The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

From Usher to Eisley.

Fitz & the Tantrums / Wednesday, November 10

Los Angeles sextet Fitz & the Tantrums traffics in a vintage neo-soul sound that originated when frontman Michael Fitzpatrick started tinkering with an antique church organ. FATT, in its current incarnation, eschews heavy rock guitars in favor of smooth, fluid keys, saxophone, and flute. Over the past year, they've been riding the public's newly energized enthusiasm for soul and funk, brought about by retro acts like Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Jamie Lidell. The band's first full-length, Pickin' Up the Pieces, was released in August—you've probably heard "Winds of Change" in the commercial for the HTC G2 Smartphone—and is bursting with swinging melodies, crisp drums and handclaps, and sweet Motown harmonies. Sonic Boom Records Capitol Hill, 1525 Melrose Ave., 568-BOOM. 6 p.m. Free. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Junip / Wednesday, November 10

In September, José González and his chillwave band, Junip, released Fields, their first full-length record. "It feels new for me, even though we started playing 12 years ago," González told me earlier this year. The songs on Fields have all the right González hallmarks—shadowy synths and percussion backing his classical nylon-string guitar and his remarkably tender and lucid vocals. But González says he finds Junip's rhythmic sound much different from that of his acclaimed solo work, and that he also enjoys the freedom that playing with his bandmates (Elias Araya on drums, Tobias Winterkorn on organ and synth) gives him: "I don't think too much about trying to impress people with my guitar." With Sharon Von Etten, Joshua Morrison. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Usher / Wednesday, November 10

Usher's Raymond v. Raymond is not a breakup album. It's a divorce album. As the lyrics spell out, poor Usher's gigantic fame and good looks resulted in a wealth of pussy being shoved in his face night after night—like, how could he say no, right? Well, now that the (ex-)wife wants half, I'm guessing that extracurricular poontang doesn't look as attractive in hindsight. But damn if Usher's legal and emotional mess didn't make for some of his best tunes since Confessions. "Papers" alone is packed with an LP's worth of heart-wrenching goodness. He blames himself, he blames her, he falls to his knees, he gets slapped in the face. Really, he should be thanking his lucky stars he didn't marry a singer like Mariah Carey who could release an album detailing her side of the story. Shit would hit the fan, indeed. With Trey Songz, Miguel. Key Arena, 305 Harrison St., 682-8225. 7:30 p.m. $39.40–$99.50. All ages. BRIAN J. BARR

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin / Thursday, November 11

Hailing from the birthplace of the now-archaic Route 66, Springfield, Mo., Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is a bit of a relic of a forgotten era itself, hearkening back to a time before terms like "post-grunge" and "blogosphere" were inescapable. Still young (as bands go), SSLYBY plays the kind of deceptively simple, clean pop songs that dominated college radio in the mid-to-late '80s. Imagine the jangle of the Connells, Let's Active, or a less obtuse early R.E.M. filtered through a post-millennial sieve, and you've got the streamlined pop sunshine of SSLYBY. And between recording with Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla, touring with locals Telekinesis earlier in the year, and touring currently with Anacortes' The Lonely Forest, they might as well be an honorary Seattle band. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. All ages. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Delorean / Friday, November 12

Despite what their name might imply, this Spanish indie-electro quartet has no desire to dwell on '80s retro-chic. And despite an unfair number of comparisons to Animal Collective . . . OK, maybe some of those are deserved. But in Subiza, Delorean managed to make one of the year's most beautifully summery records—and if you spend time trying to label it, you'll only tire yourself out. Bouncy synth loops and driving drums mesh into helplessly danceable songs that effortlessly ebb and flow among one another. Sure, they embrace the upbeat abandon of Balearic Beat—but Delorean is just as likely to toy with genre boundaries as to abide by them. If their too-cool Bumbershoot appearance was any indication, you're in for an eruption of joy. With Lemonade, Noddy. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $13. NICK FELDMAN

Ghostland Observatory / Friday, November 12—Saturday, November 13

Everyone has a weirdo genius friend. You know, the one no one gets but you? Pry him or her out of their musty room, slap a cape on them, and set them in front of a synth, as you may have a quirky brainiac like Thomas Ross Turner on your hands. Your blueprint can be Ghostland Observatory's spankin' new Codename: Rondo, whose title track is spoken-wordy and Tom-Waitsy in its bizarro-ness and danceability. It's "Detachable Penis" meets "Mr. Roboto" as covered by the Revolting Cocks, and could only be cooked up by an exceptional, delightfully off-track mind. Now all you have to do is be as brilliant, unique, and sexy as frontman Aaron Behrens. With DJ Jack. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $22.50 adv./$25 DOS. Friday 21 and over, Saturday all ages. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

A Perfect Circle / Friday, November 12—Sunday, November 14

Since their most recent tour ended way back in 2004, it came as no surprise that A Perfect Circle's three-night residency at the Showbox sold out in the blink of an eye. The band's output—two platinum albums (2000's Mer de Noms and 2003's Thirteenth Step) and a third that's sold upward of 700,000 copies (2004's eMOTIVe)—will be on full display as they play a different album in its entirety each night. But the truth is you come for Maynard James Keenan, and, well, who would leave a Maynard James Keenan show? Even if this is his second-best band. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. Sold out. All ages. BRYDEN MCGRATH

Wild Flag / Friday, November 12

Them Crooked Vultures may have been the heartstopping so-called supergroup of 2010, but that was all about the cock and the rock, so it's refreshing that Wild Flag is the next fusion of formidable talents on the horizon. Comprising former Sleater-Kinney guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein, S-K's leaden-limbed drummer Janet Weiss, and the Minder's Rebecca Cole, the band made headlines and generated feverish anticipation as soon as they announced their partnership and signing with Merge Records this fall. However thrilling those ingredients may be, it's arguable that Helium's groundbreaking guitarist and silver-throated singer, Mary Timony, is Wild Flag's true secret weapon. With Royal Baths, Keli Schaefer. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 9:30 p.m. Sold out. HANNAH LEVIN

Eli Rosenblatt Band / Saturday, November 13

Mashing up Jewish and Afro-Cuban music has been a popular tack lately, and Rosenblatt is Seattle's premiere exponent of this particular niche—at once festive and melancholy. Skilled in the Latin tres, he adds fuzzy electric-guitar lines reminiscent of Ry Cooder and Marc Ribot's mambos, and sings with a semi-ironic authority that seems equal parts canción and Adam Sandler. Tonight he'll celebrate the release of his sharp new self-titled recording, backed by brass, strings, and percussion. Balkan-style street band Orkestar Zirkonium will start the ethnic juices flowing. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10. MARK D. FEFER

Seattle Rock Orchestra / Saturday, November 13

Seattle Rock Orchestra music director Scott Teske sure knows how to conduct a good time. After curating a talented ensemble of musicians to perform Arcade Fire songs at Sasquatch this summer, he has now turned his attention to the Beach Boys' landmark sonic calling card, Pet Sounds. Conjuring producer Brian Wilson's Spector-esque wall of sound is a formidable challenge, but if anyone can do it, it's Teske and his cast of local luminaries, which this time includes Redwood Plan leader Lesli Wood, local songwriting duo Ivan & Alyosha, and milk-and-honey-toned vocalist Michele Khazak. With the Thoughts. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 877-784-4849. 8 p.m. $18. All ages. HANNAH LEVIN

Brandon Flowers / Sunday, November 14

Love him or hate him, give credit where credit is due—when the rest of the Killers decided to take time off, hardworking frontman Brandon Flowers released his first solo effort and kept touring. A bizarre, mostly jumbled mix of Mormon imagery and a Sam's Town redux of Las Vegas lessons, Flowers' experimental Flamingo only occasionally ("Only the Young," "Hard Enough," "Crossfire") reaches the heights his band has scaled. Still, a ticket to see the Killers is really a ticket to see the eccentric Flowers perform every song like it's his last. In a smaller venue, this is your chance to get more up-close and personal with the always-thrilling egomaniac. With Fran Healy. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $28 adv./$32 DOS. All ages. BRYDEN MCGRATH

Luck-One / Sunday, November 14

After establishing himself as one of Portland's premier MCs, recent Seattle transplant Hanif Collins set his sights on our fair city. His life story reads like a slice of rap folklore: At age 17 he was convicted on armed-robbery charges and sentenced to six years behind bars, then emerged from prison with an untouchable drive. But because a story like that isn't nearly enough to support a career in hip-hop, Luck-One matches his urgent delivery with impeccable sample-heavy beats and lyrics that search out a positive future rather than dwelling on his crime-riddled past. In advance of the release of forthcoming project True Theory, Luck let fly with a seven-track "outtakes" FreEP—one that, he's quick to clarify, stands high despite not representing his best work. With D. Black, Sol, TXE. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 7 p.m. $7. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Eisley / Monday, November 15

"Eisley is Free," the band blogged after finally untethering from their contract with Warner Brothers. It's about time for the pretty dream-pop band that was always weirdly booked alongside emo heroes like Brand New and New Found Glory. Eisley's always been the kind of act you'd imagine free: running aimlessly, perhaps even frolicking, in a forest, around a lake, through the clouds, or in some other silly fantastic setting, with no cares or concerns in the world. But with more experience and a little post-major-label angst under their belt, their recent releases return to the powerful, soaring sound that got them opening for Coldplay before they were ever signed. With Ives the Band, Christie DuPree. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 7 p.m. $16 adv./$18 DOS. All ages. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

Tift Merritt / Tuesday, November 16

One of the dumbest "next so-and-so" comparisons ever uttered occurred at Denver's Fillmore Auditorium not long after Tift Merritt's breakthrough album, Tambourine, was released in 2005. Merritt was opening for Elvis Costello, few in the audience knew who she was, and the P.A. announcer told them she was "the next Lucinda Williams." Bullshit: While Williams is a roughhewn genius for whom popular recognition came hard, Merritt is another animal entirely, the rare alt-country artist with the looks and polish to hold her own with the Underwoods and Swifts of the prairie. Yet that's a ring she's yet really to enter. While it's a little weird to see such an all-American beauty play in honky-tonk settings, eventually Merritt's chops win over even the most cynical No Depressionist. "Sunday," off her 2002 debut, Bramble Rose, remains one of the great underappreciated country ballads of the last decade. With Elizabeth & The Catapult. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8 p.m. $18 adv./$20 DOS. MIKE SEELY

Toro y Moi / Tuesday, November 16

Like his stage name, Toro y Moi's music is the unconventional collision of two conventionally beautiful languages. The one-man, multi-instrumentalist baby of the blogosphere is lounge and psychedelic, rock and R&B, nostalgic and prophetic in one slow-rolling, ghostly wisp of smoke. And though his debut, Causers of This, brought Chazwick Bundick (his real name) to chillwave-idol status (the admirability of which is debatable), his next project will return to traditional live band instruments, sure to make his set at Neumos another unpredictable fusion. With Nosaj Thing, Jogger. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $12. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

 
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