The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Ice-T to Portugal. The Man.

Mike Watt & The Missingmen/Wednesday, April 27

For the past several years, Mike Watt has done everything from serve as bassist for the reformed Iggy & the Stooges, play on Kelly Clarkson's third album, and revisit his past via We Jam Econo, a documentary about his now-legendary group The Minutemen. And now on Hyphenated-Man, his first solo album in seven years, he delivers 30 songs about characters found in Hieronymus Bosch paintings, delivered in that trademark punk-folk-skate-jazz sound that is his own. Watt's voice has grown husky with age, but his playing flies out of the speakers like splatters of Jackson Pollock paint. It's a head-spinner of a record, a beautiful mess of quick musical twists and blue-collar oomph! The whole thing spills over with ideas, but in classic "econo" mode, the longest songs are 2:04. In the middle of it all is Watt himself, flannel shirtsleeves cuffed at the elbows, more than willing to work his ass off for art's sake. With Stag. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7:30 p.m. $15. All ages. BRIAN J. BARR

Vultures 2012/Friday, April 29

The Columbia City Theater is hands down one of the city's most aesthetically pleasing venues, all scarlet hues and seductive, Prohibition-era vibe. This makes it an ideal, stately setting for more reserved regular headliners like Damien Jurado and Drew Grow, but not the first place that leaps to mind when one thinks of metal. This changes tonight, with a lineup of some of the genre's best Northwest acts, including the joyfully confrontational Princess and the recently reunited Argonaut, whose burly blend of stoner and sludge rock pairs perfectly with headliners Vultures 2012, fresh off the road after a West Coast run in support of their latest release, Bare Your Teeth. With The Loathsome Couple. Columbia City Theater, 4918 Rainier Ave. S., 722-3009. 9 p.m. $5. HANNAH LEVIN

Chain Gang of 1974/Friday, April 29

If the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket, you might as well be dancing, right? Though it may seem the modern equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns, taking an evening off from the daily deluge of negative information to disconnect from your logical self, paint your eyes, and let your pelvis do the thinking may be just the thing your soul needs. The soundtrack for this disco of the damned? A hybrid of dark '80s wave, early-'90s industrial, and turn-of-the-century electro-rock (a la the Electric Six) filtered through the ears of kids young enough to be obsessed with Justice and LCD Soundsystem—an exact description of Denver's Chain Gang of 1974. With Jamaica, MK Speed Dial. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $12. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Ice-T/Friday, April 29

These days, Ice-T is probably recognized by most as Detective Tutuola from NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. But the irony is in the details; before becoming a TV cop, he helped define early gangsta rap and rose to infamy with a song called "Cop Killer" written for his metal band Body Count. Of course, that was after serving four years in the Army and a stint robbing jewelry stores, and before authoring a book called The Ice Opinion: Who Gives a Fuck? and another more tamely titled memoir out this year. In the gangsta story line, it was his 1987 debut Rhyme Pays and its lead single "6 'n the Mornin' " that made the biggest impression—as well as earning notoriety as the first hip-hop record to rock a Parental Advisory warning. It's impossible to argue Ice-T hasn't left his mark. With Helladope, Meez. King Cat Theater, 2130 Sixth Ave., 448-2829. 9 p.m. $39 adv./$49 DOS. NICK FELDMAN

tUnE-yArDs/Friday, April 29

There's a fine line between being eccentrically wacky and downright fucking annoying. If the capitalization of tUnE-yArDs' name is your first exposure to the band, it would be easy to file them in the "Wait, did a 12-year-old in a chat room name this band?" category. Thankfully, core yArDer Merrill Garbus' vision for her band is even more playful than her grasp of capitalization. As a concept on paper, tUnE-yArDs sounds a bit sparse and one-dimensional: Garbus builds drum and vocal loops on the fly with some spry bass lines anchoring it all. In practice, the band pops and clicks through a beautifully garbled new-millennium take on the primal rhythms and vocal styles of African music, careening from haunting odes to lost love to fiery, politically charged material to colorful soundscapes that burst at the seams with a joy for sonic exploration without ever becoming unlistenable. With Buke & Gass, Thousands. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $12. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Big World Breaks Spring Classic/Saturday, April 30

Led by drummer and de facto bandleader Aaron Walker-Loud, Big World Breaks draws on its members' extensive jazz backgrounds to play alongside break-dancers, singers, and rappers, acting as studio musicians and live concert instrumentalists for local artists from Massive Monkees to Blue Scholars. This installation of their seasonal "classic" series is headlined by local trio Black Stax—a collaboration between vocalist Felicia Loud and Silent Lambs Project MCs Silas Blak and Jace ECAj—whose radiantly soulful hip-hop puts a bluesy spin on social commentary. Olympia rapper Xperience and Seattle's own party-hop trio Hi-Life Soundsystem join the bill, and a portion of the night's proceeds benefit the drum-line programs of Garfield High School, Washington Middle School, and Madrona K-8. With Jerm, DJ Miguel Rockwell. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $8. NICK FELDMAN

Land of Pines/Saturday, April 30

Land of Pines has the kind of idiosyncratic backstory that makes music critics salivate. The local band is the project of childhood friends Evan Easthope and Kessiah Gordon; Gordon took a year off from NYU to play in the band; and their latest EP, 1, was recorded Bon Iver–style in a yurt in the San Juans. The music is cathartic, catchy indie rock (a la The Lonely Forest) mixed with Easthope and Gordon's boy/girl vocal harmonies—and lately, it's been paying dividends: The band played the EMP's Sound Off! Competition in February and recently opened for the likes of The Rural Alberta Advantage and Starfucker. In a live setting, Land of Pines plays with energy and confidence that belies their relative youth, leaving critics drooling for entirely different reasons and proving that good music always beats a good story. With Cataldo, Kaylee Cole, the Glass Notes. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 9 p.m. $7. ANDREW GOSPE

Portugal. The Man/Saturday, April 30

Portugal. The Man's come a long way since the days when they used to hang around Seattle with Gatsbys American Dream. A year ago, just after putting out their fifth LP, the bombastic American Ghetto, the Portland-by-way-of-Wasilla, Alaska quartet signed a major-label deal with Atlantic Records, which will release the band's newest full-length next month. From the sounds of it, Portugal's new tunes have been tamed a bit. John Gourley's voice wails as ever before, but the graceful lead single "So American" is gently sloping and harmonic; "You Carried Us (Share With Me the Sun)" is a ghostly mid-tempo number; and the haunting "Sleep Forever" softly swells with cello crescendos and choral background vocals. There's much more subtlety at work here than in the band's past work. Call it a maturing point. With Telekinesis, Brainstorm. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $16 adv./$18 DOS. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Throw Me the Statue/Saturday, April 30

Seattle effectively lost one of its best indie-rock acts when Throw Me the Statue bandleader Scott Reitherman decamped to L.A. last year for what he calls "a change of scene." As a solo project (2007's Moonbeams) and with a full band (2009's Creaturesque), Reitherman has recorded two outstanding albums of smart, sweater-soft pop songs comprising romances and travelogues, remembrances and daydreams, all rendered with a gentle lyrical wit and a deft musical hand. Reitherman sings in a kind of sleepy-headed mumble, but his songs are tuneful and insidiously catchy. Live, the band fleshes out the recordings' delicate frameworks of guitars, drum machine, and synths into something resembling rougher rock songs. There's also a glockenspiel, and sometimes a horn section. Reitherman's been writing new material, and plans to record the next TMTS album with the band in Seattle this summer. Expect to hear some new songs tonight. With BOAT, Boy Eats Drum Machine, Wonderful. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $8. ERIC GRANDY

The Pipettes/Sunday, May 1

Were he not serving a life sentence in prison, Wall of Sound creator and former producer Phil Spector would clamor to work with the Pipettes, a British indie-pop girl group whose style is a throwback to the '60s, complete with color-coordinated outfits, synchronized dance moves, and of course plenty of cheeky tunes. The charming band is back in America after three years away to promote their newest album, last year's Earth vs. The Pipettes. Fans will notice that the lineup has changed: As Britain's answer to Destiny's Child, several members have gone through the revolving door, and the former trio is now a brand-new duo, sisters Gwenno and Ani Saunders. But thankfully the music is the same, and at the risk of sounding crass, the newest Pipettes are much cuter than their predecessors. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $11. ERIKA HOBART

The Fling/Monday, May 2

It's been said about many a band, but I'll say it again about this one: Long Beach, Calif., quartet The Fling—brothers Dustin and Graham Lovelis on guitar and bass, guitarist/keyboardist Justin Roeland, and drummer Justin Ivey—are a modern-day Beatles fan's dream. That's Beatles circa Rubber Soul—The Fling's tunes are loose, woozy, and tinged in psychedelia and melancholy. The Lovelis brothers blend their buzzing vocals while electric guitars swoon; frequently the music buoys upward toward a state of beatitude only to suddenly melt into a single hushed melody—it's music that's all about dynamics. In December, the band signed with Dangerbird Records, which will re-release their debut, the fiery and heavily textured When the Madhouses Appear, on May 3. With Black Whales, Deep Sea Diver. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 8 p.m. Free. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Jessica Lea Mayfield/Tuesday, May 3

Jessica Lea Mayfield's Tractor gig will mark the first time the precocious Ohioan will be able to legally imbibe in a Seattle venue in which she plays. Hopefully the booze will liven up her haunting-yet-monotonous trip-folk, as her sophomore release, while nowhere near bad ("Sometimes at Night" is as strong a track as she's ever recorded), doesn't come close to measuring up to her enthralling debut. In fairness, she set the bar pretty high for herself, and whatever Tell Me's shortcomings, they haven't stopped peers (Band of Horses, Ray LaMontagne, Justin Townes Earle) and press (NPR, Rolling Stone, SPIN) from bending over backward to praise the effort, probably because they didn't give her superior debut, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, its proper due. It also doesn't hurt when you've got a Black Key (Dan Auerbach) in your production corner. With Nathaniel Rateliff. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $12. MIKE SEELY

 
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