The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Thelonious Monster to Harry and the Potters.

The Gnu Deal/Wednesday, October 26

The Gnu Deal is the breezy, steezy hip-hop of Eric Graham and Ashton Hemmons, two irrepressible White Center homeboys who rap about Annie's Mac and Cheese, microbrews, and marijuana. A juvenile formula, but the duo does it over a smooth soundtrack of jazzy beats, funky samples, and frequent well-spun nods to their influences—"We like Dougie Fresh/And B-U-T-S/We like tribal music/And Tribe Called Quest/We like Doom/And we MF-rappin'/We like Seals and Crofts/and Led Zeppelin." With plans to record with Shabazz Palaces' Tendai Maraire in the works, these two knuckleheads will surely mature beyond their current repertoire, but you should see them while their rhymes are all about parties, good times, and all that seems infinite about being young. With Mixed Mediums Crew, Greg & Jerome, DJ Seabefore, Graves33, Freezable Germ, Tru iD. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 8:30 p.m. $8. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

SBTRKT/Wednesday, October 26

Recently, Seattle hip-hop seers Shabazz Palaces appeared on a remix of rising London producer SBTRKT's platinum-gleaming "Wildfire," a track whose nexus of collaborators also includes Little Dragon, Drumma Boy, and Drake. For Shabazz, this marks a rare opening-up of the group's hermetic world (which has thus far also let in Spoek Mathambo, Erik Blood, and Thee Satisfaction); for Seattle audiences, it leaves a handy signpost into SBTRKT's omnivorous bass music. Both artists have a taste for neo-tribal masks and deep, enveloping production, but while Shabazz's tracks are murky, jazz-tweaked hip-hop, SBTRKT's are a more high-polish, club-ready brand of post-dubstep beat science, one that incorporates guest vocalists with ease and which can absorb acts as disparate as M.I.A. and Radiohead into dubby remixes. Expect a lively show, carefully sculpted sound, and just maybe some guest appearances. With New Look, Kid Hops. Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St, 682-1414. 8 p.m. $14. All ages. ERIC GRANDY

The War on Drugs/Wednesday, October 26

When Richard Nixon coined the phrase "The War on Drugs" in 1971, he could not possibly have predicted that it would become the name of an indie-rock act from Philadelphia. But nearly four decades after Nixon left office in disgrace, his slogan has taken on another meaning entirely, conjuring inequality, hypocrisy, and futility. The War on Drugs' music isn't really about the epic failure of drug prohibition, but it does feel distinctly dystopian. On their new record Slave Ambient, frontman Adam Granduciel sings about bad dreams, the rattling in his brain, rambling down the freeway, and drifting "past the farms and debris" on his way home, among other things. Alternating between languid melodies and anthemic rock, this music's influences of Wilco and Bruce Springsteen are undeniable, but perhaps Tricky Dick deserves some credit too for sowing the seeds of discontent so many years ago. With Purling Hiss, Carter Tanton. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave N.W., Seattle, 789-3599. 9 p.m. $10. KEEGAN HAMILTON

Spank Rock/Thursday, October 27

DJ/promoter Franki Chan cut his teeth in Seattle, booking fun, scrappy shows at the Graceland (now El Corazon) and debauched after-parties at the infamous Egg Room. He's since relocated to L.A. and stzarted the club night Check Yo Ponytail, and now that night comes to Seattle as a tour featuring four high-profile party monsters: Pictureplane's noisy, lo-fi rave pop manifestos, Big Freedia's queered-up New Orleans bounce music, The Death Set's sneering boom-box-cassette punk rock (and flippantly destructive live show), and the smart-mouthed party rap of Spank Rock, back after several years of relative silence with new album Everything Is Boring and Everyone Is a Fucking Liar. Whatever your dancing agenda—slam, booty, or ironic liquid energy ball—Check Yo Ponytail provides. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $18. ERIC GRANDY

Thelonious Monster/Thursday, October 27

Before Celebrity Rehab's Bob Forrest became a counselor to the stars, he was the frontman of influential L.A. band Thelonious Monster and a heroin addict who went to rehab 20 times. Now his story has been captured in the new documentary, Bob and the Monster, which includes testimonials from friends and students like Courtney Love and Anthony Kiedis, among others. Tonight SIFF is hosting a screening of the doc at SIFF Cinema at the Uptown, along with a Q&A with Forrest and director Keirda Bahruth. And, yes, there will be a rare performance by Thelonious Monster. Bring your opera glasses. If only a fraction of Forrest's Seattle pals make it to the show, it's going to be a good night for star-gawking. SIFF Cinema, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 624-6600. 8 p.m. $12–$15. All ages. CHRIS KORNELIS

Flowmotion/Friday, October 28

Flowmotion is a band you simply have to see live to fully understand. In concert, their natural blend of Screaming Trees–like melodi-grunge and Southern twang explodes into a wailing mass of guitar solos and extended funk riffage that you don't necessarily have to be paying full attention to to enjoy, which is good because it's nearly impossible not to get lost in a set's ass-shakeability. That said, this night at the Tractor is a Halloween show for which they will be playing the Beatles' Rubber Soul in its entirety. Crazy? I say ballsy. The band has entertained at countless original shows—even their own festival (see: Summer Meltdown)—so why not get wacky with RS? Bouncier tracks like "The Word" and "I'm Looking Through You" can swing on their own, but it should be interesting to see how they spice things up when the going gets mundane. With Current Swell, Aaron Daniel. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. TODD HAMM

Metalween/Friday, October 28

Halloween falls on a Monday this year, meaning the preceding weekend is going to be a circus of slutty zombies and pirates drunkenly scarfing vendor hot dogs on the street. Yet some might prefer to observe the holiday in a more reverent manner, with a celebration of the metal-rock sounds that drove many an '80s mom to wonder if Junior was a satanist. For them, there's Metalween, a marathon bill of no less than nine Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Pantera, and Danzig cover bands who plan to slay all who attend with the merciless hand of heavy metal. We highly encourage the throwing of rubber bats on stage. With Hand of Doom, At the Spine, Danzig With Wolves, Call the Priest, Thunderpouch, Vultures 2012, Post Adolescence, Darfunkel, Smile for Diamonds. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 8 p.m. $10. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

Nurses/Friday, October 28

Portland bands have a reputation for warping pop into something music writers might term "experimental" or "difficult." For Nurses' sophomore album, Apple's Acre, this characterization was more or less fair—the record had some accessible moments, but they struggled under the weight of its lo-fi production. But on Dracula, the band's recently released follow-up, the hooks are pronounced and the melodies catchy (particularly on "Fever Dreams" and "Trying to Reach You"), and most strikingly, the songs bear a newfound electronic influence. It's easily the best album of the band's career, and live, the songs settle into some deep grooves under frontman Aaron Chapman's commanding but not overpowering vocals. As a whole, Dracula is accessible without being unsophisticated, and Nurses are a band to watch—turns out that the slogan "Keep Portland weird" need not always apply to the music. With Dominant Legs, Jabon. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 10 p.m. $10. ANDREW GOSPE

Harry and the Potters/Sunday, October 30

For most of us, the Harry Potter phenomenon ended this summer with the release of Deathly Hallows Part II. Joe and Paul DeGeorge, however, are still singing about it. The brothers founded wizard-rock band Harry and the Potters in 2002 and have been penning songs with names like "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock," "Save Ginny Weasley From Dean Thomas," and "Victor Krum's Missing Arm" ever since. Unsurprisingly, outside of the requisitely nerdy lyrical content, the songs aren't very interesting on record: poorly recorded rock and power-pop tunes rule the day. But a Harry Potter–inspired rock show just before Halloween? That sounds like as good a way as any to recapture the excitement of those beloved books and movies. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $11. All ages. ANDREW GOSPE

Stoli Neumos Halloween Bash/Monday, October 31

For the second year in a row, Stoli and Neumos are teaming up to present a free Halloween extravaganza, which will climax with a performance by Champagne Champagne (who also headlined last year's event). At press time, Champagne's DJ Gajamagic told me that he, Thomas Gray, and Pearl Dragon were debating between dressing up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or "Mario Brothas," and that, Halloween partying aside, people should show up just to hear some brand-new material—"newer than the other new stuff, like just-made-them-this-week new." If that's not enough incentive, the bash will also feature zombie strippers, a screaming contest, and what's being billed as a "Baby Toss." Neumos' Jason Lajeunesse declined to provide any further details, instead giving me the plot-thickening response, "I can't give you any more info than that. That is it. But there will be a baby toss . . . trust!" In true Halloween spirit, I don't know whether to be intrigued or frightened. With Sean Cee, Zeta Barber, Chocolate Chuck. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 9 p.m. Free. ERIN K. THOMPSON

***EDITOR'S PICK

Still Corners/Tuesday, November 1

After the London-based haze-rock band Still Corners released a buzzworthy single called "Endless Summer" late last year, Sub Pop rushed in for a deal, and just a few weeks ago the label released Creatures of an Hour. Creatures is Still Corners' first proper record since founder Greg Hughes added some members to his band, most notably cherubic blonde vocalist Tessa Hadley. Hughes has said that his songwriting is influenced by the landscape of the English countryside and European art films, which accounts for the calm atmospheric beauty and romance of Still Corners' music. Hadley's voice turns the melodies in sheer, floating wisps, backed by distant guitar and organ sounds and sparse drumbeats that sound like echoes in a cave—it's equal parts lovely and creepy. With Ganglians, Witch Gardens. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9:30 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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