The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

PWRFL Power / Wednesday, December 29

It's been more than two years since Kazutaka Nomura—alias PWRFL Power—released his eponymous LP, and friends and fans will have noticed Nomura's physical absence from Seattle during that interval as well. "I was having some visa issues," Nomura explained to me recently. But after spending two years skipping back and forth here to Japan, he says, "Finally I got my green card processed, and now I'm here for good." And less traveling means more music-making—Nomura is writing a new batch of songs that step away from his previous comic tunes about chopstick usage and his cat. "I've been becoming a little bit generic, writing about life," he says, "things you think about as you get older" (he's 26). Additionally, Nomura is leaning toward more soulful influences. "I have been spending extra time in analyzing the older solo acoustic style of blues, like Skip James, Reverend Gary Davis, Lightning Hopkins, and John Jackson," he says. "You will hear a big influence from those guys in [my] new songs." With Kyle Bradford, Cumulus. Jewelbox/Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave., 441-5823. 10 p.m. $7. ERIN K. THOMPSON

forgetters / Thursday, December 30

When the last Hot Topic burns to the ground and the Grand Ol' Punk Hall of Fame gets erected (likely somewhere in Brooklyn or Berkeley), one of the largest busts in the '90s wing will belong to Blake Schwarzenbach. As frontman of Jawbreaker, Schwarzenbach managed the tough/sensitive guy dichotomy perfectly; writing intellectual Caulfield-isms delivered with his raspy bark, Jawbreaker was simultaneously sappy and snarling before that kind of thing was commercially viable, polarizing the punk community by signing to a major label in the middle of the self-righteous "Punks don't do that" years. Schwarzenbach's next band, Jets to Brazil, turned the sap up and the snarl down, writing gentler, more sophisticated songs. Jets to Brazil broke up in 2003, and apparently seven years of being bottled up has brought Schwarzenbach back to his vitriolic roots. Playing in his new trio forgetters, Schwarzenbach's bitter bile has aged surprisingly well, coming off as even more lyrically complex and jadedly cathartic atop a bed of dark and simple angular punk. With Street Eaters. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $11. All ages. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Jackie Hell & Friends / Thursday, December 30

Tonight at the Comet, XX chromosomes are running amok. Portland's Magick Daggers bring a steamy, female-fronted electro-grind vibe. Nightshirt rocks the punky New Wave thing with a fiercely femme energy. Band-to-watch-in-2011 honors go to Minirex, local lasses who bring a modern style and oodles of sass to the girl-group tradition. And if there could be such a thing as an XXX chromosome, it would have to belong to the wacko love child of Jackie Curtis and Divine, the institutional Seattle institute, the hostess with the mostess, the "lady" of the evening, the one and only Ms. Jackie Hell. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $5. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Neurosis, Night 1 / Thursday, December 30

When a pair of Neurosis dates at Neumos was announced several months ago, Viking cries of joy ricocheted around the city (perhaps the only reveal that would produce more joy among sludge/stoner/doom fans would be another Sleep reunion). Scott Kelly and his Bay Area bandmates have undeniably strong ties to the Northwest metal community, and no matter which night you choose to attend, you're guaranteed to run into a who's-who of local luminaries. However, the secret selling point of these bills are the carefully curated local openers. Tonight's lineup demands that you get there early enough to catch Black Breath, who were so on point when they opened for Converge and Coalesce this year that they nearly eclipsed their elder peers. With Wolves in the Throne Room. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $25. All ages. HANNAH LEVIN

Dyme Def / Friday, December 31

In 2010, the reopened Columbia City Theater has done wonders to match its rich history (Ella Fitzgerald and Jimi Hendrix both played here) with contemporary local acts. In the surprisingly quiet wake of their June release Sex Tape—a stellar record that could as easily place the blame for its understated reception on its mature subject matter as anything else—Seattle rap trio Dyme Def headlines the venue's first New Year's Eve party under the new management. Support on the bill comes from garage-rockers Hounds of the Wild Hunt and the all-female punk quartet NightTraiN, making for a wildly eclectic way to ring in the New Year. Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Ave. S., 722-3009. 9 p.m. $10. NICK FELDMAN

Fresh Espresso / Friday, December 31

While the electro-hop duo of rapper Rik Rude and producer/MC P Smoov hasn't officially dropped any new tunes this year, what they have done is unleash a steady stream of top-notch performances that teased new material and cemented their reputation as high-energy crowd-pleasers. Last year's debut Glamour still bumps as hard as the day it dropped, and tracks like "Diamond Pistols" and "The Lazerbeams" still never fail to buzz in ears long after they're heard. Sharing the bill with synth-laced guitar rockers Head Like a Kite—who also have a well-known penchant for the dance party—and '80s-edged popsters Concours d'Elegance, the Croc's New Year's Eve bash is poised to be the place to cut a rug on your way to 2011. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $15. NICK FELDMAN

Funhouse New Year's Eve Party / Friday, December 31

On an evening known for overwrought excess, contrived sentiment, and forced festivity, the Funhouse is presenting you with the perfect frugally fabulous alternative. For six bucks you can keep it on the low-key tip and forgo the heels and Spanx for Converse and Levis, the champagne for PBR, and the corny holiday sing-alongs for punk/New Wave gems spun by DJs Baby J and Blackout. Not to mention the parking-lot beer garden with a priceless view of the fireworks and all the jackasses who spent mucho bank to be atop the Needle at midnight, and who are working harder at having a good time than they do at their jobs all year. Funhouse, 206 Fifth Ave N., 374-8400. 9 p.m. $6. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Neurosis, Night 2 / Friday, December 31

While heading out to a sold-out rock show on New Year's Eve sounds like an exercise in self-loathing to most regular clubgoers, tonight's show is a worthy exception to the rule that the best place to be at the end of the year is at a house party. The mighty Neurosis is the starring standard-bearer, sure, but the support alone would be worth the price of admission. If you're lucky enough to have a ticket to this sold-out show, make sure you show up in time to catch Tad Doyle's Brothers of the Sonic Cloth at 9 and Portland's star doomsayers Yob at 9:45. With Ludicra. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. Sold out. HANNAH LEVIN

X / Friday, December 31

In early 1980, singer/bassist John Doe, vocalist Exene Cervenka, and the rest of the L.A. roots-punk quartet X holed up in the studio with producer (and former Doors keyboardist) Ray Manzarek, emerging later that year with their brilliant debut LP, Los Angeles. Since then, X—like any band that's been around for three decades—has enjoyed highs (widespread critical acclaim for its consistent creative output; a legion of devoted peers and acolytes) and lows (commercial struggles, lineup changes, last year's multiple-­sclerosis diagnosis for Cervenka) and keeps on truckin'—these days with their original lineup and nuanced musical fury intact. Tonight they'll usher in 2011 and mark the 30th anniversary of Los Angeles by playing the album in its entirety, preceded by a screening of the 1986 rockumentary X: The Unheard Music. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 467-5510. 8 p.m. $43. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Koko and the Sweetmeats / Saturday, January 1

South Africa, the country that gifted the music world with Dave Matthews, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Die Antwoord, is also the birthplace of Garett van der Spek, the young songwriter who now lives in Seattle and fronts the bluesy and hard-rocking Koko and the Sweetmeats. Van der Spek has a dynamic, squalling voice that sounds like a cross between Dan Auerbach and Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and his band's up-tempo tunes are aggressively rhythmic (with two drummers thrashing away simultaneously), recalling the raw, untamed spirit of the early Kinks or Rolling Stones. Koko's newest release, Foreign Island, is available for download, and features the excellent, incessantly catchy "Little Lover." With Charlie Smyth Band, Mike Dumovich. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 9:30 p.m. $7. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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