The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From M. Women to Visqueen.

Clarence Acox & the Legacy Quartet/Wednesday, November 23

Clarence Acox is one of the city's most active stewards of jazz, having imbued generations of Seattle families with, if not an abiding love for the genre, a sense of hometown pride for leading the Garfield High Jazz Ensemble to four first-place wins at New York's Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition. Every Wednesday for 25 years, when school's done for the day and band practice is over, Acox has manned the drum kit with some formation of the Legacy Quartet (named for original band member and local jazz cat Floyd Standifer) at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant, performing Porter, Gershwin, and Ellington classics in a "straight-ahead" style. If you've never seen the movie Chops, a documentary about a handful of high-school bands vying for first place at Essentially Ellington, you should watch it for a glimpse of the commanding Acox, a rare artist and teacher in the Seattle jazz scene who, through a top-tier jazz program, created a legacy of his own. New Orleans Creole Restaurant, 114 First Ave. S., 622-2563. 8 p.m. Free. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

M. Women/Wednesday, November 23

M. Women—the rock trio of guitarist Andrew McKibben, bassist Schanen Ryan, and drummer Carrie Schaff—recently returned from a three-week jag across the country in McKibben's Subaru Forester; tonight is their first home show since. The band is promoting their first full-length recording, Faithful, released in October on Couple Skate Records, the label McKibben operates with friend-band Stephanie's Ian Judd. Faithful, a collection of songs written over three years, is a tough record, a stormy swirl of distorted guitars and chanty, muted vocals. It all ends up melding warmly, fluidly and naturally—the album "catalogs a long progression of us playing together," the band told me in a recent e-mail. "We make music together as a way to support each other collaboratively in our close friendship." With Yuni in Taxco, Fuzzy Cloaks, Neighbors. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 8 p.m. $7. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Slow Dance/Friday, November 25

There are two bands called Slow Dance, and they could hardly be more different. One is an indie-pop group from (where else?) Brooklyn that spells its name as a single word. But the Slow Dance beginning to emerge onto Seattle's radar is a local electronic rap duo comprising producer Andrew "Rudy" Willingham (of Rudy and the Rhetoric) and MC Murder Dice. The group's four-on-the-floor electro-rap has been garnering local buzz in the past few months on the strength of songs like old-school rave-up "Melter" and the more introspective "Fever Sleep." Tonight's show will see the release of Slow Dance's still-untitled debut album, and if the party-first atmosphere of the duo's online material is any indication, Nectar Lounge will be hopping. With The MC Type, P Smoov. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. Free before 10 p.m., $5 after. ANDREW GOSPE

Unstuffed/Friday, November 25

Black Friday is a day best known for leftovers and discount shopping, but this year, it also will feature a punk show that commemorates a pivotal recent development for live music in Washington state. On October 25, the Liquor Control Board voted to overturn the state's curious ban on drinking alcohol onstage—a move that, while hardly groundbreaking, at least puts Washington on an equal footing with the rest of the country (this was thought to be the only state with such a ban). Local surf-punk group Atomic Bride will headline a four-band showcase at the Comet to celebrate the ruling, which goes into effect at midnight on Friday. So feel free to drink, maybe even profusely—the bands will be right there with you. With Cali Giraffes, 18 Individual Eyes, TacocaT. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 9 p.m. $5. ANDREW GOSPE

Wale & Friends/Friday, November 25

Today's often narrow-minded mainstream rap production is offset by the uncommonly rich instrumentals Washington, D.C., rapper Wale (pronounced "Wah-lay") has thus far selected for his records. The sounds on his most recent release, Ambition, were crafted by a handful of emerging stars (Lex Luger, Tha Business) alongside a number of lesser-known talents, who couple a fair helping of live-sounding instrumentation and backing vocals to full-bodied samples that are basically tailor-made for club spins and live performance. Though his verbiage tends to stall on tired, overblown vanity rolled downhill from the rest of the horde, the Maybach Music (Rick Ross' label)–signed MC can surprise with thoughtful lines like "This is anti–Mark McGwire/It takes patience for power" ("Legendary") and just-left-field-enough-to-work brags like "Fuck rap, I get pussy off a haiku" ("Focused"), as his beats jump from Caribbean-dipped crunk to a mellower strain of R&B-rap and back again. With Black Cobain, Logics, Luck-One. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 7 p.m. Sold out. All ages. TODD HAMM

Russian Circles/Saturday, November 26

The problem with instrumental rock bands (and, one could argue, other instrumental musics such as techno) is that they don't offer easy narratives or themes about which to write. Without lyrics, your embattled local critic is left trying to describe song structures, qualities of sound, and the overall moods of albums—which is where things get overly flowery. Here, for instance, is a list of adjectives local publications have recently used to describe Chicago/Seattle trio Russian Circles (which includes bassist Brian Cook of hardcore legends Botch): "metal-tinged," "threatening," "aggressive," "sinister," "spooky," "dynamic," "haunting," "explosive," "solemn," "epic," "sweeping," "beautiful," "doomy," "loud," "atmospheric." All are true, but somehow inadequate, especially in the face of the band's latest and best album yet, Empros, which even features a rare vocal hymn from Cook. So, you know, we can talk about that. With Crypts, Deafhaven. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $13. ERIC GRANDY

*****EDITOR'S PICK

Visqueen/Saturday, November 26

It's been more than two years since Visqueen released a new album, 2009's Message to Garcia, and now they're making it official—as of tonight's show, the band's on hiatus. Their reasoning? Rachel Flotard, who through Visqueen became a local icon among fiery rock babes, can't fathom doing it without drummer and co-founder Ben Hooker, who's committed to being a full-time family man. "We have always taken risks together, and this is the same thing," Flotard told me recently. "All of us love being part of this band, and the best way to move forward artistically and lovingly was to let it go for a while." Flotard, who's been playing with Rusty Willoughby as Cobirds Unite and running Local 638 Records, which supports artists like Shelby Earl, Star Anna, and Visqueen bassist Cristina Bautista's solo efforts, makes it clear that she isn't asking her fans to say good-bye. "I hope to be a very gray old lady making a rock-and-roll fool of myself," she says. With Broadcast Oblivion. Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 682-1414. 8 p.m. $11 adv./$13 DOS. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Tom Bennett & the Rolling Blackouts/Monday, November 28

You don't get your own personal stage, commemorated with an official plaque, at a beloved local restaurant just for being some dude with a guitar. Nope, Tom Bennett, frontman for five-piece "honky-tonk hi-jink" band the Rolling Blackouts, is altogether "something special," and those words are exactly how Bennett himself describes his regular Monday-night gig, going on 11 years, at Madrona's St. Clouds. Playing originals alongside classic country covers from George Jones and Merle Haggard to Steve Earle and Gillian Welch, Bennett's band is completely at home on their self-titled stage, playing each week to loyal fans who keep coming back for more. The group is in the process of putting together a live album—recorded at St. Clouds, of course—but for the best experience of this accordion-driven, toe-tapping, roots-fueled quintet, see them live on a Monday night and join the closest group of friends you never knew you had. St. Clouds, 1131 34th Ave., 726-1522. 8 p.m. Free. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

Scott Kelly/Tuesday, November 29

The Tractor might not be where you'd expect to find one of the heavy drone gods of Neurosis doing a solo gig, but Scott Kelly is one of a few elder sludge-metal statesmen—along with Earth's Dylan Carlson—who are finding new possibilities for heaviness in the realm of acoustic- guitar twang. Which is not to say that he's gone alt-country or anything; rather, Kelly's predominantly acoustic solo songs, on albums such as 2008's The Wake, display all the deliberate, slow-riffing, sustained drones and low, grim vocals that, with some amplification, would code as doom metal of the darkest order. You could call it adult-contemporary indie folk for the hesher set—but dude still kind of sounds like he could devour you without much remorse, so maybe don't. With Jay Munly, Bob Wayne. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. ERIC GRANDY

 
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