This Week's Recommended Shows

From King Tuff to Mighty Diamonds.

King Tuff/Thursday, December 6

The eponymous album released by Kyle Thomas as King Tuff on Sub Pop Records this past May is already making appearances on early "Best of 2012" lists. Its appeal isn't difficult to understand: King Tuff is equal parts ridiculous rock-and-roll humor (see the skull-faced bat holding a magic wand on the album's cover, or the image evoked by self-deprecating lyrics like "When I play my Stratocaster/Shooting these circles of sound/When I'm looking in the mirror/A creature so ugly and wild") and genuinely quality, potent garage-rock tunes. The stomping rollick of "Baby, Just Break" is a highlight; so is the amped-up howler of a single, "Bad Thing," the album's best showcase of Thomas' brilliantly whimpering wail of a voice. With White Fang, Dancer and Prancer. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $12. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Tom Waits Birthday Tribute/Friday, December 7

Tom Waits without cigarettes is like Tom Selleck without a 'stache. Waits' voice is so gravelly that it sounds as though he's singing with a smoke lodged in his larynx. Which brings us to Seattle's smoking ban. Mostly, it's a beautiful thing, saving countless dollars in dry-cleaning bills after nights spent in nicotine-clogged pubs. But at a Tom Waits tribute show on Tom Waits' birthday, a clear exception should be made: Patrons and performers should be allowed—perhaps required—to smoke. Fittingly, tonight's show is a fundraiser for the victims of the Cafe Racer shootings, as the artsy U District outpost is the sort of establishment Waits himself would frequent. With the Bad Things, the Puddle Stompers, Carrie Clark & the Lonesome Lovers, the Love Markets, Miss Mamie Lavona the Exotic Mulatta & Her White Boy Band, Bakelite 78, Dan Yost, Sam Russell, Erin McNamee, the Foghorns, Clayton Ballard, Chris Kendziorski, Norman Baker, the Mongrel Jews, Ben Fisher. Conor Byrne, 5140 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-3640. 8 p.m. $10. MIKE SEELY

Astronautalis/Saturday, December 8

Jel is a legend, and one of the coolest lo-fi producers in the electronic/beat realm. Sure, he's merely opening tonight's show, but he alone makes it worth the trip to Seattle Center (him and maaaaybe the hand-spun cotton candy in the Center House). Middle act Busdriver is a fairly well-known genre-sloshing rapper/singer/producer/weirdo whose coolest moments come when he's tweaking his beats onstage. Lastly, you will probably like Astronautalis if you are into Buck 65 or a comparable backpacking, spoken-word-style indie rapper with a little charisma. Just get yourself some candy and get there early. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 8 p.m. $13. All ages. TODD HAMM

Future/Saturday, December 8

Future's origins reach back to OutKast's Dungeon Family crew, but the Atlanta rapper trades in most of DF's Southern soul for the instant-gratification club fuel that ends up sounding like a Young Jeezy/Big Sean Slurpee®. If it seems disposable, there's a good possibility that's a purposeful move. Future's been known to guzzle codeine and pull off mush-mouthed Scarface impressions ("Tony Montana"), do obvious mock-reprises of Kanye West songs partially in Jamaican patois ("Turn On the Lights"), and so on, which leads one to believe that it's all in good fun. None of this means that his music is any good, but if you don't think too hard about it, you might fuck around and have a good time. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $29.50 adv./$33 DOS. All ages. TODD HAMM

How to Dress Well/Saturday, December 8

Earlier this year on his blog, Tom Krell, the Colorado songwriter who records and performs as How to Dress Well, wrote that he wants to make songs that "help us get nearer to affects in a sweet way, like how one approaches an injured animal in the wild, or the way one chases after the memory of a dream: by approaching carefully, quietly, on its terms." Krell's latest album, September's Total Loss, effectively combines the fragility one associates with dreams and the bare ferity of nature. In his diaphanous voice, Krell sings about self-doubt, suicide, and subsuming emotional pain to the accompaniment of moody, sweeping keyboards and synths. Other tracks, like album highlights like "& It Was U" and "Running Back" (which quotes the chorus of Ashanti's 2002 #1 hit "Foolish") feature rhythmic snaps and harmonies that recall the sensual R&B of Mariah Carey or Bobby Brown. It's a freezingly gorgeous sound. Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 7 p.m. $12. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Mighty Diamonds/Saturday, December 8

Few bands formed in the '60s are still going strong. The Rolling Stones spring to mind, but Jagger and Richards are somehow preternaturally endowed with a self-preserving physiology that continues to mystify modern science. On the other hand, the members of reggae troupe Mighty Diamonds, with more than 40 albums to their name, have aged, but surely the laid-back rhythms of their Jamaican roots music—and yes, probably weed—have enabled their steady advance. What's more, unlike contemporaries Burning Spear and Culture, Mighty Diamonds never made their music overly political, preferring the mellower sounds of their vocal harmonies. Since their best-known album, their 1976 debut Right Time, the original lineup of Tabby, Bunny, and Judge have carried on, unhurriedly. With Unite-One, DJ Court. Nectar Lounge, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

 
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