Cold Lake, Virgin
(Crocodile) Do you miss Monorchid and Skull Kontrol, those wonderfully belligerent and snarky punk-rock collaborations between Chris Thompson and Andy Coronado? Ever since the two split, no one has touched their loud-mouthed tension and aggressive guitar work. Enter Cold Lake, who describe their sound as "the Monorchid jamming on Entombed's gear." Cold Lake dish out razor-sharp guitar lines and anxious vocals in a manner that may just fill the gap (although frontman Corey Brewer's vocal skree is shriller than Thompson's), and there's a definite correlation between the ethos of Skull Kontrol's "New Rock Critic" and CL's "Troll III." It's about time. GRANT BRISSEY
Brazilian Mardi Gras/Carnaval 2010: Trio Elétrico: Armandinho, Dodô & Osmar
(Neumos) Ain't no Mardi Gras like a Brazilian Mardi Gras—or so certain knowledgeable folks claim. Now Seattleites can see/hear for themselves if the hype's believable with this tour featuring three of Brazil's most feted musicians. (But will they be able to fit the trio elétrico, aka sound truck, into Neumos?) Armandinho is a virtuoso on the guitarra baiana and bandolim, and his madly mercurial, floridly nimble style—somewhere between Al DiMeola and Steve Vai, but with favela flava—could appeal to prog-rock and jazz-fusion fans... who like to party naked. When Armandinho teams with Dodô & Osmar, they form Trio Elétrico, a combo of fiery, flamboyant rock à la Santana and Hendrix and muy rápido Latin rhythms. DAVE SEGAL
Loscil, the Sight Below, Gel-Sol
(SAM) See Data Breaker.
El Perro Del Mar, Taken by Trees
(Triple Door) Probably still best known as the lip-chewing female foil on Peter Bjorn & John's "Young Folks," former Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman is now proprietor of a solo act called Taken by Trees. While her debut album by that name, Open Field, hewed fairly close to her previous exploits—whisper-shy, Scando-chilly folk pop, lushly orchestrated and perfectly tuneful—her latest, East of Eden, finds her traveling to Pakistan to record with local Sufi musicians under the watchful eye and subtle hand of Studio producer Dan Lissvik. The result is a remarkable record that locks ebullient Middle Eastern instrumentation into relaxed but regimented pop grooves, adding distinct new undertones and counterpoints to Bergsman's winsome, wispy singing—without sounding like tourism. A mood of quietly contained joy permeates the album, from the easy melody of "Day by Day" to its cover of Animal Collective's "My Girls," a reassemblage of the original's adobe slabs that's about as far from frosty IKEA efficiency as you can imagine. ERIC GRANDY
3rd Annual Johnny Cash Spectacular: Vince Mira, Billy Joe Huels of the Dusty 45s, Kirk Huffman of Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, Marshall Scott Warner, Nick Streeter, Kerry Zettel
(Neumos) If you've ever been to karaoke, you know that it's very hard to fuck up a Johnny Cash song; even the drunkest frat boy in the world can carry the tune of "Folsom Prison Blues." Cash's songs have the kind of elemental power that everybody—toddlers, imbeciles, and punk rockers alike—understands. So when a bunch of genuinely talented musicians gets together to pay homage at the altar of Cash, there's almost no way the resulting show can go wrong. Huels and Huffman are the folks to watch out for here—they've both shown that they have the chops to make JC proud—but everybody on this bill is great. This should be an unforgettable evening. PAUL CONSTANT
The Lights, Erik Blood, Partman Parthorse
(Funhouse) After creating the heavens and the earth, God said, "Let there be the Lights." Then he said, "Let there be Pabst Blue Ribbon. Pour this nectar down thy throats, my children, and open your ears." And the holy sound that was let in was that of Seattle garage-rock mainstay-saints the Lights. Craig Chambers, Jeff Albertson, and PJ Rogalski always put on mind-blowing shows. Sadly, the band has run into pesky new neighbors who are making noise complaints when the band rehearses. Albertson said, "They called the cops and then took off out of town. They've been gone for a week, so we've been unmolested by the Man since then. We are fully prepared to deliver our rock. Fear not, my sonic peoples." TRENT MOORMAN
Damien Jurado, the Robinsons, Jen Wood
(Sunset) Though the album is already recorded, Damien Jurado won't be releasing his new full-length, Saint Bartlett, until May. Thankfully, fans won't have to wait three more months to hear new material—Jurado will pass the days until the record comes out by posting a new song on his MySpace page every week. But the tracks won't be from the record, they'll be originals, tastes of whatever Jurado's working on at the moment. And if that isn't enough for the diehards, there's also a brand-new album out from Hoquiam, the acoustic-folk project featuring Jurado and his brother Drake. The self-titled record, released February 23, is limited to 500 copies, each with a unique handmade record cover. MEGAN SELING
Dark Time Sunshine, Sol, J.Bre, Night Fox, Mr. Hill
(Rendezvous) The video for Dark Time Sunshine's "Doom"/"Go Team"/"Wrong Kids" gets to the core of Onry Ozzborn's latest endeavor (the Gigantics, Grayskul, and Oldominion are his other big projects), while also capturing the spirit of the emerging collaborations between local filmmakers and local hiphop artists. Directed by Christian Hansen, the video is made up of three parts. The first concerns the creative union between Seattle MC Cape Cowen (Ozzborn) and Chicago producer Zavala. The second part of the video has Ozzborn watching the city and its hiphop scene in what looks like a command center. The final part has appearances by the current school of local hiphop—Mad Rad, They Live! (now Mash Hall), Champagne Champagne, and THEESatisfaction. Here, the first wave (Onry, Oldominion) finds itself in the middle of the third wave. CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy.
(Showbox at the Market) Jazz and funk—and jazz-funk—bands from New Orleans have a daunting burden to bear. The city's precedent for world-class musicians can intimidate unconfident players. But Galactic have risen to the challenge presented by NOLA's heavy legacy; if they're not quite yet up to the level of the Meters, Eddie Bo, Dr. John, etc., they are super-competent torch carriers for the Crescent City's humid funk and celebratory jazz (Galactic also have worked fruitfully with rappers on 2007's From the Corner to the Block). Galactic's new album, Ya-Ka-May, corrals old and young Nawlins artists to conjure a bold, extroverted record that respectfully updates the city's funk and jazz extravagances so they're more fit for street parties than museum retrospectives. DAVE SEGAL
Evangelist, Abodox, Lozen, Sugar Sugar Sugar
(Comet) Evangelist have a song titled "Seattle Metal Is a Dead Scene." Is this true? And if so, what city should we look to for an example of a thriving and vibrant metal community? Evangelist's sound seems inspired by early death metal, the kind of stuff that came out of Morrisound Recording back in the day. Yet if Evangelist pine for the heyday of Tampa metal, they should take note: Floridians no longer come out in droves for Obituary and Morbid Angel. Besides, the technical precision of local prog-metal masters Abodox and sultry sludge of Northwest natives Lozen should make any denizen of the local heavy-music community proud. Yeah, this city may have an affinity for neutered pop, but goddamnit, we like a big mean riff, too. BRIAN COOK
Medeski Martin & Wood
(Showbox at the Market) See Stranger Suggests.
AFCGT, Kinski, Arbitron
(Comet) My first taste of Arbitron came via a spray-painted cassette, housed in a single Stayfree maxi-pad box. The packaging was their clever way of telling me something was about to bleed. That cassette was a glorious display of damaged punk, marginally improvised with just the right amount of distortion and percussive spikes. Since then, the Seattle guitar/drum duo has become more solid, while still teetering on the fringe of ugliness. Sandwiched between Arbitron and headliners AFCGT are longtime local favorites Kinski, known for a mammoth sound that crests over moments of heady beauty. AFCGT, who celebrate the release of their excellent self-titled Sub Pop debut tonight, create blitzing, blistering, cross-wired noise that erupts and flows with rock's gravitational force. Brace yourself for a night of sonic reckoning and shove some tampons in your ears. TRAVIS RITTER
Brutal Truth, Super Happy Story Time Land, Streetwalker
(Studio Seven) Watching OG New York City grindcore band Brutal Truth tear it up live is like attending a speed trial: They already hold the world record for shortest music video (just over two seconds), so it's only a matter of milliseconds before they dethrone whichever band (Agoraphobic Nosebleed? Anal Cunt?) holds the bragging rights for shortest song. After a seven-year hiatus, they re-formed in 2006, and last April released Evolution Through Revolution, a 20-song blast of uncompromising grind. It's nice to see one of the true genre-defining bands show up the new blood, not just keep up with them. KEVIN DIERS
Harlem, Idle Times, the Knast
(Funhouse) There's something ballsy (and galling, too) about a group of indie-rock white boys from Austin calling themselves Harlem. The universe needs to regain balance with a black R&B troupe that goes by Reykjavik or something. Dodgy nomenclature aside, Harlem play peppy, jangly rock that would fit comfortably on a Homestead Records comp from 1985. They're facile with the catchy melodies and sing-along choruses, and they exude a youthful shagginess to which kids who buy their clothes in secondhand shops should gravitate. Harlem appear to love Kiwi-pop geniuses the Clean and Black Lips and have a song called "Psychedelic Tits," so it's hard not to be charmed by them, even though their new album, Hippies (out April 6 on Matador), will inevitably garner them major blog buzz. DAVE SEGAL
Foreign Born, Free Energy
(Chop Suey) Philadelphia-based band Free Energy are one of those signings that makes you wonder about the relationship between DFA Records and EMI (Shocking Pinks is another)—like, where do the honest enthusiasms of the tasteful, trend-setting dance-punk label end and the business plans of the corporate machine begin? I mean, sure, James Murphy's tastes are plenty eclectic (see the latter half of "Losing My Edge"), but it's hard to imagine him getting quite as excited about Free Energy's snoozy, bloozy, last-call-at-the-karaoke-pub sub-Strokes rock as he does about, say, the Sonics (the Sonics! The Sonics! The Sonics!). Still, it's perfectly pleasant, persistently hooky stuff, if ultimately kind of forgettable. Foreign Born's songs turn from jangly, twangy indie soft rock to pleading, understated anthems, a trick that satisfies on some fundamental, Pavlovian level. ERIC GRANDY
Arrington de Dionyso, Angelo Spencer et Les Hauts Sommets, L'Orchidée d'Hawaï
(20/20 Cycle) Angelo Spencer is a self-taught musician who hails from the French Alps. Last time I caught him, he was performing as a one-man band, stomping out time on hi-hat and kick drum while playing electric guitar and singing sweetly flirtatious love songs. Avec Les Hauts Sommets (the High Summits), Spencer plays instrumental guitar that takes off from Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western scores and ventures (or Ventures) into wilder, skronkier territories, accompanied on bass clarinet, keys, percussion, and Echoplex by Karl Blau, Clyde Petersen of Your Heart Breaks, and headliner Arrington de Dionyso. The project's self-titled debut album, recorded in Olympia, is energetic, moody, and thoroughly engaging. ERIC GRANDY
Eel Eater, Wild Yaks
(Comet, 4 pm) Eel Eater specialize in voluble raw expression. Sometimes their music is a head rush of trashy, thrashy, punky abandon. It's also, in turns, really "out there" in the best way possible. Without ever ditching their authentic made-in-a-basement aesthetic, the gals (and guy) in Eel Eater dally with some awesomely freaky-deaky flourishes: beautifully wrought instrumental shrieks, hiccuping delay-splattered vox, and fever-dream audioscaping (remember that bridge in "Drain You" where it's just messed-up noises and Dave Grohl's insistent drumming? Imagine that, minus the pummeled percussion and with more wind tubes, and you'll get the idea). Eel Eater are totally worth the indulgence of a daylight-hours visit to the Comet. JASON BAXTER
Fatal Lucciauno, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground
(Havana) The organic cross-pollination between hiphop and everything else in this town is the real prize of all the hype—I haven't been watching it for as long as many, but I haven't seen it like this in the time I've lived here. The good folks at the Ghost Gallery have the plain good taste to combine Fatal Lucciauno—the Central District firebrand whose firepower is full disclosure, uncomfortable truths, and scary-good rhymes to boot—with Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground's sumptuous orchestral psych pop. It's just our town's music scene living up more fully to its always-exciting promise, recognizing one another, and I'm so not mad. Now can we get a Fa' guest verse on "Oh Motherfuckers" or something? LARRY MIZELL JR.
Against Me!, Jaguar Love, Cancer Bats
(Neumos) Against Me! emerged as an acoustic, anarchistic folk-punk act back in the era of WTO protests and "Eugene anarchists" (as fondly satirized on the mock-country ballad "Baby, I'm an Anarchist"). The dull horror of the George W. Bush presidency demanded they bulk up to a full, electrified punk-rock band, and it provided no shortage of material for frontman Tom Gabel's hoarse, from-the-barricades battle cries and arch, self-aware sense of humor. Still, there was a sense of diminishing returns as they kept rolling out the albums, eventually graduating from Plan-It-X to No Idea to Fat Wreck Chords and finally to Sire/Warner Music Group. Maybe the heroic fight against impossible odds started to lose some of its Days of War, Nights of Love romance? In any case, the band, now featuring Hot Water Music's George Rebelo on drums, has been quiet since 2007's New Wave; it'll be interesting to see how Against Me! react to the nascent Obama era of (dashed?) hope and (forestalled) change. ERIC GRANDY
We Were Promised Jetpacks, the Lonely Forest, Bear Hands
(Neumos) Terrible name, but a trustworthy friend told me I might really like Scottish band We Were Promised Jetpacks, given my taste for such simultaneously mopey/manic UK stuff as Los Campesinos! Well, We Were Promised Jetpacks are a far cry more straightforward than that band. WWPJ's one trick seems to be stretching out moaning balladeer vocals over agitated dance-rock rhythms with not a ton of variation in pace or dynamics save for that occasional part where everything drops out except a steadfast marching kick-drum pulse (or a guitar part) and the vocals. If anything, this approach faintly recalls early U2, especially as WWPJ's singer is given to elongating random syllables out into big, emotive whoa-oh-ohhhhhs. The Lonely Forest are musically competent, painfully earnest, and utterly middling; they just signed a major-label deal shepherded by Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla—moderate success and Twilight soundtracks, here they come! ERIC GRANDY See also preview.
Evan Dando, Milo Jones, Headlights
(Tractor) I never really gave a shit about the Lemonheads—too jangly, too eminently forgettable—but the Second Coming of Evan Dando is really something to see. His 2003 album, Baby I'm Bored, reframed Dando as a new man: His voice has aged into a rougher instrument than in his youth, and his country-inflected songs feel wise, ageless, and true. Even questionable sonic experiments like the hand-clap-and-battered-piano morass of "Waking Up" are (literally) years beyond the music of Dando's youth. Freed from the cage of alternative music, he gives the impression that he can do anything—a blues cover, a sincere love ballad, a jingle for a brand of booze that doesn't exist—and that kind of freedom is what allows artists to create the best music of their careers. PAUL CONSTANT