The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Concerts

David Byrne ~ Wednesday, June 24Dear David Byrne,I am a singer who used to be in a popular and highly influential '80s band until we broke up because we all hated each other. Since then, I have pursued a solo career, but all anyone ever wants to talk about is if I'll get my old band back together. It's driving me crazy. What do I do about this?S. MorrisseyDear S. Morrissey,Trust me, I know exactly what you mean. It's like people expecting you to get back with your ex-wife after you've escaped a 15-year mindfuck of a marriage. The key word here is "crazy"—instead of just making boring albums that don't compare to your old band's work, you gotta do a bunch of weird projects so people think you're a batshit-nutso "artiste" who's off in your own world, and then they'll leave you alone because they don't understand you. For example, I've recently designed New York City bike racks that look like coffee mugs and ladies' shoes, and chairs that look like file cabinets and dog toys. I've done performance art using PowerPoint, and rigged a giant building with sound-generating devices and a trigger mechanism to turn the place into one big musical instrument. It also helps if you stare at people a lot without speaking. Or twitch. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 467-5510. 7:30 p.m. $45. All ages. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERGDeer Tick ~ Thursday, June 25John McCauley was born in the wrong decade. From his clear affection for American rock icons of the late '50s and early '60s to his penchant for Dylanesque folk mumblings and mouth-harp blasts, it's clear that his band Deer Tick takes its cues from a generation considerably removed from its own. McCauley is not alone in that; this generation of performers is particularly fond of nostalgia. Somehow, though, McCauley seems to fit into his idealized ideology better than most. The group's new album, Born on Flag Day, is proof positive that he has a firm command of the language, showing the band merging its love of the past with more contemporary soundscapes.The feedback-laced folk-rock of album opener "Easy," redolent with pop-classic chord changes, could have sprung from the grooves of a 7-inch circa 1959, yet also bears the hallmarks of late-'90s indie rock. Elsewhere, as on "Smith Hill" and "Straight Into a Storm" (half Nebraska, half "Chantilly Lace"), McCauley wears his inner rockabilly troubadour on his sleeve. Regardless of which edition of Deer Tick you prefer—1959 or 2009—this new batch of songs is sure to delight. With Dawes, Widower. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $10. NICHOLAS HALLMajor Lazer ~ Thursday, June 25When Phili's Diplo and London's Switch get together, they don't form like Voltron a la Wu-Tang Clan; rather, they become an ass-kicking, one-armed, crime-fighting rasta cartoon action hero decked out in mirrored shades and armed with a cannon that fires frickin' laser beams. It's a loose, playful concept for the two dance producers, sure. But if you're gonna call yourself Major Lazer, you might as well have a cool mascot. Their debut disc, Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do!, is a mashup of dancehall, reggaeton, and hip-hop spiked with techno and smeared with digitized SFX. The single "Hold the Line," featuring Santigold and Mr. Lex, rides a surf-boogie guitar into periodic bursts of random cell-phone rings and other noises. And "Anything Goes," featuring Turbulence, gives a full-frontal assault of Auto-Tuned vocals and epic violins punctured by—but of course—laser bursts. It's conceptual in the best possible sense. Or as Major Lazer likes to say, "mad decent." With DJ Ayres, Tigerbeat. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $18 adv. KEVIN CAPPReik ~ Thursday, June 25In the late '90s, Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin made it clear that there's nothing hotter than a sexy Latino dude crooning in Spanish. Now Baja California natives Reik have contributed to the Latino-heartthrob image with their good looks and a Latin Grammy nomination for "Best New Artist." Frontman Jesús Alberto Navarro Rosas and backup vocalist Julio Ramírez Eguía will melt you with their silky-smooth voices and delicious pop riffs that make me wish they were serenading me right now. After six years of releasing multiple Mexican chart-toppers, these guys are due for a U.S. breakthrough. Watch out for panty-dropper "Ahora Sin Ti" and the more upbeat, but equally sexy, "Illusionado." Following the last juicy twang of Gilberto Marín's guitar, these fellas are sure to have ladies (and a few men) stalking them all the way back to Sea-Tac. Caliente. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 7 p.m. $27.50 adv./$30 DOS. All ages. MALIA MAKOWICKIUmojaFest P.E.A.C.E. Center Benefit ~ Friday, June 26Hip-hop showcases can be hit-or-miss in Seattle. Sometimes you get top-notch talent on the same lineup with scrubs, and you only want to stick around for half of the performances. But this weekend there's a solid urban-music showcase at Vera Project, full of talented local artists, all for a good cause. The UmojaFest P.E.A.C.E. Center is in the process of opening up a School for Hip-Hop Culture, Business & Technology in the Central District, and this event is a fundraiser for the project. The idea is to immerse local at-risk youth in a community-based center with a digital recording studio, a computer lab, etc., but also to teach them the entrepreneurial skills to turn it all to their advantage. It won't be a cheap project to bankroll, but like most things Center-related, it will be done in a grassroots fashion. The showcase lineup includes rising multicultural hip-hop artists like Helladope, Sol, Knox Fam, and El Dia holding things down, with various other artists on the bill whom you may not have heard of yet, but will enjoy if you make it to this event. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 374-8372. 6 p.m. All ages. JONATHAN CUNNINGHAMThe Coathangers ~ Saturday, June 27If ever there were a desperate need for a band like Atlanta's Coathangers, a fierce foursome of punk-rock women who can shriek "I'm gonna break your fuckin' face!" and make the biggest beefcake in the place run for cover, it's now. Sleater-Kinney broke up. The Donnas... um, no. And while Beth Ditto is out there fighting the good fight for Rubenesque women everywhere, she's become as much a sex symbol as her emaciated foes. (It's gotten so bad that Ditto's persona—and the Beth Ditto doll, a miniskirt-wearing thing with makeup painted on her little plastic face like 2D cake frosting—is getting more attention than the Gossip.) Among new girl groups, you've got bands like Von Iva and the Veronicas, who've built their success on Suicide Girl looks and a performance style that borders on exhibitionism. But bands like the Coathangers, who recently dropped their sophomore album, Scramble, on local label Suicide Squeeze Records, spit in the eye of all that fluff. They may wear wigs onstage, but they aren't trying to be sexpots. They may channel Bikini Kill, but they're not trying to further a cause (provocative band name aside). They're trying to get attention for their badass music. Music that proves you don't need to be a sex symbol or a feminist icon to get somewhere as a female musician. With These Arms Are Snakes, the Whore Moans. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $8. SARA BRICKNERTimeout to Rock ~ Saturday, June 27Nothing burns my butter like hearing about the adventures my parents took me on as a baby. What good is it to know you saw Evel Knievel jump Snake River Canyon or Fleetwood Mac in their prime, if you have no memory of it? Of course, the rules regarding when it is socially acceptable to be accompanied by a toddler have changed significantly since Stevie was skinny. Parents now have to feel a little guilty about taking their kid to almost any event, even an all-ages one, as someone will surely pooh-pooh them as a selfish a-hole for doing so. That's why the idea behind Timeout to Rock! Seattle's First Annual Children's Music Festival is such a good one. It's music-centric fun for kids and parents alike, so when your kids are grown, they'll look back and appreciate that you went to see Caspar Babypants (Presidents of the United States of America co-founder Chris Ballew's new kids' band), with them instead of resenting you for it. With Recess Monkey, the Not It's!, Board of Education. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 374-8372. 11 a.m. $8/$25 for families. All ages. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSARSunset Rubdown ~ Saturday, June 27It's tempting to call Sunset Rubdown a "side project" of Wolf Parade singer/multi-instrumentalist Spencer Krug (also of Frog Eyes and Swan Lake), but that would imply it's not as important a gig to Krug or as well-known as his primary outfit, and neither is correct. Begun as a solo project in 2005, Sunset Rubdown has expanded to a quintet, and has just released Dragonslayer, its fourth acclaimed full-length of zig-zagging, proggy indie-rock (the band also has two EPs to its name). Craggy guitars, psychedelic organ grooves, New Wavey vocal yelps, skittering rhythms, background female coos, and bursts of joyous noise all play a role in Krug's epic, engaging jams, and his desperately sung lyrics are among the most fascinating, and inscrutable, in all indie-rockdom: "See the sirens and the lizards lick their tongues behind the stage/See the actor keep a ritual to keep them all at bay/He would like to come home naked without war paint on his face/And appear before you, virgin white, if virgins are still chaste." With Witchies, Elfin Saddle. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 8 p.m. $13. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERGJunior Brown ~ Sunday, June 28It's been nearly four years since Junior Brown's most recent album, Live at the Continental Club: The Austin Experience. That's a long time. Then again, Brown has never been a fan of the studio. The guitarist has released just nine albums since 1974. A genuine virtuoso, Brown prefers jamming, gigging, practicing, touring, etc. Playing an electric guitar/lap steel hybrid called a guit-steel, Brown is one of roots rock's most gifted pickers. Of course a lot of folks can't get over that novel-looking axe, but that's just the gift-wrapping. When you get some extra time, track down an instrumental by the name of "Sugarfoot Rag." This is Brown at his most intense. He sounds like Clarence White, Jr., as he fuses James Burton and Jimi Hendrix. No lie. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8 p.m. $25 adv. JUSTIN F. FARRARSpindrift ~ Sunday, June 28If geographical locales could have house bands, Los Angeles' Spindrift would be a prime candidate to provide a perpetual soundtrack for Death Valley. Originally conceived as a more low-key trio 17 years ago, while frontman Kirpatrick Thomas was living in Delaware, he eventually migrated to L.A. and nurtured his lysergic, Wild West–embracing vision into a sprawling seven-piece featuring players from Brian Jonestown Massacre and Psychic TV. Those heady ingredients synthesize into an excellent recipe for feeding Ennio Morricone aficionados and fans of dark, narcotic drone a la the Black Angels. It's also hardly a novelty act; Thomas is a complete artist who's also started to expand into filmmaking: His neo–spaghetti Western, The Legend of God's Gun, was shown at the Cannes Film Festival last summer. With Black Nite Crash, Levator. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 8 p.m. $6. HANNAH LEVINRyan Shaw ~ Monday, June 29With a boisterous, vintage R&B sound that almost literally jumps out of your speakers, Ryan Shaw's recordings have "There's no way this guy doesn't kick ass in concert" stamped all over them. Among the bandwagon hoppers who have embraced classic 1960s production values, Shaw's voice and rousing delivery ring loud and clear above the rest. Because it relies on time-proven formulas, any overtly retro music always comes tainted by the possibility that it was calculated by some shady producer with dollar signs in his eyes, but there's absolutely no denying Shaw's passion. Or the way his records crackle with energy and verve. Instead of merely carbon-copying established Motown/Stax blueprints, Shaw's work reflects a savvy mix of old and new production techniques. Clearly, he wasn't tapped as Van Halen's reunion-tour opener for nothing, and his enthusiasm translates easily for fans of any genre. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729. 7:30 p.m. $20.50. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNIÉmilie Simon ~ Tuesday, June 30Those Europeans sure love their electronic music, and in Émilie Simon's case, we can't blame them. Simon's girlishly wispy vocals are similar to those of fellow chanteuse Charlotte Gainsbourg, only she's backed by an otherworldly aura and killer dance beats that have made her a critical and commercial success in her native France for years. She's released both floral- (The Flower Book) and plant- (Végétal) themed albums, and composed the score for March of the Penguins. Songs like "Dame de Lotus" feature driving electric guitars and hypnotic melodies, while her music videos singularize her as impossibly cool ("Flowers" turns Simon into a Claymation doll among a population of creepy toys, a la Tim Burton) and impossibly sexy ("Fleur de Saison" depicts her posing nude as vines wrap around her body) all at once. Yet Simon's exquisite lyrics expose the tenderness underneath all that edginess. With Butterfly Boucher. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10 adv. ERIN THOMPSON

 
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