The Short List: This Week’s Recommended Shows

Rooney ~ Wednesday, December 2Rooney is like the anti-Interpol. With their shiny and ebullient take on sunny American rock of the '70s and early '80s and their shaggy, post-hippie rocker looks, they stand as a mirror image of Interpol's noirish, British, post-punk-inflected sound and sleek, sharply dressed public face. In that context, Rooney helps with our hindsight exploration of one of musical history's most hotly contested stretches, as fierce advocates of the lush, heavily produced pop that in part influenced the rise of the punk and eventually post-punk groups so inspirational to Interpol and its ilk. Whether or not you appreciate what Rooney does, take a minute to think about what Rooney means. These days, both the excessive, popped-up, glossy sound of 1970s American airwaves and the reactionary simplicity and edginess it inspired in the punk and post-punk movement exist side by side in the iPods, minds, and hearts of the children (both literal and metaphorical) of those musical moments. Everything that's uncool will one day be cool. It's only a matter of time before something comes along to Rip It Up and Start Again, but it's all gonna come back around someday. With Tally Hall, Crash Kings. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 7 p.m. $13 adv./$15 DOS. All ages. NICHOLAS HALLThe Foghorns ~ Thursday, December 3Like a modern-day Woody Guthrie, Foghorns frontman Bart Cameron has traveled all over this wide world, singing folk songs while meandering ever westward toward the region to which the music he plays can trace its roots. Last year, Cameron came to Seattle, added a couple of locals to the band's roster, and wasted no time putting out a fifth album on weensy Wisconsin label Beefy Beef Records. The Foghorns' recorded incarnation features minimalist, introspective strumming, a judicious use of twang, and a languid pace. New Foghorn Katie Quigley serves as Cameron's vocal echo, which lends their music a ghostly, somber feel, doubling the emotional wallop of Cameron's lovelorn lyrics. But this isn't happy-go-lucky jug-band music; by and large, these are woeful songs about hard times. It makes sense, then, that Cameron tends to favor locales where the winters are dark, damp, and cruel. His is not music to dance to. His is the kind of music you put on at the end of the party, just as the last few people are stumbling out the door, someone's puking from accidentally taking a big gulp from a can filled with cigarette butts, and you're the last person up but can't go to bed because your most lascivious friend is getting laid in your room...even though it's your birthday. Sometimes there's nothing but the music to comfort you—and that's why bands like this are so very necessary. With Product of Mexico, Proud Wonderful Me. Conor Byrne, 5140 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-3640. 9 p.m. SARA BRICKNERGrayceon ~ Thursday, December 3Diverse as it is, this city's metal scene could really use some more progressive-thrash artists, but luckily a few are starting to fight their way to the surface. Dog Shredder is a relatively new project featuring guitarist Josh Holland and drummer Noah Burns, who used to head up Bellingham's arty, instrumental thrash-rock outfit, Cicadas. They pricked quite a few ears during a recent Sunset Tavern show, and their roughly hewn demo hints at an amalgam of elegant arrangements buttressed precariously by a churning undercurrent of sludgy bass and scattershot drums. This will be an interesting (if potentially schizophrenic) pairing with the more down-tempo tone of San Francisco's Grayceon, which features cellist/ethereal vocalist Jackie Perez Gratz, best known for her role in Amber Asylum and in Heiress, the post-Himsa hardcore project helmed by John Pettibone. With Heiress, the Abodox. Funhouse, 206 Fifth Ave. N., 374-8400. 9:30 p.m. $7. HANNAH LEVINMartin Bisi ~ Friday, December 4Even if other producers like Steve Albini and Dave Fridmann have attained as much underground cred as Martin Bisi, few if any can touch his versatility. From the early days of hip-hop to the downtown New York noise scene to Brian Eno and Sonic Youth and on down a mile-long list of recording credits, there's a good chance that Bisi had a hand in any underground movement of the last 30 years. But that part of his career has for all intents and purposes ended. When Bisi came to Seattle this past June, SW reported that his appearances were rare. Well, that was true at the time, but isn't so much anymore, as Bisi continues to make up for lost time by putting his own music first. He returns with his band on the heels of his new EP, Son of a Gun. Where on his 2008 full-length Sirens of the Apocalypse Bisi employed female characters as symbols for broader social observations, this time he turns to masculine imagery and looks inward. With the Curious Mystery, Bill Horist, Strong Killings. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 9 p.m. $6. SABY REYES-KULKARNIJohn Doe ~ Friday, December 4John Doe's (né Duchac) Seattle club gigs aren't all that uncommon. It's just that when he tours alone—or with Kathleen Edwards or the Knitters or whomever—he tends to play the Tractor, the sort of "official" music venue you'd associate with an artist of his magnitude. Now, the High Dive has featured an often-stellar live-music schedule for some time now—but it's usually local (usually—Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü recently played there). So Doe's stop in Fremont caught my eye—as it wouldn't were he descending upon Ballard Avenue again. It's intimate enough seeing this living rock legend (best known as a founding member of the punk band X) at a place like the Tractor. But catching him at the High Dive is on a par with having Ichiro show up to play pickup softball with you and your beer buddies at Woodland Park. Doe's no Dylan, but he's a star of widespread notoriety nonetheless, with a sterling, durable body of work and the onstage demeanor of your coolest uncle. The fact that Maldives frontman Jason Dodson is opening for him makes this nothing short of a must-see/hear for roots-music fans. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 9 p.m. $15 adv./$18 DOS. MIKE SEELYSlender Means ~ Saturday, December 5Slender Means is basically the go-to for effusively perfect indie pop in Seattle. That's been the case since their 2005 jewel of a debut, Neon and Ruin; the quintet's new record, Adrift in the Cosmos, stays true to their lively, golden pop sound. Josh Dawson's vocals have all the soul and pathos of Morrissey's, only delivered via Dawson's cleaner, more dazzling falsetto. And Slender Means is a complete package—the keyboards and guitar are always fluid, the drums are always tight, and you'd be hard-pressed to find sweeter vocal harmonies than those sung by the delightful Sonny Votolato—which makes all its songs sound satisfyingly complete. Those on Adrift are intricately built on soaring layers of melody—halfway through the opening track, Dawson and an escalating unison of backing voices assure us "All in all it was a good life." It's an appropriate lead-in to the stirring sequence of songs that follows. Proceeds from this show will benefit Teen Feed. With the Sea Navy, Spanish for 100. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. E. THOMPSONGarage A Trois ~ Tuesday, December 8OK, this band name is misleading on two counts. First, there are four guys in Garage A Trois, though originally there were three, and garage rock is not on the menu. Rather, the freaky New Orleans outfit dishes out a cosmic stew that's equal parts funk, soul, rock, and jazz. The players' collective resume is dizzying, and includes stints with Les Claypool, Galactic, Trey Anastasio, and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, but there's no jam-band tedium. In fact, Garage A Trois is surprisingly accessible. Famed guitarist Charlie Hunter was even a founding member, though he departed in 2007. Now a decade running, the unique sax/drums/vibes/keys quartet has a new third album, Power Patriot. It's a study in both wild-eyed range and play-it-cool finesse, going from burly to chill to arty in seconds. On a quick tour before heading to Japan in January, Garage A Trois are kindly prefacing their Seattle bar show with an all-ages appearance at Easy Street Records, 4559 California Ave. S.W., 938-3279. 6 p.m. Also Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $13. DOUG WALLENKid Cudi ~ Tuesday, December 8"I'm a Facebook prophet/I told all the girls that I'd be the hot shit." Thus sings Kid Cudi on "Soundtrack to My Life," the uninflected voice of a generation that grew up staring at monitors for hours and then spent nights cycling through social-networking Web sites. Embodying the hipster-hop aesthetic, Cudi's soundtrack is essentially a stream of chat-room confessions and lamentations. Sometimes it works—the sparse, catchy "Day&Nite" captures the drone of restless solitude and somehow makes it danceable—but most of the time it's mopey and unimpressive. But Cudi really is the hot shit right now: His smooth, intuitive, cross-genre musical approach reflects our Web-surfing, boundary-crossing, potentially infinite pop-culture reality. It's artists like Kid Cudi who are best suited to speak to a generation of kids who conduct their social lives and define their identities online, rather than by subscribing to any one scene or genre to find a sense of self. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 382-7877. 7 p.m. $27.50 adv./$30 DOS. All ages. HOLLIS WONG-WEARWe All Have Hooks for Hands ~ Tuesday, December 8We All Have Hooks for Hands are a dusty, riffy group of dudes from South Dakota. They leave their guitars bright, and use all six strings to make more than a bed for heavily burdened lyrics. Lead singer Eli Show's screeching howl sounds as much like Ben Bridwell as Owl City sounds like Ben Gibbard. And if you favor your indie rock with just a hint of Americana that doesn't give way to alt-country—well, eat your heart out. With the Ironclads, Doctor Doctor. Neumos, 925 Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $7. CHRIS KORNELIS

 
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