The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Tomten to Shelby Earl.

of Montreal/Wednesday, May 11

Of Montreal's latest EP, the controllersphere, begins with what might be one of the strangest, most unexpected songs in the band's long, storied career of unpredictable weirdness. "Black Lion Massacre" is a dark electronic dirge that slowly swells into a heaving mess of drums and feedback noise, while bandleader Kevin Barnes delivers sedate spoken-word about the usual psychedelic sexual nightmares. The rest of the controllersphere collects some less wildly disruptive odds and ends from the recording sessions of last year's False Priest—and, as Pitchfork pointed out, the EP may represent the end of of Montreal's fruitful pomp-funk phase of the past few years, concluding the arc of "Skeletal Lamping . . . False Priest . . . the controllersphere" laid out on the Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? song "Faberge Falls for Shuggie." Call it a requiem for of Montreal Mark 4, and revel in the band's absurd live pageantry before it becomes something else again. With Painted Palms, Beat Connection. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $23.50 adv./$26 DOS. All ages. ERIC GRANDY

Master Musicians of Bukkake/Thursday, May 12

When I booked Master Musicians of Bukkake last year to appear on Audioasis, my radio show on KEXP, I made the decision based purely on a spin of Visible Sign of the Invisible, their entrancing and unsettling 2010 release, and the fact that the all-star drone ensemble contained esteemed doomsayer/producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Lesbian, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) and other notable locals, including members of the Accused, Earth, and Sun City Girls. It wasn't until my red-faced assistant asked me if I could legally utter their name on-air that I received an education on the origins of their laughably lewd moniker (should you be as ignorant as I was, I'll leave that to you and Google, thought I wouldn't advise doing so at work). With Wolvserpent, A Story of Rats, Blinding Light. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 8 p.m. $8. HANNAH LEVIN

YACHT/Thursday, May 12

With Portland electropop/conceptual-art project YACHT, the promotional literature that accompanies any new release is always almost as much fun as the music itself. In March, the duo released the new single "Dystopia (the Earth Is on Fire)"—a "Let the motherfucker burn" chant-along, tellingly recorded in the disastrous early days of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, set to steady drumming and quivering square-wave synths—from their forthcoming DFA album Shangri-La. If steadily encroaching dystopia and Shangri-La sound like contradictory concepts, the single's press release goes to some lengths to reconcile them within YACHT's mysterious, all-inclusive ideological/aesthetic system: "On Shangri-La, YACHT asserts that the future is a blank slate upon which anything can be imposed. Shangri-La argues that 'Paradise is kinetic potential, a latency within us that has been eaten alive by time' . . . YACHT believes that the only real sustainable paradise is in our minds." And of course, they're great fun live. With Light Asylum, Jeffrey Jerusalem. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $13. All ages. ERIC GRANDY

Tomten/Friday, May 13

Tomten won Sound Off! earlier this year, but perhaps more impressive than their victory was the way they stood out from the competition. While the other groups in the annual underage battle of the bands ran the gamut from dance-pop to hip-hop to the requisite Northwest-indebted indie rock, it was Tomten's fuzzed-out, psychedelic '60s sound that won over the judges. And while genre revival is hardly a novel concept, few young bands pull it off so convincingly and with such confidence and bravado: Listen to the sprightly organ intro on "The Pleasure Is All Yours" from their self-titled debut album and you'll get the idea. It also doesn't hurt that singer/organist Brian Noyeswatkins sounds like the love child of Ray Davies and Jim Morrison, crafting pop hooks that, while rooted in the past, are indicative of a bright future. With Fox and the Law, the Turpentines, Ambulance. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 789-3599. 7:30 p.m. $8. All ages. ANDREW GOSPE

Wolf + Lamb vs. Soul Clap/Friday, May 13

Let's say there are two main modes in electronic dance music: the hands-in-the-air peak-hour mode and the tasteful, slow-burning mode. Each has its pitfall: The former can all too often turn into garish excess, whether wailing house-diva nonsense or Justice et al. rave-rock overload; the latter can all too often simmer down to little more than ultramodern lounge music, the stuff of slick hotel lobbies rather than desirable dance floors. The (respectively) Boston- and NYC-based DJ duos of Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb, who recently teamed for an entry in the DJ Kicks mix series, operate well within the tasteful, slow-burning mode of dance music, but they never fall into the dreaded chill-out trap. Their mixes keep things mellow but moving, artfully extending grooves touched by disco, funk, R&B, and deeper house into all-night-long durations. Tonight, they'll DJ for five hours straight, and you won't want to miss any of it. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 9 p.m. $13. ERIC GRANDY

Shelby Earl/Saturday, May 14

Thanks to the Kentucky Derby, May marks the lone month of the year when Americans pay attention to the once- great sport of thoroughbred racing. So forgive us if we resort to a bit of pony parlance when describing the Shelby Earl/Ghosts I've Met pairing as a strong double entry—i.e., when you get two quality horses for the price of one in a single wager. At the track, this increases your odds of winning but might cut into your profit margin if and when you cash in. At the Columbia City Theater, it just increases your odds of winning; there's no downside to speak of. Earl's sensational solo debut, Burn the Boats, immediately puts her on the track with high-lonesome heroes like Rachel Flotard and Neko Case (her duet with the album's producer, John Roderick, is possibly the best ballad recorded by a Seattle artist this year). Ghosts I've Met, meanwhile, has a slew of excellent new music to trot out that's great for sipping whiskey to. With Curtains for You, Derby. Columbia City Theater, 4918 Rainier Ave. S., 722-3009. 9 p.m. $10. MIKE SEELY

David Guetta/Saturday, May 14

How big of a deal is David Guetta? So big that he was able to hire an ex-Pentagon investigator last week to look into the theft and leaking of his new single "Where Them Girls At" featuring Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida. Sure, it sounds melodramatic, but it's that sort of fierce dedication to his music that has made the French producer and DJ so successful. Still riding the momentum of his 2009 album One Love—last year, he re-released it as One More Love—Guetta has dominated the charts with a slew of hip-hop-laced house-music hits. It is highly unlikely any of the high-profile artists those hits feature—Akon, Kelly Rowland, the Black-Eyed Peas—will make an appearance at tonight's concert, but Guetta is enough of a star in his own right that he can still pull off a hell of a dance party. So leave your stilettos at home—you're bound to return home with enough blisters on your poor feet as is. With LMFAO, A-Trak, Datsik, Craze, Porter Robinson, Tritonal. WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 381-7555. 8 p.m. $55. ERIKA HOBART

Yelle/Saturday, May 14

It took the French synth-pop trio Yelle four years to produce a follow-up to their sparkling debut, Pop Up. And when the band—vocalist Yelle, née Julie Budet, plus producers and instrumentalists GrandMarnier and Tepr—emerged from the studio, they left behind the chipper, childish brightness of favorites like "Ce jeu" and "Je veux te voir." Safari Disco Club is heavier, glossier, and more worked-over than its predecessor, but it retains the band's sense of fun and feel for what makes great party music—Budet's squeaky, cheeky voice, the sugary, utterly danceable beats, and silly, smirking lyrics like (in translation) "You're handsome, you're great, you're amazing/You have horses, ponies, let's have children." With French Horn Rebellion. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. ERIN K. THOMPSON

CunninLynguists/Sunday, May 15

The name CunninLynguists might seem sophomoric, but the three MCs who make up the group—Deacon the Villain, Kno, and Natti—are lyrically dexterous and socially conscious with their rhymes, making one of the dirtier names in the Dirty South a bit misleading. The Atlanta-based group is best known for their stellar albums SouthernUnderground and A Piece of Strange, released in 2003 and 2006, both of which offer gritty commentary on life in general and the music biz in particular. Their latest, Oneirology, is a concept album about dreams and the subconscious that benefits from smooth, soulfully refined beats (Kno pulls double duty as producer) and guest spots from new-school Southern rappers Big K.R.I.T. and Freddie Gibbs. With Homeboy Sandman, ToneDeff, Blue Sky Black Death. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $15. All ages. KEEGAN HAMILTON

Femi Kuti/Sunday, May 15

In 2008, Femi Kuti did the unthinkable—made an album, Day by Day, that simultaneously carried on the musical legacy of his famous father Fela Kuti while establishing Femi as an artist of his own stripe. After years of aiming to raise the mainstream profile of Afrobeat—the blend of West African rhythms and African-American funk and jazz his late father pioneered—via hip-hop collaborations and alt-rock festivals, Femi seemed to have found his voice by mining Afrobeat as his father did, like a man of his time. On his latest, Africa for Africa, Femi embodies Fela's defiant attitude, offering his more globally flavored Afrobeat sound while addressing the political and social problems of modern Africa. Like Day by Day, Africa for Africa swings from ecstasy to anger to bitterness to hopefulness—every bit of it burning with the funk. With The Positive Force, SunTzu Sound. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $25. BRIAN J. BARR

LAKE/Sunday, May 15

For those familiar with LAKE, Eli Moore and Ashley Eriksson's Olympia-based indie-pop collective, it's common knowledge that the group began as a Fleetwood Mac cover band, and on its most recent albums (2009's Let's Build a Roof and this year's Giving & Receiving), the smooth sounds of the '70s still shine through. Airy vocal harmonies, electric piano, and vaguely jazzy guitar permeate LAKE's music, which simultaneously embraces and roughs up its influences, recalling a messier version of Belle and Sebastian mixed with Sufjan Stevens–esque instrumentation. Giving & Receiving, released last month on K Records, adds an undercurrent of uncertainty to the twee (it was influenced by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico), lending the band's sound a depth befitting its name. With AgesandAges, Cataldo. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $8. ANDREW GOSPE

JEFF The Brotherhood/Monday, May 16

Nashville guitar-and-drum duo JEFF The Brotherhood, brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall, are currently touring in support of their latest full-length, We Are the Champions. Of the album's title, Jake Orrall told me during a recent phone conversation, "You can take it literally. We are the champions of our lives." Songs like "Ripper" and "Shredder" sound like they're titled—gloriously, riotously balls-out rock and roll. Previous JEFF songs have detailed drunken parties and ramblings, words that perfectly match the songs' discordant melodies, but Orrall advises listeners to pay less attention to his lyrics. "The type of rock music that we like to write, the singing is meant to be more rhythmic than anything, like another instrument," he says. "It doesn't really matter. Most famous rock lyrics are stupid. Like 'YEAH! I WANNA PARTY! ALL NIGHT!' Why put effort into that?" With the Greenhornes, Stereo Sons. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $13. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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