The Short List

Highlights-and lowlights-of this week's music calendar.

Thursday, December 21

Das Vibenbass

I'll be up front and admit that I don't really know from jazz and tend to find most of it boring or too pseudo-sexy because of that. For the jazz tourist, there's awful, bearable, enjoyable, and "Wow!" The young quartet Das Vibenbass decidedly fall in the latter category. Having played together since 2001, vibraphonist Justin Sorensen, upright bassist Geoff Larson, drummer JC Bockman, and tattooed tenor saxophonist Josh Clifford self-describe their brand of jazz as "muscular and dirty," though it's also loose-limbed, liquid, and sparkling at times. Their just-released second album, Mindwrestling, rose to the Top 10 on KEXP's jazz chart this fall, but I recommend checking out their live show if you haven't yet hopped on the bandwagon. And what nicer place to pop your jazz cherry (or just see Das for the first or hundredth time) than the Triple Door's cozy Musicquarium? The circular bar affords good views of typically well-heeled patrons, and the bartenders' drinks are tasty as candy—but the eye and ear candy's grooving onstage. RACHEL SHIMP Triple Door, 9 p.m. Free

The Maldives + Drew Victor + Grand Hallway

SEE FEATURE (the Maldives) P.58. Tractor Tavern, 9 p.m. $6

Friday, December 22

Black Celebration

"Your optimistic eyes seem like paradise/To someone like me/I want to take you in my arms/Forgetting all I couldn't do today/Black celebration tonight," goes the title track from Depeche Mode's fifth and most gothilicious (and underrated, I think) album, which this local band pays tribute to with its very name. The longtime group honors its idols with hits and rarities about once a month, vowing to convey the atmosphere made by Gahan & Co. as well as the music. Does this mean tight black leather and snaky dance moves are involved? Since the real deal failed to play "Halo" or "Never Let Me Down Again" during their Key Arena performance last year, both of which are on Black Celebration's current playlist, perhaps we'll be treated to these seldom-heard gems? Either way, Depeche devotees won't be disappointed as they show you the world in their eyes. Tonight, with 80's Invasion and DJ Davey D. RACHEL SHIMP Neumo's, 8 p.m. $10

Julep + the Kindness Kind + Eastern Grip + Territory + Hombre

While Seattle band Dolour seems to be on hiatus—frontman Shane Tutmarc is rolling solo these days—the project served as a Petri dish for a newer local act. The Kindness Kind songwriters Nicolas Danielson and Charles Larson found themselves thrown together in the bacteria-filled breeding ground that is a tour van during stints as Dolour members on a 2005 cross-country tour. The elements combined and expanded, adding drummer Kevin Bray, bassist Brian Todd, and finally a dose of the double X chromosome—vocalist Alessandra Rose. The result is a promising experiment with traces of Blonde Redhead, Radiohead, even a hint of fuzzed-out Strokes circa Is This It. Spacey and ambient soundscapes (the Twilight Zone theme is reminiscent in "Roadmaps and Guidebooks") are spanned by Rose's throaty, Feist–meets–Karen O in a karaoke throwdown voice. While fresh out of the incubator (they've played just a handful of shows), the test results of the group's full-length debut, slated for February '07 release, promise to prove positive. AJA PECKNOLD Jules Maes, 9 p.m.

Ian McFeron Band + Acron Project

As young and hardworking up-and-comers in the local roots rock scene, McFeron and his band have been rapidly on the move the last couple of years. Their unique style incorporates rock, blues guitar, jazz-tinged drums, Texas fiddle, and even a dash of funk, for a sound often placed in the mental catalog between the Dave Matthews Band and Carbon Leaf. Subsequently, they're a big hit with the Mountain crowd, though roomfuls of indie kids at the High Dive have been known to rock out on the music as well, bolstered by the band's enthusiastic and often tireless stage presence. Perhaps there's a follow-up to last year's sophomore release, A Long Way to Freedom, in the works? Time will tell, but we think it'll be kind to these rising stars. Pleasantly funky Bellingham band the Acorn Project also play tonight's holiday bash. RACHEL SHIMP Crocodile Cafe, 8 p.m. $12

Zappa Plays Zappa

SEE FEATURE ( Paramount Theatre, 8 p.m. $37–$67

Saturday, December 23

BOAT + Shake Some Action + Patience Please

BOAT's Songs You Might Not Like was one of those records that arrived here and was played immediately because the cover reeked of DIY. The pink background and notebook drawings of the band members holding up the letters B-O-A-T was so endearing it begged to be heard. The tunes inside, however, were much more accomplished, though still far from polished. BOAT plays sloppy indie pop that is jangly, echoy, and relatively lo-fi. There is a ProTools-ish production quality to their work, which places their music on par with the Shins' first album. But singer/keyboardist D. Crane is a little more droll and milky, something that places BOAT within the lineage of bands inspired by early-'90s indie rock (i.e., Pavement, Neutral Milk Hotel). True to the DIY aesthetic, BOAT recorded Songs You Might Not Like in various basements across the Northwest, and the record features an array of noises, including whistles, theremin, and distorted pianos. BRIAN J. BARR Crocodile Cafe, 8 p.m. $5

Sunday, December 24

DJ Brian Foss

You don't have anything better to do on Christmas Eve. Trust me, you don't. I'll be in Pennsylvania, knocking back bottles of Yuengling and watching A Christmas Story with my folks. But if I wasn't, I'd be down at the Funhouse while all-around good guy Brian Foss spins his collection of rock, punk, jump blues, and jazz Christmas tunes. He'll have done a special holiday set of Sonic Reducer on KEXP the previous night, but whatever didn't make the punk-rock cut, he'll crate over to the Funhouse to get everyone in the holiday mood. And given the untimely (was there ever a good time?) breakup of the greatest Northwest band of all time, Mr. Foss also promises to throw some Dead Moon slabs into the rotation. BRIAN J. BARR Funhouse, 9 p.m. Free

The Suffering Fuckheads Xmas Eve Party

As jazz/R&B keyboardist Ron Weinstein told me earlier this year, "If you have a name like the Suffering Fuckheads, you'd better be good!" There's no question that the Fuckheads—an avant-jazz combo that includes Weinstein on Hammond organ, punk/metal drummer Mike Peterson on the kit, and such esteemed local horn players as Craig Flory and Tom Marriott—are one of the most vital, creative, and just plain good acts in town. They've had a Sunday night residency at the Sunset Tavern for more than a year now, and when they get under the bar's dark red lights they crank out formidable grooves and runs, delivering jazz standards and original compositions with plenty of attitude. Says Weinstein, "I really much prefer doing this than having a regular gig out at a casino or something. This is more fun—you get some jazz people, and then all the drunk freaks and metalheads that come to see Mike, you know, carry on and throw drinks at him. It creates some life on a Sunday night." MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG Sunset Tavern, 9 p.m. $5

Monday, December 25


One Seattle Weekly reader just wrote in, urging us to find something for "the Jewish, the bitter, and the Buddhists" to do on Christmas Day. True to its claim of having music 365 nights a year, the Central Tavern in Pioneer Square (Seattle's oldest tavern, mind you) will play host to AntiChristmas. While I couldn't get any specific details on the event, I do know that Christmas falls on a Monday, and every Monday at the Central Tavern is Metal Madness Monday. While I'm not sure if there are any Jewish and Buddhist metalheads out there, I'm positive there are plenty of bitter metalheads. Surely, long hair and power chords will be a good soundtrack for your Christmas jeer. BRIAN J. BARR Central Saloon, $5

Casual Industrees La Pajama Party Xmas PJ Party!

Mob Law + B-Shorty + Sean Cee + DJ Radam

You've seen the ubiquitous evergreen-and-white-striped stickers shaped like Washington state that crowd the surfaces of our city's electric boxes and road signs and the undersides of countless skate decks and snowboards. That's the mark of Seattle-based Casual Industrees, which offers a cool-as-Steven's-Pass-at-the-summit clothing line, specializing in gear designed by urban-influenced artists. From hoodies to tees, the jib they stick is comfort, so it's only fitting that they're behind the first La Pajama Party Xmas PJ Party at Neumo's on Christmas night. After the stockings have been slaughtered, the goose cooked, and Uncle Al is good and toasted, the Casual kids invite you to head to Neumo's (which will be decorated to look like your living room to make for optimum chillaxing grounds) for rock rappers the Mob Law, B-Shorty, Sean Cee, and DJ Radam. Don't forget to don your gayest (?) apparel in the form of PJ's for a chance to win the pajama contest! AJA PECKNOLD Neumo's, 9 p.m. $5

Tuesday, December 26

Hoquiam + the Swaybacks + Dear Darling

Oft-wistful, always enthralling Seattle indie-rock band Dear Darling—fronted by passionate, somber-voiced singer-guitarist Jesse Smith (who's also no mean chef about town, from what I hear)—has played far too few shows around town for my liking over the past year or so. That probably has something to do with the amicable departure of drummer Andy Fitts not long after DD self-released their album, Songs of Friends and Family, in the spring of 2005. I last caught them live around that time, and the trio's set was brilliant—a mix of heart-tugging, acoustic-guitar-led rootsiness, and the infectious, slanted guitar-pop of late-era Superchunk, all of it led by Smith's lyrics lamenting crumbling love. Word is Dear Darling is working on a new full-length, and hearing some new material at the Croc should be terrific, but getting to catch the band live at all is a real treat. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG Crocodile Cafe, 8 p.m. $6

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