The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Jesse Sykes to the Cults.

Snackhole/Thursday, April 7

Jackie Hell has a problem—a dreaded affliction that plagues the homeless and south Capitol Hillbillies who look to the City Market for their $3 worth of daily sustenance. Her problem is fried, phallic, and most deadly when coupled with condiments. Tonight her friends, including Phoebe Fondue and Ronald McFondle, are stepping in to end her dependence on . . . CORN DOGS. This yet-to-be-broadcast A&E episode is set to the promising beats of Seattle's own Secret Shoppers, a danceable electro-duo doing their best to fill the hole in your heart left by the demise of LCD Soundsystem. Which, as wonderful as they are, is completely irrelevant—I had you at "corndog intervention." With Jinks Monsoon, Billy the Fridge, Ade, DJ Nark, Josh Hartvigson. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $7. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

THEESatisfaction/Thursday, April 7

No matter your opinion of hip-hop duo THEESatisfaction, there's no denying they've carved quite the unique niche for themselves. Thee Stasia and Cat Satisfaction have embraced their inner nerd-freak in a manner rarely seen in hip-hop. Matching their liquidy marriage of hip-hop and soul-jazz, the two champion science fiction and '60s psychedelia alongside a free-will soul ethos (think Erykah Badu) and a cosmic philosophy not unlike the original black weirdo himself, Sun Ra. Rumors have been swirling about an impending Sub Pop deal, which would be a massive mindfuck. Since the locally monolithic label has historically been at its best when giving shelter to weirdos and outcasts, I sincerely hope Sub Pop flies that freak flag once again. With Helladope, OC Notes. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $8. BRIAN J. BARR

Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter/Friday, April 8

In the four years since Jesse Sykes released her most recent full-length, Like, Love, Lust & the Open Halls of the Soul, the local alt-country icon has broken up with her boyfriend/collaborator Phil Wandscher, moved (at least part-time) to Iowa, and seen her contract with Seattle's Barsuk Records expire (at least for now). Tonight, the husky-voiced siren returns to her old stomping grounds with an armload of new tunes from this summer's Marble Son, a record on which Sykes' distinct howl is utilized more as an instrumental brick in the album's wall of country-psychedelia than as a vessel for her prose. Her woolly vocals may have found their true calling. With Mimicking Birds, Eugene Wendell & The Demon Rind. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $10. CHRIS KORNELIS

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears/Saturday, April 9

"Keep Austin Weird" is the motto of the Texas capital, and the living, breathing motto of Black Joe Lewis. Picking up his first guitar while working at a pawn shop in Austin, Lewis (and his band the Honeybears) blends elements of the gritty soul and blues that made the Delta famous (Bo Diddley and Robert Johnson come to mind) with the unpolished nature of someone still discovering his instrument. Incorporating some weirder influences than expected (when was the last time you heard a soul singer name-drop the Stooges or New York Dolls?), Black Joe Lewis strays from the smooth neo-soul revival path and writes the kind of full-throttle, horns-a-blaring barn-burners that sound just clean enough to be contemporary but are deep-fried in enough crackling stank to sound like unearthed classics from a past decade. With Those Darlins. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $15. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Keak da Sneak/Sunday, April 10

Mac Dre and E-40 may well be the best-known faces among the Bay Area's synth-heavy, hyphy rap movement, but few have been around as long as Keak da Sneak—credited with shortening "hyperactive" to "hyphy" in the first place. First breaking out with mid-'90s chart-topping group 3XKrazy, the prolific "king of the supa dupa hyphy" has dropped 16 solo albums since 1999, and deep into the Bay's slanguage his barely decipherable, gravelly growl resides somewhere between Petey Pablo and Mystikal. It's not exactly music made for thoughtful discussions of its lyrical complexities, but nothing will better transport you to an Oakland sydeshow or impart the energy of an overcrowded club saturated in Rémy Martin and weed smoke. With Spaceman, Mr. Dog, DJ Darwin. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10 adv./$15 DOS. NICK FELDMAN

Cults/Monday, April 11

For a while it was a little difficult to get into New York indie-pop duo Cults, guitarist Brian Oblivion and vocalist Madeline Follin. That's not because their music isn't fantastic (it is), but because, well, you can imagine what happens when you search for "cults" on Google. Cults' reputation as a mystery band might soon be defunct, though—the few songs they shared via Bandcamp kicked up enough attention to get them signed to Lily Allen's brand new Columbia Records imprint, In the Name Of, and a debut full-length is scheduled for release this May. That album is almost guaranteed to be one of this summer's biggest hits—Cults' music is a sweet, instantly likable retro throwback to the glory days of '60s pop a la Lesley Gore and the Shangri-La's. The current buzz track, "Go Outside," with its ineffably sunny chorus, is the perfect song for a spring awakening—despite the fact that it creepily samples a speech from Jim Jones. Some of the mystery still remains. With Magic Kids, White Arrows. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Deep Dark Robot feat. Linda Perry/Monday, April 11

Linda Perry playing the High Dive? And I said hey, yeah, yeah, yeah-ha, hey-yeah-ha, what's goin' on? Christ, where to start? How about 4 Non Blondes: Perry, looking like a lesbian steampunk Slash, fronted that act, whose smash-hit single, "What's Up?", went on to become the most grating track in karaoke history. Since then, she's made a mint penning and producing songs for the likes of Pink, Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow, and James Blunt, the former British infantryman who took the art of eye-fucking cameras to unprecedented heights/depths. Fresh off a SXSW stint, Perry's voice has only gotten Kim Carnes-ier with age, which for some people sounds about as good as eating a bowlful of lit cigarettes. Others praise her range to no end. So, yeah, Perry's plenty polarizing. With the Stereo Sons. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 8 p.m. $15. MIKE SEELY

Ellie Goulding/Monday, April 11

Twenty-four-year-old British singer Ellie Goulding has all the physical makings of a pop star—she's blonde, has an airy, glamorous voice, and likes to wear sparkles. But she's also got talent. Last year's Bright Lights reveals both her beginnings as an acoustic guitar–playing singer/songwriter and, more exciting, her forays into electronic synth-pop, from the ecstatically Auto-Tuned "Starry Eyed" to the breathless and sexy "Lights" (the Bassnectar remix of the latter is even more thrilling). The tunes are busy, beat-happy, and club-ready. Folk music never would have been able to contain her level of dynamic energy for long. With the Knocks. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 7 p.m. $15. Also at Sonic Boom Records, 1525 Melrose Ave., 568-2666. 4:30 p.m. Free. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

The Naked and Famous/Monday, April 11

When you have a girl in your band like Alisa Xayalith, who has a voice superseded only by her looks, just embrace her being front and center. Put her in your videos frolicking in a filmy white dress, the kind sunlight filters through, creating the illusion that you're seeing everything, yet nothing. Have her walk barefoot through snowy New Zealand mountainscapes in said dress like she's on a quest to Mordor. Submerge her, semi-see-through dress and all, into a pristine white tub and film her wet face a la PJ f'n Harvey. Wow. It seems that everything about Auckland's Asobi Seksu, shoegazey popsters The Naked and Famous, has been crafted to make indie nerds pitch a tent. With Foals, Freelance Whales. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $18 adv./$20 DOS. All ages. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Cut Copy/Tuesday, April 12

Cut Copy's 2008 sophomore album In Ghost Colours was an unexpected masterpiece. The Australian band's debut was a small-scale electro-pop effort, but Ghost Colours expanded what had begun as Dan Whitford's solo project into an elegantly euphoric and melancholic dance-rock record, recalling among other things New Order's sweeping, pop-minded dalliances with rave. That was three years ago. Now Cut Copy have returned with a third album, Zonoscope, and it unfortunately lands like a listless retread—as if, to use a vintage metaphor, the Ecstasy has begun to wear off. All the same elements are there: a bedrock of drum machines, bass guitar, and synth chords; pulsing arpeggios; big hands-in-the-air crescendos; Whitford's cool, sighing vocals—but with the exception of a few choice moments (the U2-echoing chorus of "Need You Know"; the lackadaisical funk of "Take Me Over"), it never quite takes off with that same spellbinding energy. Still fantastic live, though. With Holy Ghost!. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $22 adv./$25 DOS. All ages. ERIC GRANDY

The Lonely Forest/Tuesday, April 12

The Lonely Forest have spent the past six years blooming from the typical high-school band trappings (age-centric awkwardness and uncertain confidence) into a band that produces the sort of unifying rock that made U2 and Coldplay the stadium fillers even your mother knows. John Van Deusen's spine-tingling voice has an immediately captivating quality, and the band is now writing fully formed, textured rock epics that explode as gracefully as a synchronized fireworks display. Touring on their recently released major-label debut, Arrows, The Lonely Forest's massive songs transcend the band's youth and project an infectious hunger and exuberance, landing perfectly between being wearily jaded and cautiously optimistic about the world before them. With The Joy Formidable. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10. Also at Easy Street Records, 20 Mercer St., 691-3279. 6 p.m. Free. All ages. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Ninjasonik/Tuesday, April 12

Hipster rap has been one of the most divisive evolutions of the form in recent memory, alternately easily dismissible and vehemently backed, arguably rebellion for the sake of rebellion. And like a lot of groups in their art-school vein, Ninjasonik is responsible for their share of purposely awful songs like "Somebody Gonna Get Pregnant" and "Tight Pants," in which song titles effectively double as the entirety of the lyrics. But the Brooklyn trio offers more than a few glimpses of actual ability—especially from lead MC Telli. And rhyming over Matt and Kim's "Daylight" or the "Super Power" take on Kanye West's omnipresent single, it's clear that their love of skinny jeans, tattoos, plug earrings, and PBR might be untouchable, but so is their grimy, punk-rock house-party energy. With Jasmine Soldano, BenniB. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 7 p.m. $10. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

 
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