This Week's Recommended Shows

From the Maldives to the Minus 5.

Bobby Bare Jr. & the Maldives/Thursday, November 29

While they both occupy the Americana realm, these are very different performers. Bare is a little too goofy at times, while the Maldives can come off a bit too stoic. The good news is that both have talent to burn, and if they rub off on each other, both acts will be the better for it. Quibbling aside, this pairing only serves to reinforce what a fantastic out-of-the-way venue Bainbridge has in the Treehouse, which provides touring musicians and local stalwarts alike the chance to earn some extra dough while reaching an audience starved for great music—and panino rolls, a must-order beer base at this woodsy venue—that they don't have to hop a ferry for. Treehouse Cafe, 4569 Lynwood Ctr. Rd. N.E., Bainbridge Island, 842-2814. 8 p.m. $15. MIKE SEELY

Death Grips/Thursday, November 29

"I am the beast I worship," bellowed Death Grips frontman MC Ride on "Beware," the pulse-spiking opener from their spotlight-grabbing 2011 debut Exmilitary. It was perhaps a prophetic moment of self-loathing that would play out in its entirety in 2012, as the group surprisingly signed with, and then unceremoniously burned all bridges with, beastly major Epic Records mid-contract. Following the story, you got the feeling Death Grips had simply gotten what they wanted out of the label, then bounced before they were made to jump through any corporate hoops. You also got the feeling that they really don't give a fuck. Whether you latch on to their specific punk ethos or not, their amped-up electro-rap will get you jacked. With Cities Aviv. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-4618. 8 p.m. $15. All ages. TODD HAMM

The Babies/Friday, November 30

This Brooklyn pop-rock band, begun as a side-project collaboration between Woods' Kevin Morby and Vivian Girls' Cassie Ramone, recently released a second album, Our House on the Hill—a much cleaner, brighter record than their 2011 self-titled debut. A couple of the songs—"Mean," "That Boy"—are stark tracks featuring not much more than Morby's gentle guitar strumming and wistful vocals, and some are infused with a Western country flavor, like the easy-riding "See the Country." A majority, though, are animated pieces of guitar pop with lyrics that highlight both the serious introspection and the serial attention deficiency of today's youth, as on the catchy opener "Alligator": Morby goes from positing "Life is funny/Life's a laugh/Life is lonely/Yeah, it's a drag" to asking "And what's your name?/How you doin'?/I like your hair/How do you do it?" With Stickers, Detective Agency. Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 7 p.m. $10. ERIN K. THOMPSON

King Dude/Friday, November 30

With his man-in-black shtick down pat, T.J. Cowgill's dark muses surface in King Dude as echoey outlaw country lamentations penned to remind us to take it down a notch—because we're all going to die anyway. It's no surprise that Cowgill's got a healthy death-metal background; though his other band, Book of Black Earth, may use a completely different set of weapons (distortion, double kicks, throat-scraping screams), both projects play out a similarly bleak worldview with surprisingly good results. There's also a dry humor to Dude's music, as he groans and wobbles his words for effect, playing the part he's written for himself so well that we're happy to play along. With Cinnamon Girl, Partman Parthorse, DAN'Z ID. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 9 p.m. $8. TODD HAMM

The Minus 5/Friday, November 30

If you ever want to bone up on a serious chunk of regional rock history, Scott McCaughey is a good starting point. Since the early '80s when he formed Young Fresh Fellows, he's been omnipresent in the Pacific Northwest music scene, working with every band from R.E.M. to Wilco; but his long-standing role as frontman for The Minus 5, the enduring pop-rock band he shares with Bill Rieflin, Peter Buck, and John Ramberg, shows his true colors. McCaughey can sit in as a session player and touring musician just fine, but again and again, album after album, he clearly prefers this dependable group, playing smaller venues and crafting quirky, catchy pop with friends. With Casey Neill & the Norway Rats. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 9:30 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

***EDITOR'S PICK

Wild Belle/Friday, November 30

In 2010, Chicago musician Elliott Bergman fired his younger sister Natalie from his Afro-jazz band Nomo because his bandmates thought her atmospheric vocals made their music less danceable. Natalie now appears to be having the last laugh, though—she and Elliott soon formed a duo called Wild Belle, and last September signed a deal with Columbia Records, which will release the band's full-length debut, Isles, next March. Wild Belle makes music for those who perpetually long for summer—breezy, buoyant reggae-pop bolstered by Elliott's florid saxophone riffs and Natalie's balmy vocals, singing bluesy lyrics like "Same song, again and again/You rob me twice and I keep coming back/Why can't I keep you?" It's sultry, plaintive—and very danceable, actually. With Deep Sea Diver, Pretty Broken Things. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $12. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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