Every year, Noise for the Needy, a nonprofit that raises money for local charities, sets up a smorgasbord of great benefit shows that take place over five nights in early June. This year, proceeds from the festival benefit Teen Feed, an organization that provides hot meals to homeless youths. It's impossible to see everything, so we've made a list of the best NFTN has to offer this year. (Complete info at noisefortheneedy.org.)
Wednesday, June 9 / Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside, Peter Hanks feat. Jordanger, silOHS, Soul Jelly. Chop Suey. $8. 8 p.m.
Even though Portland songstress Sallie Ford's only released one measly EP, Not an Animal, of her unusual speakeasy roots jams, those five songs earned Ford and her band, The Sound Outside, the title of Best New Band in Willamette Week's annual Best New Band poll this year. There's a vintage flavor to the music, sure, but the content is contemporary. However you slice it, Ford's upbeat, swinging take on Americana makes for a more fun, danceable experience than the sleepy folk songs Portland's been proffering lately (no offense, Horse Feathers), and if her debut album is half as good as her EP, she'll be poised to become the Northwest's next Neko.
Thursday, June 10 / Horse Feathers, Tiny Vipers, Friday Mile, Goldfinch. Tractor Tavern. $12. 8 p.m.
Horse Feathers is one of the Portland folk scene's greatest success stories. What was once a sparse songwriting project spearheaded by Justin Ringle became a full-fledged (mostly) string band. In keeping with the seasonal themes Ringle appears to favor (debut full-length House with No Home was decidedly a wintry record) Thistled Spring is a decidedly more optimistic, if not more up-tempo, affair. Even though Ringle is now operating with an entirely new band, the music is no worse for wear. Make sure to catch this show if you hope to see Horse Feathers live anytime soon—this is the band's only scheduled Seattle appearance this summer.
Friday, June 11 / The Maldives, Whalebones, Virgin Islands, Hypatia Lake, Hallways, the Magic Mirrors, Soul Senate, DJ El Toro. Underground Events Center. $10. 7 p.m.
This is easily the most eclectic lineup of Seattle bands at any NFTN show, but sitting through seven bands (not including DJ El Toro) is a little much for anyone to handle, even if it is cut with short films. Even if you think you're not up to the challenge, it's worth it to hold out for the final four acts. It goes without saying that you should stick around for country-rock favorites the Maldives, and their minions will surely appreciate the stoner-rock revivalism of Whalebones, a local band that unexpectedly rose from the dead with a new lineup and a bunch of new songs. Cops frontman Mike Jaworski's new band, Virgin Islands, precedes Whalebones—those who like it fast and loud will enjoy this—which will keep things lively after Hypatia Lake hypnotizes everyone with sweeping dynamics and woozy atmospherics.
Saturday, June 12 / Thunderheist, with the Tempers, JuLavee & Friends, Sap'N. Chop Suey. $15 adv. 8 p.m.
If Canadian duo Thunderheist would just bite the bullet and release a follow-up to the spastic, superb, self-titled electropop debut they released last year, the pair would be well-poised to give Santigold a run for her money. Unfortunately, producer Grahm Zilla and MC Isis decided to shelve Thunderheist in 2010 to make time for their respective solo projects, which is why Thunderheist's appearance at Chop Suey is being billed as the band's final show. Yeah, there's something to be said for quitting while you're ahead, but the band's final release, a single called "Drive-In," mainly serves to prove that Thunderheist should persevere. If only the band saw things that way too.
Kinski, The Album Leaf, Baths. Neumos. $18 adv. 9 p.m.
Even though they're both excellent, seeing Kinski and The Album Leaf perform back to back will be sort of odd. Yes, both bands are signed to Sub Pop, but the similarities pretty much end there. You'd be hard-pressed to find two more disparate Sub Pop bands than these. Maybe whoever organized this thing hopes Kinski's loud, psychedelic mayhem will deafen the crowd so handily that everyone will be forced to shut the fuck up to hear The Album Leaf's delicate compositions through their ringing ears. The only other thing these bands seem to have in common is that most people who listen to them probably like to do so stoned.
The Kindness Kind, Curtains for You, Josh Ottum, Massy Ferguson, Mighty Tiger, Elder Mason, Lady Drama, Let's Get Lost. Comet Tavern. $10. 5 p.m.
Though most people will probably mob Neumos to watch The Album Leaf and Kinski fans do battle, do drop by the Comet to check out the progress local psych-pop outfit Elder Mason's made in the past year. The band's got lots of sunny new material for an upcoming full-length release. Much later in the evening, Kindness Kind frontwoman Alessandra Rose's mournful crooning will likely stun the Comet into silence. Try to squeeze them in if you can.
Sunday, June 13 / John Vanderslice, Karl Blau, Love Sick.Tractor Tavern. $15. 8 p.m.
John Vanderslice has been putting out awesome records with such comforting consistency, it's as though he's on some kind of special all-fiber diet for indie rockers. He's so regular, in fact, that it's easy to take him and his powerful songwriting chops for granted. But according to his website, this will likely be his last Northwest show of the year. Which means this may be your last chance for six months or so to hear some new tracks from Vanderslice's forthcoming Dead Oceans release (and get your fill of Emerald City).