Strange Boys, Lovvers, Chain and the Gang, Night Beats
(Comet) See Stranger Suggests.
Zakir Hussain's Masters of Percussion
(Moore) For the last few decades, Zakir Hussain has been one of the go-to tabla players in the world. The son of tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha, he's slapped the compact Indian hand drums with hummingbird-wing rapidity and delicate sensitivity for, among many others, John McLaughlin's Indo-jazz-fusion outfit Shakti, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, Bill Laswell's Tabla Beat Science project, and Bela Fleck. Hussain has also worked on the soundtracks to Apocalypse Now, Heat and Dust, The Mystic Masseur, and Little Buddha. This tour features Hussain's own seven-strong ensemble of masterly percussionists, who'll perform traditional ragas and talas from the Hindustani and Carnatic classical canons. Expect plenty of fiery and bubbly rhythms from one of the most elemental- and riveting-sounding instruments ever conceived. DAVE SEGAL
(Trinity) Craze is one of those DJs who make burgeoning turntablists never want to touch their decks again. In just over two decades, he's managed to help found a groundbreaking DJ crew (the Allies, alongside A-Trak and others), release a couple of insanely popular break records (Bully Breaks 1 and 2), and grab the title of Time magazine's Best DJ of the Year in 2001. Oh yeah, no big deal, but he was also crowned World DMC champion three times. Consecutively, even—the first and last ever to do so. The trip to Trinity is well worth it tonight. KALEB GUBERNICK
(Neumos) When he's not adding sonic dopeness to Shabazz Palaces' and THEESatisfaction's future-rampaging hiphop, Erik Blood creates some of the city's sweetest shoegaze rock. How do you like that for versatility? As I've nattered on previously, Blood's 2009 album, The Way We Live, is an emotionally resonant, richly tapestried collection of gauzily gorgeous songs that can withstand countless listens without losing its luster. Finally the man is headlining Neumos, a venue worthy of his talents. By this time next year, we might find Blood's name on the marquee at the Showbox or the Moore... or perhaps helping some other formidable rappers to ascend to next-level-dom. DAVE SEGAL
Dyme Def, Thee Emergency, Grynch, Pearly Gate Music, THEESatisfaction
(Tractor) Renton-born MCs Fearce Villain, S.E.V., and Brainstorm are the three voices behind Seattle's own "Unsigned Hype," the hard-grinding trio Dyme Def. They've been doing their damn thing since 2007, with a rash of nationwide blog love, slick videos, and their patented old-school-derived, new-school dance-floor-flooding "Space Music" production (chiefly courtesy of local legend BeanOne). Now teamed up with the TITS clothing empire, they and their 800 LB team are preparing to drop the ambitious Sex Tape project, an album aimed squarely at the CD-buying female contingent, with hypersexed content (local porn stars writhe and grind in their newest video, Do Something) and glossy, radio-ready beats. Hometown reaction to this new direction has so far been mixed, but judging from their recent appearance at the underground Members Only party, where they turned an already packed and sweaty soiree into something out of one of their video sets, things are looking good. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Visqueen, Hey Marseilles, Mash Hall, Fences
(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests.
Shackleton, Daega Sound, the Sight Below
(Nectar) See preview.
Snoop Dogg, Helladope, Grynch
(Showbox Sodo) See My Philosophy.
Magma Festival: Thao, Alaskas, Grr, Deception Pass
(Vera) The Magma Festival is the annual concert series/fundraising drive put on by local, volunteer-run, free-form online station Hollow Earth Radio. All month, HER's operatives will be hosting all-ages shows at several Seattle venues, including the Vera Project, Fremont Abbey, 20/20 Cycle, Henry Art Gallery, Shafer Baillie Mansion, and more. The fest's lineup showcases not only the station's dedication to exploding the regional underground (hence the name), but also its curators' wide-ranging musical tastes. Tonight's kickoff features singularly sharp yet sweet singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen of Thao with the Get Down Stay Down; local primal screamer/feral child/loopy one-man band Alaskas; unfortunate emo/grrrl rap act Grr; and the adolescent, grunge-enamored Deception Pass. Odds are you won't like everything hosted by Hollow Earth/Magma, but their excavations can lead to some unexpected discoveries. ERIC GRANDY
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the Whigs, the Hounds Below
(Showbox at the Market) Black-clad, spook-folk garage revisionists Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are touring in support of Beat the Devil's Tattoo, their first studio album since 2007. The band's history reads like classic VH1 fodder: They've come to blows, been dropped from a label, survived a sophomore slump, gone to rehab, had songs in major motion pictures (Twilight: New Moon), and landed on their feet with what some call a "roaring back." They're big-thing, big-time drone rockers who sometimes get unfairly tagged as a West Coast Strokes. Beat the Devil's Tattoo is BRMC's first release on their own Abstract Dragon label, in a partnership with Vagrant Records, and it sees the debut of their new drummer. TRENT MOORMAN
Meth Teeth, Pure Country Gold, Meercaz
(Funhouse) In 1851, amid the sobering comedown from the California Gold Rush, more of the precious element was discovered in the Oregon Territory, helping to revitalize the region's nascent economy. So 159 years later, we can draw half-assed parallels to the nationwide scramble over the region's lo-fi indie bands—as it turns out, there's still gold in them thar hills. Portland's Meth Teeth craft stimulating, outsize rock that reverberates well past the Northwest's figurative "meth line" (sorry, Idaho). There's a playful undercurrent in their music that's earnest and unfussy in equal measure, and they're just as adept at cooking up cathartic rainy-day acoustics as they are at taking their listeners on boggy, fuzz-drenched treks into the rustic Pacific outlands. JASON BAXTER
Male Bonding, Unnatural Helpers, Virgin Islands, Little Cuts
(Sunset) Recent Sub Pop signees Male Bonding come from the Dalston area of London. Their sound is hazy but lively pop punk (they've toured with Vivian Girls and played shows with outfits such as Lovvers and HEALTH, as a point of reference). John Arthur Webb (guitar and vocals) has a knack for rousing choruses and churning, triumphant guitar work, and drummer Robin Silas Christian keeps pace with frenzied percussion. They've released three 7-inch records (do yourself a favor and pick up the split with Eat Skull, featuring MB's "Year's Not Long"), and their full-length, Nothing Hurts, is due out in May. This is their first show in a tour that finds them heading all over the country then back here again in April. GRANT BRISSEY
Magma Festival: The Thrown Ups, Rich Jensen, Human Skab, Al Larsen, Tom Price & Friends, DJ Bruce Pavitt, Alex Kostelnik, My Printer Broke, Butts, Sleepy Workers
(Ballard Mine, 5 pm) In which Magma Festival provides a secret history of the 1980s NW disguised as a punk-rock show. The Thrown Ups began in 1984 as an improvisational punk band (read: too punk to practice) with a rotating cast that included Mudhoney's Mark Arm and Steve Turner. Rich Jensen has recorded experimental cassette tapes for K Records, has been president of Sub Pop, and cofounded Up Records and Clear Cut Press; he wrote the best YACHT song of last year, "Psychic City (Voodoo City)," back in 1987. In 1986, Human Skab was a 10-year-old rabble-rouser from Elma, Washington, championed by Bruce Pavitt's Sub Pop back when it was still just a zine. Al Larsen was the main force behind outré K Records outfit Some Velvet Sidewalk, active 1987–1997. Tom Price did time in the U-Men and Cat Butt in the '80s, and later played in Gas Huffer. Joining these veterans are Alex Kostelnik of 20/20 Cycle, avant-jazz ensemble My Printer Broke, brat-rock duo Butts, and dissonant rockers Sleepy Workers. ERIC GRANDY
The Cave Singers, the Dutchess and the Duke, Feral Children
(Showbox at the Market) Seattle band Feral Children rang in the New Year with new music, releasing their second full-length, Brand New Blood, in January. The album is more subdued and ethereal than their 2008 debut; "On a Frozen Beach," with its icy keyboards and shivering vocals, suggests that perhaps Brand New Blood was inspired by a particularly desolate Northwest winter. The Cave Singers are an entirely different season—and a different coast, for that matter. Their warm folk songs evoke images of sepia-toned summer afternoons spent on the (Situation-free) Jersey Shore. The Dutchess and the Duke's folk rock doesn't sound like any season but recalls the '60s with its simple arrangements of guitar, vocal harmonies, and tambourine. MEGAN SELING
Little Boots, Dragonette, Class Actress, Tigerbeat
(Neumos) Fumes of the latest electro-pop craze, Dragonette are a Canadian outfit whose best song remains their sassy cover/answer song to Calvin Harris's "Girls," retitled "Boys" ("I get all the boys/I get all the boys") and released in 2007. More promising by far is Little Boots, a young Britisher named Victoria Christina Hesketh, who got her start with short-lived mid-aughts dance-rock act Dead Disco and then returned via a series of YouTube videos of herself playing fun solo-piano cover versions of songs like Kid Cudi's "Day 'N' Nite" and Wiley's "Wearing My Rolex." On her proper solo debut, Hands, Hesketh's sweet, radio-ready voice and able piano playing are backed by the likes of Hot Chip's Joe Goddard and Simian Mobile Disco's Jas Shaw on production and the Human League's Philip Oakley on guest vocals. It's a confectionary album, but still nothing's quite as sticking as the clock-ticking, synth-heavy Kylie-redux "Stuck on Repeat" (and even that is a song you can get out of your head). ERIC GRANDY
(Grey Gallery) The deal for this edition of Scratchmaster Joe's weekly International Lounge event is as follows: Local post-rockin' jazzbo-funkateers Foscil play live while enclosed in the gallery, as the crowd looks on and/or listens from outside the sealed-off area. This is a first for Grey, and it's an intriguing concept. Most bands want to play in as close proximity to their crowds as possible; tonight, Foscil must ply their moody, Morricone-esque head-nodders while detached from their admirers. Mystique trumps intimacy and performer-audience interaction, for one night only (probably). Should be an interesting experiment. DAVE SEGAL
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
(Benaroya Hall) South Africa's greatest vocal group—probably the world's—has been stopping listeners in their tracks since the mid-'60s, when Joseph Shabalala began tapping the talents of family, friends, and neighbors to create deep, intricate harmonic layers beneath his own pleading, grainy, softly sung leads—first on Zulu work songs, then, as they grew in popularity, other kinds. Everyone has heard them by now—there are too many albums to count, and they've proved irresistible to advertisers—but it's not something you can hear too much of. And in person, the octet's effects are something else. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
The Cool Kids, Pac Div
(Showbox at the Market) At least half of the Cool Kids' name is accurate; these Chicago backpack hiphoppers are eminently cool, LL Cool J–ca.–"I'm That Kind of Guy" cool. The Cool Kids—Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish—strip down hiphop to cold-blooded essentials: Robitussin®ed, funky boom-bap; colon-cleansing bass; and just-woke-up braggadocio raps. They're also fond of deploying backing-up car-engine noise and ripped masking tape for percussive purposes. This sort of methodical, stark approach just oozes the sort of cool that you can't fake—it's nonchalance as a way of life. Paradoxically, their laid-back aloofness draws you way into their chill realm. Further paradoxically, this music's so retro, it sounds bang-up-to-the-minute fresh; so blasé, it blazes. DAVE SEGAL See also My Philosophy.
People Eating People, You Say Party! We Say Die!
(Chop Suey) You Say Party! We Say Die! probably pissed off the xx with their latest album, which is titled XXXX. (The xx should counter with a release called !!!!) The British Columbia quintet work in a similarly seductive dance-pop niche as the xx, but YSP! WSD! are more demonstrative than their peers, with Becky Ninkovic's dramatic, Karen O/Siouxsie Sioux belting and the band's Blondie-esque new-wave bravado lending a warmer, more robust and urgent tenor to the proceedings. This is primarily music for the slightly smarter than average 21-and-under set; it's full of verve and catchy tunes, and will likely fall into heavy rotation at certain salons and youth-trending clothing merchants. DAVE SEGAL See also preview.
Shrinebuilder, A Storm of Light, Shining Ones, Heathen Shrine
(Neumos) Pleasantly, there are no surprises with Shrinebuilder. The doom supergroup—featuring members of Melvins, Saint Vitus, Neurosis, and OM—sounds exactly like the sum of its parts. Just take their song "Solar Benediction." It starts off with Dale Crover's signature gargantuan kick-and-snare stomp, echoing the opening bars of Melvin's Stoner Witch. Things move forward with the kind of swampy slow-hand guitar playing Scott "Wino" Weinrich brought to Vitus and the Obsessed. Then Scott Kelly razes everything with a crushing, end-of-the-world chord progression that sounds straight out of the Neurosis back catalog. This segues into a hypnotic mantra, fueled by Al Cisneros's meditative bass lines, then cascades into one monolithic siege in the final measures. Aficionados of the devil's note will be pleased. BRIAN COOK
A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Perfume Genius
(Vera) Much like Of Montreal are from Athens and Architecture in Helsinki are from Australia, A Sunny Day in Glasgow are in fact from Philadelphia. And their sound isn't some by-the-numbers take on fey, Glaswegian indie pop, either. Rather, the six-piece band assembles dreamy, translucent pop out of layers and layers of vocal harmonies (the dreamiest courtesy of Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma), percussion, and echoes roomy enough to contain (and thick enough to muddle) plenty of traditional instrumentation, only occasionally allowing a clear line of guitar or keys to spin out from the swirl. Perfume Genius is local artist Mike Hadreas, who sings frail, emotionally messy songs on solo piano. He's endorsed by Los Campesinos! and is an artistic heir of the Xiu Xiu/Dead Science/Parenthetical Girls triumvirate; tonight is his debut performance. ERIC GRANDY
John Scofield featuring Mulgrew Miller, Ben Street, Kendrick Scot
(Jazz Alley) When you talk about current jazz-guitar greats, you must include John Scofield in the conversation. Played with Miles Davis? Check. Played with Charles Mingus? Check. Played with Chet Baker? Check. Stylistically, Scofield runs on a well-oiled improv brain and tends to teeter into funk-flavored jazz. His notes spread cobwebs into the post-bop, blues-hued sky. With three dozen albums to his name, he has earned the title of master, but Scofield doesn't just sit back and regurgitate his history. He's inventive and not afraid to take chances. This show will be bright; come see Scofield swing. TRENT MOORMAN