The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

Fred Eaglesmith / Wednesday, February 24

Fred Eaglesmith is like a more polished or normal (if one can refer to Eaglesmith as either) Tom Waits. In his three decades in the music business, Eaglesmith has perfected the dry, wry, often dark type of classically informed Americana that carved out Waits' particular niche of cool, while preferring to hew a little closer to his roots. Offering a view of country and folk music that is uniquely his, Eaglesmith is capable of embodying the traditional spirit of those musics while adding just enough torsion for listeners to know he's onto something a little bit different. His last album, 2008's Tinderbox, showcases these puckish proclivities well, wringing tales of misery and fallacy through a funhouse mirror's–worth of skewed sonic touchstones, even while comporting itself like a decidedly unjubilant gospel album. Anyone who can do that convincingly is worth a second look. With the Starlings. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 7 p.m. $20 adv./$22 DOS. NICHOLAS HALL

Los Lonely Boys / Wednesday, February 24

Los Lonely Boys, three Mexican-American brothers from San Antonio, aren't being cute when they refer to their music as "Texican." On the contrary, the band's feet are planted just as firmly, if not more so, in rock-and-roll and country traditions as they are in their father Ringo Garza, Sr.'s conjunto roots. And like so many other Texas natives, the Boys identify as "Texan" as if Texas were a country, a world, a universe unto itself where citizenship trumps a person's Mexican- or Americanness. It's a good thing they do, because the Garza brothers blend rock, soul, country, blues, and Latin styles as if barriers between them never existed and they were all ingredients in a big stew. Lyrically, where other groups might sound sugary and trite, the Garzas' point-blank earnestness brings an endearingly tender and introspective dynamic to their otherwise hot sound. With Alejandro Escovedo, Carrie Rodriguez. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 682-1414. 7 p.m. $28–$33. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

Pete Bernhard / Thursday, February 25

It would be easy, and not entirely wrong, to assume that The Devil Makes Three frontman Pete Bernhard's solo efforts, including last year's Straight Line, will sound more or less like one of his band's records. But while The Devil Makes Three deals in revivalist roots, Bernhard sans band tends to tone down the twang, coming off more like Southern California's answer to Jack Johnson than the country singer he is when he fronts DMT. That's not an insult: Bernhard's pared-down, mellow songs bridge the gap between country music and the watered-down, pseudo-roots sound that's become so infuriatingly popular in the mainstream, meaning that Bernhard may very well be the bridge-builder to lure Franti fans away from the dark side. With Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers, Scott Wetzel and the Northenders. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $8. SARA BRICKNER

Angélique Kidjo / Thursday, February 25

Hailing from the West African nation of Benin, genre-bending vocalist Angélique Kidjo has spent the better part of the past 20 years away from her home continent, yet still maintains her status as one of Africa's most visible luminaries. It's quite telling that even though Kidjo's latest album, Õÿö, consists largely of covers of tunes by Western artists—Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, and Otis Redding—Kidjo manages to transport listeners back to Benin, albeit Benin as seen through a young Kidjo falling in love with Western music. A tribute to the music that inspired her early on, her new album also touches on the work of legendary South African singer Miriam Makeba, traditional Beninese music, and songs from Bollywood and Hollywood alike. Even with other people's material, Kidjo demonstrates her usual expertise in weaving styles together into a heavily jazz-inflected sound unmistakably her own. Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds, 425-275-4485. 7:30 p.m. $15–$35. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

Finn Riggins / Thursday, February 25

In the early 2000s, I ran around with a crew in Moscow, Idaho, that would eventually morph into what is today called Finn Riggins. (Contrary to what the name implies, Finn is a trio, not a Van Morrison doppelgänger who posts up in Pike Place Market). At the time, the band(s)—most notably Oracle Shack—sounded a lot like the inaugural Sasquatch! lineup did in 2002: hippie with a touch of pop. Like the festival, Finn's ratio has flipped. These players have always had an affinity for melody and strong hooks, once served up alongside 20-minute jams. But every time they return to the studio, the melodies inch closer to the forefront, and the jams become a little more restrained. The Boise band's evolution has hit the sweet spot with their single, "Wake (Keep This Town Alive)," off last year's Vs. Wilderness, a tune that fuses their love of Idaho-style indie rock (they recently supported Built to Spill at the Showbox) and long-hair rockers from the '70s. With Boy Eats Drum Machine, the Globes. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $7. CHRIS KORNELIS

Wintergrass / Thursday, February 25–Sunday, February 28

See preview.

Dieselboy / Friday, February 26

Dieselboy prowls around in the dark, dank bowels of drum and bass, but his aesthetic isn't medieval. Rather, his tracks grind and twist with a machinelike automation—a futuristic bent that recalls the apocalyptic scenarios of the Matrix and Terminator movies. In other words, these sounds don't imprint rosy scenarios on the mind. Born Damian Higgins in Florida in 1972, Dieselboy is often credited as one of the primary movers and shakers of the jungle—and later, drum and bass—movement in America. As if to further this reputation, in 2002 he founded the label Human Imprint. Last Supper Club, 124 S. Washington St., 748-9975. 9 p.m. $10. KEVIN CAPP

The Lights / Friday, February 26

See Rocket Queen.

El Perro del Mar / Friday, February 26

El Perro del Mar, the nom de plume of the blonde and delicate Swede Sarah Assbring, first floated into our consciousnesses back in 2006 with the tinny and twee "God Knows (You Gotta Give to Get)." Her latest record, Love Is Not Pop, is just as sweet and pretty, but goes one further by introducing a new, previously untapped level of warmth and radiance. Citing Lou Reed as the record's main influential force, a moody aura does indeed hover over these songs. Where her previous efforts were a bit glassy and timid, Assbring has transformed her music into something smoothly gelled together, surrendering to an expansive, openly emotional range of sounds. The songs are a wash of sleek keys and gently measured drums, topped by Assbring's slithering vocals, creating a mystic, grooving quality that has become her signature. With Taken by Trees. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 8 p.m. $15 adv./$18 DOS. All Ages ERIN K. THOMPSON

The Robinsons / Friday, February 26

See preview.

AFCGT / Saturday, February 27

The magnificent racket made by the union of arty, angular rock trio the A Frames and guitar-driven sonic architects Climax Golden Twins is one happy marriage, despite sounding downright apocalyptic. Guitars shriek and wail like torture victims one moment and descend into near-Zen meditative squalls the next. Their eponymous debut for Sub Pop is a miraculous meld of elaborate psych atmospherics and brutal punk poundings that gel with impressive grace—easily one of the best local records of 2010. Tonight they celebrate the record's release with their longtime pals in Kinski, equally adept at bringing the proverbial noise. Audio Armageddon rarely sounds so glorious, chaotic, and concise at once. With Arbitron. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 9 p.m. $7. HANNAH LEVIN

Mark Farina / Saturday, February 27

The deep-house don rides into town on the back of his latest release, the Geograffiti EP, available digitally this month via Great Lakes Audio. But this is merely an excuse for Farina: He played Seattle as recently as Aug. 21, when he spun at Heaven Nightclub for free. The Chicago-born, San Francisco–based jock's jazzy, groovy sounds have given him a fan base the likes of which most DJs only dream of in between begging club owners for gigs. Farina's style may not surprise very often—he favors down-tempo beats and melodic instrumentation—but consistency has its rewards too. With DJ Mercedes, Deep Vibez. Neumos, 925 Pike St., 709-9467. 10 p.m. $15. KEVIN CAPP

Hypatia Lake / Saturday, February 27

The local experimental-rock outfit Hypatia Lake is somewhat similar to the Flaming Lips and The Black Heart Procession in terms of grandiose, ultradramatic hits of sound. It all seems to take place in a swirling, psychedelic dream space interspersed with an occasional yowling vocal or soft acoustic guitar—a sound unique enough to catch the attention of local producer Scott Colburn, who's worked with the likes of Animal Collective and Arcade Fire. While Hypatia Lake is a concept group revolving around a fictitious town of that name, where cowboys and candy workers run amok, its bombastic sound takes us to a different fantasy land—it should have been commissioned to do the soundtrack for Avatar. Reverbing electric guitars and bizarre sound samples? Echoing vocals and long stretches of kaleidoscopic instrumental breaks? All while watching the Marines bulldoze and fire-bomb those creepy blue people? James Cameron would eat that shit up. With the Staxx Brothers, Jabon, Ayo.O. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Vic Chesnutt Tribute and Benefit / Sunday, February 28

When Vic Chesnutt passed on Christmas Day 2009, he left a legacy of arrestingly emotive folk music. Unfortunately, he also left a lot of medical bills. Chesnutt was wheelchair-bound—the tragic consequence of a car accident at 18—and many of his friends and fellow artists attribute his death, from what the Los Angeles Times called an "intentional overdose" on muscle relaxants, to the stress caused by his mounting debts. To help pay Chesnutt's remaining bills, Damien Jurado, Eric Howk (the Lashes), Dave Bazan, Jason Dodson (the Maldives), Ian Moore, Marc Olsen, Mike Dumovich, Anne Marie Ruljancich, Lori Goldston, Erin Jorgensen, and Your Heart Breaks will all play covers of Chesnutt's songs in tribute to his art. After covering expenses, 100 percent of the show's proceeds will be donated to offset the bills Chesnutt left behind. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8 p.m. $10 donation. SARA BRICKNER

Free Energy / Sunday, February 28

Lest anyone fear that DFA is forever marooned on the dance floor, the label's latest signing is a guitar-worshipping retro-rock band. Solos unfurl in wide ribbons all over the Philly five-piece's James Murphy–helmed Astralwerks/DFA debut, Stuck on Nothing. A cowbell even rings in the opening theme song, "Free Energy." Thin Lizzy comparisons are certainly warranted, although nods to Boston and T. Rex wouldn't be far afield either. It's still dance music of a sort, only without all the spongy synths and beats. That said, "Dream City" is appropriately spacey, and other tunes betray the ductile skeleton of funk or disco, despite being so couched in yesteryear's AM rock radio. Guided by singer Paul Sprangers and guitarist Scott Wells (who did time together in the Minneapolis band Hockey Night), Free Energy boasts some of the most carefree vocals and carousing hooks since the Strokes. With Foreign Born. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 8 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. DOUG WALLEN

We Were Promised Jetpacks / Tuesday, March 2

Eight months after England's legendary Fat Cat Records released their debut album, These Four Walls, the Glasgow quartet We Were Promised Jetpacks is still riding high on the Scottish New Wave they've apparently helped launch. But even beyond any trends or categorizing, WWPJ's sprightly music has all the youthful and punchy appeal necessary for some serious staying power. The best example has to be "Quiet Little Voices": Typically assailing and tenacious, the track features crisp percussion and frequent cymbal crashes, noisy and blunt guitar riffs, and unashamedly emo lyrics ("In any which direction, call me/I will run for you/I'll come for you/I'll die for you"). Tough and progressive, it's post-punk with an addictive splash of power-pop sensibility. With The Lonely Forest, Bear Hands. Neumos, 925 Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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