This Week's Recommended Shows

From Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae to Architecture in Helsinki.

The Carly Henley Project/Thursday, June 2 The abrupt passing of bubbly student and singer/songwriter Carly Henley rocked more than just the UW community—the fierce girl with a passion for music was a fixture from campus shows to Burien coffee shops and loved in every circle she was a part of. Matching her personality, Henley's songs were radiant and sincere, messages of hope backed by gentle guitar. To honor her memory, the mission of her namesake project—undertaken by family and friends and funded by over $36,000 in Kickstarter donations—is to bring her unfinished recordings to life with a studio album by the name of Love the Skin You're In. All she ever wanted to do was make others happy, and in that end the fact that all proceeds from the show will benefit Rain City Rock Camp for Girls is especially fitting. More than ever, she'll be missed but never forgotten. With Carson and Tess Henley. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $11 adv./$15 DOS. All ages. NICK FELDMAN Bruno Mars and Janelle Monaé/Thursday, June 2 The last time funky little Janelle Monaé was in town, she opened for and completely stole the show from of Montreal at the Paramount. Performing songs from her brilliant ArchAndroid album, Monaé's got a wildly versatile voice, a chic personal style (she was one of maybe two women to wear a tuxedo to last month's Met Gala), and a swaggering, magnetizing stage presence. She's one of the most compelling performers of our time and certainly doesn't need to be warming up for anyone anymore. But, perhaps in a bid to expand her audience, she's currently on a co-headlining tour with Top 40 favorite and fellow Motown throwback Bruno Mars. Gunning for the mainstream is a natural move for Monáe—she's a diva, and everyone should know it. And even if Mars gets the closing time slot, we bet Monáe—space costumes, zombie backup dancers, and all—will still put in the night's most talked-about performance. With Mayer Hawthorne & the County. WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 381-7555. 7:30 p.m. $33. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON The Skatalites/Thursday, June 2 Though ska more often conjures up images of high-school music students attempting to start a punk band than legendary collectives of skilled musicians, the Skatalites fall squarely into the latter category. The nine-piece band formed in Jamaica in 1964, early enough to be part of ska's First Wave (i.e., long before the genre essentially fused with punk), and backed the likes of Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Toots and the Maytals before disbanding in 1965. The group has undergone numerous lineup changes after reuniting in 1983, but their musical style remains representative of the early days of the genre, even if their pun-based name is reminiscent of more modern contemporaries like Reel Big Fish. Best of all, the venue is a perfect fit: it's fair to say that the acts that fill the Nectar's ska and reggae-heavy calendar owe an enduring debt to these progenitors of the genre. With Georgetown Orbits. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $18. ANDREW GOSPE Mt. Eerie/Friday, June 3 Phil Elverum and Nick Krgovich have to be two of Cascadia's more distinctive singer/songwriterly voices, and both have traveled long, circuitous paths to arrive at their current incarnations. Elverum has evolved from the epic yet insular acoustic explorations of the Microphones to the black metal-influenced "black wooden" sound of recent Mount Eerie records, maintaining and revising his early awestruck view of nature, the universe, and the self into something altogether less hopeful. Vancouver, B.C.'s Krgovich made his name with deceptively quiet orchestral act P:ano but his recent projects have increasingly incorporated influences from modern R&B (No Kids) and vintage Brill Building pop (Gigi); his new solo 7-inch "It Was Never You" continues more in the former vein, going so far as slather its chorus in reedy Auto-Tune. Together (and with Krgovich playing in Elverum's backing band), they'rere not to be missed. With Key Losers, Nicholas Krgovich. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $11. All ages. ERIC GRANDY Glasvegas/Saturday, June 4 Pop music has a lot of ways to obscure or ameliorate lyrics that don't quite rise to the level of poetry on the page. There's melody, of course (try reading some New Order lyrics without Peter Hook's bass lines or Bernard Summers' guitar to lead them and see how well they hold up), there's the overall sound, and then there's the singer's voice, the way a delivery can make the prosaic sound profound. Glasvegas may not have Robert Burns-level lyrics going for them, but unless you're so gauche as to read the lyric sheet whilst listening to their records, you'd never know it, thanks to the band's simple but sweet melodies, their big fuzzy sound smartly indebted to fellow Scots the Jesus & Mary Chain, and frontman (and former footballer) James Allan's enveloping, epically moping Scottish accent. He could sing the Glasgow phone book and make it sound swoon-worthy. With Gliss. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $18. All ages. ERIC GRANDY The Wombats/Saturday, June 4 Three years ago, The Wombats were a plucky indie-pop trio with a garage-rock energy that propelled them into the international eye—and got me looking for the first cheap ticket to Liverpool. But after a backbreaking, nonstop 18-month tour, the band's darker energy landed them a more refined, semi-jaded sound with a synth-heavy New Wave sensibility that sees keys taking the melodic lead over guitar. Never fear—they haven't abandoned the penchant for catchiness, danceability and shouted choruses that made "Kill The Director" and "Let's Dance to Joy Division" hits. Throwing a bit of electro and grunge influence into their sound might seem like a clusterfuck, but complexity isn't their aim, and the result is as enjoyably simple as one could imagine they set out for it to be. With Wild Party. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10.77. NICK FELDMAN Friendly Fires/Sunday, June 5 The British trio Friendly Fires took three years to create a follow-up to their eponymous 2008 debut, which perhaps explains why Pala, releasreleased this month, sounds so impeccably polished. Each song on the record, from the propulsive opener, "Live Those Days Tonight," to the lustrous closer, "Helpless," sounds as effervescently sleek and colorful as the bright parrot wings on the album's cover. Pala also finds Friendly Fires incorporating ebullient tribal rhythms, in a similar way that Yeasayer did on Odd Blood. Those upbeat notes, combined with the band's frequent cheeky touches—frontman Ed Macfarlane sings, "Ache in my leg from a broken seat/Skipping the meal for a G&T," on "Hawaiian Air"—make Pala loads of fun, and the ideal summer soundtrack. With Wise Blood. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. ERIN K. THOMPSON Architecture in Helsinki/Monday, June 6 Indie-pop ensemble Architecture in Helsinki recorded their newest album, Moment Bends, in Buckingham Palace . . . sort of. Specifically, the 11-song LP was recorded in a rented studio in Melbourne, Australia (where the band originates) with a photo mural of Lindsey Buckingham overseeing the creative process from the wall. The troupe coined the studio "Buckingham Palace" and spent two years recording Moment Bends, released April 8. Consisting of multi-instrumentalists Cameron Bird, Gus Franklin, Jamie Mildren, Sam Perry and Kellie Sutherlan, the group—which has toured with the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and Dr. Dog—utilizes various instruments in its experimental, avant-garde style, incorporating clarinets, trumpets, tubas and glockenspiels into a trippy, dance-like explosion of upbeat pop. With Hooray For Earth. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. JOE WILLIAMS Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr./Tuesday, June 7 Between the chuckle-inducing name and the propensity toward wearing NASCAR jumpsuits, it would be easy to dismiss Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. as showy, flash-in-the-pan hucksters. A few spins of the band's upcoming album, It's a Corporate World, showcase that sense of humor but balance it with a glowing sincerity and meticulous attention to songwriting craft and expansive production. Borrowing the glistening, layered vocals of Brian Wilson, grinding, soulful beats from their hometown Motown archives, and some of the digital glitches and whirs of Detroit's electronic scene, Dale Jr. Jr. have created a sound that is classic yet post-millennial. Warm moments of organic bliss and gently immediate hooks balance delicately atop icy digital pulses as the band corral the best of the analog and digital worlds into a logo-encrusted, ethanol-tinged package. All gimmicks aside, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. are on the fast track to becoming new millennium pop visionaries. With EMA. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8:30 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. GREGORY FRANKLIN

 
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