The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

Black Milk/Wednesday, February 23

Best known as a beatmaker for the likes of Slum Village, the Detroit-based Dilla disciple Black Milk is respected as a more-than-capable producer with a penchant for bringing funk and soul samples to life, aided by unbelievably crisp drums. But the lyrical content of last year's Album of the Year, shaped by the deaths of both friends and family members in a single year, takes his MC shine to the level of noted bar-for-bar beasts Elzhi and Royce Da 5'9". With a record title that ambitious, the bar is set high—but Black Milk is too talented to fall short of his own self-imposed tongue-in-cheek audacity. With Candidt, Grynch, Sol. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10 adv./$15 DOS. NICK FELDMAN

Man or Astro-man?/Thursday, February 24

Touring bands come from miles away to play in our fair city. But how many bands brave light-years of travel to play on other planets? Hailing from Grid Sector 23B6-1 (not even a planet! just floating in space!), Man or Astro-man? surfaced on Earth sometime in the early '90s disguised as humans; thus far, they've been kind enough not to destroy the planet or enslave the human race. Focusing their extraterrestrial efforts on a space-age blend of sci-fi-laden surf and garage rock, Man or Astro-man? was one of the most prolific bands of the '90s, leaving legendary live shows (flaming TVs and Tesla-coil sparks included) behind them. Having dropped off the radar for a while (a rocky space economy is likely to blame), the Astro-men have teleported back for a short West Coast tour. Tinfoil hats (so they can't read your mind!) are optional. With The Octopus Project. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $15. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Gun Outfit/Friday, February 25

Gun Outfit are from just down the road in Olympia, but the trio keeps a low-enough profile locally that you'd be forgiven for not knowing them. Even if you do, you might have missed the fact that they released a new album last year (I do, and did). Well, to catch up: Possession Sound finds the band expanding on the Dino Jr./Eric's Trip–indebted indie rock of their debut, Dim Light, to great effect. The vocal interplay between Dylan Sharp's disaffected monotone and Caroline Keith's airy singing still drives the band, as do their intertwining guitar figures, played clean and bright and slightly twangy. But Possession Sound sees them stretching out from the uniformity of their debut to indulge in songs like the spacey, lo-fi psych reverie of "Phaedra" and the near-country balladry of "Last Chants." No better time to get to know Gun Outfit than right now. With Nodzzz, Ziskis. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 10 p.m. $8. ERIC GRANDY

Hellogoodbye/Friday, February 25

Four-and-a-half years removed from their sappy 2006 electropop hit "Here (In Your Arms)," Hellogoodbye has changed. A lot. Co-founder Jesse Kurvink left in 2008, leaving singer/songwriter Forrest Kline to take control. Then a lengthy lawsuit with former label Drive-Thru Records kept a sophomore effort sidelined until last year's Would It Kill You? No surprise, then, is the shift in sound, from the tired synth imitations of their debut to one more reminiscent of power-pop contemporaries like Motion City Soundtrack. While their commercial success was left behind in the previous decade, Would It Kill You? is a nice surprise that's full of great pop tunes—without the antics. With Jukebox the Ghost, Gold Motel, Now, Now Every Children. El Corazón, 109 Eastlake Ave., 381-3094. 7:30 p.m. $15. All ages. BRYDEN MCGRATH

Air Supply/Saturday, February 26

"It's Thanksgiving time, I love your new blazer, your sleeves are pushed up, it looks pretty awesome. Why, thank you my friend, you're so kind to say so, your eyes are so blue, I think that I like them. It's Thanksgiving time, let's go get a burger, maybe some fries, then go take a car ride. Go to a motel, drink a gallon of brandy, hang out in robes and see what develops. Ooohhhh, I think I dig your stuff. I think I dig your stuff!" Air Supply didn't perform this song on a Saturday Night Live sendup of VH1 Storytellers; Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell did. But the Aussie panty-soakers' "All Out of Love" served as the uproarious skit's melodic and stylistic progenitor, and that alone makes Air Supply a non-douche duo, even if every last one of their songs features "love" in the title. Emerald Queen Casino, 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma, 628-0888. 8 p.m. $20–$50. MIKE SEELY

Versus/Saturday, February 26

The dream of the '90s is alive in Ballard with the arrival of Versus, a Merge-stabled collection of vintage '90s NYC indie-rockers. Unimpeded by so much as a cutesy wink of irony, when Richard Baluyut handles lead vocals, Versus sounds like the Pixies fronted by Trey Anastasio, only with cleaner, more textured harmonies. When Fontaine Toups sings, they sound kind of like a less-distorted version of the Breeders. But what makes Versus unique is that its lineup includes a violinist, the ginger-locked Margaret White, who's toured with Sparklehorse and Cat Power, among others, and was once a member of Seattle's Ghosts I've Met. While in that band, she met multi-instrumentalist Joe Seely, with whom she will tie the knot in October in a wooded ceremony in North Carolina. In that instant, she will become the sister-in-law of the editor of Seattle Weekly. But that's not why we're writing about this show. With Sister Wife. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave . N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $12. MIKE SEELY

Waka Flocka Flame/Saturday, February 26

Waka Flocka Flame isn't a good rapper by anyone's account, not even his own—the Atlanta MC has stated flat-out that he's "not in the booth trying to goddamn rap big words." A common reaction to his music might be, "What is this?" But amid the sounds of gunfire and shouts of "bang," "pow," and "Waka," the barrage of street-level aggression and undeniable I-don't-give-a-fuck presence in hits like "Hard in the Paint" and "No Hands" will suck you in before you know what happened. The heavy beats from Virginia producer Lex Luger, responsible for most of smash debut Flockaveli, bump and crash with an intensity matching the barely enunciated anthems. But for all that can be said about Waka Flocka's lyricism, or lack thereof, it's impossible to challenge its honesty. With Brick Squad, Meez, Sunny Red, BAYB. King Cat Theater, 2130 Sixth Ave. S., 448-2829. 8 p.m. $39 adv./$45 DOS. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Wooden Wand/Saturday, February 26

James Jackson Toth—who goes by the name Wooden Wand—has recently proven to be a singer/songwriter worth paying attention to. Incredibly prolific and consistent, he's spent the past few years writing loose songs built on standard American folk structures a la Will Oldham and delivered in a pre-nicotine Dylan sneer, but recorded with a slightly psychedelic bent. His latest album, Death Seat, is filled with the cinematic cautionary tales Toth is known for. Joining Toth on tour is his Young God label owner Michael Gira, whose seminal band Swans has been restructured and renewed. Akin to the original Swans, the new music is relentless, repetitive, intense, and subtly melodic. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $25. BRIAN J. BARR

Abe Vigoda/Sunday, February 27

Tonight's show was originally booked at the tiny Capitol Hill vintage store Cairo, but presale tickets sold so rapidly that it was moved to Vera's more accommodating space. A large part of the draw and excitement has to be credited to Abe Vigoda's latest release, Crush, the L.A. quartet's fourth full-length record. Crush finds the band having suddenly left behind the "tropical punk" quirk of their earlier releases, instead relying more on heavy, pressing synths, clipped drum-machine beats, and frontman Michael Vidal's shadowy vocals for a moody but pulsing and energetic sound. The album's first single, the excellent "Throwing Shade," is flickering and skittish; its accompanying music video features glitter, eyeliner, and men crying. If you're thinking gothy Cure circa Disintegration, you're not far off the mark. It's melodrama you can move to. With Wild Nothing, M. Women. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $12. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

The Concretes/Monday, February 28

It's always been a group effort for Swedish popsters the Concretes. They're eight members deep, and despite the loss of distinctive lead vocalist Victoria Bergsman in 2006, they've soldiered on. It could have been easy for fans to turn away after the band's first full-length minus Bergman, 2007's lackluster Hey Trouble, but the Swedes look to be hitting their stride again after some well-deserved R&R. Last year's WYWH takes a new direction, with some glossy production keeping the mid-tempo collection active. Just check out the keyboards on the enticing "I Wish We'd Never Met" and the bass line of their best song in quite some time, "What We've Become." With MillionYoung, Speaker Speaker. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $13. BRYDEN MCGRATH

Star Slinger/Tuesday, March 1

Manchester producer Star Slinger debuted with "Elizabeth Fraser," a track which radically reworked Cocteau Twins' "Heaven or Las Vegas," pitch-shifting the eponymous singer and stretching out her gauzy vocals over a skipping, Dilla-esque digital boom-bap. On his Rogue Cho Pa EP, the Slinger continues to make fine work of slicing familiar vocal samples into shiny glossolalia over thick beats, bass, and glittering synthesizers. His Soundcloud page helpfully labels "Do It Myself" as "(NSFW)," but a downloaded mp3 surprised with its break of orgiastic moaning. Fun stuff. Headlining is L.A.'s Baths (aka Will Wisenfeld, also of ambient project Geotic), who makes bedroom-crafted electronica that's warm and immersive (get it?) on headphones, with beats robust enough to rock L.A. bass-music hotspot Low End Theory. With Braids, Gobble Gobble. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 8 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. All ages. ERIC GRANDY

Morcheeba/Tuesday, March 1

In the mid-'90s, trip-hop was getting trendy via smooth electronic bands like Massive Attack and Portishead, and British brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey joined the fray by forming Morcheeba with the singer Skye Edwards. They had a hit in '98 with "The Sea," a woozy dream of a song led by Edwards' luscious vocals. Later the Godfreys made the mistake of letting Edwards go, and ran through a series of unsuccessful replacement singers. But the original trio is back together, the brothers having admitted their error, and last year's Blood Like Lemonade, Morcheeba's comeback album of sorts, is a true return to form, all delicate, settling melodies, stony grooves, and Edwards' soulful, stunning voice. With the Mumlers. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $22.50 adv./$25 DOS. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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