Best and Worst of the Week's Musical Offerings

Sparklehorse + Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter

Wednesday, February 14

SEE FEATURE (Sparklehorse), P. 62. Showbox, 8 p.m. $16 adv./$17

Cursive + Macklemore + Patient Patient

Thursday, February 15

After thoroughly dissecting the "painfully disintegrating relationship" motif on such previous Cursive albums as 2003's Domestica and 2004's Ugly Organ (the remarkable Album of the Year, by his side project the Good Life, also follows suit), frontman Tim Kasher shows off a different side with the band's most recent, Happy Hollow. A sprawling, weighty concept album about the role of religion in modern-day small-town America, the record is miles away from heartbreak. The Omaha, Neb., songwriter, who's both a longtime friend and labelmate of Conor Oberst, makes albums the same way Rushmore's Max Fischer put on plays: His incredibly ambitious productions are packed with detail, dazzling, and highly entertaining even when they enter the land of the overwrought or absurd. Lyrically, Kasher is a clever, sardonic storyteller, and on Hollow he brings an orchestral flair to Cursive's guitar-rockin' pseudo-emo (i.e., more trumpet, less whine). This should be a fine show—safety glasses and earplugs optional. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG UW HUB Auditorium. 6:30 p.m. $8 students/$12

Erin McKeown + Eleni Mandell

Thursday, February 15

SEE FEATURE (Eleni Mandell), P. 61. Tractor Tavern, 8 p.m. $15

Grizzly Bear + Papercuts + the Cave Singers

Friday, February 16

With their sleepy-time sonic textures and average-dude appearance, N.Y.C.-based Grizzly Bear aren't one of those bands that promise a party at their shows. But if you take them up on an evening of graceful, guitar-based meditation (heard even better live than at home on their Warp album Yellow House)—or did, last October with TV on the Radio at the Showbox—you'll be glad, if not ecstatic. There's not much onstage movement to look at, but with all manner of densely and creatively used percussion and instrumentation (from a xylophone, glockenspiel, autoharp, and lap steel), there's an awful lot to listen to. So close your eyes and enjoy. With Papercuts and the Cave Singers. RACHEL SHIMP Neumo's, 8 p.m. $10 All ages (balcony only)

The Presidents of the United States of America

Friday, February 16

SEE FEATURE, P. 59. With Supernova, Rock N Roll Soldiers, and DJ Cherry Canoe. Showbox, 8 p.m. $18 adv./$20 All ages Also: Sat., Feb. 17, with Supernova, "Awesome," and DJ Cherry Canoe. 8 p.m. $18 adv./$20 Also: Sun., Feb. 18, with No-Fi Soul Rebellion, the Trucks, and DJ Cherry Canoe. 7 p.m. $18 adv./$20 All ages

Miho Hatori + Los Abandoned + Johanna Kunin

Friday, February 16

Tokyo-born Miho Hatori is probably best known for co-fronting Cibo Matto, whose brash, funky, sample-heavy groove was in the heart of N.Y.C.'s East Village scenesters during the second half of the '90s. They hung with the Beasties and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, tore off many a roof with their legendarily energetic shows, then called it quits around the turn of the millennium. Hatori subsequently appeared on albums by Gorillaz and Handsome Boy Modeling School, developed a jones for Brazilian pop, and in 2005 recorded Ecdysis (named after the "skin"-shedding process of various insects and reptiles), which received a U.S. release last fall. Augmented by former members of Soul Coughing, Hatori's solo work is more dreamy, intimate, and organic than Cibo Matto's, but still plenty quirky and groovy; in spots it sounds like a more playful Stereolab. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG Crocodile Cafe, 9 p.m. $10 adv./$12

Various + Sientific American + ndCv

Saturday, February 17

If you haven't noticed, the quality of music used in many television advertisements over the past few years has been steadily rising. Marketers have been tapping in to the indie pool more frequently (the Shins, Modest Mouse and Of Montreal have all reaped the benefits), and though Seattle electronic music producer/ DJ Sientific American (Andrew Rohrmann) hasn't put out a record since 2004's Strong for the Future, he's kept his head well above water in otherwise glitchy, arid skies, through licensing and corporations (Volkswagon, HP, Discover) who no doubt paid a premium sum for his music to be used to hawk products. But he's no sellout. Sientific American is a well-honed producer and DJ who has held it down around the city since 1998, creating real, blissful, mysterious, thinking man's electronic music. TRAVIS RITTER Chop Suey, 9 p.m. $10

Bob Weir and Ratdog

Saturday, February 17

There are legions of folks who will do just about anything for a touch of Jerry Garcia. They buy the Ben & Jerry's ice-cream flavor inspired by the man, plaster their bumpers with dancing bear stickers, and sport skull-adorned tie-dye. Some will even sit through a Bob Weir gig. What they might not know is that while the man was an integral part of the most influential, pioneering hippie jam band that ever was, Weir's not into free love, musically speaking. The Dead were early adapters of generous taping policies, which allowed fans to record shows and trade tapes as long as no money changed hands, but Weir has since worked his magic to help remove much of those recordings from the popular Archive.org at the end of 2005. Recently, the Grateful Dead camp took aim at WolfgangsVault.com, a site that streams classic performances of concerts promoted by Bill Graham Presents. Please, go to the show. Purchase another copy of Workingman's Dead and a few shares of stock in Grateful Dead Productions. Weir obviously needs the money. CHRIS KORNELIS Moore Theatre, 7 p.m. $36–$38

The Octopus Project + Sleepy Eyes of Death + Capital Steps

Sunday, February 18

Although the Austin-based instrumental outfit the Octopus Project just added a fourth person to their lineup, it's a wonder that the Coachella alums only need four to create their dense, fun post-rock-space-pop take on IDM. While it's hard to describe 2002's Identification Parade or 2004's supremely bouncy and lovable One Ten Hundred Thousand Million, it's always done with onomatopoeic verve: whirling, buzzing guitars, clashing drums and drum machine, an experimental whirlwind of gloriously rollicking synth. Think of Ratatat's little cousins on acid, or an aggressive Caribou with more eclectic instrumentation. While their newest release, The House of Apples & Eyeballs, a collaboration with Pittsburgh's Black Moth Super Rainbow, is a bit more discordant and clangy and a tougher nut to dance to, if there is justice, there will be dancing to accompany the awesomeness. KARLA STARR Chop Suey, 9 p.m. $8

Rob Crow + Ghost Stories + Graig Markel

Monday, February 19

Understandably, Rob Crow is living well these days. The San Diego songwriter is one of the few musicians I can think of who has never had a huge success commercially but has continually released enough music with both his full-time bands and vanity side projects to keep his fans on their toes and his bank account from going dry. From Heavy Vegetable to Thingy, to Optiganally Yours, to Physics, and most recently Pinback, Holy Smokes, the Ladies, and Goblin Cock, Crow has been a key member in them all. Surprisingly, he's had the time to play to his own beat, and shed the burden of bandmates for his two most recent solo outings—2003's My Room Is a Mess and the just-released Living Well—to showcase his unmistakable style, charismatic wit, and delightful charm. TRAVIS RITTER Chop Suey, 8 p.m. $10 All ages

 
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