This Week's Recommended Shows

From John Atkins to Warpaint.

The Ex/Wednesday, March 16

At an all-ages Seattle show at DV8 back in 1999, Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye lavished praise upon openers The Ex, noting that the Dutch anarchist band was currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. A young man in the crowd named James Keblas became friendly with The Ex after the show, and the band in turn introduced him to Peter Weening, founder of the original Vera in Groningen, the Netherlands. Keblas began volunteering at Vera Groningen during his studies abroad, and dreamt of building a similar institution back in Seattle. Twelve years later, Keblas is director of the Mayor's Office of Film + Music, Seattle has its own thriving Vera Project, and The Ex are still making challenging, percussive-heavy art rendered in the spirit of the punk rock that originally inspired this great chain of events. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $12. All ages. HANNAH LEVIN

Max Tundra/Wednesday, March 16

This week's pair of Girl Talk shows at Showbox SoDo have been sold out forever, but if you've already got your ticket to Gregg Gillis' dance party, be sure to show up early enough to catch opener Max Tundra. The British musician (real name Ben Jacobs) shares with Girl Talk a keen ear for pop hooks and a hyperactive, cut-up style, but where Girl Talk stitches together the best bits of other people's songs via laptop, Max Tundra assembles his originals while leaping from keyboard to synthesizer to microphone to guitar and back. The resulting songs are quirky, deliriously fractured pop gems. With Girl Talk, you go into the show already knowing every hook—that's kind of the point. With Max Tundra, you might just leave with a few new ones stuck in your head. Oh, one more thing they have in common—wicked-goofy dance moves. With Junk Culture. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 7 p.m. Sold out. ERIC GRANDY

John Atkins/Thursday, March 17

As a member of 764-Hero, Hush Harbor, Magic Magicians, and The Can't See, John Atkins makes indie music that reminds you why you listened to it in the first place. His lyrics are brilliant yet nonchalant. His melodies are catchy but not saccharine. And the fact that he seemingly has zero interest in chasing the spotlight gives his music that purity we all secretly want from our art. Matter of fact, if I were a musician today hearing Atkins' music for the first time, I would probably just give up. Either that, or just shut off my computer, pick up my guitar, and work that much harder on living life and making great songs. With See Me River, S. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $8. BRIAN J. BARR

St. Patrick's Day/Thursday, March 17

Of all the massive fêtes thrown by this city's Irish pubs on St. Patrick's Day, how many are music-oriented? Sure, chugging green beer can be fun, but the venues that serve it typically attract obnoxious frat boys and at least a few belligerent girls dressed in barmaid costumes. But at Conor Byrne, such patrons are ostracized. The Ballard pub is proud to say it steers clear of green Jell-O shots and Irish Car Bombs. This evening, it hosts a spectacular St. Patrick's Day sans petty nuisances, featuring a solid lineup of local Americana and folk bands (Robert Sarazin Blake's Paddy Whackers, Erin McNamee Band, Whisky Swillers) and good ol' brown beer. Conor Byrne, 5140 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-3640. 1 p.m.–midnight. $10. ERIKA HOBART

Destroyer/Friday, March 18

If you're looking for the perfect soundtrack to that Miami Vice–themed boat cruise you're planning, Destroyer's newest release, Kaputt, is ready for pleasure-cruise play. Main Destroyer (and wild-card New Pornographer) Dan Bejar's previous catalog is full of ramshackle chamber-pop and folky mopes, and Kaputt could very well be ushering in the new-romantic/yacht-rock revival, sounding as if it had been recorded on a yacht floating slowly through a neon-shrouded harbor in the middle of some serious wine-spritzer binges. While Destroyer's scattershot subject matter remains as cryptic and evasive as ever, Bejar has upped the smooth factor in his songs, sounding more relaxed (looking in your general direction, Riunite on ice) and focused than ever atop lush beds of chorus-laden guitar, drum machines, and straight-faced sexy sax solos. With War on Drugs, Yuni in Taxco. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $15. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Headhunter/Friday, March 18

Decibel, Seattle's world-class annual festival of electronic music, has been having such a busy off-season presenting shows that even when one UK bass-music tour cancels—as did this week's scheduled Night Slugs showcase—another is just around the corner in the same week. Bok Bok's loss is Headhunter's gain, then, as the Bristol-based dubstep producer comes to Seattle tonight on a bill co-presented by similarly hardworking local DJ/producer Ill Cosby's Car Crash Set label. Headhunter's tracks do that lumbering, low, half-time dubstep wobble with subdued flair and plenty of breathing room for bits of melody or echoing vocal samples to waft through. He also makes more up-tempo tracks inspired by Chicago juke music under the alias Addison Groove, taking that style's repetitive, cut-up vocals and airing them out over classic, jacking drum-machine patterns and relatively moody synths—so if the party wants to take it there, he'll be ready. With S214, Ill Cosby. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 9 p.m. $12 adv./$15 DOS. ERIC GRANDY

Floater/Saturday, March 19

Floater is a poor name choice, and that's probably the only concession the longtime Portland rockers' fans will make. For a band hardly known outside the Northwest which just self-released their eighth studio album—last year's Wake—they have a surprisingly rabid fan base. Quick to jump on anyone who uses the word "grunge" to describe Floater's sound, these fans flood venues in the likes of Grants Pass and Hood River, Ore., for a chance to see some (more accurately termed) art rock. A bunch of upcoming dates are solo acoustic performances by lead singer Robert Wynia, so this certainly isn't "just another tour" through the Northwest and California. But Floater fans wouldn't mind one bit even if it were. With Kiss the Gunner's Daughter, Urban Collapse. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $12. All ages. BRYDEN MCGRATH

The Parson Red Heads/Saturday, March 19

Portland is so hot right now. True, the Portlandia craze has died down a bit, but Brandon Roy's return to the Blazers and the team's upset of the tear-stained circus that is the Miami Heat has the City of Roses keeping on its big-boy pants for the time being—as should The Parson Red Heads' move back from Los Angeles (thanks to the high cost of California living). Now the band's Crosby, Stills & Nash folk and Tom Petty country-rock is back in the Northwest, sure to please as much as it ever has. Residency issues aside, a chance to hear "Punctual as Usual" is reason enough to get out to the Tractor tonight. With the Mother Hips. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. BRYDEN MCGRATH

Warpaint/Sunday, March 20

L.A. quartet Warpaint—guitarists Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg, and drummer Stella Mozgawa—released their debut album, The Fool, late last year to deservedly glowing reviews. Listening to the record is like swimming in dark water or wandering through fog—the music is a miasma of moody guitars, droning vocals (all four girls sing), and murky melodies. A peppy Ronettes-style girl group they are not—maybe more like the Dum Dum Girls on Ambien. The haziness shouldn't be mistaken for indifference, though—The Fool is filled with moments of beautiful pathos, as on the devastatingly poignant lead single "Undertow." Guitars gloomily strum, the drumbeats are muted, barely audible, and the girls sing and plead, "Why you wanna blame me for your troubles?" With PVT, Family Band. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $12. ERIN K. THOMPSON

MEN/Monday, March 21

With Le Tigre on hiatus, DJ JD Samson needed another outlet for her ferocious energy and ambition—thus MEN, a dance-pop collective of Samson plus a few friends, including fellow Le Tigre member Johanna Fateman. Like Le Tigre, MEN is a band with a mission. Samson infuses wild disco beats with lyrics that serve as calls to action—bluntly all about antiwar stances, gender equality, and LGBT rights. On MEN's debut album, last month's Talk About Body, "Credit Card Babie$" addresses the trials gay couples go through to have a child, while "Who Am I to Feel So Free" laments, "On our way stopped and frisked/Government asks are you a fucking risk/On the corner we got booked/Paper says it's because of the look." It's dance music with some heavy-hitting points to make. With Lovers, Secret Shoppers. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $8. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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