The Short List

James Mercer, Head Like a Kite, Odetta, and other notable performances.

Wednesday January 3

The Sun-Ups + Belle Epoque + the Royal Bear

Power-pop is happening in Seattle right now—it even got its own non–Three Imaginary Girls blog this summer, at seattle-powerpop.blogspot.com. Since June, it has covered the Long Winters, the Lashes (though their power-punk status is debatable), and plenty of others including Visqueen, who would be fantastic on a double bill with local quartet the Sun-Ups. Guitarists Brandy Foltz and Lucinda Kruy also harmonize beautifully with each other as vocalists, belting it out like a much cooler Belly- era Tanya Donnelly. And while their songs on The View From Above follow the power-pop status quo in terms of examining heartbreak, these women also have more on their minds: "Smooth your wrinkled forehead/Change your attitude" they holler between woo-ooh-ooh's on "Your Face Will Freeze Like That." It's about time someone around here said it. RACHEL SHIMP Crocodile Cafe, 9 p.m. $6

Friday, January 5

Blue Light Curtain + Joy Wants Eternity + Caves

Shoegaze bands never want to be called that, but that's what Blue Light Curtain—admittedly influenced by MBV, Eno, M83, Galaxie 500, and Lynch/Badalamenti (!)—are. And they're very good at what they do. The hazy "When the Sun Hits" guitar walls, heavily processed vocals, and dueling male/female voices are all there, and their new self-released disc, The Static Interrupts Our Dream, would sound perfectly lovely in a carousel stocked with any of the aforementioned bands. The new material has garnered the four-year-old trio (quartet, if you count their Korg Electribe ES-1, which they do) some attention on UW's RainyDawg radio and a slot on KEXP's live Audioasis back in October. Now, though, during the endless night and ever-present mist of winter, is the ideal time to revisit—or wallow in—the densely dreamy sounds that only a band like BLC can provide. Kindred spirits Joy Wants Eternity make excellent use of atmosphere and the Rhodes piano, and are preparing to release You Who Pretend to Sleep early next year. Make sure not to doze through their set. RACHEL SHIMP Comet Tavern, 9 p.m.

Head Like a Kite + Hypatia Lake + the Prids

Just as the dearly departed Seattleites (to New York, not the afterlife) Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players drew their musical inspiration from vintage slides found at flea markets and thrift stores, local duo Head Like a Kite grew out of main man Dave Einmo's fascination with his family's old Super 8 films. His music—as heard on HLAK's appropriately titled debut, Random Portraits of the Home Movie—is an utterly absorbing and (OK, I'll say it) occasionally cinematic journey during which bright-but-skewed guitar pop is bisected by disembodied voices and odd samples from those old films; charming analog synth wobbles, whooshes, and bleeps; and head-bobbing beats that sound halfway between the minimalism of DJ Krush and Krautrock pulse of Stereolab. Live, Einmo is assisted by drummer/keyboardist Trent Moorman and a projectionist that plays those Super 8 movies as HLAK catches its grooves. I give 'em a thumbs way up. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG Chop Suey, 9 p.m. $6

Welcome + Go Fever + the Turn-Ons + Jerry Peerson

SEE FEATURE (the Turn-Ons) P. 44. Sunset Tavern, 9 p.m. $7

Saturday, January 6

Akimbo + Secret Fun Club

Seattle hardcore doesn't quite have the same cachet as similar scenes in New York, D.C., or Los Angeles, but our city has belched up its fair share of full-throttle, sweaty-moshpit punk outfits. One of the best and most highly regarded is Akimbo, a high-volume trio (that's their current configuration, following a handful of lineup changes) that's found a home on the label Alternative Tentacles. Dispensing music violent and screamy (but not screamo), spit and venom flies from the speakers when you listen to their whiplash combo of Sick of it All–style fury and obscenely heavy riffage inspired by three decades of thrash, stoner sludge, and classic Brit-metal. And that's nothing compared to Akimbo's legendary live show, where you might consider yourself lucky to escape with all limbs and internal organs intact. Forget about your hearing, though. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG El Corazon, 9 p.m. $6

The Blakes + Spook the Horse + Partman Parthorse + the Vomiting Unicorns

From Wolf Eyes and Wolfmother to Wolf Parade, AIDS Wolf, and, um, Fuckwolf, the almighty howler at the moon has been the animal of choice for many indie band names over the last few years, but the trend in Seattle has been galloping toward more equestrian pastures. Forget Band of Horses, who left our fair city for more humid, Southern climes— tonight's showcase at the High Dive that'll benefit BABES Network, the YWCA, and Rise 'N Shine is filled with some colt-loving, ass-kicking local talent, including popsters Spook the Horse, caustic punks Partman Parthorse, and psych-rockers the Vomiting Unicorns. While none of them rustles up the sound that goes with a saddle, a pair of chaps, and a cowboy hat, their music will, at the very least, take you on a wild ride. And that's definitely something to pony up six meager bucks for. TRAVIS RITTER High Dive, 9:30 p.m. $6

James Mercer (the Shins) + Eric Bachmann (Crooked Fingers) + Joel R.L. Phelps

For the last two years, James Mercer has been hunkered down in his Portland basement writing and recording the new Shins record, Wincing the Night Away, the title a reflection on Mercer's insomnia. Anticipation is high for this album, and our advance listens lead us to believe this is going to make Natalie Portman spontaneously combust. The synthesizers whirl, the organs drip, and Mercer pushes his voice into spacier territory. It's boldly produced, adventurous, and absolutely gorgeous. This record will no doubt make the Shins fucking huge. Their music will be on TV, in department stores, and in corporate coffee shops. Better head down to Neumo's tonight and catch Mercer in an intimate setting while you can. Plus, the show benefits muscular dystrophy research, so you can't go wrong. Good music + good deed = clean conscience. BRIAN J. BARR Neumo's, 8 p.m. $25

Sunday, January 7

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum + Secret Chiefs 3

Over six years ago, more than an hour before the Oakland-based art-metal freaks Sleepytime Gorilla Museum came onstage, I was already a huge fan, despite never hearing a single note from the band. My eyes boggled at the sight of the stage—littered with homemade instruments including the 8-foot-long "slide-piano log," and the vast percussion setup of dented metallic trays, bicycle gears, saw blade cymbals, and other small tinkering contraptions. As I waited for the band to appear out of the darkness in matching black dresses and white painted faces, I wondered what the hell I was going to hear. It didn't take long to realize that Sleepytime Gorilla Museum was a carnival of scary-looking but wickedly talented musicians (including classically trained violinist/vocalist Carla Kihlstedt, guitarist/vocalist Nils Frykdahl and bassist/producer Dan Rathbun), who play something I like to call sideshow metal (think Neurosis meets Mr. Bungle). At first, I wasn't sure if they were scary, disturbing, amusing, or hilarious. But after seeing the band multiple times over the years, turns out they're actually all of the above. TRAVIS RITTER Neumo's, 8 p.m. $13 adv./$15

Monday, January 8

My Morning Jacket

SEE WIRE P. 27. Moore Theatre, 8 p.m. $25

Tuesday, January 9

Odetta

Maya Angelou once said: "If only one could be sure that every 50 years a voice and a soul like Odetta's would come along, the centuries would pass so quickly and painlessly we would hardly recognize time." I'd like to add that the reason you wouldn't recognize time is because time literally doesn't exist when Odetta sings. Her landmark Odetta Sings Dylan album is a collection of some of the most haunting renditions of Zimmy songs ever laid to tape. Sparse, finger-plucked, and raw, her covers of "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" and "With God on Our Side" rank as high as the Byrds in the world of Dylan interpretations and will stop you in your tracks. Age has somewhat weakened her once powerful and intimidating voice, but the passion is still there. When Odetta opens her mouth, you listen. BRIAN J. BARR Triple Door, 7:30 p.m. $25 adv./$30

 
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