10 discs for a better tomorrow
(recommended releases for fall)
Mark Farina, SF Sessions Vol. 1 (Om)—Bay Area acid-jazz and house DJ Farina's Mushroom Jazz compilations set standards for fun and funky modern music, and his next salvo is highly anticipated in underground circles.
Air, Premiers Symptomes (Astralwerks/Source)—Before the French duo released the retro-cool Moon Safari, they issued a bunch of sultry singles like "Le Soleil est Pres de Moi" and "J'ai Dormi Sous l'Eau," collected here on this seven-song mini-LP.
Dub Narcotic Sound System/Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Sideways Soul (K)—Olympia's basso profundo Calvin Johnson teams with New York's Jon Spencer and crew for an album of echoing beats and deep grooves, not to mention lovably sophomoric lyrics about bananas and ice cream cake.
Josh Rouse and Kurt Wagner, Chester (Slow River/Rykodisc)—This excellent five-song EP collaboration features music by up-and-coming singer/songwriter Rouse and Lambchop leader Wagner; the highlight is "That's What I Know," a lissome gem of a song with a catchy Burt Bacharach-style trumpet line.
Solex, Pick Up (Matador)—The second disc from Dutch record store owner Elisabeth Esselink as Solex features samples that collide and bounce around like paramecia in a petri dish; her voice cascades and coos over an evolving palette of guitar, horn, xylophone, drums, and synthesized sounds.
Mark Lanegan, I'll Take Care Of You (Sub Pop)—Screaming Trees frontman does the oft-tried covers album, but he's got better taste than most, and he unearths—and offers moving versions of—songs like the Gun Club's "Carry Home," Buck Owens' "Together Again," and the classic traditional "Little Sadie"; Trees members join in on several tracks.
Stereolab, Cobra And Phases Group Play "Voltage" In The Milky Night (Elektra/EEG)—Each of this band's discs has outsold the one before over the past half-decade, and with more and more of the indie-rock generation hitting 30, the smoothly hip sounds of this new one could turn their cultish following into a mass audience.
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Spanish Dance Troop (Beggars Banquet)—This prolific Welsh band's sixth album will be its most appealing in the States; it combines quirky psychedelic pop with accents of country and punk in a muscular display of giddy melodic music.
The Frank and Walters, Beauty Becomes More Than Life (Setanta/Red Ink)—On their second disc, this Irish-American pop band perfects a mainstream sound without getting watered-down.
Everything But The Girl, Temperamental (Atlantic)—The long-awaited follow-up to the masterful 1996 disc Walking Wounded surpasses expectations; Tracey Thorn's vocals shine, and Ben Watt's backing beats push the envelope of electronic pop.
Upcoming shows you should know
Superchunk—The indie-rock legends from Chapel Hill, NC, return to Seattle in support of their new album, Come Pick Me Up. Crocodile. $10. Sat 9/18 at 10.
Richard Thompson—First with the Fairport Convention, then as a duo with his then-wife Linda, and as a solo performer, master guitarist, and songwriter, Richard Thompson is one of the great figures in folk-rock history. He's still fresh today, as evidenced by his new disc, Mock Tudor. King Cat Theater. $25. Sat 9/18 at 8.
Godspeed You Black Emperor, Labradford—The nine-piece Canadian band Godspeed You Black Emperor has released two of the most critically praised, totally underground releases of the past few years, and their live show is said to be mesmerizing; openers Labradford are a Virginia drone-rock band lauded in the UK but virtually unknown here. Crocodile. $8. Mon 9/20 at 10.
Jeff Beck—The guitar god recently released Who Else!, a stab at those who've come to consider the postmodern poster boy Beck Hansen the sole owner of the Beck name. Puyallup Fair. Tues 9/21 at 7.
Jethro Tull—Though they never wrote a real rock opera, "Aqualung" came close. Opera House at Seattle Center. $25-$39.50. Tues 9/28 at 8.
Basement Jaxx—The most heralded UK dance act of the moment brings their "punk garage" sound, as they call it, to Seattle. ARO.space. $12. Tues 9/28 at 9.
Tito Puente—"The King of Mambo" drums his way into our hearts. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley. $20.50- $24.50. Tues 9/28-Sun 10/3.
Herbaliser—The Ninja Tune hip-hop/jazz hybrid has released some amazing discs, and they're touring with Jamaica's Roots Manuva. Smoke up! Showbox. Sat 10/3 at 9.
Ben Harper—The increasingly popular folk-meets-funk floozie is back in support of his forthcoming album on Virgin, Burn to Shine. Mercer Arena. $22.50. Wed 10/13 at 7:30.
Promise Ring, Burning Airlines, Juno—The emo event of the decade. RKCNDY. $8. Wed 10/13 at 9.
Brian Wilson—The mastermind behind Pet Sounds hasn't toured since his daddy took his T-Bird away, but after a long absence any true pop fan will welcome him back. Moore Theater. $37.50-$75. Fri 10/15 at 8.
Lenny Kravitz, Smash Mouth, Buckcherry—Three hot modern rock bands team up for a pre-Halloween bill that will scare the pants off ya. Unintentionally, of course. Key Arena. Fri 10/15 at 7.
Dump—James McNew of Yo La Tengo plays folksy indie-pop that's irresistible in this side project that never, ever tours. Breakroom. $6. Mon 10/25 at 9.
Backstreet Boys—Yeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhh! Woooooooooooooooo! Tacoma Dome. SOLD OUT. Tues 10/26.
James Brown—He's the Godfather of Soul, y'all, so check him out. Paramount. Fri 10/29 at 8.