Live this Weekend: Yann Tierson, Rocky Votolato, Jolie Holland, the Rebel Set

Saturday, June 14

In the incredible company of other contemporary composers such as Reich, Glass, Riley, and Pärt, Yann Tiersen has proven himself one of the greatest arrangers of our time. Yet one element makes him stand out from his peers: his ability to further and modernize his sound. Moving on from the organic textures of piano, strings, and accordion he used in past works, Tiersen has taken up electric guitars and heavy percussion, venturing into post-rock territory. His most recent album, Infinity, continues to explore guitar-driven compositions that aren’t afraid to warp and go out of tune every once in a while. There’s a wonderful balance of darkness as well as reverie within each song, making for quite an engaging listening experience. Artists can feel pressure to keep playing the sounds that have been the most successful, yet Tiersen has shed this weight with great ease. Having won our hearts with his amazing soundtrack for Amelie, he’s unabashedly on to what’s next. With No. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442, neumos.com. 7 p.m. $20. STIRLING MYLES

Rocky Votolato has been something of a solitary seeker since the breakup of his band Waxwing almost a decade ago, so often playing his weighty ballads alone with an acoustic guitar, and maybe a harmonica, to pin-drop-silent rock clubs. The isolation worked well for the singer, who put together a series of releases that displayed his talent for both muscular and tender song craft as well as devastating lyricism that excised his real-life problems, celebrated its joys, and tracked his autodidactic spiritual journey. Then a couple years ago, after releasing the yogi-inspired Television of Saints, Votolato discovered he couldn’t continue his journey alone. He briefly reunited his rock band and spent some time out of his own head, banging and blurting out songs from the past. This tour finds Rocky once again focused on his solo work, testing some new material with company; joining him will be a full band, including brother Cody on guitar, adding some texture to Rocky’s truths. With Lotte Kestner, Kevin Long. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $14. MARK BAUMGARTEN

Sunday, June 15

Jolie Holland would sound great at any venue in town—as she did the last time she passed through the Triple Door—but the Croc is perfect for the Wine Dark Sea tour, named after her sixth album. She’s never been a conventional songwriter, or singer for that matter, with her luscious, bluesy warble, but had she toed a more pop-oriented line, she could have easily been the next Norah Jones or Madeleine Peyroux. Yet she’s been signed to Anti Records for some time—home to a roster of rebels including Tom Waits, a huge fan—and there’s a growing punk defiance in her catalog. In Sea, a collection of 11 new and daring compositions, Holland’s vocals plunge in and out of ambient noise and distorted guitar like a siren’s call bellowing from a stormy sea. If it’s a swan song of sorts for her Escondida-era fans, best to let them swim back to shore. Where Holland’s heading looks to be a wild ride. With Jess Williamson. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-4618, thecrocodile.com. 8 p.m. $15. All ages. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

Phoenix-based four-piece the Rebel Set features the usual guitar, drums, and bass, but it’s the inclusion of an organ (played by the band’s only female member, Katey Trowbridge) that adds an extra oomph to its sound—the B-52’s meets Link Wray meets the Buzzcocks. The band’s latest album, How to Make a Monster, a co-release by Silver Hornet and Burger Records, is appropriately named for its Frankenstein-esque approach to genre. The cover art looks heavily influenced by that of The Jam’s The Gift and other mod-revival bands, and the music is a fun fusion of ’60s surf rock, ’70s punk, and ’90s lo-fi, all seemingly rebelling against the technology of the digital age. (The group appears aware of this, as it asks you to “make way for the new sound” in “New Rope.”) Each of the 12 tracks are short, sweet, and groovy, the shortest coming in at under two minutes, the longest at an even three—just enough time to bop around and get your heart rate up. It’s the perfect date show for punk-rock princesses and garage-band kings to slam-dance the night away. With Crazy Eyes, Webelos. Lo-fi, 429 Eastlake Ave., 254-2824, thelofi.net. 8 p.m. $7. 21 and over. DIANA M. LE

 
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