The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

Blue Scholars / Wednesday, October 20

As far as Seattle hip-hop is concerned, headlining the Paramount has been untouchable, a final frontier waiting to be conquered. But now, thanks to City Arts Fest, there could be no better way to celebrate the achievement than this show: town rap-renaissance frontrunners Blue Scholars on a bill filled with many of the town's finest (supplemented by lone out-of-towner Brother Ali, of Rhymesayers fame). Joined by Macklemore, who writes and delivers some of the most fun and goddamn moving hip-hop I've ever heard, as well as P Smoov's electronic vibes in the form of Fresh Espresso and the slick energy of Mash Hall, the showcase is primed to be a triumphant moment for Seattle's burgeoning scene. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 877-STG-4TIX. 6:30 p.m. $25 or with City Arts Fest wristband, cityartsfest.com. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Matt Costa / Wednesday, October 20

In contrast to his previous career moves—such as signing to fellow laid-back singer/songwriter Jack Johnson's label—former aspiring skater Matt Costa took a big risk with last month's Mobile Chateau. This time around, Costa's self-produced '60s sound is a direct throwback to the Byrds, Bob Lind, and Sgt. Pepper's–era Beatles. It's a major improvement on the schizophrenia of his past work, which aimed to emulate all his influences at once. And while his early pop gems will surely stay in his back pocket, the quickly maturing Costa proves he's come a long way. With Threes and Nines. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E, 381-3094. 9 p.m. $15 adv./$17 DOS. All ages. BRYDEN MCGRATH

Gogol Bordello / Wednesday, October 20

It's nearly impossible to listen to Gogol Bordello without thinking of Eugene Hütz's hilarious character in Everything is Illuminated, especially considering how the band blew up after Hütz's film debut, but the miscreant musicians have been serving up gypsy punk for well over a decade, long before Illuminated aimed a big spotlight on Hütz's crusty, amazingly talented band. Gogol Bordello builds on a foundation of Romanian gypsy music, but the band's latest, this year's Trans-Continental Hustle, takes some musical cues from Hütz's new home, São Paulo, Brazil. Whatever musical hats they're trying on, Gogol Bordello is a punk-rock band first and foremost, one whose purpose is equally divided between making fun music and spreading one very important and timely message: No human being is illegal. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $29 adv./$31 DOS, or with City Arts Fest wristband, cityartsfest.com. All ages. SARA BRICKNER

JP, Chrissie, & the Fairground Boys / Wednesday, October 20

First, they won't be playing any Pretenders songs. Chrissie Hynde will instead perform with JP Jones, the Welsh cutie with whom she recorded Fidelity, an album about their not-quite love affair across a 28-year age gap. "I found my perfect lover, but he'll never share my bed," she sings, not wasting any time complaining that this generally isn't a problem when the genders are reversed. The songwriting ranges from the really damn good ("Your Fairground") to the embarrassing ("Courage"), but Chrissie makes it all work with her sexy growling, whining, and cooing. Personally I think JP is nuts not to dive for that brass in her pocket. With Amy Correia, Cobirds Unite. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $25 adv./$30 DOS. DAVID STOESZ

Cat Power / Thursday, October 21

Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power, hasn't released anything new since 2008's Dark End of the Street covers EP; her most recent record of originals was 2006's The Greatest; and her website hasn't been updated for two years. Yet she's one of the most anticipated participants in this year's City Arts Fest—a testament to her artistic prestige and staying power. Records like You Are Free have stood the test of time, mainly because Marshall's smoky, searing, oh-so-alluring voice is in fact timeless and ever-appealing. She's spent the year putting in some time as a representative for the Department of Education's children's-literacy campaign, as well as writing for her new LP. There's no release date or any other concrete details, but tonight she'll be backed by a full band, and it seems likely that fans will hear some new material. 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., 625-1900. 7 p.m. $33 or with City Arts Fest wristband, cityartsfest.com. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Golden Blondes / Thursday, October 21

Joseph P. Markiewicz (ex-Lillydale) is a true renaissance man, but one blessedly free of the clichéd tones of self-importance that descriptor implies in a contemporary context. A fixture on the Ballard scene, he is a fashionable old soul, known for his sartorial sensibilities and fondness for all things vintage. He's also a deeply gifted songwriter with a graceful sense of how to slowly build a pop song in grandiose fashion, but without gilding the lily beyond recognition. His newest project, a dirty-pop-rock trio christened Golden Blondes, is a slightly grittier, dance party–driving affair that includes Micah Simler of Shim on bass and former Lillydale drummer David Lopez. With Naked Feel Goods, Mostly Dimes, Charles Leo Gebhardt IV. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $7. HANNAH LEVIN

Blitzen Trapper / Friday, October 22

Blitzen Trapper's newest, Destroyer of the Void, is a challenging record from the second the needle hits the groove. In the first six minutes, the band flows like a rapid stream, floating from ethereal CSNY-esque harmonies to baroque chamber pop to fuzzed-out Southern boogie rock. Any other band attempting to jump genres this rapidly would seem forced, but the Portland sextet has an uncommonly delicate touch that somehow makes the leaps glide by smoothly. Live, the band comes across as a group of flannel-shirted Marlboro Men from another galaxy, a pack of unkempt wranglers as comfortable delivering solemn, folky murder ballads as they are spastically stomping through chicken-fried, skronky staccato weirdness. With Fruit Bats, Seabear, Wye Oak. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $21 adv./$24 DOS, or with City Arts Fest wristband, cityartsfest.com. All ages. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Head Like a Kite / Friday, October 22

Head Like a Kite had already made a name for itself in Seattle as a solid purveyor of fun electro jams, but recruiting former Saturday Knights MC Tilson was probably one of the best decisions the band's ever made. HLAK's brand-new Listen Young Stunners (which you can stream in its entirety on the band's website) features the MC prominently, and his wordplay fills out the band's historically consistent repertoire of bouncy dance beats in all the right places. Brent Amaker and the Rodeo will also celebrate the release of their new record (and lascivious comic book) Please Stand By at this show; in addition to the usual whiskey dousings, titty-tassels, and other nonsense that comes standard with any Amaker performance, the band of black-clad cowboys have special, secret plans for this show that you'll want to witness for yourself. With Atomic Bombshells Burlesque, Ra Scion. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $12 or with City Arts Fest wristband, cityartsfest.com. SARA BRICKNER

The Vaselines / Friday, October 22  See B-Sides.

Big Boi / Saturday, October 23

It's not that people who know rap don't know that Big Boi is a talented MC. It's just that he's finally getting his fair share of the limelight (in contrast to almost every previous conversation about OutKast, which framed André 3000 as its soul and creative visionary). While some might look to 2004's Speakerboxxx as Big Boi's solo debut, that was actually July's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty and its funk-saturated beats and nimble lyricism. Now the modern and wised-up pimp, Big Boi's new sound is as current and stylish today as it was in 1994 when OutKast burst onto the scene. The man himself says it best: Sir Lucious Left Foot's got his best foot forward. With Neema of Unexpected Arrival, Fatal Lucciauno, DJ Swervewon. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $29.50 adv./$33 DOS, or with City Arts Fest wristband, cityartsfest.com. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Eastern Grip / Saturday, October 23

Just because a band has good taste in influences is hardly a reliable indicator that they've digested them in a manner that fuels them in a flattering light. But in the case of Eastern Grip, Niko Burt, Rory McAuley, Michael Welke, and Joe Woods do an admirable job of taking their overt love of angular rock, pop, and punk bands from the '90s (Archers of Loaf, Steel Pole Bath Tub, Fugazi, Guided by Voices) and running it through their own skill set without compromising either their own voices or the spirit of their inspirations. Why Eastern Grip isn't a bigger draw has always been a mystery to me, but they certainly deserve more recognition. Besides, you have to love a band with a song entitled "Josh Hartnett Can't Act for Dick." With The Dandelion War, You May Die in the Desert. Café Venus/Mars Bar, 609 Eastlake Ave. E., 624-4516. 9 p.m. $6. HANNAH LEVIN

Foals / Saturday, October 23

To follow up their mathy 2008 debut, Antidotes, Oxford, England's Foals released an album oddly infused with elements of funk and Caribbean percussion. The precise guitar work and sprawling vocals are still there, and the lead single "Spanish Sahara" stands out for being so magnificently solemn. But many songs on Total Life Forever (which was nominated for this year's Mercury Prize, the UK's prestigious industry-awarded honor), like "Blue Blood" and "Miami," are splashy, dreamy, and tropical, unexpectedly evoking some tiki-torched beach party. And that might be just the kind of escape we need during this dreary Northwest fall. With Esben and the Witch, Pica Beats. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15 or with City Arts Fest wristband, cityartsfest.com. ERIN K. THOMPSON

She & Him / Saturday, October 23  See Q&A.

Rainn Wilson / Saturday, October 23  With PUSA, Sean Nelson, The Long Winters. See the Wire.

Mumford & Sons / Sunday, October 24

Even if you've reached the point of audio exhaustion with Mumford & Sons' colossal earworm "Little Lion Man" and its edited f-bomb in every chorus, you should still try and scam some tix to their sold-out (in every city of the tour) show tonight. Frequently plugged as the UK's version of the Avett Brothers, M&S delve into various genres of European folk music and blend them in a harmoniously American, rootsy way. The band's meteoric rise has been propelled by their heralded live shows, TV appearances, and the aforementioned single, which has the uncanny power to make you sing along while simultaneously pulling out your hair. With Mt. Desolation, King Charles. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 877-STG-4TIX. 7:30 p.m. Sold out. All ages. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Lady Antebellum / Monday, October 25

Kid Rock described Lady Antebellum as a "hillbilly Fleetwood Mac, except I suspect they don't do drugs or sleep with each other." Hmm? Like a lot of today's country stars, Lady Antebellum traffics in heartache. But aside from the lyrics, little suggests they're hurting in any way. The arrangements have much in common with those too-familiar, regret-soaked Don Henley and Richard Marx hits from the '80s—if feelings are conveyed, they're as empty as prime-time TV. Mild twang aside, this is a soft-rock band through and through, so perhaps Kid Rock was right. Let me know when they start snorting tweak and screwing each other, then maybe I'll listen. With David Nail. WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 381-7555. 7:30 p.m. $39.50. All ages. BRIAN J. BARR

The Apples in Stereo / Tuesday, October 26

As founder of the Elephant 6 collective, The Apples in Stereo frontman Robert Schneider was one of the centerpieces of an underground, lo-fi pop movement in the mid-'90s that quietly usurped some power from the mope-rock kings of the day. Forming the band in 1992 as an extension of his undying love for the Beach Boys, Schneider started out writing well-adjusted, technicolored, twee pop. Over the years, the band has evolved from Saturday-morning-cartoon-esque themes to heavier territory; the most recent entries in the Apples in Stereo catalog find the band beaming in from a vocoder-equipped UFO, last seen in satellite photos floating around the symphonic solar system originally claimed by Captain Jeff Lynne and his Electric Light Orchestra. With Fol Chen, BOAT [also see Through @ 2]. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $13. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan / Tuesday, October 26  See music lead.

DJ Shadow / Tuesday, October 26

DJ Shadow—aka Josh Davis, a California turntablist, composer, and godlike figure to anyone who loves instrumental hip-hop or trip-hop—issued a debut album so phenomenal and influential (1996's Endtroducing . . .), it was hard to imagine how he could follow it up. 2002's The Private Press came pretty close. But on 2006's The Outsider, Shadow embraced hyphy (remember that?!), in the process alienating a chunk of his fan base. You have to respect him for looking forward, but based on two new tracks I've heard from his fourth album, due early in 2011, Shadow's indulging in some of his old atmospheric, downtempo tricks again. Tonight he'll pull you into the "Shadowsphere," which should be a hell of a trip. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $22.50 adv./$25 DOS. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

 
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