The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

Weinland ~ Thursday, April 2John Adam Weinland Shearer is a careful man. The songs he writes and performs with Weinland, his eponymous band, sound the way a baby bird looks: delicate, almost fragile, anticipating the great weight of the world that lies ahead. Shearer is so cautious with his gentle vocals and quiet guitar that it's easy to imagine a musician with some secret sadness just waiting to spill out if he sings too loudly or plays too vigorously. Lyrics like "I'll never tell you where I've been/I'll never tell you what I know" from "Sick as a Gun" off 2008's La Lamentor only reinforce that image. And the songs from the band's upcoming April release, Breaks in the Sun, solidify it. "Sunken Eyes" addresses disappointment and heartbreak without ever identifying the moment or experience that caused those two emotions. Shearer sings in metaphor and poetry, keeping his true feelings close to the chest. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $6. PAIGE RICHMONDMiguel Migs ~ Friday, April 3Deep-house high priest Miguel Migs occupies a position in electronica somewhere between France's Bob Sinclar and fellow San Franciscan (by way of Las Vegas) Halo. Even though he's done remixes for A-listers such as Macy Gray, Lionel Richie, and Britney Spears, Migs remains a DJ's DJ, maintaining both a heavy tour schedule, especially on the West Coast, and a firm presence in the crates (or, as is more likely, hard drives) of jocks all over the place. What's particularly refreshing about Migs' live sets is that he doesn't focus on drawing clubbers to the dance floor at the peril of playing a good, soulful groove. In that regard, his ability to contour a night around physical movement as much as emotional appeal makes him shine, even if not as brightly as many of his contemporaries. With Lisa Shaw, Brian Lyons, Lu Rob. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 9 p.m. $15 adv. KEVIN CAPPChad VanGaalen ~ Friday, April 3If Chad VanGaalen is any indicator, Canadians have excellent taste in music. VanGaalen—who's signed to Sub Pop in the United States and Flemish Eye in his native Canada—writes simple, articulate songs about other people and how those people make him feel. Not the world's most complicated musical formula: Some brutal honesty combined with easy guitar equals a confessional singer-songwriter. Here in the U.S., there are plenty such musicians nowadays, but it's poppy, fresh-faced songwriters like Chris Carrabba or Taylor Swift who earn national recognition. In Canada, however, VanGaalen went from recording songs in his bedroom in 2004 to being nominated for Canada's Polaris Music Prize in 2007. Maybe it's because his lyrics are a little off: On "After the Afterlife" from 2004's Infiniheart, VanGaalen asks the girl he loves if her mother's hairdo resembles seaweed. Most likely it's because the songs off 2006's Skelliconnection tell the story of what it feels like to be lonely and not to know how to change it. And that's something almost anyone anywhere can understand. With Women, Cataldo. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 9 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. PAIGE RICHMONDGerald Collier ~ Friday, April 3When this show was announced nearly six months ago, the good news traveled fast. Gerald Collier's sizable, longtime fan base was understandably thrilled that last summer's reunion show with Collier, guitarist William Bernhard, bassist and vocalist Jeff Wood, and drummer John Hollis Fleischman was not a one-time occurrence. Few musical unions I've witnessed in all my years in this business produce as much downright magical energy as what transpires when these four are onstage together. Even more heartening is the fact that they're in the midst of writing material for a new album, and the demos I've heard are as good (if not better) than the gorgeous, dark-hearted Americana they carved out when they first convened more than 10 years ago. With the Maldives, Kim Virant. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $8. HANNAH LEVINJ. Tillman ~ Friday, April 3These days, J. Tillman is best recognized as the man at the back of a very large and very popular stage: Tillman has been the drummer for Fleet Foxes for the past year, during which time the band's indie-rock cred has grown exponentially. But long before that fame, Tillman had gained a reputation as a Seattle singer-songwriter in his own right, performing on smaller stages with just himself and his guitar. And fittingly, the long-haired, bearded musician writes melodic songs about being alone, filled with "ooohs" and occasional additions of drums or stringed instruments—more like the slowcore popularized by Duluth, Minn.'s Low (Tillman even does a killer cover of "In the Drugs") than Foxes' folk. Songs like "James Blues" sound more like stories than songs, in which the author is trying to make sense of life. And whether or not Tillman succeeds in his search for meaning, it's worth following him on the musical journey. With Pearly Gates Music. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave. 8 p.m. $10 adv. PAIGE RICHMONDAb Baars Trio with Ken Vandermark ~ Friday, April 3Tenor saxophonist Ab Baars arguably exemplifies why jazz has remained alive and well in its European incarnation while the majority of Americans mistakenly view it as an embalmed art form. A veteran of the Dutch jazz community who first came to prominence more than 25 years ago as a member of Holland's rowdy, anarchistic ICP Orchestra, Baars and his trio—standup bassist Wilbert de Joode and Martin van Duynhoven—can certainly summon their share of chaos, but at times display a considerably more subdued temperament. With his forward-thinking style, Baars' music isn't necessarily an easy listen, but he and his bandmates are masters at toying with the relationship between refinement and abrasion. They also blur the hard distinction between "free" and traditional playing, landing on various points in between rather than treating the two approaches as distinct, polar opposites. By turns, their work together can sound abstract, cacophonous, somber, peaceful, and whimsical—sometimes within the same piece or even the same phrase. Special guest Ken Vandermark, a critically acclaimed Dutch transplant who now lives in Chicago, brings his own brand of tenor firepower, as well as a next-generation perspective, to the colorful mix. Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1430 Prospect Ave., 625-8900. 8 p.m. $7.50–$15. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNILifesavas ~ Saturday, April 4Even though Portland hip-hop troupe Lifesavas has only released two albums in the past six years, they were good enough to cement their status as some of the most innovative purveyors of rhyme, not just in the Pacific Northwest, but in the entire country. Like their labelmates Blackalicious, Lifesavas—Vursatyl, Jumbo the Garbageman, and DJ Shines—combine sharp-witted rhymes spat in unusual cadences with musically diverse production that's sometimes unorthodox but never, ever boring. In fact, it was Blackalicious' Chief Xcel who discovered the group and offered Lifesavas their current record deal on Quannum. Unfortunately, if the gap between 2003's Spirit in Stone and 2007's Gutterfly is any indication, it may be a while before Lifesavas release another record; that said, whenever that elusive third release does drop, it'll more than make up for a couple years' worth of lag time. With Grayskul, Rudy & the Rhetoric, Mic Crenshaw. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 9 p.m. $12 adv. SARA BRICKNERIndia.Arie ~ Saturday, April 4When India.Arie first offered her music to the world on her 2001 album Acoustic Soul, she was seen as a welcome change within the music industry. Existing slightly inside the neo-soul box but far away from the pillow-talk R&B of the time, Arie's songs spoke of black love and self-love in a way that touched music consumers young and old. That album eventually went triple platinum, obviously a strong start for a music career. The Denver native, who spent much of her adolescence in Atlanta, is a talented vocalist and guitar player, and also writes most of the songs on her albums. Her latest disc, Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics, hit stores in February, and while it doesn't have a single as catchy as "Brown Skin" or "I Am Not My Hair," the song "Chocolate High," featuring Musiq Soulchild, is a jazzy modern soul hit. Other jams on Love & Politics include "Therapy," featuring Gramps of reggae group Morgan Heritage, and "Better Way," which has a guest appearance from blues singer Keb Mo. It's a solid album; anyone who likes their R&B/soul music hard-hitting without cheesy, baby-come-hither lyrics should check her out. With Laura Izibor. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 467-5510. 8 p.m. $29.59–$59.50. All ages. JONATHAN CUNNINGHAMTorche ~ Sunday, April 5Last summer, when I interviewed guitarist Juan Montoya, co-founder of Florida underground-metal powerhouse Torche, he explained to me one of the differences between him and his bandmate (and friend of 15-plus years), singer-guitarist Steve Brooks: "Steve is the more realistic one in the band...and I'm the one that's always, like, 'We're gonna be the best! We're gonna rock out! Let's go to Japan by the end of the year!' I make all these crazy goals, and he's, like, 'Dude, you're a daydreamer...'" Apparently realism has won out, because Montoya was asked to leave the band in late 2008 due to vague-but-ever-popular "personal and professional" reasons, reducing Torche to a trio (they have no plans to replace Montoya). Part of what made last year's breakthrough album Meanderthal such an amazing, compelling listen was the collision of the pair's disparate styles and influences—Brooks was into death metal like Entombed and Deicide, while Montoya brought a love of My Bloody Valentine, Jawbox, and Cocteau Twins; they found common ground in the Melvins, whom Torche occasionally resembled both on disc and live. How the band will move forward with Brooks firmly in charge is anyone's guess, but tonight's show should provide at least some answers. With Dredg, Maps & Atlases.Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 7 p.m. $15 adv. All ages. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

 
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