The Short List

Paper Machete/Thursday, December 27 

First off: Great band name, right? Secondly: Singer/guitarist/keyboardist Nate Stone and bassist/drummer Guthrie Scarr have a genuinely interesting take on indie pop. They play slow-tempo songs that toe the line between upbeat and remorseful, giving their presentation a divided realism that mirrors the complex nature of our relationships. Over carefree guitar lines, Stone spills downtrodden narratives that occasionally venture into the hopeful, but are always delivered in a dramatic wail that absolutely makes you feel his emotion right along with him. The group exercises restraint in much of their instrumentation, but when Stone lets his guitar run with the same angst he sings with (as he does at the end of "Don't Mean Shit"), it's extraordinarily fulfilling. With Ironwood Run, Charles Wicklander Band. Blue Moon Tavern, 712 N.E. 45th St., 675 9116. 9 p.m. $5. TODD HAMM

Dog Shredder/Friday, December 28

Did you know that one of the most exciting and explosive progressive metal acts in the business happens to hail from our humble northern neighbor, Bellingham? If you like screaming thrash attacks and breakneck switchbacks played with pinpoint precision (um, yes, please), then get the hell with it. Not a band to simply substitute volume for substance, the gods in Dog Shredder bend your mind with incomprehensible timing and linear song structures that keep you on the edge of your seat till the very end. It's controlled chaos, and it's fiery as hell. With Caligula, Old Iron. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 9 p.m. $5. TODD HAMM

Karl Blau/Saturday, December 29

It's been three years since Karl Blau released his most recent proper album on K Records, 2009's Afrocentric Zebra, but he's continued to maintain a steady output of new music via his Kelp Lunacy Advanced Plagiarism Society series: collections of Blau's "songs and sounds, orchestrations, and field recordings," the most recent of which was September's KLAPS #32, the rhythmic, flute-tooting Songles. Of course, Blau also keeps busy with his constant collaborations; tonight he'll be joined by the latest incarnation of Clyde Petersen's broad-based, ever-fluctuating indie-rock collective Your Heart Breaks. In the spring, the band released a mischievous new album called Harsh Tokes and Bong Jokes; Blau played guitar and saxophone on it, and also recorded it in three days on a four-track reel-to-reel at his Anacortes studio. With Nana Grizol, Jordan O'Jordan. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $8. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Lazer Ball NYE/Monday, December 31

If somehow we survive the zombie apocalypse and find ourselves faced with yet another brand-new year, we might have the innovative sounds of our youngsters to thank for it. In the midst of eschatological Mayan prophecies and ever-more-frequent school shootings, looking to the creative youth in our communities is a good way to offset any holiday and/or existential blues you may be feeling. Smart rhymes, buzzy beats, and a blisteringly sharp social awareness unite this eve's bill of local hip-hop acts, and from the first few lines spewed from Fresh Espresso's "Green Windows"—"In search of a rebirth . . . everything I see is a reflection of me"—it looks like we'd do well to usher in the new year in the company of such open hearts. With Grynch, Keyboard Kid, Metal Chocolates. The Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 682-1414. 9 p.m. $20. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

***EDITOR'S PICK

Radiation City/Monday, December 31

The Showbox curated a lineup of Northwest pop bands for its New Year's Eve blowout; the first one you'll hear is the Portland quintet Radiation City, recently named one of NPR's "10 Artists You Should Have Known in 2012." In April, the band released an EP called Cool Nightmare (the follow-up to their 2011 debut, The Hands That Take You), a collection of seven songs inspired by an old, falling-apart upright piano in drummer Randy Bemrose's basement. They played it, slammed its lid, banged on its body, and then took an ax and a baseball bat to it in the video for "Find It of Use." That song, accordingly, plays like a sparkling funeral dirge, carried along by Lizzy Ellison's exquisitely swooning vocals. It's a lovely sense of magic and finesse that trademarks the rest of their catalog. With Pickwick, Tomten. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $21.50 adv./$25 DOS. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Supersuckers/Monday, December 31

New Year's Eve is—and rightfully should be—a good measure sloppier than any other night of the year, a time to bury regrets and ascend to an unprecedented inebriated climax when the slate's wiped clean at midnight. The venerable Seattle punkabilly act Supersuckers are the perfect house band for such an evening, particularly at a sharp-spurred honky-tonk like the Tractor. If you don't fall down drunk during Eddie Spaghetti & co.'s set, you haven't given it your all. This is a blood-on-the-tracks kind of night, and the Supersuckers are a fucking locomotive. With Acid Angels, The Valley. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $25. MIKE SEELY

 
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