The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

Fran Healy / Wednesday, August 18

Why did Fran Healy, lead singer of the acclaimed Scottish Britpop band Travis, make a solo record, this fall's forthcoming Wreckorder, without his longtime bandmates? "I hate them," Healy told me on a recent phone call. "I hate all of my band. They're all wankers." In all seriousness, Wreckorder came about during a much-needed rest period for Travis last year—Healy says he wrote the songs to "invigorate my brain and inspire me." The result? A gorgeously sweeping collection of grand and richly arranged pop songs featuring Healy's tender-sweet vocals, as well as a heart-aching duet with Neko Case and, on another track, a musician named Sir Paul McCartney on bass. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 8 p.m. $25. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Jaill / Wednesday, August 18

Although it's fairly late in the game, the perfect summer soundtrack may have just shown up. Straight from the shores of Milwaukee, Jaill's second full-length (and first on local tastemaker Sub Pop), That's How We Burn, plays like a perfect boat ride, with enough jittery, choppy moments to balance the smooth sailing. Full of reverb-laden, major-key jangle and cooing, sunny harmonies, Jaill's album is a surprisingly upbeat, catchy affair at first listen; raw in all the right places, with just enough sugar sprinkled over it to keep listeners bouncing off the walls. However, dig into the meat of the lyrics, and you'll discover Jaill has the right amount of salty world-weariness to make the perfect bitter/sweet combination. With The Hold Steady. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $22 adv./$24 DOS. All ages. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven / Thursday, August 19

Which would you imagine is a bigger challenge: Working as a derivatives trader during one of the nation's worst economic crises, or trying to reanimate not one but two terrific bands—one a cult favorite, the other a former chart-topping powerhouse? Over the past couple of years, veteran songwriter and musician David Lowery has done both. During a brief lull in his music career, Lowery joined a private hedge fund. But then his old career beckoned, and recently he's been jointly fronting both Camper Van Beethoven—his jangly '80s folk/pop band that virtually defined the term "college rock"—and Cracker, his '90s rock band that penned a handful of big radio hits, out on the road and in the studio. And from everything we've seen and heard from both entities, the payoff for both Lowery and his fans has been huge. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $20. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Kate Tucker / Thursday, August 19

Whether performing solo or with her former band, the Sons of Sweden, Kate Tucker has always been extremely pleasant to listen to. Her voice is high and pretty, her songs mellow and dreamy, and her appearance far surpasses mere cuteness. So what's not to like? Well, nothing, unless you, like many, have grown fatigued with what's become an overplayed genre—one whose cookie-cutter performers mostly resemble Kate Tucker. Thankfully for Tucker, her new album, White Horses, finds her stampeding out of this box and into Cowboy Junkies territory. "Blue December" is one of the best local tracks to be released so far this year, and "Where Are You (I Am Already Gone)" isn't far behind. The new album has more melancholy and depth to it, which, when set against her prior work, makes it not only tolerable but wonderful. With Gabriel Mintz [see Through @ 2], Joshua Morrison. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $8. MIKE SEELY

Casiokids / Friday, August 20

Although black metal has been the country's chief musical export of late, Norway's all-time most successful band remains '80s synth-pop outfit a-ha, who announced that they're retiring at the end of 2010 (what, you didn't know they were still active?). Earlier this summer, via an American Idol–esque reality show, the "Take On Me" boys passed their torch to upstart Norwegians Casiokids, who won the contest and the accompanying one million kroner (around $160,000). That's allowed them to finance a U.S. tour, where they can show what they've been up to since forming in 2005. That means lots of high-energy, retro electropop crafted out of vintage keyboards, strings, toy instruments, weird samples, joyful melodies, and gentle vocal harmonies. With Light Pollution. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $9. All ages. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Digable Planets / Friday, August 20

As an alternative to the unbridled aggression of then-in-vogue gangster rap, Digable Planets' debut Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) and its vibrant jazz-laced beats—not to mention Grammy-winning single "Rebirth of Slick"—quickly earned a name as some of the early '90s' most astute hip-hop. The New York–based trio (which includes Seattle MC Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler, recently acclaimed as Palaceer Lazaro of Shabazz Palaces) parted ways shortly after the release of their sophomore effort in 1994. Their reunion just shy of a decade later excited hip-hop heads from coast to coast, and whether or not a third album ever materializes, the chance to see these legends in action is definitely "Cool Like Dat." With U.G.O. Crew, Khingz, dj100proof. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $17. NICK FELDMAN

Helsing Junction Sleepover / Friday, August 20–Sunday, August 22

Summer 2010 might just be the summer of K Records. Last month they launched the Zip-Pak, a digital-only singles club featuring never-before-released, remixed, and one-off tracks from label-signed artists and visiting bands. This month, the Olympia-based label hosts the Sixth Annual Helsing Junction Sleepover, a music festival of sorts held on an organic farm in rural southern Thurston County. That natural and sustainable setting is reason enough to attend, but the K Recs lineup this year is in a league of its own: Tender Forever, Japanther, Electric Sunset, Kimya Dawson, and the Hive Dwellers—the newest band led by label founder Calvin Johnson—are all slated to perform. Plus, there's camping, picnicking, swimming, and underground films. And here's the kicker: A three-day pass is only $30. With LAKE, Christmas, Polka Dot Dot Dot, Danny Kelly, Angelo Spencer, Arrington de Dionyso, Joey Casio, Razz M Tazz, Gary May. Helsing Junction Organic Farm, 12013 Independence Rd., Rochester. $30 adv./$35 at the gate. All ages. PAIGE RICHMOND

Say Hi / Friday, August 20

It's been over a year since Say Hi's Eric Elbogen released his latest record, the kicky Oohs & Aahs, but the guy's still had a truly buzzworthy 2010. Elbogen gained national exposure when one of Oohs' most memorable tracks, "One, Two...One," was featured in a slick TV commercial for a Cadillac sports car; earlier this year, his shaggy, bearded self was also interviewed on ABC News, which fawningly described his music as "bedroom, melodic, wistful indie pop." Now he's gathering a full band; besides tonight's KEXP show and Say Hi's opening slot for Barsuk labelmates Menomena at the Showbox in September, Elbogen recently Tweeted that he's back to the grind recording the follow-up to Oohs. With Head Like a Kite. Mural Amphitheater, Seattle Center, 684-7200. 5 p.m. Free. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Black Francis / Saturday, August 21

The name Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV may not ring any bells (or roll off the tongue easily), butto anyone who has paid vague attention to what was once referred to as "alternative rock," he is absolute living, breathing royalty. Known in music circles as Black Francis or Frank Black (depending on the decade/project), the man has influenced just around98% of your favorite bands. As frontman of the Pixies, Black Francis screamed as though a banshee was trying to crawl out of his throat over catchy riffs and skewed surf-rock, proving that a three-minute pop song could be a powerful work of art. As a solo artist, Frank Black has pushed past the Pixies' loud-quiet-loud dynamic into more expansive, subtly expressive territory, all the while still retaining the Pixies' undying love for a catchy riff and abstract lyricism. With Rachel Flotard, Rusty Willoughby. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7:30 p.m. (all ages), 10 p.m. (21 and over). $25. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Lady Gaga / Saturday, August 21

The last time Lady Gaga performed in Washington state, it was also at the Tacoma Dome—and she was opening for New Kids on the Block. It's hard to believe that was only a little over a year ago, now that the 24-year-old Gaga is the world's biggest star. In shows throughout her current concert extravaganza, the 2010 Monster Ball, Gaga's simulated having her heart ripped out of her chest, dripped with fake blood, pounded piano keys with her 5-inch spike heels, worn a bra that shoots fire from the nipples, and shimmied and thrust her hips like some unholy love child of Prince and Madonna—the Lady truly is legendary. Fans, get your bodysuits and cigarette sunglasses on—Tacoma's never had a night like this. Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma, 253-272-3663. 8 p.m. Sold out. ERIN K. THOMPSON

No Depression Festival / Saturday, August 21  See B-Sides.

Witchburn / Saturday, August 21

Plot idea for the new episodes of Beavis and Butt-head: Power struggles over the assistant night manager position at Burger World and Butt-head's on-again, off-again relationship with Beavis' mom (who's still a dirty slut) have left our inseparable dudes at a crossroads. What could reunite them? Metal, of course. Like the irony-free, straight-ahead variety purveyed by Seattle's own Witchburn. The 'Burn have enlisted none other than Jack Endino to sharpen the razor's edge on their latest, This Is How We Slay Our Demons, which showcases the scorching "Come to Butt-head" vocals of snarling rock chick Jamie Nova. With Supernauty, Stone Axe, Ubik. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 8 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Indian Ocean / Sunday, August 22

The salty air, the coasts of many continents, swirling warm tides, a vast and mysterious expanse—it's all in Indian Ocean's music as much as it is in their namesake. The renowned Indian fusion band has been blending traditional Indian sounds with jazz, rock, and other moods since the '80s, but after unexpectedly losing their longtime drummer to cardiac arrest last December, this tour promises to be a powerful turning point. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 6 p.m. $25. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

TRUST: BBQ Edition / Sunday, August 22

Sure, you're already planning the summer's baddest barbecue at your house, but this free outdoor party (or "sundance," as we said in my raver days) is on a roof. Take in the skyline while grooving to a reggae/house/hip-hop/electro/whateva mashup of good vibes. DJ Mr. Supreme, who's likely witnessed more than one Paris Hilton table dance at his posh bookings in Miami and Vegas, guest-DJ'd the July TRUST. He said on his blog, "I can't remember the last time I had this much fun DJ'n'"—partly because the Belltown Bettys weren't asking him to play Trey Songz (I paraphrase) all night long. Showing off more of his creativity, he'll play a set of all 45s today. Kid Hops and SunTzu Sound are joined by KEXP's Riz, Trashy Trash/Stop Biting maestro Introcut, and Carlos Mendoza of Lawnchair Generals. Classic barbecue grub will be served. Red Lion Hotel, Garden Terrace, 1415 Fifth Ave., fifth floor, 971-8000. 2 p.m. Free. RACHEL SHIMP

Boris / Monday, August 23

Behold the utterly hypnotic Boris. It's really very simple. If you want to get your mind blown to shiny little smithereens, this Japanese trio is wielding the sonic hammer. The tag "experimental" barely contains what happens in their stoner-approved crush of E-bowed guitars, manipulated feedback, and bombastic drums, or in the stealthy, percolating spaces of songs like "Rainbow," a collaboration with psychedelic guitarist Michio Kurihara. Boris' many working partnerships with bands like Sunn O))) have earned them audiences from across the style spectrum. This fall's collaborative album with The Cult's Ian Astbury, BXI, is nearly Boris' 20th release in 18 years.An output that productive and dizzying makes musical possibilities seem infinite after all. With Red Sparowes, Helms Alee. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. All ages. RACHEL SHIMP

Far East Movement / Tuesday, August 24

Best known for their electro-hop party hits "Like a G6" and "Girls on the Dancefloor," this Koreatown, Los Angeles–based quartet sounds like an alcohol-fueled, equal-parts mixture of LMFAO and the Beastie Boys. After making the impressive leap from Interscope Records interns to Cherrytree Records signees, the group opened for the likes of Lady Gaga, N*E*R*D, and Kelis—experiences that solidified their understanding of the importance of showmanship. Now on their own headlining "Lazer Tag Tour," FM is ready to take Supra Skytop sneakers, skinny ties, and bass-heavy beats to a new level. It might not be serious hip-hop or pretentious electronica, but it's perfect to chase down a drink—or a bottle. With Hyper Crush, the Cataracs, Dev, DJ Eye. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 652-0444. 7 p.m. $12 adv./$15 DOS. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Huey Lewis & The News / Tuesday, August 24  See An Incomplete History.

John Hiatt & The Combo / Wednesday, August 25  See Q&A.

 
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