The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Britney Spears and Black Whales to Lucinda Williams and Rush.

Becoming the Archetype/Wednesday, June 29

A devout message of Jesus Christ and love aren't the first things that come to mind when listening to Christian progressive death-metal band Becoming the Archetype. The Atlanta natives have released four albums for Seattle's own Solid State Records—the metal and hardcore sub-label of Tooth & Nail Records—which boasts the likes of metal powerhouses Underoath, August Burns Red, and Oh, Sleeper. Becoming the Archetype released their fourth studio album, Celestial Completion, on March 29; it debuted at #7 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. Breaking away from the confines of drop-D guitar and machine-gun drumming, the album dabbles in trombones, vocoders, and sitars—instruments not typically used by a band that sounds as if it's orchestrating a mass sacrifice. With Inhale/Exhale, To Speak of Wolves, They Charge Like Warriors. Studio Seven, 110 S. Horton St., 286-1312. 6:30 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. All ages. JOE WILLIAMS

Helms Alee/Wednesday, June 29

To say that the new Helms Alee record, Weatherhead, is an exhausting listen is the ultimate compliment one could pay it. Soldering together the divergent worlds of the dreamy and the screamy, Weatherhead is full of charged calls to battle floating beside moody, melodic lulls. Guitarist (and local amp maker) Ben Verellen fills the record with sparkling shoegazer moments that transition into monumental walls of speaker-destroying fuzz, screaming atop bassist Dana James' warm, woozy coo and Hozoji Matheson-Margullis' aerobic drumming. Helms Alee's vision is expansive in scope but focused in execution, proving this is a band with no fear of trying new things; spastic sludge-riffery sits comfortably beside spaghetti-Western instrumentals and Angus Young–style pluckery. Borrowing equally from the spaced-out, melancholy landscapes previously explored by Hum and Failure and the stampeding brutality of Mastodon, Helms Alee know exactly where they're going, but they're in no rush to get there. With Akimbo, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Norska. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $10. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Britney Spears/Wednesday, June 29

Say what you will about her troubled past and bad hair extensions, but 13 years into her career, Britney Spears is still capable of making good decisions. Witness Femme Fatale, Spears' seventh studio album—it's both her most solid and most adventurous to date. In it, Spears collaborates with the songwriters and producers responsible for some of her most memorable hits—Bloodshy & Avant, the ubiquitous Max Martin, and Dr. Luke—but finally appears to have left bubblegum behind, instead firmly focusing on the aggressive and mature club-bangers first hinted at in 2007's Blackout. Femme Fatale is dynamic, catchy as hell, and wildly creative—there isn't a bad song on the album. And Spears is ever the consummate, hardworking professional—her previous tour in 2009 was a massive global success, and reviews for her flashy current outing are raving about her energized performance, as well as her brilliant choice for opener, the fabulous and indubitably talented Nicki Minaj. With Jessie and the Toy Boys, Nervo. Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., 253-272-3663. 7 p.m. $29.50–$350. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Lucinda Williams/Wednesday, June 29

For the better part of the past decade, many Lucinda Williams fans have wondered whether her decision to ditch her native South for Los Angeles and eventually get married was adversely impacting her creative output. While records like West and Little Honey were by no means bad, they suggested that she'd veered far from the gravel road, and no longer had reason to cry. In short, Williams seemed too content—which was great for Williams, but a real bummer for devotees whose loyalty hinged on their ability to relate to her chronic heartbreak. With this year's Blessed, however, Williams invites these wayward fans back home with her most lyrically and melodically dynamic album since 2003's World Without Tears. It allows listeners to feel good about the fact that she's finally found security without shortchanging the suffering it took to get there, and dispels any skepticism that she'd lost a handle on what made her the most compelling American songwriter of the past quarter-century. With Jesse Sykes and Phil Wandscher. Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th St., 548-2500. 6 p.m. Sold out. All ages. MIKE SEELY

A Drink for the Kids Grand Finale w/Hot Bodies in Motion/Friday, July 1

In trying economic times, it may be hard to justify spending hard-earned cash to get boozed out of your brain. Supporting the very worthwhile Vera Project, Drink for the Kids, a citywide fund-raiser which donates a portion of the proceeds of participating establishments' liquor sales, is the perfect excuse for that fourth cocktail and subsequent blurry cab ride home. Tonight's Sunset show, featuring Hot Bodies in Motion—cute, funky white boys who make the kind of jams best enjoyed generously lubricated—is sure to inspire lots of do-gooding. So go on and drink up. While your head rests on the cool toilet seat the next morning, remind yourself it was a generous sacrifice your kind and giving soul made for the kids. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 10 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Anya Marina/Friday, July 1

Portland singer/songwriter Anya Marina has spent time on the stage, in the studio, and behind a mike. The actress-turned-DJ-turned-musician has had several singles featured in television shows and movies such as Grey's Anatomy and New Moon, and her new full-length album is scheduled to be out this year. The blonde songstress' smooth voice and warm guitar have opened for the likes of Joshua Radin and Jason Mraz, and she first rose to fame in 2005 when she was named one of the best "Unsigned Acts" by San Diego CityBeat. Her forthcoming album, which remains untitled, features the seductive, whisper-like drawl and modest instrumentation of her most recent EP, Spirit School, as well as collaborations with Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper. With People Eating People. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 9 p.m. $12 adv./$15 DOS. JOE WILLIAMS

Black Whales/Saturday, July 2

Earlier this year, Black Whales frontman Alex Robert told me that, for their forthcoming full-length, the band was leaving behind the easy pop sounds heard on their 2009 EP Origins and instead heading in a more complex, psychedelic direction. That album, Shangri-La Indeed, is now complete (tonight's show celebrates its release), and Robert's assessment proves correct—the songs are dramatic, ringing with vintage-sounding, reverbing guitars and Robert's languishing vocals, regretfully singing "In the wrong place/At the wrong time." The songs stop short of the stark austerity of, say, the Black Angels, though; "Where I Come From" buzzes with a cheerful, Dylanesque harmonica and songs like the title track and "Young Blood" spark with lively energy and appealing melodies. Shangri-La Indeed is resolutely old-time rock and roll infused with a vigorous modern-day spirit. With Legendary Oaks, Mal de Mer. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $8. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Brothers From Another/Saturday, July 2

Arguably emerging as the leaders of Seattle hip-hop's next generation, Brothers From Another stay true to the Town's organic, laid-back vibe—and get respect for it, as evidenced by the contributions from veterans Vitamin D and The Physics' Justo to the duo's most recent release, Two Weeks Vacation. Teenage MCs Goonstar and Breez tend toward the effortlessly clever; and though not always accompanied by feel-good lyrics, the undeniably feel-good tunes sport their share of cruising stoner rhymes to balance tales of puppy love lost. Sounding plenty young but not unpolished, BFA already have the ability to rhyme beyond their years—not to mention the thinly shrouded passion that promises a steep rise. With Knowmads, Real Rogers, GMK, Kung Foo Grip. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $12. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Rush/Saturday, July 2

In almost any extensive discussion of iconic Canadian band Rush, the subject of their purported lack of female fans arises. It would be a welcome change for myself and all other "Limelight"-loving ladies if this myth could be discredited once and for all. Just because Geddy Lee isn't exactly pinup material doesn't mean we can't appreciate his band's sizable contributions to the prog-rock canon. Tonight they're doing all of 1981's landmark Moving Pictures, so fellas, when the woman next to you is singing every word along with "The Camera Eye," do her a favor and try not to look so surprised. Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Rd. N.W., Quincy, 628-0888. 7:30 p.m. $82–$117. All ages. HANNAH LEVIN

Shaprece/Saturday, July 2

The first glimpses of neo-soul songstress Shaprece, relatively fresh on the scene, came by way of appearances backing local hip-hop front-runners like Mad Rad, Fresh Espresso, and State of the Artist. But the refinement and matter-of-fact beauty of her vocals belie the fact that her first recording dropped six months ago—and make her proper debut, the Scatterbrain EP, primarily produced by Jay Battle of Gran Rapids, all the more anticipated. Promising a smooth infusion of funk, electronic, and hip-hop sounds into the R&B framework, accented by simply stated love (as in the project's lead single "Waiting"), Scatterbrain could well anchor your soundtrack for warm summer nights. With Fresh Espresso, Black Cherry Crush, Jay Battle. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10. NICK FELDMAN

The Blind Shake/Tuesday, July 5

It's taken a while, but word about the electrifying live show delivered by Minneapolis trio The Blind Shake is finally spreading, and with the release of their new album, Seriousness, they are now in possession of the ideal calling card. Caustic, angular post-punk doesn't get much better than this. Through the interplay of their dueling baritone and straight guitars, Jim Blaha and his look-alike brother Mike create an unnerving, taut, and unpredictable degree of tension that would be unbearable if the ultimate release weren't so euphoric. Fans of Shellac, Unwound, Drive Like Jehu, or Fugazi, meet your new favorite band. With Police Teeth, Mutiny Mutiny. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9:30 p.m. $7. HANNAH LEVIN

 
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