The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

Bat for Lashes ~ Wednesday, August 26I wonder if David Lynch knows he has an English-Pakistani doppelgänger running around named Natasha Khan, a modern musical mystic who includes Lynch as one of her major influences, goes by the stage name of Bat for Lashes, and counts Thom Yorke and Ringo Starr among her fans. I wonder if he's heard her sing her ghostly songs about loneliness, fervent dreams, and intense love; or if he's seen her creepy, startling music videos featuring dark woods and men with giant bunny heads and realized they could be clips straight from Blue Velvet or Inland Empire. I wonder if he's seen her onstage, in her fur and satin costumes showing off her sparkling vocals, and been reminded of the lounge singer from Twin Peaks (although no Lynch muse has ever been able to jam out on the harpsichord or the autoharp like Khan does). I wonder if he's heard her latest record, this year's Two Suns, a concept album about Khan's alter ego, a blonde femme fatale named Pearl, and decided this girl's just as alluring and mysterious as a certain Laura Palmer once was. With Other Lives. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $14 adv. E. THOMPSONThe Cult ~ Wednesday, August 26Along with Jane's Addiction, the Cult was one of the first important gateway bands to inadvertently introduce the concept of so-called alternative music to mainstream rock fans. However, this particular influence didn't really begin to gain momentum until the release of 1987's Rick Rubin–produced Electric, an album that marked a deliberate turn away from their initially gothic and dreamy, post-punk flavors. All the New Romantic girls at my high school were actually quite despondent about this, having invested their black hearts so deeply in the bewitching sounds of their 1985 album Love. I'm much more an Electric kind of gal, but I certainly understand the urge to hear songs like "Rain," "Revolution," and "She Sells Sanctuary" in their fully realized context. Tonight is the opportunity to do just that—albeit a good 24 years after the fact—as the English band will be performing that album in its entirety. With Living Things. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 443-1744. 7:30 p.m. $27.50–$37.50. All ages. HANNAH LEVINJay Reatard ~ Wednesday, August 26Overly serious artists do not employ the surname Reatard. Understanding that should prepare you for Reatard's sneering, infectiously up-tempo, poppy punk with a glorious dose of juvenile exuberance.His latest LP, Watch Me Fall, sets the mood with the Buzzcocks-esque bravado of "Ain't Gonna Save Me," which plays downbeat lyrics against manically upbeat instrumentation, focusing on strummy guitars and breakneck drumming. "All is lost/There is no hope," asserts Reatard, but he somehow leaves you grinning. It's like one big "fuck it" moment of emotional abandon. The album is studded with similarly bipolar shards of candy-coated arsenic. Depressive songwriting is nothing new for Reatard, but it takes on an added level of impact when he channels his ennui through the scat-chorus and Kiwi-pop sensibilities of "Wounded" rather than through his usual screaming and feedback haze, almost charming you as he gleefully admonishes "We are standing still." The album is immediately arresting, eminently enjoyable, and surprisingly cathartic. It'd be hard to find a more mood-affecting record capable of leaving you a manic-depressive bundle of nerves twitching for more. Easy Street Records, 20 W. Mercer St., 691-3279. 7 p.m. Free. All ages. Also at Sonic Boom Records, 2209 N.W. Market St., 297-2666. 7 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 27. Free. All ages. NICHOLAS HALLThe Pretenders ~ Thursday, August 27Even Chrissie Hynde admits that the Pretenders feels a little like a tribute band, given the number of lineup changes the group's faced over the years. As frontwoman, and the only constant member over the past three decades, Hynde essentially is the Pretenders. But ain't nothing wrong with that. The band's new album, Break Up the Concrete, contains more twang and rockabilly than their '80s material, but songs like "Boots of Chinese Plastic" and "Love's a Mystery" manage to evoke familiarity, thanks to Hynde's trademark baying, and the 57-year-old sounds as ballsy now as she did as a 20-something declaring her sexual prowess on "Brass in Pocket." In rock 'n' roll, where few aging females survive, let alone thrive, that's special. With Cat Power, Juliette Lewis. Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E., 205-3661. 6 p.m. $45–$65. All ages. ERIKA HOBARTStanley Jordan Trio ~ Thursday, August 27–Sunday, August 30Known for his delicate sound as much as for his trademark right-hand tapping technique, guitarist Stanley Jordan has nonetheless pushed hard against being pigeonholed throughout his 25-year career. Jordan will probably always be regarded by the general public as a virtuosic smooth-jazz guitarist, but watching him with his trio helps provide a broader context for his strong exploratory drive. Jordan has in a sense been penalized for pulling off what so few virtuoso-level players do, which is translate prodigious skills into listenable music—while still highlighting those skills. He has applied them to classical, pop, Brazilian, Indian, and other styles, but his latest album, State of Nature, actually uses disharmony as a starting point. A plea for humankind to realign with the natural world, the album also sees Jordan return to his piano roots. But don't worry—he still does the double-fisting, two-guitars-at-once thing during the show. After all these years, it still hasn't gotten old. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729. 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Thurs.; 8 & 10 p.m. Fri–Sat., 7:30 p.m. Sun. $23.50. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNIAvett Brothers ~ Friday, August 28Since 2000, the fraternal duo of Seth and Scott Avett have led their folk-rock group with the earnest delivery of a classic Southern rock band with an eye for pretty girls, except these guys have softer hearts and a collective ear both for down-home roots and unhinged punk energy. After several years of extensive touring and putting out nearly a dozen well-received studio albums (and several live releases), the brothers caught the attention of legendary sonic guru Rick Rubin, who not only signed them to his Columbia Records imprint label, American Recordings, but got behind the boards for their latest release, I and Love and You, which drops in September. Tonight, they're perfectly paired with openers Heartless Bastards, an Ohio-based, guitar-driven trio that consistently delivers engrossing, impassioned live performances. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 467-5510. 8 p.m. $25 adv./$30 DOS. All ages. HANNAH LEVINJucifer ~ Friday, August 28While their moniker conjures images of what Satan might prefer to drink for breakfast, Jucifer's sonic presence is a veritable smorgasbord of delicious and confounding sounds. Frontwoman Amber Valentine wields as much versatility in her elastic vocal presence as in her wall-of-sound guitar playing, vacillating naturally between sweet whisper and primal scream. Drummer Edgar Livengood, Valentine's husband and constant touring companion, is as tasteful as he is powerful, backing his super-vixen with equal parts style and substance. Jucifer alone is reason to head to El Corazon, but the local support on the bill is also phenomenal, including math-y metal mavens Lesbian, doom-driven stoner sludge courtesy of Sod Hauler, and unapologetically classic shredding via Plaster. Lube up your ears, kids, this is gonna be one beautifully brutal orgy of rock. With Ubik. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 8 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. HANNAH LEVINWhite Fang ~ Friday, Aug. 28Last year's Pure Evil may have seen a proper release thanks to Portland's Marriage Records, but White Fang's sound remains steeped in the homemade hiss of their CD-R-and-cassette past. In fact, the quartet of grinning Portland teens casts off its trashy two-minute treasures with such beery punk harmonies and itchy hardcore thrashing that it's tough to imagine them adopting a drop of polish. It may be brashly lo-fi, but Pure Evil casts its net wider in places, with an occasional frazzled trumpet line or ska-flirting guitar lick, even some tangles of country and a pair of instrumentals. There's a great sloshing chorus to "Green Beanz," "And I will sing until the day I die"; even better is the ludicrously catchy album opener "Breakfast." Imagine an unholy blend of Dexys Midnight Runners and 7 Seconds, only late for class and with bed head. With Mad Rad, Breakfast Mountain, Chk Minus, and Dash Exp. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 9 p.m. $8. DOUG WALLENHarvey Danger ~ Friday, August 28 and Saturday, August 29There's not enough space here to pseudo-intellectually parse what Harvey Danger—officially disbanding after this weekend—did or never did mean to this town's music scene in the 1990s. So let's move right along to why you should still try to snag a ticket. Harvey Danger's enjoyed fruitful collaborations with a number of more-now bands you love, Seattle-based and beyond—Death Cab, the Long Winters, Nada Surf, the Decemberists—so the surprise-guest list just might make for a "you hadda be there" moment in the fandom narrative of your life. Harvey Danger's third and final album, Little by Little..., is pretty good, largely unheralded, and deserving of a posthumous sales bump. Most important, it will be admitted here for those who won't admit it themselves: "Flagpole Sitta" is an awesome, perfect song that induces happy-pop head-banging so potently, it's like a drug. Go ahead and get your one last fix. Friday at Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $13. All ages. Saturday at The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 5 p.m. "quiet set" with Can You Imagine?; 8 p.m. with Sleepy Kitty (sold out). $20. ROSE MARTELLIMatt Duke ~ Saturday, August 29When listening to the music of singer/songwriter Matt Duke, images of a young Steve Earle or a tender-voiced Robin Thicke come to mind. Typically those two worlds would never collide, but Duke strikes an odd balance between the two on his 2008 release, Kingdom Underground. The Philadelphia-based solo artist looks and sings exactly the way yet-to-be-kissed 14-year-old girls want their future boyfriends to, yet strums his guitar like he just got done working on an oil rig. That mixture should serve him well as he travels the country playing small gigs at bars, cafes, and juke joints while trying to spread his music. Many of the songs on Kingdom Underground are so melodic and personal that he released an acoustic version a few months ago. At Nectar, expect a mix of coffee-shop lullabies, love songs, and ballads about finding a sense of purpose in the ever-changing world we live in. With Tony Lucca, Jay Nash, and Cody Beebe. Nectar Lounge, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10. JONATHAN CUNNINGHAMSex Church ~ Saturday, August 29I'm starting to get the feeling things are about to go boom in Vancouver. Every few weeks, another baby band barrels its way south with a fresh take on bleak, bombastic post-punk. Though their respective sounds differ, they're tied together by a dark, bass-heavy thread, a fondness for distortion, and the otherworldly influence of Ian Curtis. Tonight'sbill contains two such bands: Sex Church and the Defektors, whose approach filters their scene through aBuzzcocks Brita. Combined with B.C. contemporaries Twin Crystals (stony psych-punks), and the amazingly listenable Modern Creatures (think Siouxsie Sioux backed by Sonic Youth), this bill is made up of a slew of talented kids poised to get their sound and style pillaged by the mainstream. With Coconut Coolouts, Sister Wife. Funhouse, 206 Fifth Ave. N., 374-8400. 9:30 p.m. $6. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSARBusdriver ~ Sunday, August 30One of underground hip-hop's more challenging artists, Los Angeles rapper Busdriver's flow is both instinctive and adroit, filled with lightning-fast runs, dazzling flashes of poetry, and impressive vocal shapeshifting. He leaps from impish, sing-songy elocution to a half-speed, haunted croon to a manic attack strangely reminiscent of Mr. Bungle–era Mike Patton, believe it or not. Marry that to peculiar imagery, confusing allusions, odd couplets, illogical tangents, and experimental production, and you've got the aural equivalent of a David Lynch flick: beautiful and at times utterly baffling. A graduate of the acclaimed Project Blowed hip-hop collective (which also counts Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, and Pigeon John among its many alumni), Bus just dropped his ninth LP, Jhelli Beam, his most sonically ambitious and rewarding album yet. With Abstract Rude, Open Mike Eagle. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 8 p.m. $10 adv.,/$12 DOS. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERGTim Easton ~ Sunday, August 30It's nice to have friends in high places—especially if those friends are Lucinda Williams, Tim Easton's mentor, or the guys from Wilco, who've played on one of Easton's records as his backing band. And with the release of his latest New West record, Porcupine, he himself can take his place among alt-country royalty. On it Easton, a Midwesterner who relocated to Joshua Tree, Calif., returns to his earlier, punchier rock-and-roll sound. It's still a pretty diverse collection of tunes, from the swinging rockabilly of "Burgundy Red" to the soulful slide guitars on "Young Girls" and the smooth pop sound of "Seventh Wheel." Easton's dusky, creaking vocals, similar to M. Ward's, are perfect for relaying his occasionally tender and introspective lyrics, as on "Broke My Heart," where he sings "There's only two things left in this world: love, and the lack thereof." With Kate Tucker. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $10. E. THOMPSON

 
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