POP/ROCK by Erin K. Thompson
Check out all the stories in Reverb Monthly's Year In Music issue.
Expo 89/THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8– SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11
Cairo's annual arts extravaganza features a jewelry trunk show, an art opening, short film screenings, and of course live performances from some of the city's most innovative musical acts, including Flexions, Witch Gardens, Stephanie, Idle Times, and OC Notes. With U, Spencer Clark, White Rainbow, Pleasure Beauties, Stickers, M. Women, Secret Colors, Ilyas Ahmed, Ensemble Economique, King Dude, Tiny Vipers. Cairo, 507 E. Mercer St. 6 p.m. Thurs., NC. 6 p.m. Fri. & Sun., $8. 5 p.m. Sat., $8. All ages.
Papercuts/THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8
San Francisco songwriter Jason Robert Quever's old-school Byrds-y pop project Papercuts released its first album, the pleasurable Fading Parade, on Sub Pop earlier this year. Also worth listening to: Quever's beautifully nostalgic cover of Don Henley's "Boys of Summer." With Tim Cohen's Magic Trick, Yuni in Taxco. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9:30 p.m. $12.
Shimmering Stars/FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
This Vancouver, B.C.–based pop trio released its full-length debut, Violent Hearts, on Hardly Art back in September. The album is full of highly relaxing sounds—floating melodies stitched together with fuzzy guitar textures and gauzy vocals. With Orca Team, Wimps. JewelBox/Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave., 441-5823. 10 p.m. $7.
Other Lives/SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11
The Oklahoma indie-rock band Other Lives is becoming one of the breakout acts of 2011; they released their rich and colorful Tamer Animals in the summer, spent the fall opening for Bon Iver, and just announced that they'll be touring with Radiohead in early 2012. See them in a small space while you still can. With JBM. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8 p.m. $10.
"The Rolling Stones"/SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31
There isn't a better band to spend New Year's Eve with than Seattle's punk rock–pedigreed Rolling Stones cover band—all six members are fantastic musicians, and, most important, you already know the songs are going to be amazing. So what iconic song will be playing when the clock strikes midnight? The high-octane "Jumpin' Jack Flash"? The sexy disco homage "Miss You"? The sentimental "Let's Spend the Night Together"? Only one way to find out. With Night Beats, Country Lips. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 9 p.m. $12.
COUNTRY by Gwendolyn Elliott
Lindsay Fuller & the Cheap Dates/SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10
Next year, Lindsay Fuller's new album You, Anniversary will be released by Dave Matthews' home label, ATO. For now, the gravel-throated singer is just as down-to-earth as her driving, road-trippin' ballad "Ball and Chain." The Tractor will be prime viewing to catch the artist on her way up. With Lazy Susan, Eugene Wendell & The Demon Rind. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $10.
Seattle Folk Festival/SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10
In its second year, the Seattle Folk Festival returns with three days of indie/roots concerts, jam sessions, and a flurry of folk-arts workshops to enliven the shortest days of the year. Saturday's double session will be a hootenanny of local and national roots talent. Bryan John Appleby, Kevin Murphy, Sons of Warren Oates, Youth Rescue Mission, Sean Flinn & The Royal We, Goldfinch: Noon. $15 adv./$20 DOS. The Canote Brothers, Anna & Elizabeth, Riley Baugus & Kirk Sutphin, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen: Appalachian Winter Concert, 7 p.m. $20 adv./$25 DOS. Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Ave. S., 722-3009.
Michael Ray & the Plastic Sheets/SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18
This country-psych three-piece channels a bit of Brent Amaker & the Rodeo, often dressing all in black for that cowboy-in-mourning look, but their music is something like David Lynch meets Mark Lanegan in an old-West honky-tonk. With Izzy & the Catastrophics, Black Crabs. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 9 p.m. $7.
Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot/THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22
With his latest release, Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL!, the former Stray Cats frontman returns with an instrumental rockabilly album that redefines his big-band sound, allowing his lightning-fast guitar and quick-picked Western swing covers of Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs to shine through. With Slim Jim Phantom, Cousin Harley. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $35 adv./$40 DOS. All ages.
HIP-HOP by Todd Hamm
The Grouch/FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
The fifth annual "How the Grouch Stole Christmas" tour brings a familiar cast of awesome characters, like legendary L.A. MC/producer Evidence, Grouch's Living Legend–mate Eligh, and Zion I. With good tidings and a great lineup, this night should be a happy Christmas [-themed rap show] to all. With DJ Fresh, Scribes. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-4618. 8 p.m. $15.
Dom Kennedy/TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13
SoCal's Dom Kennedy has a lazy-sounding style that'll grow on you pretty quickly if you give it the chance. His songs are very hit-and-miss, though, and his lyrics are largely hard to relate to ("My jeans cost $240"; "I never met a girl in my life that wouldn't date me"), so he's there only for some; it'll be interesting to see if he can fill Neumos. With Skeme, Royce the Choice. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $15.
Jay-Z & Kanye West/FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16
Two of the biggest names in music came together this year to put together a readily criticized testament to excess in Watch the Throne, an album that, for all its eye-rolling trappings, had more than a few rad moments. The show will undoubtedly be a large-scale production that will be as gaudy as it needs to be. Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma, 253-272-3663. 7:30 p.m. $49.50–$199.50. All ages.
Swagfest 2: End of the World Party/FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16
This show is actually a holiday costume party (costume required) in disguise, and by the look of things, a pretty epic one. First of all, it's being put on by a production company called Most Wasted Clique Productions, and second, its featured performers are a guy who once crowd-surfed in an inflatable dinghy while taking a beer bong (DJ Rudy) and a guy with "swerve" in his DJ handle (DJ Swervewon). Sounds like a rager! Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $10.
Luck-One/THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22
Luck-One is a gifted Portland/Seattle MC with all the right tools: smooth voice, effortless delivery, charismatic persona. All these must-haves shine against the backdrop of his storied past and are buoyed by the perspective gained through his life experiences. Get to know him in a smaller venue like the High Dive before the rest of the city catches on. With Savant, L.A.C.O.S.A., Un Da Rhyme Hustla. High Dive, 1426 First Ave., 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 9 p.m. $5.
DJ/ELECTRONIC by Eric Grandy
The Juan MacLean/FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
DFA producer The Juan MacLean has been on a hot streak, following the ebullient, self-explanatory anthem "Happy House" with a classics mix for DJ Kicks and the adventurous collection of dance cuts Everybody Get Close. Expect this DJ set to be so excellent. With Trashy Trash DJs. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 9 p.m. $13.
White Ring/FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
Second Sight is a monthly night that brings goth, industrial, and rave vibes to the (black) masses; this month features NYC witchhouse duo White Ring (half of whom, Kendra Malia, originally hails from Seattle). Electric Tea Garden, 1402 E. Pike St., 568-3972. Midnight. $7.
Baths/FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
L.A. musician Baths was born from the future bass stew of Low End Theory, but has increasingly veered into pretty, frippy, singer/songwriterly laptop pop. With Teen Daze, Witch Gardens. Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 877-784-4849. 9 p.m. $13 adv./$15 DOS. All ages.
Juan Atkins/FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16
A pioneer of Detroit techno and electro with Cybotron and Model 500, Juan Atkins is the sort of legend you don't often get to catch in as intimate a clubhouse as the Lo-Fi Performance Gallery. With Bryan Zentz, WD4D, Introcut, Innerflight. Lo-Fi Performance Gallery, 429 Eastlake Ave. E., 254-2824. 9 p.m. $10.
Christmas Kaos/SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17
Dieselboy is a hardened drum-'n'-bass head from way back; Le Castle Vania is a white belt and a haircut making distorted electro in the Ed Banger mold. Raves make strange bedfellows. With Sir Kutz, Dowlz, Aaar Simpson, Lotek MC, Flave, Hyperfunk, Pressha, Mixed Up Mike. Studio Seven, 110 S. Horton St., 286-1312. 8 p.m. $10–$25. All ages.
John Tejada/SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31
Decibel and Trashed's NYE continues with L.A.'s John Tejada and Seattle's Lusine, two artists whose impeccable sound design is equaled by their ability to rock a dance floor. With Bit Funk, Sean Majors vs. Gene Lee, Blondzie. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 9 p.m. $20.
JAZZ by Ben Morrow
Mike Stern/WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7
Guitarist Mike Stern grafts elements of rock, blues, and soul to his jazz foundation. For this show he's bringing artists from around the globe, from New York saxophonist Bob Franceschini to bassist Richard Bona from Cameroon. Add Dave Weckl, one of the greatest living drummers, and you've got a recipe for some heavyweight jazz. Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729. 7:30 p.m. $25.50.
Downright w/Brady Millard-Kish/THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8
Taking a break from gigs with Thione Diop and the Kora Band, local bassist Brady Millard-Kish is stepping out to lead an eclectic group of Seattle musicians on a journey from New Orleans to Africa and back to the Pacific Northwest. With vibraphonist Ben Thomas, trumpeter Chad McCullough, and drummer Mark DiFlorio. Egan's Ballard Jam House, 1707 N.W. Market St., 789-1621. 9 p.m. $10.
The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet and Drums/SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10
The Tiptons' latest release, Strange Flower, includes songs inspired by the lonely echo of train whistles at night, scientific findings on bees, and big-band saxophonist Billy Tipton, a woman who lived as a man for 50 years to pursue a career in jazz. Chapel Performance Space, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N., 789-1939. 8 p.m. $5–$15. All ages.
Jeff Busch and Friends/MONDAY, DECEMBER 12
Always smiling and energetic, Seattle drummer Jeff Busch leads a core group of some of Seattle's top jazz musicians, joined by various percussionists, horn players, and singers. It's a freewheeling jazz/world-fusion session where many musicians come to sit in and the results are always entertaining. Paratii Craft Bar, 5463 Leary Ave. N.W., 420-7406. 9 p.m. Free.
Woody Allen and His New Orleans Jazz Band/MONDAY, DECEMBER 26
For more than a decade, trombonist Jerry Zigmont has played and toured with Woody Allen & the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band. Zigmont's playing encapsulates the band's sound, steeped in the classic New Orleans tradition with its raw power and straight-from-the-heart approach—music that Allen has loved since his childhood. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 877-784-4849. 7:30 p.m. $45.75–$85.75. All ages.