Blake Lewis and Don Caballero made the list too. Check out briefs and photos for our recommended shows for February 11 through 17.
Jesca Hoop, Wednesday, February 11: Opening for The Polyphonic Spree at the Showbox in 2007, Jesca Hoop seemed at first like she might succumb to all the noise from the folks over at the bar. But the chestnut-haired singer-guitarist dedicated herself to winning over the healthy crowd that gathered at the front of the stage for her set, and it worked. Accompanied by a keyboardist and a guy manning a small MPC sampler, the Northern California native was equal parts freak-folker and torch singer; she had a riveting voice and confident stage presence, and her songs were best when accompanied by trip-hoppish beats. She used to be Tom Waitsâ€™ nanny, and he once said that her music â€œis like going swimming in a lake at night.â€ Whatever that means. Tom Waits says weird shit, but having a Tom Waits quote on your bio is a good, good thing. Jesca also wears funny hats sometimes. With Greg Laswell, Secret Stairs. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8 p.m. $10. Note by MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG
Horse Feathers, Wednesday, February 11: True, Portland-based Horse Feathers may take its name from a Marx Brothers movie, but there is nothing funny about this band. At times, the soft, lyrical music of Justin Ringle and friends comes off as downright melancholy. Songs like â€œCurs in the Weeds,â€ the opening track on last yearâ€™s House With No Home, are heartbreakingly beautiful. Ringleâ€™s near-falsetto pairs with Peter Broderickâ€™s violin crescendos and Heather Broderickâ€™s cello to create simultaneous feelings of calm and sadness. At the same time, there is something oddly warm about the easy, gentle melodies of â€œFinch on Saturday,â€ where Ringle sings about God and love with his heart wide open. Horse Feathersâ€™ music is inviting, as if Ringle is willing to share his innermost lyrical feelings with the rest of the world. And thereâ€™s nothing wrong with that: This is the sort of quiet folk that shouldnâ€™t be confined to a stereo. With Mighty Tiger, Ah Holly Famâ€™ly. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $10. Note by PAIGE RICHMOND