The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Shows

Phantogram / Wednesday, May 5  See B-Sides.

The Coyotes / Thursday, May 6

The eclectic, brass-tinged approach to Americana of San Diego transplants the Coyotes is one of Seattle's best-kept secrets. They've got all the right stuff: trippy, complex guitar riffage, an ear for dynamics, unorthodox instrumentation, and—just for all the nerds out there—lyrics inspired by science-fiction novels. While the band's fusion of folk, psychedelia, and jazz defies easy assimilation into one of Seattle's sub-scenes, it is also their greatest strength. Further fine-tuning couldn't hurt, but tracks like "Two Moons" and "Patience" (both available on the band's MySpace page) speak much about their vast potential. With Hurricane Lanterns, Lady Krishna's Peppermint Lounge. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $6. SARA BRICKNER

Grynch / Thursday, May 6

"A silver Volvo 240 D-L/It make me wanna choke somebody out/Call me Sprewell," Grynch raps on his valentine to his '86 crapmobile, "My Volvo." The Ill Pill–produced track, off his '09 EP Chemistry, recently got the video treatment—which it definitely deserved, as the cut represents all that the diminutive local MC with a hefty baritone is about: honest, often hilarious, tales of something less than the good life. Around the time Grynch released the EP, he had begun flirting with none other than Warren G, as well as getting some love from Billboard magazine. Not sure if this will lead to a new car yet, but this Ballard native is flat-out one of the most talented lyricists in the scene—which is saying something. With D.Black, SOL, DJ Vitamin D. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $1. KEVIN CAPP

Ivan & Alyosha / Thursday, May 6

Trying to find a stellar new indie-pop band in 2010 feels a little like showing up to the last hour of the last day of a record sale and assuming there'll be something decent left over. Sure, it looks like there's still a lot to choose from, but start digging through the stacks and it turns out to be all Beatles compilations and a gnawed-on copy of Thriller. Discovering a fresh young band like Seattle's Ivan & Alyosha feels a little like walking into that record sale and finding a mint copy of The Gilded Palace of Sin. Though Ivan & Alyosha has only released one EP, The Verse, the Chorus, the band's about to head into the studio to make a full-length album that may well prove a much-needed shot of adrenalin for a tired genre. With the Nine Tailors, Pickwick. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599, 9 p.m. $6. SARA BRICKNER

Lupe Fiasco / Friday, May 7

After rising to fame through an appearance on Kanye West's Late Registration and his own first single, the skateboarding love story "Kick Push," Chicago native Lupe Fiasco quickly established himself as a relentless artistic force. Though some of his grandiose plans (like the three-disc LupE.N.D.) never materialized, Lupe's talent as a lyricist and energy as an MC make it inexcusable to miss any of his live performances—even if there's no release date in sight for his third record Lasers, the namesake of this tour. With B.o.B., Dosage. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 382-7877. 8:30 p.m. $35. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Nickelback / Friday, May 7

Nickelback is aptly described as an "alternative rock" band. They certainly serve as an "alternative" to original songcraft, making the previous king of clichéd Canadian songwriting, Bryan Adams, come off like Bob Fucking Dylan. "Alternative?" Yes, to music that has edge and street smarts and provokes listeners with fresh ideas; white toast and lime hospital Jell-O have more flavor than a Nickelback song. But the label mostly works because Nickelback is as boring, tired, and dated as the term "alternative rock" itself. For much of that we can thank Live Nation, whose satanic contract shat this band all over the airwaves. There's goin' to be some Ed Hardy for Target up in the Tacoma Dome tonight. With Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown, Sick Puppies. Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma, 253-272-3663. 7:30 p.m. $49.75–$65.75. All ages. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Title Tracks / Friday, May 7

Once a third of Q and Not U, John Davis is now on his own as Title Tracks, and has populated his debut album It Was Easy with effortlessly catchy, three-minute servings of classic power pop. "Every Little Bit Hurts" and "Black Bubblegum" offer instant thrills, while Davis lays on a cool falsetto for the funky "Hello There." Camera Obscura's Tracyanne Campbell sings backup on a quaint take on Bruce Springsteen's "Tougher Than the Rest" and the ska-teased "No, Girl." It Was Easy closes with a punchy cover of the Byrds' "She Don't Care About Time." With the original songs he's been writing, Davis is on his way to joining the ranks of his heroes. (Also see B-Sides.) With Blunt Mechanic, Police Teeth. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $9. All ages. DOUG WALLEN

Unnatural Helpers / Friday, May 7  See Q&A.

Jimmy Gnecco / Saturday, May 8

Two decades ago, New Jersey's Jimmy Gnecco founded and fronted the dark, ultradramatic rock band Ours. Ours signed to DreamWorks and found some moderate mainstream success—"Dizzy," off 2001's Distorted Lullabies, is still one of my favorite vocal performances ever. It's really Gnecco's incredible voice that has drawn most of the attention from fans and press—his steely timbre and soul-searing falsetto are often compared to those of his late friend Jeff Buckley. This summer, Gnecco will release a solo album, The Heart. "Bring You Home," the first single, is instantly and powerfully passionate. Gnecco's bare and insistent singing brings to mind another dynamic vocalist—Thom Yorke circa The Bends. With Greg Laswell, Brian Wright. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $12 adv./$15 DOS. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Owen Pallett / Saturday, May 8

Toronto musician and producer Owen Pallett has been best appreciated for his behind-the-scenes work—a former classical-music student, he's written string arrangements for Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire, and Beirut under the name Final Fantasy. But Pallett's new album, Heartland—which has been a long time coming (Pallett started talking about it in 2006)—finally finds him stepping into his own. A fairy tale for adult hipsters, it tells the story of a farmer named Lewis who lives in the imaginary world of Spectrum. Songs like "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt" are lush and symphonic, in direct contrast to the lyrics' violent nature, and incorporate string and woodwind sections with Pallett's high, elfish voice and his signature violin looping technique. With Snowblink, Cataldo. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $13. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Canary Sing / Sunday, May 9

If smart hip-hop is something Seattle does well, then consider the brilliant Central District duo of Madeleine "Lioness" Clifford and (SW contributor) Hollis "Ispire" Wong-Wear pinnacles of that scene. Their spoken-word background makes itself evident, and their self-defined "playfully political" nature makes for an elegantly forceful message. Canary Sing's newest release (and occasion for tonight's celebration), The Beautiful Baby EP, features production from Marcus D and MTK and mixing by Justo of the Physics and local legend Vitamin D. It's an unfortunate fact that female MCs don't have an easy time in the hip-hop industry, but with any luck Canary Sing will get the attention they deserve. With Diamond District, Vitamin D. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 8 p.m. $8. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Dosh / Sunday, May 9

My first exposure to Martin Dosh was a YouTube video of one man in a room full of instruments, building layer upon layer of loops to make a swirling, loping composition that somehow felt both meticulously crafted and totally loose. Dosh's music capitalizes on loop pedals, the interweavings of warm Rhodes-y melodies, buzzing synths, digital glitches, and jazz-influenced percussion, working as a perfect mashup of organic musical creation with the digital era's tools of the trade. Somewhere along the way, he joined forces with fellow loop fiend Andrew Bird, collaborating on Bird's past two records and touring extensively as one of Bird's band members. Abstract without being too ridiculously highbrow, Dosh's music is a visionary art project. With White Hinterland, Surrealized. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 8 p.m. $10. GREGORY FRANKLIN

James Taylor & Carole King / Sunday, May 9

Nearly 40 years ago, James Taylor and Carole King took the stage at the Troubadour in Los Angeles for the first time together. Both were on the cusp of superstardom: Taylor was being showered with praise for his just-released second album, Sweet Baby James, and a few months later he'd score his first #1 hit with the King-penned "You've Got a Friend," while King would soon release her multiplatinum album Tapestry. Now—with a combined tens of millions of albums sold, shelves full of Grammys, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame membership for both—the duo has embarked on a "Troubadour Reunion" tour to celebrate that night of music. Joined by the same backing band, they're revisiting the songs each performed that evening and drawing from the myriad hits they've scored since. Key Arena, 305 Harrison St., 682-8225. 7:30 p.m. $55.82–$140.54. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Sonny Rollins / Monday, May 10

Even when more jazz giants roamed the earth, few could elicit the kind of agape excitement that Sonny Rollins, who turns 80 this year, still can. There's a raw, elusive quality to his playing that can almost set you on edge, the way the most nakedly creative expression always does. If you missed him at the Vancouver jazz fest last year, this is a rare chance to catch a legend who still plays like he has something to prove. His quintet includes Bob Cranshaw, the bass player who's been helping him prove it for forty years. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 877-STG-4TIX. 8 p.m. $37–$65. MARK D. FEFER

Starfucker / Monday, May 10

Starfucker is back. Last year, the Portland electronic band changed their name to Pyramiddd in the hope that dropping the expletive would make them more marketable in the mainstream. But recently they came to their senses, realized the new moniker was "fucking stupid," and reverted to Starfucker. An irony in the band's music sets them apart from more famous peers like MGMT and Metric. Frontman Josh Hodges sings with a cool, even conceit that cuts through even the heaviest synthesizers and big beats, as evidenced on tongue-in-cheek tracks like "Boy Toy" and "Medicine." Even better is their sarcasm-dripping cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," which Hodges introduced the previous time Starfucker performed in Seattle as "the best song I ever wrote." With Truckasaurus, Copy. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $12. ERIKA HOBART

Joey DeFrancesco / Tuesday, May 11

The distinctive purrs and growls of the Hammond B3 organ have been integral to rock and blues for decades. Jazz, too, for a while—Jimmy Smith became a fixture on the scene with his Hammond prowess in the '50s and '60s, before the instrument fell out of favor with jazz musicians. Then came Philadelphia-born Joey DeFrancesco, who took his father's passion for the organ, added his own remarkable talent, and ran with it, starting at age 8, to an internationally acclaimed career. At 39, DeFrancesco—who joined Miles Davis' band when he was just 17—is considered jazz's pre-eminent Hammond B3 organist. Tonight he'll burn up the keys with his group, which includes guitarist Paul Bollenback, drummer Byron Landham, and vocalist Colleen McNabb. Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729. 7:30 p.m. $24.50. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

 
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