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Take an ex-punk preschool teacher with a knack for discovering discarded answering machine audiocassettes into the new millennium and what do you get? A world-class urban folksinger and a bunch of erudite lyrics about antidepressants, bore-dom, and fear. With 2000's Ghost of David (Sub Pop), Jurado established himself as a thinking man's thinker and a folksinger's singer. Moreover, Jurado is a rare strain of the singer/ songwriter species: He doesn't whine, blush, or otherwise dampen the mostly acoustic pop foundation he builds on. He just sings his stories and quietly walks awaynow with this award in hand. (www.damienjurado.com) LAURA CASSIDY
MEMPHIS RADIO KINGS
They're not from Memphis and haven't enjoyed heavy rotation on Tennessee's airwaves; however, Memphis Radio Kings have achieved royalty status in Seattle's Americana community in a very short time. In live performances peppered with poignant lyrics, searing guitar, and enough hooks for an anglers' convention, this bassless trio draws comparisons to such gritty bar-band legends as the dB's, the Del Fuegos, and the Replacements when the latter were half-sober. Memphis Radio Kings are currently in the studio working on the follow-up to their smashing 2002 CD, No Band in the Happy Place. (www.memphisradiokings.com) STEVE STAV
Dusty 45s possess the uncanny ability to toss everything but the kitchen sink at their audiences and dazzle 'em every time. The quintet's unsurpassed reverence for timeless music allows it to seamlessly shift from well-crafted originals to inspired covers, incorporating swing, jump blues, classic country, and Sun Records-style rockabilly along the way. Fronted by crooner/trumpeter Billy Joe Huels (a showman non pareil who simultaneously channels the appeal of Louis Armstrong, Eddie Cochran, and Cab Calloway), Seattle's unofficial house band has survived several personnel changes since its "swing craze"- era debut. However, the 45s' latest incarnationwith new recruits Jerry Battista (the Allies) and Mark Pickerel (Screaming Trees)is its strongest lineup to date. (www.dusty45s.com) S.S.
Perform next at Bumbershoot, Sat., Aug. 30.
Everybody's favorite hell-raising auto-body-shop quartet (they're officially too greasy for garage status) has spent the last few years rocking so furiously and endlessly that the inherent grodiness of the band's moniker is so not a talking point anymore. Blistering with pure punk authenticity, the Catheters are well on their way to slitting Seattle's security blanket wide open. The ferocious single "Nothing" broke through to MTV2 for a split second, and although Static Delusions and Stone-Still Days (Sub Pop) was a knockout sophomore sensation, enthusiasts are clamoring for the goddamn follow-up, already. (www.thecatheters.com) ANDREW BONAZELLI
The dye jobs, spikes, and genitalia-out swagger scream their SoCal upbringing like a teal badge of courage, but Cookie have evidently comfortably ensconced themselves as the cream between Seattle rock's otherwise overwhelmingly black Oreo wafers. The trio plays tavern-friendly power rock without a shred of irony and rocks out about three of the most volatile, beloved D's: drinkin', drivin', and doin' it. Their image is nasty but the melodies and hooksmany courtesy of bassist/ frontwoman Sabrina RockArena are gradually reeling in folks hungry to worship a new Joan Jett or Pat Benatar. (www.cookiefactory.com) A.B.
Who says glam or garage is dead? Not you guys. And not the Makers, either. Back on their '94 Estrus record debut, they were all empty bottles and big, fast cars, but their last Sub Pop release, 2002's Strange Days, had them ditching most of the bombast in favor of a Bolan-esque psychedelic opera. By all accounts, however, their live shows are still properly unhingedbut as far as we know, they're not showing up in that '65 Pontiac hearse anymore. At any rate, the Makers' drummer was recently recruited by the Cramps for their European tour. And if those guys aren't dead yet . . . (www.subpop.com/scripts/main/ bands_page.php?id=143) L.C.
SOURCE OF LABOR
In the often nationally ignored Seattle hip-hop scene, Source of Labor is one group that deserves to be in the spotlight. What began as Jonathan Moore (Wordsayer) rhyming over his brother Upendu Tokkas' (Negus 1) beats has grown into a collective of very talented musicians with the addition of Darrius Willrich (keyboards), Devon Lewis (drums), and Kevin Hudson (bass). Source of Labor's shows are high-energy explorations of each member's talents, with improvisation standard practice. While the group hasn't put out an album since 2001's Stolen Lives, their shows definitely refute the myths about Seattle's scene. (www.jasirimusic.org/pages/sol_main.shtml) NOAM REUVENI.
Perform every Friday at Jumbalaya, Baltic Room.
When there are bombs dropping around you in downtown Sarajevo, you really do learn how to party like it's 1999, and Bosnian transplant and Kultur Shock vocalist Gino Srdjan Yevdjevich has the desperate exhilaration of a man who's learned to relish joy even while cynically appraising the fear and violence around him. His large, multiethnic band, with the chameleon Amy Denio on sax, grinds out punk-Balkan dances that feel like a wedding party on the edge of a riot. This summer, the band took its "Fucc the INS" tour to Spain and Germany, bringing the Old World a taste of the 魩gr頨ysteria that Seattleites have been enjoying for years. A new CD is coming soon. (www.kulturshock.com) MARK D. FEFER
Perform next at the Crocodile Cafe, Sat., Sept. 6.
UNITED STATES OF ELECTRONICA
Belltown? We love it! Capitol Hill? We love it! Queen Anne? We love it! Daft Punk may have beaten U.S.E. to the punch on vocoder-saturated booty bumps, but they can't top the septet's boisterous "Emerald City," which isdamn straightall about the S-Town hood party, or "Vamos a la Playa," which isdamn straighter all about the S-Town beach party. U.S.E.'s live show is a crazed, everyone-get-onstage dance-fever spectacle that somehow doesn't come off as the slightest bit counterfeit. You'd have to be a complete cretin not to at least smile in the face of such infectious fun. (www.usemusic.com) A.B.
Perform next at Bumbershoot, Sun., Sept. 1.
As one of the Weekly's office wags put it, Riz Rollins is "the Pagliacci Pizza of local DJs"the perpetual winner of the category in the paper's Best of Seattle poll and the easy victor in the Music Awards as well. He's not loaded with cheese, thoughbut if he's in the right mood, he can bust out cheesy '80s synth jams like nobody's business. Swerving through a dauntingly large vinyl collection and dropping everything from old-school funk to brand-new trip-hop cuts, from jazz classics to drum-and-bass obscurities, he can work any crowd you throw in front of him with aplomb. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
LEFT HAND SMOKE
For the past few years, these five photogenic, stage-commanding fellows have contented themselves with building one of the largest, most devoted fan bases of any Seattle act. Inspired by '60s rock and R&B artists such as Booker T. and the MG's, the Spencer Davis Group, and the Rolling Stones, U-Dub-spawned Left Hand Smoke's self-titled 1999 debut garnered song placement on TV's ER. An even more mature reinterpretation of bluesy rock, 2001's So Many Faces received rave reviews from coast to coast. The much-anticipated Nonsense Parade, due Oct. 7, just might be their ticket to stardom. (www.lefthandsmoke.com) S.S.
From Coltrane's crazy Live in Seattle on down, Seattle's always been receptive to highly progressive jazz. But when it comes to audience favorites, it's retro all the way. Pearl Django play gypsy jazz in the 1930s Hot Club style of the great guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, and they do it with such verve, skill, and pleasure that they're pretty much irresistible to jazz and non-jazz listeners alike. The five-man band has built a large following over the past decade since its founding, playing regular gigs at the Hopvine on Capitol Hill, and it's one of the very few local groups whose CDs have gotten regular rotation on KPLU. (www.pearldjango.com) M.D.F.
Perform next at the West Seattle Jazz Festival, Sat., Sept. 13
PHAT SIDY SMOKEHOUSE
With a name like Phat Sidy Smokehouse, I can't help but wonder if these guys are hopheads. A brief listen to their bluesy funk raises some eyebrows; a glance at their song titles, like "Make It Legal," raises more brows; the fact that they appear on the Hemplennium Compilation, a benefit for Hempfest, all but confirms my suspicions. Lifestyle choices aside, these guys are pretty damn good musicians. Their shows are more jam session than rehashed album material, and they know how to keep the momentum going. Phat Sidy are prolific performers, appearing just about everywhere in Seattle, but they manage to inject a sense of newness into each show. And if you miss 'em, don't worrythey'll be back again, and again, and again. (www.phatsidy.com) N.R.
It only makes sense that the most eye- and ear-catching tribute band in town is the one that performs a gender twist on rock and roll's ultimate guy band. Hell's Belles offer a gloss on AC/DC that rocks almost as hardon a good night, according to many, even harderthan the original. And as much fun as it can be to watch Brian Johnson scrunch his eyes shut and scream like there's no tomorrow while Angus Young scuttles around onstage in his schoolboy uniform, it's even more fun to watch the Belles hit their marks: Youth has its privileges. (www.hellsbelles.info) M.M.
Once at a strip mall karaoke joint, some friends and I dared the Fastbacks' guitar-man-cum-power-pop-producer-du-jour to sing the Small Faces' "Itchycoo Park," and although he obliged with tremendously favorable results, the only other patrons were either too drunk to remember it or asleep when all of this went down, so I doubt that had much to do with this victory. But suffice it to say that if you had seen it, you would have loved it. Bloch's a music fan through and through. At it for 25 years now, he's still quite often the guy in the front row. L.C.