The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Shows

Supersuckers ~ Thursday, September 10Proclaiming yourself the greatest rock-'n'-roll band in the world isn't quite as bad as elevating yourself above Jesus Christ, but man, that's still a lot of self-generated hype to live up to. It's a title the Supersuckers have been working toward for 20 years, after writing themselves into rock history with songs about the vices commonly associated with rock—sex, drugs, alcohol, and the devil. The 'Suckers have spent the greater part of this year touring Europe and South America in support of last year's well-received Get It Together, an LP that, as always, fuses Eddie Spaghetti's brawny and confident vocals, "Scottzilla" Churilla's relentless drumming, and "Rontrose" Heathman and Dan "Thunder" Bolton's sweet, sweet guitar solos and duels. And while this album's songs are somehow more earnest and grounded than their previous party music, it still has the grandstanding that's become the band's trademark (one of the tracks is titled "I'm a Fucking Genius"). All the Supersuckers ever wanted was to rock your pants off. Just let 'em. With Thee Emergency and the Cold Cold Ground. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $13 adv. E. THOMPSONÓlöf Arnalds ~ Friday, September 11Blonde charmer Ólöf Arnalds got her start as a member of the experimental electronic and very Icelandic ensemble múm. Her debut solo album, Við og við, was produced by Sigur Rós' Kjartan Sveinsson, and introduced international audiences to her pretty, old-time lullabies. Arnalds was formally educated in violin and classical singing—and it shows. Her shimmering, operatic voice (think Joanna Newsom without the yowling) is rendered accessible by her quaint and folksy songs, often simply backed by Arnalds' finger-picking on mandolin or guitar. After spending the first part of the year playing shows in New York City with (natch) Björk and Blonde Redhead, Arnalds is venturing to the West Coast for the first time in support of her forthcoming LP, Ókídókí. With People Eating People. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10 adv. E. THOMPSONGov't Mule ~ Friday, September 11Gritty, soulful vocals, a heavy blues thump, loose, lanky funk, swirling psychedelia—that's Gov't Mule. Never a band interested in boxes, the Mule has made a career of doing things just a little bit differently. When Warren Haynes and Allen Woody (then the rhythm section for archetypal Southern rockers the Allman Brothers) joined with drummer Matt Abts, they married the genre-bending roots rock of their former project to the bluesier, psychedelic feel of '60s rockers like Hendrix and Clapton. This enabled Gov't Mule to add new layers of subtlety to the muscularity they'd been practicing. The new band's sound ran the gamut from dirt-floor boogie to mind-bending sonic freakouts, often within a single song. Since Woody's death in 2000, Gov't Mule has soldiered on, proving as stubborn as their namesake. Fortunately, a host of talented guest bassists, from Bootsy Collins to Victor Wooten, have helped that stubbornness pay off.The regular stream of new musical minds brought into the mix has pushed the Mule in surprising directions, bending their sound to encompass everything from reggae to African-inflected world-beat. With Carney. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 382-7877. 8 p.m. $25 adv./$30 DOS. All ages. NICHOLAS HALLArtifakt Three-Year Anniversary ~ Saturday, September 12Dubstep is making a comeback, especially among older refugees from the drum-and-bass era. Like its forebear, dubstep creates big spaces in between big bass, and works against the 4/4 rhythms of disco-inspired house. Jock/producer 12th Planet is a quality practitioner of the sound, and sometimes works on the Flying Lotus tip, welding hip-hop lyrics to his nimble but brutal productions. It's not music for your soul so much as for your heart: You feel it physically rather than spiritually. Anyway, 12th Planet will make a good soundtrack for local arts (visual art and music) collective Artifakt's third-anniversary soiree. Despite certain economic troubles, the band of electronic music- and hip-hop-loving promoters and curators continues to bring quality jocks and artists to its shows, and for that, we salute you. Indeed, Artifakt's celebration features a force of other performers, including Antiserum and Whiskey Pete. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 9 p.m. $10 adv. KEVIN CAPPBishop/Corsano/Chasny Trio ~ Saturday, September 12This show should be about as good as it gets, folks. Guitarists Ben Chasny (aka Six Organs of Admittance), Sir Richard Bishop, and drummer Chris Corsano will be pulling on their improv pants to splatter our ears with sound. I've seen Corsano twice before, and I know the guy is capable of creating percussion textures as thick and luminous as Mark Rothko paintings and as wild and smeary as a Jackson Pollock. As guitarists, Chasny creates moods and scenes, while Bishop is more of a linguist. All three are disciplined musicians, which means this will be less a wank-off session and more a rich musical conversation. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 7 p.m. $7. BRIAN J. BARRHealth ~ Saturday, September 12Contrary to popular opinion, not all noise-based music is created equal. Sure, Los Angeles art-spaz quartet Health sounds—and looks—like it's having a collective seizure onstage, but the band also elevates chaos into a refined, almost symphonic art. And even while Health scrapes your face raw with blasts of funnel-cloud guitars and keyboards, the band's execution betrays the grace that ultimately makes it so exceptional. Don't make the mistake of pigeonholing Health with other, less imaginative purveyors of dance beats and Nintendo-core bleeps. Health does touch on those things, but the strength of its writing—the strength and uniqueness of its identity—refuses easy categorization. With Past Lives, Picture Plane, Pregnant. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 374-8372. 7:30 p.m. $11. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNIObituary ~ Saturday, September 12Every genre needs its AC/DC, its Ramones, its Slayer...bands whose refusal to evolve becomes an art unto itself. In death metal, though, not evolving hardly makes you exceptional. So there's got to be more to Obituary's enduring appeal than its staunch mission to stick closely to what it knows how to do well. Masters of walking the fine line between repetition and stagnation, Obituary still shows an intangible spark that few death-metal acts have managed to touch, let alone sustain. Their pre-eminence among death metal's first-wave Tampa elite would hardly constitute a reason alone to see them now, but their spirited playing still rises above the din of an exhausted genre. The band's white-trash ghoulishness has its charms, and vocalist John Tardy's unintelligible growl remains one of the most distinctive in the genre's history. With Goatwhore, Krisiun, the Berzerker, Warbringer, Gravenloch. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 7 p.m. $25 adv./$28 DOS. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNISuper Geek League ~ Saturday, September 12Zany performance ensemble Super Geek League epitomizes the term spectacle. "Head geek" Floyd McFeely has assembled an 11-piece band specializing in thrash alternative rock that respectfully destroys each venue they perform in with psychedelic carnival antics and massive amounts of confetti, and which employs an arsenal of vocalists led by frontwoman Vy Agra, three guitarists, a sizeable horn section, and also gnomes. Expect screaming, lots of face paint, and a thumping cover of TI's "What You Know" in addition to songs off their newest release, A Magic Castle Land. If Slipknot and fairies ever procreated, Super Geek League would be their extended family. With Billy the Fridge, Jonny Sonic, and Dead Vampires; hosted by "the world's worst comic" Psycho. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10 adv. HOLLIS WONG-WEARAsteroid No. 4 ~ Monday, September 14Philadelphia's got a pretty stellar recent history of psychedelic rock, from the narcotic bombast of Bardo Pond to the heady drone-folk of Espers and Kurt Vile. Long-running Philly quintet Asteroid No. 4 is nestled right in between, offering up garage-y, shoegazery psych- and space-rock that sometimes twists in the air like smoke tendrils and other times packs a sweet wallop, like an ice-cream truck skidding into a telephone pole. Fans of Spiritualized, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and early Verve will find tons to love in the layers of craggy, reverbed guitars, the droopy-eyed vocals and harmonies, and the sterling arrangements that occasionally nod to old touchstones like the Velvet Underground and the Kinks ("Hold On" uses Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy" as a melodic launching pad to blast into the stratosphere). Asteroid No. 4 has a knack for sheathing its atmospherics in classic pop structures, so you'll probably remember at least a few songs long after the trip is over. With the Morning After Girls, Black Nite Crash. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 8 p.m. $6. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERGThe Entrance Band ~ Tuesday, September 15Guy Blakeslee's blues are like fever dreams. Seething and psychedelic, his blues are kin to the Skip James/Robert Johnson creepy blues. A long-haired hippie, Blakeslee (aka Entrance) is a white boy from Baltimore now based in Los Angeles. Don't hold this against him, because unlike most white-boy blues players, he doesn't bother trying to sound like an old black man. Instead, he sings like a man hallucinating; his moaning and wailing sounds as if it's echoing down twisting, endless hallways. It's less Southern boogie and more acid weirdness. Joined by a bassist and guitarist as the Entrance Band, Blakeslee still has the same old LSD blues, only now they're less claustrophobic and more bombastic and throbbing. With Amazing Baby. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $12 adv. BRIAN J. BARRThe Foreign Exchange ~ Tuesday, September 15For those of us who hate categories but use them anyway (because they are, after all, necessary reference points/tools), the hip-hop/downtempo/jazz/electronica/R&B duo Foreign Exchange is a wonderful thing to have swimming around in the culture. Singer/rapper Phonte and his producer Nicolay set up shop on the edge of so many genres and subgenres. Their first full-length, 2004's Connected, while not slept on by some influential heads in the industry, nevertheless failed to propel the boys into a respectable realm of due (mainstream) recognition. And it doesn't appear their follow-up, Leave It All Behind, will do that either. But no matter: Phonte's soft yet intense voice (think Bilal with slightly less fire) and Nicolay's lush, warm arrangements make them two valuable currencies on the exchange. With YahZarah, Darien Brockington, Carlitta Durand, Zo! & the Els, the Physics, DJ Topspin. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 9 p.m. $15 adv. KEVIN CAPP

 
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