The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows 

Jeremy Burk / Wednesday, July 28

Jeremy Burk's debut album, I Hope You Find What You're Looking For, is the offering of a man who seems like he's searching for something himself. Burk's voice is distinct in its imperfections—it cracks and breaks the way an old dusty record pops and hisses on a turntable, and when he reaches for notes, Burk sounds either hoarse or like a parrot of Conor Oberst's distinctive whine. Burk sounds best when he's not trying so hard. The man's a competent, talented songwriter whose songs are solid, but it's obvious he's still in the throes of creating his own unique sound. Since What You're Looking For is Burk's first album, it stands to reason that future offerings will improve on what's already a pretty good thing. With Levi Fuller, Robert Deeble. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $7. SARA BRICKNER

The Toadies / Wednesday, July 28

Most people remember the grungy Texas quartet the Toadies from their 1994 Billboard smash, the slithery, squealing "Possum Kingdom." But for me it was always all about "Tyler," also off the band's debut, Rubberneck. "Tyler" is demanding, thunderous, and bone-chilling; sure, it's ultra-dramatic, but the pathos in Vaden Todd Lewis' wail is real. I still play it on repeat. And realizing that it's about a stalker breaking into a girl's bedroom just underscores the fact that something's a little off about these guys. (Depending on whom you ask, "Possum Kingdom" is either about vampires or a serial killer.) After a few less-notable records and a breakup, the Toadies are back together and touring to promote the August release of Feeler, the original follow-up to Rubberneck that their label rejected back in 1997. Welcome back, creepsters! With Dead Country, The Absolute Monarchs! Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $18 adv./$20 DOS. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

We Are Scientists / Wednesday, July 28

In 2005, around the time that similarly cheeky rock outfits like Art Brut and Arctic Monkeys were surfacing, Berkeley's We Are Scientists released a hooky debut record, With Love and Squalor; it was an instant favorite among the indie crowd. WAS has since been spending their time wandering into synth and rave territory, creating and starring in a Flight of the Conchords–like MTV series called Steve Wants His Money, and releasing a shouty, rowdy, somewhat traitorous song for the 2010 World Cup called "Goal! England!" Now functioning as a duo, with Keith Murray on vocals and guitar and Chris Cain on bass, the band's latest album, Barbara, finally returns them to their roots—singles "Rules Don't Stop" and "Nice Guys" are both neat and sweet, purely enjoyable pop ditties. Sonic Boom Records Capitol Hill, 1525 Melrose Ave., 568-BOOM. 7 p.m. Free. All ages. Also: With Black Whales, Rewards. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. ERIN K.THOMPSON

Pizza Fest / Thursday, July 29–Saturday, July 31  See article.

Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken / Thursday, July 29

Just like Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and E.T. and Reese's Pieces, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are an unlikely pair forever linked—the last two standing in American Idol's second season in 2003 (Studdard barely won). Studdard is large, black, straight, and the poor man's Luther Vandross; Aiken is skinny, white, gay, and the poor man's Barry Manilow. But it's nearly impossible to think of one without the other. Somehow both have maintained performing careers over the past eight years despite their marginal talents, mainly through musical theater rather than stellar songwriting or album-making. And now the duo is hitting the road (well, mainly casinos) together on their "Timeless" tour. If you can't make it, don't worry—they'll probably be doing the same thing 'til the end of time. Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, 425-888-1234. 7 p.m. $35–$75. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Jackson Browne & David Lindley / Friday, July 30

Jackson Browne has penned and performed some of the most enduring country-rock songs of the past half-century ("Running on Empty," "Take It Easy"). But you might ask who's that dude standing next to him onstage? His name is David Lindley, and though he's nowhere near as famous or handsome as ol' JB, he fucking rules. Lindley was a founder of the sorely overlooked '60s group Kaleidoscope, the one psychedelic group that fully studied and embraced world music successfully. Back then, lots of shitty groups aimed for that Middle Eastern–trip thing, but Kaleidoscope was the real deal and Lindley was the man. Besides backing up Browne for a decade, he was one of Warren Zevon's best sidemen (next to Waddy Wachtel). On this tour, Lindley adds multi-instrumental elements to Browne's classics, creating an arid desert mood for otherwise familiar numbers. Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14111 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, 425-415-3300. 7 p.m. $48.50–$68.50. BRIAN J. BARR

A Tribute to the Kinks / Friday, July 30

"Whenever the Beatles-vs.-Stones question comes up, I always have to go with the Kinks," says local rock marimba player Erin Jorgensen. "They seem the most honest to me somehow." Jorgensen isn't alone in her assessment; Seattle is full of notable musicians who love the Kinks. Consequently, the lineup for tonight's show is stacked fat. Along with Jorgensen's unorthodox renditions of "Young and Innocent Days" and "Come Dancing," this benefit for MusiCares will feature a performance of The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society by the Quaifes, an all-star band led by Kwab Copeland that includes Bill Herzog (Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) and Dan Peters (Mudhoney). Rounding out the bill are Shelby Earl, Rusty Willoughby, Sean Nelson, and Guided by Dan, a new project that includes members of Mudhoney and Mother Love Bone. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. HANNAH LEVIN

Nappy Roots / Friday, July 30

Some people might argue that Kentucky-based rap quintet Nappy Roots haven't done anything worth listening to since their 2002 hit singles "Awnaw" and "Po' Folks." Those people are wrong. Nappy Roots might never again see the chart success they did earlier this decade, and their most recent attempts at club tracks, like "Fishbowl," have come off as hollow at best. But Nappy Roots doesn't care about those things, because tracks like "Ride" and "Back Home," from their fourth record The Pursuit of Nappyness, offer a sound laced with acoustic-guitar melodies and a nimble Southern drawl that prove they haven't lost their soul. With Kevin Gardner, Key Element, Black Stax. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. NICK FELDMAN

Cornbread Fest / Saturday, July 31  See Q&A.

Phosphorescent / Saturday, July 31

If Matthew Houck didn't stumble out of the top-floor bedroom of a Texas saloon, slide down the banister, and tuck in his button-down white shirt en route to the bar's upright piano to record the dusty, jubilant "It's Hard to Be Humble (When You're From Alabama)," the first track off Phosphorescent's May release, Here's to Taking It Easy, he did a good job of faking it. "Humble," like the rest of the album, with its easy pedal steel, clinking piano chords, and drawled howls, is marked by its effortlessness, grin, and authenticity—not to a specific genre, but to the musicmaker himself. There's no indication that Houck is attempting to do anything here other than what comes naturally to him when he rolls out of bed in the morning, or at least in the hour between sleep and breakfast. Sonic Boom Records Capitol Hill, 1525 Melrose Ave., 568-BOOM. 3 p.m. Free. All ages. Also: With J. Tillman, Grouplove. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $12. CHRIS KORNELIS

Silversun Pickups / Saturday, July 31

Last time the Los Angeles–based space-rock quartet Silversun Pickups was in Seattle, frontman Brian Aubert was cracking self-disparaging jokes—apparently recycled ones at that—about how their presence at WaMu Theater could only be explained by the fact that they were opening for someone bigger and better. But that wasn't exactly fair. Material from their sophomore effort Swoon alternates between delicately dark and just plain loud, hitting crescendos and ebbs without losing any of the entrancingly distorted melodies. Silversun Pickups match up with the Smashing Pumpkins in a significant way, but lean energy and speed set them apart. With Against Me!, The Henry Clay People. The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 467-5510. 8 p.m. $28. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Sleepy Eyes of Death / Saturday, July 31

Those who find shoegaze to be a total snoozer should check out Sleepy Eyes of Death, whose expansive setup sends a gigantic, psychedelic wall of sound into the atmosphere. Sometimes, though, the band is a bit of a tease: When the music leaves shoegaze territory and wanders off on down-tempo, ambient tangents, it can undermine the big, booming climaxes that make the band sound so dynamic live. Fortunately, the cumulative effect is so trippy that even these brief departures are a small price to pay for the robotic, pulsing psychedelic madness that makes up the majority of SEOD's catalog. The fog machines don't hurt, either. With The Delta Mirror, Haunted Horses, Big Spider's Back. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 9 p.m. $7. SARA BRICKNER

The New Pornographers / Saturday, July 31 & Sunday, Aug. 1  See article.

Doom Fest / Sunday, August 1  See Rocket Queen.

Steve Poltz / Sunday, August 1

If you only know veteran singer/songwriter Steve Poltz as the one who wrote Jewel's 1996 mega-hit "You Were Meant for Me" (which he calls "the song that sent my parents on an Alaskan cruise"), you'll be in for a very pleasant surprise tonight. For starters, his own rootsy pop songs—drawn from a lengthy catalog that stretches back to his early-'90s indie-rock band the Rugburns—are witty, melodic wonders, though probably too quirky and clever ever to dominate mainstream radio. Then there's his voice, a compelling cross between Jeff Tweedy and David Lowery (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven). And last but not least, there's his absolutely hysterical banter and storytelling, delivered like the best observational comedy you've ever heard, which alone is worth the price of admission. With Smile Smile. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8 p.m. $12. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

The Ataris / Monday, August 2

Remember 2003? When Indiana-based quartet the Ataris had just put out a gold-certified record called So Long, Astoria and were riding high on a handful of pop-punk-meets-alt-rock radio hits including their cover of Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer"? Well, that was 2003. But All Souls Day, a recently released EP (out on Less Than Jake drummer Vinnie Fiorello's Paper + Plastick Records) and a sixth full-length due out later this year are proof that despite massive lineup shifts and label issues, frontman Kris Roe can keep his amps blaring with power chords and plenty of sentimentality. With Gasoline Heart, Van Eps, Miracle Max, West on 18. Studio Seven, 110 S. Horton St., 286-1312. 7:30 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Classic Country Night / Monday, August 2

When he's not fronting the excellent, underappreciated Widower, guitarist and songwriter Kevin Large can often be found at Hazlewood in Ballard. Every Monday, while his stylish gal Sarah Fisher mixes up fresh ginger bourbons and other artisan cocktails downstairs, he holds down the DJ decks upstairs, playing an oddly successful mix primarily of classic country staples like Merle Haggard and Hank Williams, but occasionally tossing in the dreaded "New Country" single. Believe it or not, it works somehow, if only because placing Garth Brooks next to Waylon Jennings is bound to make the latter look even more luminous. Hazlewood, 2311 N.W. Ballard Ave., 783-0478. 9 p.m. Free. HANNAH LEVIN

Band of Heathens / Tuesday, August 3

Beware acronym-wielding hipsters. When speaking of country rock and the initials B.O.H., don't be quick to assume the reference is to Ben Bridwell and his Band of Horses. When you cross the border into the Lone Star State, locals will presume you're talking about Band of Heathens, a collective of Austin musicians that purveys a similar brand of unwashed American music. But the Heathens' take is on the Jay Farrar tip and super-duper Texafied. They sound so much like the Live Music Capital of the World that within two minutes into any of their stellar tracks, you'll start to crave barbecue sauce and a bourbon with a Shiner Bock back. With Cady Wire. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $10. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Nathaniel Rateliff / Tuesday, August 3

The old moniker Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel was fitting for a band that carried and moved something bigger than themselves; a band started by a few friends from Missouri who'd moved to Colorado, leaving marks in all the trails they'd crossed and surely worn down in return. Stripped of "The Wheel," perhaps Nathaniel Rateliff and company are settling down. In Memory of Loss is a wailing, whinnying debut of impassioned folk, its sparse but epic diaries punctuated by gospel harmonies and hums. Recalling the cautious strums of The Tallest Man on Earth and the cathartic style of Bon Iver, Rateliff produces the kind of music that whispers but echoes, the kind of music to sit with and swallow. With Pearly Gate Music, Battleme. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7:30 p.m. $10. All ages. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

 
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