The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Shows

Parson Red Heads ~ Thursday, February 4

Maybe it's because their name reminds me ofone of my all-time favorite records, Willie Nelson's legendary Red Headed Stranger, but I delved into Parson Red Heads' music expecting it to be a somewhat tougher, traditional country band. Instead it delivers sweetly melodic country pop that steals a little from the Jayhawks andheavily from the jangly, SoCal country pining of yesteryear, which can come off as simply dreamy or extremely off-putting depending on how you take your country and western. Fans of bands like the Moondoggies and Fleet Foxes will be into the band's ultra harmonies and major musicianship, but if you want something to swill whiskey and break shit to, this ain't it. With Thorstone, Pearly Gate Music, Low Hums. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 9 p.m. $7. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Trainwreck ~ Thursday, February 4

See Rocket Queen.

Alice in Chains ~ Thursday, February 4 and Friday, February 5

See feature.

Do Make Say Think ~ Friday, February 5

Like, say, the plodding ponderousness of Pelican or the anarchic squall of Godspeed, a good number of the instrumental post-rock bands treading the boards these days have a certain seriousness about them. Although Toronto's instrumental titans Do Make Say Think aren't exactly post-rock's answer to The Polyphonic Spree, there's an animated agility to their music that's refreshingly joyous. Although far from "loose," DMST melds brass and string sections with thudding drums and expansive guitar lines in a way that feels quite organic and alive. In concert, these eight Canadians bring their full sonic force to bear on audiences, coming across more like a shaggy, smiling hipster attack orchestra than a bunch of dour rockers trying to make a point. With Years, Charles Spearin (the Happiness Project). Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St. 9 p.m. $12 adv./$14 DOS. JASON FERGUSON

Editors ~ Friday, February 5

British quartet Editors made an impression in 2005 with their debut, The Back Room, an aggressive swirl of power chords, brilliantly tense snare drums, and Tom Smith's imperious vocals (on the hit single "Munich," he barks, "You'll speak when you're spoken to"). The music's sharp, industrial quality made it contemporary and engaging—the group was recently named the second-biggest band of the decade by the UK's Daily Mail (behind the Arctic Monkeys). It's interesting, then, that with last fall's In This Light and on This Evening, its sound has taken an abrupt new turn, with a gloomier, almost Gothic tone. Smith's vocals, damp and snarly, have become even more Ian Curtis–like, and songs like "Papillon" and "You Don't Know Love," absent any pronounced guitars, are instead completely dominated by dark, ominous synthesizers and monastic backing vocals. It's definitely going to make some Depeche Mode fans happy. With Princeton, Black Nite Crash. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave. 8 p.m. $21 adv./$23 DOS. All ages. E. THOMPSON

St. Vincent ~ Friday, February 5

Annie Clark, the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist best known as St. Vincent, is a lesson in contradictions. Her song "Marry Me"—the title track on her 2007 release—is a perfect example of her ability to combine ill-fitting elements into a pitch-perfect song. It's a piano ballad with heartfelt vocals for the first few bars; it then changes to a bouncy tempo before Clark introduces sporadic, beat-keeping handclaps. The lyrics portray either an empowered woman taking control of her own romantic life or the depressing fear that lasting love might not be possible: "Most mainly want to win the game they came to win/They want to come out ahead/But you, you're a rock, with a heart like a socket/I can plug into at will." "Marry Me" is both experimental and precise, lovely yet alienating—just like the rest of St. Vincent's songs. With Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Fences. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $13. PAIGE RICHMOND

The Album Leaf ~ Saturday, February 6

After 10 years in the game, the Album Leaf's Jimmy LaValle is trying something new: This month's A Chorus of Storytellers is the first of his five studio albums to be recorded with a full band. Until now, The Album Leaf on record has been 100 percent LaValle, though he's toured with a rotating cast of band members. For Chorus, however, he brought his current lineup into the studio and focused on composition, artfully arranging flows of keyboard and violin, guitar and synthesizers, and the occasional floaty vocal melody into the sonic dreamscapes that are his songs. You can tell this is a guy who hangs around Sigur Ros a lot. The songs also reflect LaValle's dabbling in the TV and film industry—the music is sweeping, orchestral, and thus totally cinematic. With Sea Wolf, Anomie Belle. Neumos, 925 Pike St. 709-9467. 8 p.m. $13 adv. E. THOMPSON

The Dwarves ~ Saturday, February 6

Still relishing nudity and mayhem 20 years after their 13-song, 14-minute Sub Pop debut Blood Guts & Pussy, with its infamous album cover, the Dwarves haven't changed much. In 2007, they released a feature-length DVD surrounding a photo shoot with Suicide Girls, and their records continue to be profane stabs of anarchic punk. Fronted still by singer (and occasional novelist) Blag Dahlia and mysterious guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed, the band has made sure to live up to its nightmarish reputation at every turn. And though it can seem like a one-joke act, the joke shows no signs of wearing thin. Boasting a lineup that tells you all you need to know, this El Corazon bash is the second one celebrating the venue's fifth anniversary. With Zeke, the Spittin' Cobras, Neutralboy, and the Triple Sixes. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 8:30 p.m. $13 adv./$15 DOS. DOUG WALLEN

Mudhoney ~ Monday, February 8

Though Mark Arm may be the face of Mudhoney and Dan Peters its solid backbone, its essence, longevity, and allure relies on the sinewy shoulders of one of the most unheralded, pillaged, and plagiarized guitarists in the history of our sordid scene. Steve Turner, who has been giving the music-loving ladies of Seattle girl-boners for 20-some years with his "better with age" good looks (unsuccessfully hidden by nerdy glasses) and guitar hooks so slutty they don't bother wearing undies, is Mudhoney's sire of sizzle, packing a below-the-belt punch that, combined with Arm's yelp, defines the band's aggro-sexuality and sets them apart from their g-word peers. Maybe, if that's your thing, you can make love to Pearl Jam's Ten, but you can GET IT ON to Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. Oh, this show is free, sort of; the only way to get in is to buy a New Belgium 1994 at Moe Bar. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. Free. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Dawes ~ Tuesday, February 9

Los Angeles' Dawes is one of those rare bands that isn't boring or predictable, but whose sound is instantly familiar and comforting. A modern extension of the famous Laurel Canyon music scene (home of the Byrds, Joni Mitchell, and the Mamas and the Papas, among others), Dawes comes across like a recently unearthed artifact of that era. Like a dusty, hazy snapshot of late-'60s California, Dawes draws from all that era's friendliest and most soulful parts; the twangy guitars, pulsing rhythms, and gospel/campfire harmonies come together as an organic sound that's both cordially inviting and solitarily introspective, bursting at its threadbare seams with those gold sounds that made the Golden State famous. With Cory Chisel & the Wandering Sons, Jason Boesel (of Rilo Kiley). Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8 p.m. $10. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Van Dyke Parks and Clare and the Reasons ~ Tuesday, February 9

Van Dyke Parks digs the young ladies. After providing arrangements for Joanna Newsom's 2006 epic Ys, the avant-pop genius has gone on to collaborate with two more honey-voiced songbirds: Inara George, and Clare Muldaur Manchon of Clare and the Reasons. Both, interestingly enough, are the daughters of musicians of Van Dyke's generation: Little Feat's Lowell George and East Coast folk revivalists Geoff Muldaur. His work with both musicians is stellar, especially on Inara's album An Invitation, a wondrous collection of symphonic pop. Clare explores similar terrain on her first two albums: The Movie and the gorgeous Arrow. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7:30 p.m. $20 adv./$24 DOS. All ages. JUSTIN F. FARRAR

X-Ray Press ~ Tuesday, February 9

Anyone who appreciates AFCGT—the cacophonous, unholy union of Climax Golden Twins and the A Frames—or the arresting experiments of Feral Children should put X-Ray Press at the top of their list of bands to check out. This is not to say that this quartet sounds like either of those bands, simply that they seem to be coming from similar viewpoints. Taking its name from a creative music-smuggling technique used by Soviet college students during the Cold War, the local X-Ray Press utilizes its members' jazz backgrounds to explore and deconstruct classic Reagan-era punk sounds. The resulting Fugazi-meets-the-Minutemen-meets-Coltrane mix is challenging but enthralling. With By Sunlight, Noise-a-Tron, Levator. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 9 p.m. $6. HANNAH LEVIN

 
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