER
Tim Sweeney, Ben Cook, H.M.A.
(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests.
Yo! Majesty, Mad Rad
(Nectar) Tampa, Florida's Yo! Majesty have at least a couple great booty-bass club jams (most notably "Club Action," whose refrain, "Fuck that shit / say fuck that shit," you've probably heard sometime in the past year), but they're probably as well known for their songs as they are for being both Christians and lesbians, and for their tendency to partially disrobe at live shows. Seattle's Mad Rad have some undeniable dance-floor rockers, as well, but lately they're more known locally for being banned from a half dozen Capitol Hill clubs as well as the Showbox due to some unfortunate "club action" of their own. Both these groups get their share of haters, but let's be clear—these acts are not about academically advancing the hallowed history of hiphop; they are about getting asses up on the floor, and they succeed. To criticize this stuff for being frivolous or merely fun (in that weird derogatory sense where "fun" is a liability) is to miss the point entirely. ERIC GRANDY
Reporter, Fist Fite, the Hail Seizures, Jes Blackwell
Juana Molina, Laura Gibson
(Triple Door) Argentine singer/multi-instrumentalist Juana Molina is improving as she goes. The former TV comedian has transitioned into music making with understated panache. Her primary style is a somber samba-tronica, augmented by her sweet, feathery vocals, which are at once shy and seductive. Molina's latest and greatest album, 2008's Un Día, finds her voice at its most expressive, roaring into a hearty Gal Costa–esque range at times. Similarly, Molina's rhythms pulse with greater oomph here, giving heft to her previously svelte compositions. She's mastered the art of sounding soothing without sounding dull; her intimate and intricate songs radiate pure, albeit subdued, joy. This tour is the first time Molina will have a full band backing her while playing in the States. DAVE SEGAL
The Murder City Devils, Past Lives, Cap Lori
They Live!, Rudy and the Rhetoric, Helladope, Thee Satisfaction, LéRoy
(Neumos) They Live! is a new project featuring Gatsby of Cancer Rising (aka Stranger hiphop columnist Larry "Second Wave" Mizell Jr.) along with Bruce Illest (aka djblesOne). It would be easy to dismiss They Live!'s debut, The Dro Bots Saga, as a joke, as it's some funny, punch-line-heavy stuff, with snatches of dialogue from sources ranging from South Park to Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story ("It doesn't give you a hangover!" "It's not habit-forming!"). But even though the Saga's nine chapters in 18 minutes play out like sketches, both in the sense of sketch comedy and in the sense of feeling like short rough drafts of songs, the ersatz Adult Swim rapping and djblesOne's ADD production are serious enough to sustain the stoned humor. Live, these guys are veteran stage rockers—it should be fun. Up-and-comers Rudy and the Rhetoric are also not to be missed. ERIC GRANDY