The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Shows

Chatham County Line / Wednesday, August 4

Is Chatham County Line a seasoned, flawless bluegrass band from North Carolina? Or are they a major-league baseball team? All evidence points to the latter, even though the real answer is the former. While in Washington, they'll play a de facto four-game series in three days, beginning with a Wednesday gig at the Tractor Tavern and culminating with a Friday gig at the Green Frog in Bellingham (their "getaway game" will be played at noon that day near the South Lake Union Discovery Center). Whereas Deadheads typically needed an operational VW bus to get from gig to gig, all Chatham County Line fans seem to require is a ten-speed. With the Black Lillies, Sam Quinn of the Everybodyfields. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599, 9 p.m., $8. (Also playing free, all-ages shows at St. Edward's Park in Kenmore at 6 p.m. Aug. 5 and at 2200 Westlake Ave. in South Lake Union at noon Aug. 6). MIKE SEELY

Langhorne Slim / Wednesday, August 4

A man moves to New York City under a pseudonym. A legend grows around his swirling bourbon, ever-present cigarette, and way with the ladies. He oozes the kind of magnetic charisma for which the phrase "charm your pants off" was invented. He's one debonair mystery and wears the hell out of a hat. You probably assume I'm referring to Mad Men's Don Draper. But the above also pertains to soulful folkster Langhorne Slim, whose live performances are so compelling, engaging, and infectious that they tend to overshadow his perfectly pleasing records. In a world where inverted indie rockers' social skills make Napoleon Dynamite seem Rico Suave, we should all have such problems. With Palmer Electric, Red Jacket Mine. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $12. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Joanna Newsom / Wednesday, August 4  See An Incomplete History.

Bluegrass Concert / Thursday, August 5

Quite a lot of pseudo-roots-shtick music is being made right now that's been labeled "bluegrass" simply for lack of a better term. So sometimes it's nice to step outside the indie-intelligentsia-approved band box and check out artists who perform the traditional songs that spawned the best (Whiskeytown, Gillian Welch) and worst (the Avett Brothers) of the past decade's formidable roots revival. This Fremont Abbey show features artists who specialize in that old-timey stuff: Boston-based Della Mae, Seattle bluegrass band Loose Digits, and duo Cahalen Morrison and Eli West. You know, people used to grow bushy beards not out of irony, but because shaving with a strop and a straight razor was a pain in the ass. Do you even know what a strop is? I didn't think so. Fremont Abbey, 4272 Fremont Ave. N., 701-9270. All ages. 8 p.m. $10. SARA BRICKNER

Blunt Mechanic / Thursday, August 5 See preview.

Paper Bird / Thursday, August 5

The banjo is a powerful, powerful thing. In the 21st century, those four or five strings aren't just limited to bluegrass yarns about the ol' Appalachians. Paper Bird has some of that (in this Colorado band's case, it's the Rockies), but When the River Took Flight, released July 27, is more a joyful, jaunty salmagundi of chiming indie folk, quippy ragtime rhythms, and warm vintage pop hymnals, sweetened by three female vocalists, a trombone, and, yes, that trusty banjo. With In Lake'ch, Dovekins, Shenandoah. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 7 p.m. $8. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

The Animals at Night / Friday, August 6

Graig Markel, the musician and producer behind The Animals at Night, calls their sound "broken soul"—a blend of down-tempo, rock, and R&B that would fit nicely between Hot Chip and Head Like a Kite (whom Markel produced) on a mixtape. It's pretty great stuff, from a wildly creative and largely unheralded local talent. Members of Modest Mouse and the Long Winters contributed percussive and multi-instrumental prowess on last year's Cut to Chase Chorus and Fade, with sexy results. Check out their new jams at tonight's show, a CD release for The Quit's Stars Invisible by Day. Mal de Mer, with members formerly of the Divorce and Slender Means, open. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 8 p.m. $10. RACHEL SHIMP

Elliott Brood / Friday, August 6

Toronto folk-rock hybrid Elliott Brood specializes in boot-thumping Frankensteins of country songs. The band's second full-length, 2008's Mountain Meadows, is constructed of plucked banjo and strummed ukulele, saloon piano, and horns, with a rock edge supplied by frontman Mark Sasso's hoarse howl. The band is currently working on its third full-length, and because Elliott Brood likes to road-test songs before recording them, it's likely that audiences will get to hear plenty of brand-new material. And while Mountain Meadows is a good reflection of the band's skill, Elliott Brood is one of those bands you just have to see live—and in an outdoor setting, it should be even better. KEXP Mural Concert Series, with Grand Hallway, Gabriel Mintz. Mural Amphitheater, Seattle Center, 684-7200. All ages. 5 p.m. Free. SARA BRICKNER

Head and the Heart / Friday, August 6 See Rocket Queen.

T-Model Ford / Friday, August 6

At nearly 90 years old (he thinks—his birth year could have been 1920 or 1921), veteran bluesman and ex-con T-Model Ford is a grizzled legend with plenty of aches and pains in his body and heart. Signed with eclectic indie label Fat Possum Records (also responsible for releasing early records by the Walkmen, Dinosaur Jr., and the Black Keys), the Mississippi native tours a remarkable amount for someone so advanced in years. Thanks to a serendipitous infusion of energy he got last year from local band GravelRoad (and a recently inserted pacemaker), he keeps trucking, with his markedly younger peers backing him up with a respectful, rock-steady rhythm section that is the perfect platform for his songs of dirty deeds, dirtier women, and the kind of deeply fermented wisdom that can only come from a hard life lived. With GravelRoad, Watch It Sparkle. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $10. HANNAH LEVIN

Matisyahu / Saturday, August 7

Matisyahu was just a beatboxing rich kid named Matt from White Plains, N.Y., before converting to Hasidic Judaism and making his name as a reggae star. Whether or not you're down with Matisyahu's message, it's hard to deny that reggae and Hasidism make impressive bedfellows—a hint of Marley and Psalms in the same breath. And even after his novelty wears off, you're left with some respectable musical chops; songs like the early hit "King Without a Crown" and recent radio mainstay "One Day" sport addictive melodies. Any flatness in his recordings disappear in live performances (as proven by 2005's Live at Stubb's and 2009's Live at Twist & Shout), and a shot of his beatboxing just adds to a stage energy that can't quite be captured in an album. With Dub Trio. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 467-5510. All ages. 8 p.m. $25. NICK FELDMAN

Rush / Saturday, August 7

Rush is one of those bands whose artistry is matched by the rippling cultural waves they've created. Rush is shrouded in mystery, regarded by their fans as brilliant wizards of melodic yet challenging progressive rock, somehow bridging the gap between Led Zeppelin and, say, Kraftwerk. They're also the sort of band that you secretly wish only existed on record; they should be wearing flowing robes, playing in smoking cauldrons, shooting lightning bolts and rainbows out of their guitars while jungle cats pace around beside them. Instead, they are (and always have been) the least hip-looking white Canadian guys you'll ever see. Regardless, if you close your eyes and listen, you're able to get transported to a pretty well-scored Comic-Con with a parking lot stocked with El Caminos, and it's tough to complain about that. White River Amphitheatre, 40601 Auburn-Enumclaw Rd., Auburn, 360-802-1469. All ages. 7:30 p.m. $50.50–$115.50. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Seu Jorge & Almaz / Saturday, August 7

Seu Jorge is a full-blown samba star in his hometown, Rio de Janeiro—it's been 12 years since his debut was released—but he didn't catch our attention until 2004, when he donned a red toque and became Pelé dos Santos, the deckhand who played acoustic David Bowie covers in Portuguese in Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic. Jorge is now performing with a three-piece band; together they recently released Seu Jorge & Almaz, a collection of covers that includes several Brazilian classics as well as renditions of Kraftwerk's "Das Model" and Michael Jackson's "Rock With You." The songs are rife with rich, deep basslines, reverbing guitar riffs at once jazzy and psychedelic, and Jorge's marvelous vocals—scraping, languishing, and sensual. King Cat Theater, 2130 Sixth Ave., 448-2829. 7:30 p.m. All ages. $30 adv./$35 DOS. ERIN K. THOMPSON

The Watson Twins / Saturday, August 7

Tall, sultry, raven-haired, Kentucky-bred, church-trained, and Americana-lovin', the Watson Twins, Leigh and Chandra, captured the attention of many a music fan nearly five years ago when they graced the cover of Jenny Lewis's solo debut, Rabbit Fur Coat, and caressed many of the tunes with their luminous vocal harmonies. After Rabbit, the Twins struck out on their own with an EP (2006's Southern Manners), a proper full-length debut (2008's Fire Songs), and this year's Talking to You, Talking to Me. While they've never abandoned the gospel and alt-country/indie-folk textures with which they launched their career, their more recent fare includes excursions into classic soul, R&B, and '70s Laurel Canyon–style soft-rock. With Ferraby Lionheart. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. All ages. 7 p.m. $13. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Cotton Jones / Sunday, August 8

Cotton Jones' second release, Tall Hours in the Glowstream, comes off like a twangier, more accomplished improvement upon the wispy folk strains of debut effort Paranoid Cocoon. The majority of the album hangs out somewhere in the indie-folk realm—strains of pedal steel and windy echo make "Man Climbs Out of the Winter" the closest Cotton Jones comes to conventional country music—but just when you think the band has settled into some kind of sound, Michael Nau plops his drawl over a lounge-jazz melody in "Dream on Columbia Street" or sings a song composed completely of "oohs" ("Soft Mountain Shake"). When Nau and bandmate Whitney McGraw put in the effort to buckle down and craft a real, honest-to-God song, Cotton Jones suddenly transforms from a rough sketch into a clearly defined individual. With the Parson Red Heads, Quiet Life. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $8. SARA BRICKNER

Van Morrison / Sunday, August 8

Van Morrison is often regarded as stubborn, churning out album after album of the same countrified R&B rhythms he knows so well. But think about this: How many old bluesmen changed their sound over time? Very few. The best ones formed their sound early, stuck with it, and allowed it to evolve organically until their death. This is what Morrison's been doing since at least the '90s, but for some listeners the comfortable familiarity sounds like artistic stagnation. What they're looking for is the explosive, sweaty soul of "Caravan," the transcendence of "Cyprus Avenue," the good-time anthems "Brown-Eyed Girl" and "Wild Nights." But like Dylan, Van the Man's songs have always been rooted in tradition. He's continued to sound very much like Van Morrison because, well, like those other old bluesmen, it's impossible for him to sound any other way. Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Rd. N.W., Quincy, 628-0888. All ages. 6 p.m. $56–$356. BRIAN J. BARR

Bonnie "Prince" Billy / Monday, August 9  See preview.

Fahir Atakoglu / Tuesday, August 10–Wednesday, August 11

You can easily hear the jingle-writing, soundtrack-composing side of this Istanbul-born pianist. There's a certain density of emotion that contrasts with the ambiguous, elusive nature of a lot of modern jazz. And that's all to the good, especially when the guy can play his ass off, too, recalling Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck, and the dude from The Bad Plus. After many years' success playing commercially in Turkey, Atakoglu is only just starting to get noticed in U.S. jazz circles. And with perfectly chosen sidemen—bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez—giving his music both heft and flight, his highly likable fusion of international styles should be a well-deserved hit. Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729. 7:30 p.m. $24.50. MARK D. FEFER

Vieux Farka Touré / Tuesday, August 10

Vieux Farka Touré is known mostly as the son of the late Ali Farka Touré, who is known mostly by those who are into Malian music and African desert blues. In other words, this show isn't exactly one that'll have all of Seattle pushing into Neumos—but maybe it should. Touré takes the foundation of folk and blues that made his father a legend and slams into it with sizzling guitar solos, reckless jams, and a few dub beats for a new generation of Malian music appreciators, a movement that's gaining fans by the hour thanks to the likes of Tinariwen and Bassekou Kouyate. With Publish the Quest. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

 
comments powered by Disqus