Live Music Roundup: Friday, August 14

Or, the Whale
Firstly, the Rock the Bells tour has not forsaken us this year as we originally thought; Talib Kweli and DJ Hi Tek are performing as Reflection Eternal alongside Slum Village, Slaughterhouse, Pete Rock, Supernatural and Khingz at Showbox at the Market tonight. The show starts at 7 p.m. and costs $30 if you don't have a ticket yet.

The Dodos and Army Navy at the Mural Amphitheater, 6 p.m., free, all ages

Piss off hipsters using the transitive property. If A, The Dodos' most well-known song, "Fools," was used in a Miller Chill commercial last year, and B, hipsters who attend free Dodos shows have been known to leave right after the final beat of "Fools" is played, then C, a hipster is as laughably facile as a Corp.-Corp. manufactured bottle of douche beer. Now that those posers are gone, here's why you should stick around for the whole of The Dodos' appearance at the Mural: because their indie-Afro-folk-pop sounds more authentically at home in the open air. Because percussionist Logan Kroeber's from-the-heart fervor is entrancing to watch. Because he and singer/guitarist Meric Long have added electric vibraphonist Keaton Snyder to the line-up, giving their pulsating tribal sounds pleasant new depths. Because you can bring your boomer parents, who will say that The Dodos' music reminds them of their CD copy of Paul Simon's Rhythm of the Saints. Because they'll likely show off new material from their upcoming, buzzed-about album, Time to Die. Because the Mural's beer garden doesn't serve douche beer. ROSE MARTELLI

Or, the Whale, Conrad Ford, Jack Wilson at the Tractor, 9:30 p.m., $8

Or, The Whale has a remarkable knack for sounding small. At first glance, this seems a slight to the folksy Bay Area septet, but it's really a testament to their canniness at composition and arrangement. Seven players can get a bit unwieldy, the additions serving to weigh the sound down rather than anchor it, but that couldn't be further than the truth on Or, The Whale's eponymous sophomore album.

The sound is lush and full, yet allows for space and subtlety when appropriate. Album opener "No Love Blues" weaves between the two, with vocal harmonies fading in and out on the chorus as the verses alternate between simple vocals and guitar, and a full band sound with banjo and pedal steel filling in the gaps. "Count the Stars" is a slow simmer, focused entirely on the amazingly compatible vocals of Alex Robbins and Lindsay Garfield, with bass and drums providing rudimentary structure. Pedal steel lines and simply strummed acoustic guitar barely brush the surface. Even the feedback-heavy "Black Rabbit", which does double duty as pseudo-psych and Neil Youngish country stomp, avoids feeling excess. Of course, the group still has seven members, so you never know when things will just explode with sound. NICHOLAS HALL

Red Fang, Little Cuts, Lions at the Sunset, 10 p.m., $8

If future Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme had chosen to invite Black Flag founder Greg Ginn and Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler to his legendary Desert Sessions back in the late '90s, the results probably would have sounded much like Red Fang today. Watching them peel the paint off the walls at the Comet last month felt akin to being fortunate enough to catch Metallica play a small club while touring in support of their debut, Kill 'Em All. Opener Little Cuts is the extremely promising new punk project led by Dave Hernandez (Scared of Chaka, the Shins), with help from bassist Drew Church (the Cops and countless other local bands) and drummer Curtis James (Excuse 17, the Old Haunts). They're followed by Austin's Lions, longtime tourmates of Red Fang who have also shared the stage with logical matches such as Blue Cheer, Nebula, the Misfits, and Russian Circles. Anyone who appreciates the flashpoints where metal and punk intersect would be an utter fool to miss this show. HANNAH LEVIN

YACHT, Bobby Birdman at Vera, 7:30 p.m., $11, all ages

Perhaps, like me, you first stumbled across YACHT -- a.k.a. Oregon native and long-time musician Jona Bechtolt, who's been in bands since junior high -- a couple of years ago when he opened for LCD Soundsystem at the Showbox. Unsure at first what to make of the wide-eyed, bushy-haired twentysomething as he sang and spastically danced around the stage to the quirky electro jams coming out of his beat-up white I-Book, the crowd steadily warmed up to his tunes and stage presence, and by the end of his short but memorable set, people were cheering him wildly. A bit has changed in the two-plus years since. Bechtolt brought his girlfriend, vocalist/programmer Claire Evans, into the YACHT fold. The duo signed to DFA Records, which just issued their new LP, See Mystery Lights. They developed a strange affinity for triangles (see: their logo, album artwork, and press photos). And they've turned YACHT into a mysterious, quasi-mythical/mystical, manifesto-spouting band-cum-art project somewhere between Daft Punk and Lansing-Dreiden. Still, on the music front, not much has changed: It's still an odd, charming, and energetic mix of minimal electro, dance-punk, and indie-pop. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

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