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Tonight:

The Tea Cozies' CD release party with Katharine Hepburn's Voice at High DIve, 9 p.m., $7

It's natural to expect bouncy, upbeat pop music

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Live Music Roundup: Friday, May 1 through Sunday, May 3

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Tonight:

The Tea Cozies' CD release party with Katharine Hepburn's Voice at High DIve, 9 p.m., $7

It's natural to expect bouncy, upbeat pop music from a band with an adorable name like the Tea Cozies, and the band's brand-new record Hot Probs--produced by local pop music savant Erik Blood--delivers just that. But while bright ditties like "Pretty Pages" and "Corner Store Girls" share a lot in common with the sweet, summery songs Michigan band Saturday Looks Good To Me does so well ("Underwater Heartbeat" comes to mind), the Tea Cozies aren't all cotton candy and rainbows. Numbers like "Huffy Walrus" start out like a cleaned-up Bikini Kill demo, with screaming vocals and lots of distortion. But the band doesn't sustain that hard edge; later on, the song breaks out into a chorus of "oh ah ohs," a shtick that's just about as pop as it gets. It's a deliberate, exciting juxtaposition that proves the Tea Cozies' three founding ladies (and their lone bass-playing gentleman) know exactly what they're doing. SARA BRICKNER

Ghost (pictured), Six Organs of Admittance at the Crocodile, 8 p.m., $12

I don't know who's responsible for introducing LSD to the Japanese, but I'm glad they did. A collective of like-minded musicians, Ghost play free-range psychedelia. Under their cosmic spell, genre boundaries dissipate into thin air (picture Amon Duul, Blue Cheer, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Floyd, and the Velvets all hanging out in the ruins of ancient Buddhist temples). Playing off our Western obsession with the "mysteries of the Orient", Ghost does not often tour, nor does the group record much. Thus, when it does, it feels monumental, as with 2007's In Stormy Nights. Reveling in the act of creation, Ghost can shift from medieval wistfulness to sky-melting ferocity, the music aspiring for the heavens as the musicians attempt to steer it back to earth. Sharing the bill is our own psychedelic genre-smasher, Six Organs of Admittance (AKA Ben Chasny), who has recently completed a new record with West Seattle-based producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth) Chasny says he's eyeing an August release date for the new jams, but it's a good bet you can catch a preview or two tonight. BRIAN J. BARR

Ladytron, the Faint at Showbox SODO, 8 p.m., $25

Electropop quartet Ladytron caught the attention of pretentious scenesters and drunken clubbers alike with its first two albums, 604 and Light & Magic. The Brit-band has since developed an enormous cult following, thanks to several underground hits and extensive touring. Its latest release, 2008's Velocifero, is a sexy Goth-tinged dance album filled with hypnotic melodies, raucous beats, and wry song content (sung in both English and Bulgarian). Lead vocalists Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo deadpan and taunt their way through lyrics like, "There's a ghost in me who wants to say, 'I'm sorry,' doesn't mean I'm sorry." Their chilly delivery is simultaneously gorgeous and disturbing, leaving you torn between wanting to dance and run for cover. ERIKA HOBART

Saturday:

At the Sunset Tavern, you can see an early live Audioasis broadcast featuring Born Anchors (Live on KEXP at 6:30) and Police Teeth (Live on KEXP at 8:00). Later on, Thee Sgt Major III, Bacchus and Wild Orchid Children play starting around 9 p.m. All these bands are awesome, and it'll be well worth the $8it'll cost you to camp out at the Sunset for an evening.

Sportn' Life vs. Focused Noise battle at High Dive, 9 p.m., $8

Cash-saving tip: if you mention 206proof at the door, you only have to pay $5 cover.

Tonight's show features mano-y-mano performances between MCs from Seattle's Sportin' Life Records and Portland's Focused Noise Records. The show is divided into three sets that include the revolutionary-minded Mic Crenshaw (Focused) versus the party-minded Spaceman (Sportin'), and, for the night's closer, hipster troublemakers Animal Farm versus the imposing, Biggie-esque D. Black (pictured). The highlight, however, may just be the opening joust pitting Serge Severe against Fatal Lucciauno--but not because of the controversy surrounding local rapper Lucciauno's recent boot off the Dyme Def show roster at the Croc. Rather, it's because Severe and Lucciauno have near-dichotomous styles. Both serve heavy doses of swagger, but Severe's centers on a jazzy-funky sensibility, while Lucciauno is pure street. Let the battle(s) begin. KEVIN CAPP

Sunday:

Marianne Dissard, Shane Tutmarc, Andrew Colberg at Comet Tavern, 9 p.m., $7

Dissard also plays a free, all-ages in-store at Sonic Boom Ballard at 4 p.m. Sunday.

French singer/lyricist Marianne Dissard says that all of her songs start out as lullabies (she pronounces it lool-a-byes) "until we put them in the suitcase and they become something else." For listeners familiar with Dissard's debut album, l'entredeux, the songs actually start out as a hybrid of Americana and traditional cabaret/chanson (French vocal-oriented lounge) music, outfitted in dense, jazzy arrangements courtesy of Calexico's Joey Burns, who also wrote all the music. The racy video for "Les Draps Sourds," which begins with a couple having sex in a bed and adds a new person to the mix every few minutes, works as a fitting metaphor for the music itself. In concert, however, Dissard and her backing band (which now includes violin, bass, guitar, and drums) shake off the elegant reserve of the album for a rowdier, more driving approach that still retains traces of its jazzy roots. Dissard herself manages to be fiesty, quick-witted, and self-effacing all once, dropping lighthearted quips like "Tim Horton's are my bitches" between songs. With French singing unfairly consigned as either kitsch, passing trend, or both, Dissard manages to avoid novelty par excellence. As she channels the American West through a French-vocal lens, she makes both forms fit as if they were always meant for each other, and arguably even re-invents them both. Perhaps her work is so convincing because Dissard has a rightful claim to both forms after having grown up in France and Arizona. Perhaps it's because she's just a damn good time. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

Grouch & Eligh, Afro Classics, MG! The Visionary at Neumos, 8 p.m., $15 adv

Grouch & Eligh will also perform a free, all ages in-store at Easy Street Records in West Seattle at 5 p.m.

Along with their fellow Living Legends crew members, Eligh and the Grouch have played pivotal roles in the development and dissemination of an underground West Coast sound that emphasized the "hip" in hip-hop. They ground the more goofy gangstas into a fine powder and huffed and puffed them away with a fun-loving style that combined Cali's funkadelic production with lyrical odes to independence, both as soloists and a duo. (See the Grouch's '08 Show You the World for a recent solo example.) Their third disc, Say G&E!, released April 24, continues this proud tradition. The spaced-out title track recalls Outkast's ATLiens punctuated with low-rider cool, as does the even more interstellar "Comin' Up," though it has a far more serious tone befitting such an important outfit. KEVIN CAPP

The BellRays, the Boss Martians, the Devil's Club, Stone Axe, the Knast at El Corazon, 8 p.m., $8 adv., $10 dos

Even if it's partially true, California's BellRays - the core of which is the married duo of singer Lisa Kekaula and guitarist Bob Vennum - hate, hate, hate it when you say they're "like the MC5 fronted by Tina Turner." Fair enough, since their furious and delectable garage-rock 'n soul is infused with the grit, hooks, and passion of so many other classic acts from the annals of punk, Motown, and '70s arena-rock. Too many to name here, but what's important is: 1. That the quartet has distilled those influences into a sound and vibe they can rightfully call their own; and 2. They're one of the most blazing, swaggering, soulful live acts you'll ever experience, as Kekaula's enormous 'fro and even bigger voice tangles with Vennum's explosive riffs and the rhythm section's righteous wallop to kick out the jams in a way that's simply the best. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

 
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