The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Shows

Jacuzzi Boys / Wednesday, May 26

A new school of garage bands is springing up nationwide. The flourishing DIY scene in Oxford, Miss., has brought us the Bass Drum of Death. Austin's home to the sublime Harlem and Woven Bones. San Francisco has masked, avant-freak Nobunny. And Miami can now boast the Jacuzzi Boys, who may look like electro-clash hipster tots but sound like the bastard grandchildren of Roky Erickson. Keeping it low-fi, with cheeky lyrics, winks to surf music and Nirvana alike, and an ear for danceable grooves that suggest one or more of them have been party DJs, Jacuzzi Boys distinguishes itself as one of the hotter bands to watch this year. With Coconut Coolouts, Indian Wars, Butts. Funhouse, 206 Fifth Ave. N., 374-8400. 9:30 p.m. $7. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Josiah Wolf / Wednesday, May 26

Best known as the drummer for indie rock/hip-hop act WHY?, multi-instrumentalist Josiah Wolf used his wide experience and expertise to create a 12-track opportunity to step out from the band's shadow: his debut solo effort, Jet Lag. But it's not an issue of sibling rivalry: Younger brother and WHY? frontman Yoni mixed the record, and Josiah's wistful vocals often reach toward a falsetto similar to his—achieving the same contemplative effect. The ethereal and psychedelic pop melodies are filled with bells and flowing organ chords that fade in and out like a pleasant breeze. Subtly co-opting some of WHY?'s finer moments, Wolf makes for a smart and heartfelt listen. With the Donkeys, AU. Vera Project, Warren Ave. N. & Republican St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $10. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Bobby Bare Jr. / Thursday, May 27

If you're looking for a shining example of someone who bridges the gap between the old guard and blazing new trails, Bobby Bare Jr. is your man. His father, Bobby Bare Sr., was a Nashville mainstay in the '70s, and Junior draws a good amount of inspiration from that whiskey-tinged well. (Junior was nominated for a Grammy at age 6 for duetting with Senior on "Daddy What If.") Bare Jr. is an astoundingly agile songwriter, comfortably dropping his throaty rasp atop soulful shakers, sweaty punk anthems, or unironic, loving tributes to '70s soft-rock giants (Bread and America) on his most recent EP, American Bread. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $12. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Caribou / Thursday, May 27

Caribou's going to be hitting the dance tents at Sasquatch! on Sunday, but a dark and sweaty club is a more appropriate venue for Daniel Snaith's smooth and sensual new album, Swim. Snaith recently told me that Swim was written with a nightclub setting in mind, and true enough, the songs pulse with reverberating rhythms and a sexy finesse. Caribou's meticulous live sets—in which Snaith busily switches from lead guitar to keyboards to drums—are said to be mesmerizing. The opportunity to see him twice in one week in two different settings is a rare one. With Toro y Moi. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $13. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Victor Shade / Thursday, May 27

No knock on Ra Scion's prowess, but the best cut on the local MC's new project with producer MTK, Victor Shade, is the instrumental his co-conspirator created to open their self-titled debut. Dubbed "Pym Strut," it features an obscure sample—which MTK refuses to name—that's so hard-charging it could galvanize a retreating army. The next track, "Bodega Politics," rocks with a similar power level, this time featuring Ra Scion's trademark introspective/political lyrics and complex delivery. It's a style anyone familiar with Ra's other project, Common Market, will recognize, but one which on track after track here—save for the tangled and mangled "Tony Snow"—continues to compel. Call it a call to arms: now with more energy. With DJ B-Mello. Hard Rock Cafe, 116 Pike St., 204-2233. 8 p.m. $20 adv./$25 DOS. KEVIN CAPP

The Soft Rock Café / Thursday, May 27

Do you like piña coladas? Gettin' caught in the rain? Of course you do, but you've always been afraid to admit it. Well, just be sure to attend the first-ever Soft Rock Café. Happy-hour specials will be extended for two hours beyond their regular 7 p.m. expiration in honor of Seattle Weekly's new Happy Hours smart-phone app, and the mellow gold pouring out of the Hat's speakers will be provided by Jeff Roman, aka our "Karaoke Korrespondent." Do you like makin' love at midnight? Rupert Holmes may have sung "The Piña Colada Song," but on this night, Christopher Cross, Lionel Ritchie, Fleetwood Mac, Kenny Loggins, Carly Simon, and Barry Manilow will also do their best to get you to the bone zone, baby. And if you're in need of a palate-cleanser, Rocket Queen Hannah Levin will spin heavy-metal and punk tracks in "Metal 'til Midnight" immediately following the flaccidity. Hattie's Hat, 5231 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-0175. 6 p.m. Free. MIKE SEELY

Gates of Slumber /Friday, May 28

Gates of Slumber is a prime example of the glorious ridiculousness inherent in most metal genres. With one look at a Gates of Slumber album cover, replete with loinclothed warriors and naked slave girls, you know that what's in store won't offer much in the way of subtlety. The music makes good on that promise, with an ominously thundering bass and churning guitars held aloft by war-march cadences. It is epic in scope and demeanor; the lyrics' blood-and-iron bent combine with the thunderous sound in an infectious call to arms. Live, Gates of Slumber just might be capable of raising an army. With Slough Feg, Audiwasska Travelers. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $8. NICHOLAS HALL

The Minus 5 / Friday, May 28

One can only imagine spending a day in Scott McCaughey's Technicolor brain; the man has spent nearly 30 years exuding infectious enthusiasm onstage with Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M., Wilco, and Robyn Hitchcock, and in his current gig as frontman of the eclectic pop kaleidoscope that is The Minus 5. Past the famous associations (a record with Wilco as his backup band, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck as his sideman), McCaughey's amped-up rave-ups, jittery pop jumpers, and twangy, big-sky heartbreakers show off an incredibly diverse take on the best regions of the pop spectrum, and have undeniably earned McCaughey a well-deserved place in the spotlight. With The Baseball Project, The Steve Wynn IV. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Northwest Folklife / Friday, May 28–Monday, May 31

The cool kids cringe, but every year hundreds of thousands of people still manage to have an awesome time at Folklife. And why not? Where else are you going to hear such a fantastically varied mix of global music, from West African beats to Celtic harp to Balkan brass to Ukrainian bandura? Tango, swing, contra, and square dance all get a turn on the floor (along with countless others). It's four straight days of uncynical entertainment. And if you must have your tastemaker-approved sounds, Vera is also plugged into the festival with a bunch of shows (Pufferfish, Ivan & Alyosha, etc.). Those who absolutely cannot abide drum circles should indeed stay away. Everyone else who loves music, stop on by. Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., 684.7300. 11 a.m. Free. All ages. MARK D. FEFER

Damien Jurado / Saturday, May 29  See B-Sides.

Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek / Saturday, May 29

Ever-underground MC Talib Kweli's collabo with producer/DJ Hi-Tek as Reflection Eternal seemed to have begun its slow but steady descent into the dustbin of hip-hop history, where its best hope for preservation would rest on the spindly shoulders of an enterprising blogger. It had been 10 years since their philosophically minded, soulfully oriented classic Train of Thought dropped, and it appeared that'd be it—a sad (lack of) development, since the two shared a chemistry that placed them among the all-time great MC/producer duos. Thankfully, however, Kweli and Hi-Tek decided to reteam, and the result is the recently released Revolutions Per Minute, which features the kind of upbeat, grown-man cuts we expect from the two. With U-N-I, Mad Rad. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $26 adv./$30 DOS. All ages. KEVIN CAPP

Carrie Underwood / Saturday, May 29

Carrie Underwood's enormous success since winning American Idol has become a double-edged sword for the television sensation in decline. Her dominance of its fourth season finally gave the crown legitimacy, but no winner since has come close to reaching the standard she's set. In five years, she's gone from a sweet girl next door ("Jesus Take the Wheel") to a tough country chick you don't want to mess with ("Before He Cheats"). She's a vocally mature Taylor Swift, with a few more bad relationships and a little bitterness under her belt. This gives her music a woman-power, don't-give-me-your-BS edge that makes her country's Pat Benatar. Comcast Arena at Everett Events Center, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett, 866-322-8499. 7:30 p.m. $35–$55. All ages. JEFF ROMAN

Sasquatch! / Saturday, May 29–Monday, May 31

To Northwest music fans, Memorial Day weekend doesn't mean veterans and barbecues, it means Sasquatch! This year's lineup might not have the celebrity (remember Kanye West in 2007?) or the wackiness (Björk, 2005?) of festivals past, but that certainly doesn't mean there's a shortage of fine acts: LCD Soundsystem and MGMT released two of the most talked-about records of the year; indie snobs can thrill to Pavement and the Dirty Projectors; and hip-hop fans can check out Kid Cudi and Public Enemy. My personal picks? Swedish pop scions Miike Snow and Anacortes wunderkinds The Lonely Forest on Saturday, electro-grooving duo Phantogram on Monday. That is, if you can procure a ticket. If not, check out Rocket Queen for a few of the bands' local, post-Sasquatch dates. Gorge Amphitheater, 754 Silica Rd. N.W., Quincy, 628-0888. Sold out. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Ape Machine / Sunday, May 30

It's no profound observation to call Ape Machine a throwback. The Portland five-piece indulges in smoking licks and rugged riffage learned from the bluesiest stoner psych, while the overdramatic reach of singer Caleb Heinze was forged from the mythological fires of classic rock. The self-released debut This House Has Been Condemned is a flat-out juggernaut, seeming to fell whole forests and cities in its path. Such monster rock can come off silly these days, but Ape Machine answers its cartoonish name with a heartfelt sound. Like Earl Greyhound and some of Jack White's ventures, the band resurrects the bluster of yesteryear's rock gods with no apologies. With Sirens Sister, Armed With Legs. JewelBox/Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave., 441-5823. 10 p.m. DOUG WALLEN

Inside Out Jazz Awards / Monday, May 31  See B-Sides.

Sage Francis / Tuesday, June 1

Not content to simply be a longtime ambassador between hip-hop and indie rock, Sage Francis spends his new (fourth) album Li(f)e collaborating with a rogues' gallery of indie heroes, with co-writing credits from Chris Walla, Jason Lytle, the late Mark Linkous, and members of Calexico and DeVotchKa. The result is relaxed and naturalistic. Managing his usual balance between self-reflection and self-deprecation, Francis rails against the stifling, contradictory rules set by society and organized religion. If the album is fairly uneven (for every song as quietly great as "16 Years" or "The Best of Times," there's an iffy wobble like "I Was Zero"), Francis' brave knack for exposing himself goes a long way. With Free Moral Agents, B. Dolan. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave. S., 652-0444. 8 p.m. $19. All ages. DOUG WALLEN

MC Chris / Tuesday, June 1

High-pitched and hidden behind his ever-present low-slung black ballcap, MC Chris is the comic-loving, videogame-playing antithesis of the common conception of rap music. From his beginnings in Cartoon Network's late-night programming, most notably as MC Pee Pants in stoner favorite Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Chris' natural comic leanings and lightning-fast flow paved the way for his cult "nerdcore" following, with the Star Wars–centric "Fett's Vette" (a taste of what a collaboration between Mickey Avalon and George Lucas might sound like) and the nerd-girl anthem titled, well, "Nrrrd Grrrl." Despite the lightweight subject matter, MC Chris is a legitimately sharp rapper—albeit one who's perfectly content goofing around over a Casio synth beat. With MC Lars, Math The Band. El Corazón, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 736-5009. 7 p.m. $13.50 adv./$15 DOS. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

 
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