Wednesday, Dec. 8
Good thing this one's starting early. The ex–Dead Kennedys frontman crows on in that familiar, clipped lisp for hours and hours in nonelection years. Expect a highly entertaining reality check about the myriad wrongs in pre-reinaugural America, in and around a few trips to the Green Room for cocktail breaks. Showbox, 7 p.m. $10 adv.
Joan as Police Woman
During the early/mid-'90s, Joan Wasser introduced the violin to a legion of anxious, easily depressed post-college heads via the indie rock outfit the Dambuilders. Now she has gone solo, and the Village Voice recently compared her to Deborah Harry singing Nina Simone. Crocodile Cafe, 9 p.m. $10 adv./$12
Taking a Chance on Love (Sony Classical), 26-year-old Jane Monheit's fourth album, is another fine contribution to the credit-card-jazz canon: Lush, string-swaddled arrangements and swinging bass solos and cannily selected songs and velvet-rope production. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 7:30 p.m. $20.50–$24.50. Also Thurs., Dec. 9–Sat., Dec. 11, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 12, at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
Something for everyone at the last installment of Revolver—from Infomatik's razor-wave to the supergroup party courtesy of the Coconut Coolouts (featuring members of Hint Hint and the Charming Snakes). The Catch's bass player will be behind the decks; think she'll play the Go-Gos? Chop Suey, 9 p.m. $5
Sally Timms + Johnny Dowd
On In the World of Him (Touch and Go), Ms. Timms dedicates an album's worth of songs to men. She sings to them, she sings about them, and she even sings as a man herself. Joining her on the record—and this show—is the outlaw Johnny Dowd. Tractor Tavern, 9 p.m. $13 adv./$15
Thursday, Dec. 9
KNDD Deck the Hall Ball: Modest Mouse + Franz Ferdinand + the Killers + Keane + the Shins + Snow Patrol
The headliners were the year's biggest surprise breakout, with a gorgeous guitar anthem soured by the singing. Franz Ferdinand made the best neo-new-wave album this side of the Futureheads' and Luomo's. The Killers and Keane are fairly overhyped. The Shins are likable but kind of wan. And Snow Patrol had the most unabashedly beautiful guitar sugar-rush of the year. As radio station bills go, outstanding. KeyArena, 6 p.m. $35
SEE FEATURE, P. 42. Crocodile Cafe, 9 p.m. $7
This local indie trio is at their best delivering sharply enunciated bar chords for iron-lunged bassist Makirh to paint over with her operatic siren calls. Some sort of multimedia element wouldn't be out of the ordinary; Makirh and guitarist Myron Basden are both accomplished visual artists. Rendezvous, 10:30 p.m. $5
Swayzak + Matthew Dear + Matt Corwine
ALSO SEE FEATURE, P. 41. Though it doesn't have anything as outstanding as "Dog Days," from 2003's Leave Luck to Heaven, Matthew Dear's new Backstroke (Ghostly International) is a solid slab of new-wave-flavored techno. Matt Corwine, an occasional SW contributor, is pretty nice with the gear and the beats, too. Chop Suey, 9 p.m. $10 adv.
Friday, Dec. 10
A Frames + Point Line Plane
New Sub Pop signees the A Frames' next album is, from what we've heard, a corker. The second-billed are celebrating their CD release. Factums open. Sunset Tavern, 9 p.m. $6
On Music to Start a Cult To (Stinky), Jesika von Rabbit, Todd Rutherford, and Travis Cline are just as likely to hold a séance as they are to ride a mechanical bull. Best cut: "Dirty Horse," a hypnotic, almost catatonic male-female sing-along involving Jesus and the devil, with a lazily strummed acoustic guitar bristling beneath a solemn "oh-ohh" chorus. Bob Schneider headlines. Crocodile Cafe, 9 p.m. $15 adv.
This lousy country act lost bassist John Rich a few years ago. Now he's making some of the best music in the world with Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson. Guess which you should skip, and which you should wait around to come back to town? Moore Theatre, 8 p.m. $29.50–$49.50
Chip Davis, the man behind Mannheim, has been churning out instrumental synth-pop—half elevator music, half neoclassical—since 1975. While his original compositions often descend into mushy preciousness (e.g., a concept album based on Greek mythology), Davis has a real knack for reimagining classic Christmas carols, à la Wendy Carlos' Switched-On Bach records. Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma, 253-272-3663, 8 p.m. $39.50–$85
Slayer + Killswitch Engage + Mastodon
Show early for the exacting, all-business crush of the openers, whose Moby Dick–inspired Leviathan (Relapse) is among the top extreme albums of the year, get a neck massage during the lame metalcore panderers in Killswitch, then pay respects to the endlessly influential death-metal demigod headliners. No word on if Reign in Blood will be played in its entirety again. Premier, 7 p.m. $30
Youthcare Benefit: The Presidents of the United States of America + Mountain Con
We're not really fans of the headliners at all; in fact, we find it kind of puzzling that they're still a draw, even here. But this is a good cause, and who knows? Maybe they're better live than we think. Saturday's show features the Presidents, Visqueen, and Smoosh. Showbox, 8 p.m. $15 adv./$18 Also Sat., Dec. 11
Saturday, Dec. 11
The Arcade Fire
Montreal's Arcade Fire have been compared to Neutral Milk Hotel, but their cabaret-style indie rock is a little less dramatic—or is it more dramatic? Laying voices and instruments as if they were bundling up against cold weather, the band's debut, Funeral (Merge) is gorgeous. Neumo's, 6 p.m. $15
This gloomy, art-damaged instrumental quintet compares favorably to Explosions in the Sky when they're really on. They have a tendency to meander on album, but if tonight's show is anything like their live set opening for (and performing with) Neurosis frontman Steve Von Till in May, it'll be well worth the drive south. Nine Pound Hammer, 6009 Airport Way S., 206-762-3373, 8 p.m. $5
The winner of the SW music awards' Best New Band category earlier this year, Kuma's dramatic goth-rock keeps winning converts across the board, thanks to Bre Loughlin's powerful vocals and guitarist Dave Dayton's turbulent whorl. Sushirobo opens. Graceland, 9 p.m. $8
Monday, Dec. 13
SEE SW THIS WEEK, P. 39. Tractor Tavern, 8 p.m. $10.Also Tues., Dec. 14
Tuesday, Dec. 14
Punk Rock Karaoke
Nice idea here. Tab a player or two from the better Warped Tour veterans (Bad Religion, Social Distortion, Circle Jerks, Agent Orange, NOFX), put 'em in a bus, then mix and match for a (hopefully) spontaneous punkaraoke session. Should be literally and figuratively cooler than a day with the kids at Warped. Neumo's, 8 p.m. $10 adv.