This Week's Recommended Shows

From Cage the Elephant to Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson.

Noise for the Needy/Tuesday, June 7–Sunday, June 12

When Seattle's Noise for the Needy started in 2004, four bands played a charity concert one night at Nectar. The event has since expanded to this year's six-day festival, spread among 15 venues and featuring more than 80 artists. Performers run the gamut from big-name legends, like Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins, to an overwhelming number of local favorites: Fresh Espresso, Smooth Sailing, Ravenna Woods, Lisa Dank . . . (we really could go on). This year's beneficiary is Real Change—on NFTN's website, coordinator Michelle Smith (the Comet's Mamma Casserole) says "[Real Change has] long been advocates for social justice—which has the potential to improve living conditions for all of us . . . Real Change has such positive recognition for all the bands we solicited to play the festival as well. That made it easy for many of them to volunteer for the cause." Some of the shows in this week's Short List are NFTN benefits; for more coverage of the festival, visit SW's Reverb music blog. noisefortheneedy.org. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Cage the Elephant/Thursday, June 9

Riding on the success of its 2008 self-titled album, Cage the Elephant spent two years in England formulating more than 80 ideas for songs—then scrapped them all. The band—singer Matt Shultz, guitarist Brad Shultz, guitarist Lincoln Parish, bassist Daniel Tichenor, and drummer Jared Champion—flickered about in a tailspin, going so far as to roll around in leaves and smell dirt for a burst of creativity. The answer finally came when the five-piece secluded themselves in a rural Kentucky cabin, whipping out the 12 songs that would eventually become Thank You Happy Birthday, released in January. The first two singles, "Shake Me Down" and "Around My Head," restore the band's status as forerunners in the garage-rock revival, with shards of bluesy punk and angsty alternative rock accenting its notoriously wild live shows. With Manchester Orchestra, Sleeper Agent. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $22.50 adv./$25 DOS. All ages. JOE WILLIAMS

The Builders and the Butchers/Friday, June 10

It seems that any conversation about the Builders and the Butchers invariably starts with the Decemberists. And indeed, the similarities are striking: Both bands hail from the same city (Portland), have the same number of members (five), and play similar brands of hyper-articulate indie folk. And while singer/guitarist Ryan Sollee can't come close to approaching Colin Meloy's verbosity, he more than recalls the Decemberists' frontman with his nasally, earnest vocals. Onstage, however, the difference between the two groups is a little more obvious. While Decemberists shows are relatively reserved and buttoned-up, the Builders and the Butchers aren't afraid to let loose. Hopefully their songs from this year's overlooked Dead Reckoning will receive a nice infusion of energy at tonight's Noise for the Needy benefit. With Ravenna Woods, Yuni in Taxco. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $12 adv./$15 DOS (NFTN benefit). ANDREW GOSPE

Jack & Cash/Friday, June 10

Just over a year ago a UW student going by the name of Jack the Ripper dropped his debut record as a producer, graced by some of Seattle's best MCs. Now relocated to the Bay Area, he's come together with more-than-capable local MC Cash Clepto to release their radio-friendly Cloud Music EP. The duo's put most of its initial weight behind debut single "Friday Night"— thankfully not a Rebecca Black remix, but a track that could be (and has been) mistaken for the latest single from Mike Posner, thanks to the club-friendly bass line and Jack Walsh's half-whispered vocals. Cloud Music promises more of the same— not wholly original, but plenty enjoyable for lovers of pop-rap sensibilities. With Neema, Havi Blaze, Notion. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $5. NICK FELDMAN

Pharoahe Monch/Friday, June 10

Straight up: Few rappers can hold a candle to Pharoahe Monch when it comes to the art of MCing. It's only the Jamaica, Queens, native's discontent with the commercial process and the delayed trickle of releases that's kept him something of a secret— dropping only three solo records in a dozen years is a surefire way to keep even the best music relegated to the underground. But his March release W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), filled with criticism of the political system as intense as his targeting of the music industry, stays on par with his preceding insta-classics Internal Affairs and Desire. As easily as it could have been a battle record, Monch's militant lyricism and clapping beats make it more of a concept album: "No justice, no peace, no settle/ We are renegades, fuck your gold medal." With Scribes, Th3rd. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $15. NICK FELDMAN

Orange Goblin//Friday, June 10

If ever there were a reason to trek down to SoDo for a show at Studio 7, this is it, kids. UK-based Orange Goblin are one of the most consistently unfuckwithable live acts working in the realm of classic stoner metal today. They are currently traversing the States celebrating their 15th anniversary, and because they are also supporting Metal Blade's recent reissue of their first five albums, an extensive, deep catalog–searching set list is a given. Brooklyn's Naam is also well worth showing up early for, especially for fans of cerebral psych-rock, while Brokaw features the freakishly talented Stu Dahlqvist, best known for his work with SunnO))), Burning Witch, Asva, and Goatsnake. With The Gates of Slumber, Witchburn. Studio Seven, 110 S. Horton St., 286-1312. 7 p.m. $12 adv./$15 DOS. All ages. HANNAH LEVIN

Soft Metals//Friday, June 10

Tonight, Noise for the Needy hosts a ridiculously stacked dance party at Belltown's Underground Events Center (which you might know as the home of Seattle's Punk Rock Flea Market). Headlining are Portland duo Soft Metals, whose synth-heavy repertoire ranges from the sort of icy Italo lately popularized by Glass Candy and Chromatics to an ace cover of Throbbing Gristle's "Hot on the Heels of Love," all pulsing, pumping, and updated from industrial coil to heat-seeking techno. Filling out the bill is an impressive selection of local acts, from Yoko Ono worshippers the Ononos to party punks Spurm to chill electronic outfits Sports and U.S.F. to theatrical wailers the Tempers, plus a handful of DJs. It should be a wild party for a worthy cause. With the Ononos, the Tempers, Sports, Spurm, U.S.F., Fly Moon Royalty, DJ Gin & Tonic, DJ Up Above, Floyd Beastie. Underground Events Center, 2407 First Ave., 957-8076. 7 p.m. $10 (NFTN benefit). ERIC GRANDY

Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson/Saturday, June 11

Kimya Dawson is a freak folkie who has, with the Moldy Peaches, flirted with rap; Aesop Rock is a densely wordy rapper with an open channel to indie-rock audiences (and singer/songwriters like John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats). Both artists can be raw and self-revealing, but from opposite angles: Dawson's acoustic songs tend to be frank, silly, and intimate, while Aesop's are knotty as hell, personal demons rendered in aggressively abstract torrents over knocking boom bap and disorienting, swirling samples. Aesop's latest project, Hail Mary Mallon, finds him teaming with fellow MC Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz; scant YouTube footage suggests more of the same, if slightly mellowed in tempo and leavened by a sort of bantering MC humor. Tonight, expect new material from that team-up, solo sets from both Dawson and Aesop, and some collaborations between the two. With Rob Sonic, DJ Big Wiz. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $18. All ages. ERIC GRANDY

Ramona Falls/Sunday, June 12

Brent Knopf is obviously a talented guy. Until January he was one-third of Portland band Menomena, but he's also a multi- instrumentalist, an Ivy League graduate (Dartmouth '00) and a programming whiz—he designed Deeler, the looping software that Menomena used to mold their distinctively layered sound. Knopf left Menomena after more than 10 years, deciding to devote his time fully to his solo project Ramona Falls. On 2009's Intuit, the first and only Ramona Falls release, Knopf crafts the same kind of cerebral pop songs that made his former band so successful, but his voice as a songwriter shines through in a way it never did before, unencumbered by Menomena's inherently collaborative nature. His live show offers the intriguing possibility to see all that talent focused in one place. With Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Land of Pines, Kithkin. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $12 (NFTN benefit). All ages. ANDREW GOSPE

Brett Dennen/Tuesday, June 14

Halfway through his new record, Loverboy, Brett Dennen declares: "I'm gonna make you fall in love with me." Regardless of the cut of your jib, if you've made it six songs deep into Loverboy, you've got at least a little crush on Dennen, a singer/songwriter who brings his carefree inoffensiveness to his catchiest batch of songs yet. "Sydney (I'll Come Running)" is sure to be the inspiration for the names of a handful of graduates of the class of 2029, and "Comeback Kid (That's My Dog)" is handcrafted for the summer sing-along season. This is listening music, built for heavy rotation. With Dawes. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 467-5510. 7:30 p.m. $25. All ages. CHRIS KORNELIS

Dude York/Tuesday, June 14

The local rock trio Dude York—lead singer/guitarist Peter Richards, drummer Andrew Hall, and bassist Alex Cassidy—operates on the "louder is better" principle. On the band's explosive self-released first album, Gangs of Dude York (currently available for free download via Bandcamp), Richards sings in an excitable, throaty howl that uncannily resembles that of Wolf Parade's Dan Boeckner. Dude York's songs have simple-enough pop melodies, but the guitars ramble and squeal at will, with the drums hastening to keep up; the songs rush forward at an occasionally demonic speed. Live, that raucous sound is replicated to an even noisier, more swaggering extent. To those who think Seattle's indie-music scene is in desperate need of a good shaking-up (yes, please), Dude York's dramatic, manic sound is entirely welcome. With Sons of Neptune, Below Blackstar. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $5. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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