This Week's Recommended Shows

From the Moondoggies to The Weeknd.

The Drums & Craft Spells/Wednesday, May 9

Damn, nobody told me Craft Spells' main dude Justin Vallesteros moved to San Francisco. Bummer for us, because their new EP, Gallery, represents a huge leap forward for the restless dream-pop band. Where last year's full-length debut Idle Labor was a breezy but insubstantial bit of bedroom-sized New Order new wave, Gallery tightens their sound substantially, while better representing the expanded live band's more filled-in sound. This is the record that should be cementing Craft Spells as one of Seattle's—not SF's—best young bands (although three-quarters of them still live here). In any case, they'll make a fine opener for the Drums' melancholic, surf-inflected indie pop. With Part Time. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 7 p.m. $13. All ages. ERIC GRANDY

Mickey Hart Band/Wednesday, May 9

The high-tech concept of Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart's Mysterium Tremendum is way too difficult to describe in terms commonly understood by humans. Just know that, like pretty much everything Hart has collaborated on in his life, experiencing his "music" live is a much better investment than purchasing and playing it on your living-room stereo. Unless you're on acid—then it's awesome even if you listen to it in a Costco produce cooler. But no matter how high Hart ascends, he'll never atone for performing "Fire on the Mountain" as a rap shortly after Garcia's death, the musical equivalent of taking a dump on Jerry's headstone. The Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 877-784-4849. 8 p.m. $32 adv./$35 DOS. All ages. MIKE SEELY

The Maxines/Thursday, May 10

Earlier this year, Matt Murillo and Kelly Norman, two Texas transplants now living in Olympia, made a splash with just seven minutes of music. In January, their garage-pop band, the Maxines (named after Norman's BFF), released their first EP, Drugstore, on K Records. The longest of Drugstore's four tracks, the chugging "Ghost in the Cove," clocks in at just two minutes and 20 seconds, but what the songs lack in duration they make up for in punchy zest. Murillo's guitar wails, Norman's drums thrash, both sing with cocksure bravado, and it all comes together as a riotous good time. With Night Beats, Unnatural Helpers. Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9951. 8 p.m. $8. ERIN K. THOMPSON

***EDITOR'S PICK

The-Dream/Friday, May 11

One of today's strongest songwriters, Terius Nash has had a hand in writing three of the best pop songs in recent memory—Rihanna's "Umbrella," Justin Bieber's "Baby," and Beyoncé's "Single Ladies"—and he's also penned smash hits for Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, and Mary J. Blige, among others. In fact, his prolificacy as a writer threatens to overshadow his own singing career, for which he goes by the stage name The-Dream. Last year, a stunning demo of him singing his power ballad "1+1" (which he eventually gave to Beyoncé) leaked and served as a good reminder of his own gorgeous vocal talents. And after more than a year of teases and title changes and a couple of tantalizing new tracks ("ROC," "Kill the Lights"), The-Dream is now gearing up to release the official follow-up to his acclaimed 2010 Love King album—Love IV MMXII is slated for release sometime this summer. With Kendrick Lamar, The Bar, Brothers From Another. Hec Edmundson Pavilion, UW campus, 3870 Montlake Blvd. N.E., 543-2100. 7 p.m. $17 adv./$20 DOS/Free for UW students. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

The Weeknd/Friday, May 11

Now that the smoke-and-coke mirrors surrounding once-mysterious Toronto noiR&B project The Weeknd have cleared, we're left with one moody, indie-styled R&B crooner/rapper, Abel Tesfaye, and the three free mixtapes he released over the past year, which range from essential (House of Balloons) to essentially disposable (Thursday) to somewhere in between (Echoes of Silence). That barrage of material may have yielded diminishing returns and somewhat dulled The Weeknd's appeal, but tonight's rapidly sold-out show is proof that Tesfaye is still one of the most exciting voices currently working on the borders, or in the darker corners, of R&B. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. Sold out. All ages. ERIC GRANDY

The Moondoggies/Friday, May 11–Saturday, May 12

After two well-received albums on Hardly Art Records, the Moondoggies aren't the new kids in town anymore, but they're absolutely still a band to watch. Never ones to get comfortable, they've been experimenting with an expanded onstage lineup for their sprawling, electric Americana, heard on the recording of their holiday set at the Neptune (which can be had free at moondoggiesmusic.com). Tonight's show will feature the original quartet plus longtime pedal-steel collaborator Jon Pontrello; this crew is chipping away at the band's third album, which they hope to finish this year. But, says frontman Kevin Murphy, they're taking their time. "We have somewhere around 30 songs for the next record," he says. "Don't wanna rush this one like we've done before." With the Maldives. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $12. CHRIS KORNELIS

Death Cab for Cutie/Sunday, May 13

It's rare for Death Cab for Cutie to let outsiders into their music. Guitarist Chris Walla produces the band's records, and few friends have ever been invited to join them onstage. But for their spring tour, the Seattle quartet enlisted San Francisco's eight-piece string ensemble, the Magik*Magik Orchestra, for a series of intimate shows. Frontman Ben Gibbard says the band's on their electric instruments "95 percent of the time," but "certainly, it's not a rock show." He says the outing's collaborative nature is giving him ideas for the next DCFC record, even if it doesn't involve strings. "I think we sometimes forget that if you hear a song in your head, or I should say a sound for a song in your head, there's somebody who plays that instrument that you can call on the phone, and they'll come over and record it or play it with you," Gibbard says. "I think now, just having these people onstage with us for the last month or so and hearing what a different kind of sonic palette can bring to the band, it certainly has opened up my ears [to the idea] that there are no limits to the possibilities to what you can do in a studio. If you can hear something, you can find somebody to play it." With Youth Lagoon. The Paramount, 911 Pike St., 877-784-4849. $31.25–$61.25. All ages. CHRIS KORNELIS

River Giant/Sunday, May 13

River Giant's new self-titled release, produced by Chris Early (Gold Leaves, Grand Hallway, Band of Horses), is one of the latest vignettes in Seattle's ongoing folk-rock opera. The band isn't breaking the most innovative sound, but their bluesy bars, lusty riffs, and low-end bass lines—especially on tracks like "Western" and "Taylor Mountain"—work a repurposed, harder edge into the overplayed genre. Whether they're rocking out or softly harmonizing, this solid three-piece, led by Kyle Jacobson's wailing Neil Young-meets-Robin Pecknold vocals, will sound great in Columbia City Theater's reverby room. With Plant Party, Parade Schedule. Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Ave. S., 722-3009. 8 p.m. $6. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

 
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