The Short List

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

Sarah Shannon

Wednesday, February 7

I've never actually spoken to Sarah Shannon, but she and I go way back. Back to the early '90s, when I was an undergrad at the University of Maryland and the old band she fronted, Velocity Girl (which was signed to Sub Pop for a spell), was a local fixture that brought its swirling shoegazer pop to campus for many a fine, fine show. Even with all the buzzing guitars it was evident Shannon had a sweet, winning voice, and these years later, it's been really nice to hear it front and center on the Seattle transplant's manicured, Bacharachian solo efforts, including the newly released City Morning Song. The title track, with its bouncy piano and muted horns, could have been the theme to a '70s sitcom about a woman trying to make her way in the big city. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG Triple Door, 7:30 p.m. $10

Mike Dillon's Go-Go Jungle + Skerik + Steve Moore Trio

Thursday, February 8

SEE WIRE (Mike Dillon's Go-Go Jungle), P. 44. Tractor Tavern, 9 p.m. $10

Night Canopy + the Cave Singers + Lightning Dust

Thursday, February 8

One of the best things about seeing a Stephen McBean project live—whether it be Black Mountain or Pink Mountaintops—is soaking up the striking presence of his right-hand woman, a ray-of-light siren who commands the stage with her steely, wavering vocals. PMT's "Tourist in Your Town" wouldn't be the down-and-dirrrty folk-rock jammer that it is without her harmonies, and the fuzzed-out backbone of the Black Mountain catalog is catapulted into a brighter universe with her electrifying elixir poured over top. I've been a-prayin' to the psychedelic folk-rock gods for more Amber Webber, and they've finally answered in the form of Lightning Dust, her new project with fellow all-things-Mountain collaborator, drummer Josh Wells. While hints of their Jagjaguwar mates come through, there's a haunting, dark quality all their own to the tracks they've been puttin' down. And with some heavy studio sessions under way, there's hope a bona fide release might be ready to pick up sometime soon. Same goes for the sweet honey twang of Amy Blaschke's Night Canopy, whose debut full-length drops March 13 on Go Midnight. Get sneak previews of both tonight. AJA PECKNOLD Crocodile Cafe, 9 p.m. $7 SEE ROCKET QUEEN (Night Canopy) P. 72.

4th Annual My Bloody Valentine is Shameless with Drop the Lime

Friday, February 9

Beyond the menacing, jokerlike gold-toothed grin of Drop the Lime's L. Venezia is a cold, cold heart, throbbing and pumping at a rate that would cause many to go into cardiac arrest. The speaker-blowing bass from the schizophrenic and ghetto-tech break beats, the postapocalyptic synths, the percussive experimentation, and Venezia's pleasant smoky croon (that is, at times, angsty and hallowed) certainly make up the bulk of his sound on record. Despite working with a collage of disparate sounds, tempos, and moods, the Tigerbeat 6 artist is well-trained live, and he knows how to keep the dance floor hot and sweaty—in a seductive "you're beginning to smell like salt and B.O., but I sorta like it" kind of way. With Naha, Squid Leader, Axcys, and Justin Byrnes and visuals by Killing Frenzy. TRAVIS RITTER Re-bar 9:30 p.m. $7

Of Montreal + the Blow + Aqueduct

Friday, February 9

SEE FEATURE (Of Montreal), P. 65. Showbox, 8 p.m. $15 All ages

Seattle Improvised Music Festival

Friday, February 9

Founded in 2005, Seattle Improvised Music has been a forward-thinking force in the community for showcasing innovative composers from around town and the world. Director Gust Burns, who also helps operate the tiny Gallery 1412 with a dozen others, won't be playing his avant-garde piano until next weekend (the festival continues with artists from N.Y.C., Berlin, Vancouver, and Seattle on the 16th and 17th), but he's lined up creative pairings for tonight and tomorrow as well. It's anyone's guess how, for example, Bonnie Jones from Baltimore, playing delay pedals, will sound matched with Seattle's Jason E. Anderson on electronics, but that's the whole idea. Oboists, trombonists, and even saw specialists convene for eclectic, thought-provoking performances. Also Saturday, Feb. 10. RACHEL SHIMP Gallery 1412, 8 p.m. $5-$15

Pete Yorn + Aqualung + Charlotte Martin

Saturday, February 10

When I chatted with Pete Yorn in December, his third full-length, Nightcrawler, had only been out a couple months. He was already well into planning his next one, though, and like everyone else with a record deal and a taste for Johnny Cash, Yorn was bitten by the country bug. The New Jersey native, who's made a living working the Mountain-fresh crowd for the last few years, has got hundreds of country tracks on the back burner. He threw a few on an EP—Westerns—including "The Man," which features support from Dixie Chicks Natalie Maines and Martie Maguire. The songs have some country flare, but despite the help, overall they carry far less weight than a Black Angus. So it wasn't exactly disappointing that he stuck to his unaffected rock and roll for his set at December's Deck the Hall Ball. CHRIS KORNELIS Showbox, 8 p.m. $25 adv./$28 All ages

Guster + the Stars of Track and Field

Sunday, February 11

On the small stage at the Sunset Tavern a few months ago, bass-free and nattily attired Portland trio Stars of Track and Field pulled off an extraordinary set that was alternately intimate and epic, delivering delicate electro-pop in the vein of the Postal Service and then blowing it up with the artsy guitar sweep of a Radiohead or Verve. It was pretty evident that night that SOTAF were on the verge of something big, and their recent signing to Wind-Up Records (Creed's former home, but don't hold that against 'em) and appearance on Conan O'Brien seem to be bearing that out. They probably won't play the Sunset again anytime soon, but here's your chance to catch them before they start headlining KeyArena. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG Neumo's, 7 p.m. Free

Merle Haggard + Neko Case

Sunday, February 11

Seattle takes pride in calling itself the onetime home of country songwriter and perpetual nomad Neko Case—who once noted that there was no good reason for moving to Nashville—even if she actually lived in Tacoma. On last year's elegiac Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, she drives through "poor Spanaway," hinting at an attachment to out-of-the-way places for reasons unclear in her famously cryptic, increasingly fairy-tale-like lyrics. In Australia at press time, she won't be home in Tucson (where she recorded the breakthrough Blacklisted in 2001) until the end of March, and then she'll reportedly move on to Vermont. Case's days as our artist in residence may be over, but at least we'll always be a stop on the endless road. RACHEL SHIMP Paramount Theatre, 7:30 p.m. $44.50–$49.50 SEE FEATURE (Merle Haggard) P. 67.

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