Best and Worst of the Week's Musical Offerings

Matt Valentine and Erika Elder + Charalambides + Climax Golden Twins

Wednesday, February 21

Christina Carter has the voice of a wintry angel. Cold yet beautiful, it is ignited by the vast, silent air surrounding it—a spark that singes the hearts of any within close proximity. Christina and ex-husband Tom Carter make up Charalambides, and they've come a long way from their humble cassette-making beginnings in Houston, Texas, 14 years ago. After parting ways with pedal steel player Heather Leigh Murray, the Carters reunited in 2005 as a duo and came out with last year's A Vintage Burden, a harrowing collection of six moving, sedated, and droning acoustic/electric guitar–based songs that are gentle and calm but, above all, commanding, mysterious, and captivating. TRAVIS RITTER Gallery 1412, 8 p.m. $5–$15.

The Thermals + Helvetia + Speaker Speaker

Wednesday, February 21

The MySpace "sounds like" description for the Thermals is "smashing, cute." While that is frightfully succinct and accurate, it is somewhat incomplete. They're also a politically fearless band that took on the hypocrisies of conservative Christianity and the dangers of cultural inertia on last year's The Body, the Blood, the Machine. What makes them particularly delightful, however, is the adroit touch they have for marrying their subversive and accusatory screeds to pandemically infectious melodies. Undeniable gems like "A Pillar of Salt" are pure pop-punk joy: It's as if they've shoved all their issues and enemies into one big, fuzz box-powered woodchipper and are pogoing gleefully around in the bloody sawdust. Priceless. HANNAH LEVIN Chop Suey, 8 p.m. $10. All ages.

Night Canopy + the Flying Fox + TV Coahran

Thursday, February 22

SEE FEATURE (Night Canopy), P. 49. Comet Tavern, 9 p.m. $5.

Dolorean + Horse Feathers

Friday, February 23

"You're headed for a breakdown, why don't you pull yourself to pieces." Groucho Marx said that. "Their heads their lips, their chests their hips, they walk. Them bones they move they talk." Justin Ringle, vocalist of the presumably Marx Bros.–named band Horse Feathers, delivers these lines in their beautifully orchestrated song "Blood on the Snow." However, while Marx executed lightning-fast one-liners, Portland-based folk troubadour Ringle errs more toward throaty melodic peaks and valleys in his delivery. The 2006 Horse Feathers release, Words Are Dead, also features Peter Broderick on just about every other acoustic instrument you can think of—violin, saw, banjo, percussion, etc.—adding sharp punctuation to Ringle's cascading voice. Headlining this early show is Dolorean, who will grace the stage with a soulful collection of brand-new tunes for the release of their new record, You Can't Win. ERIK NEUMANN Sunset Tavern, 7 p.m. $6.

Brightblack Morning Light + Women and Children + Mariee Sioux

Saturday, February 24

Dude, Brightblack Morning Light are some high motherfuckers. When they played Neumo's last fall, it was like every breath that came out of frontman Nabob Shineywater was a great exhale of weed smoke. His life partner and bandmate, Rachel Rabob Hughes, played her organ at the tempo of pine sap oozing out of a tree. It was soulful and melodic, sure, but it was not music to dance to; it was music to stretch out on pillows and, like Brightblack themselves, be stoned to. After their performance, Shineywater walked through the crowd watching headliners Mojave 3. In his beaded dreadlocks and dirty tie-dye, brother looked kinda freaked out and nervous. I felt like telling him it was all gonna be OK, that the Earth was resilient and she was only temporarily sick. But alas, I wasn't stoned, so I didn't say a thing. BRIAN J. BARR Triple Door, 8 p.m. $13 adv./$15.

The Buttrock Suites

Saturday, February 24

SEE ROCKET QUEEN, P. 51. Neumo's, 8 p.m. $15.

The Earaches + Shark Lake + the Whore Moans

Saturday, February 24

Is it possible to ever tire of soulful, garage-y trash-punk, no matter how many bands have revisited that sound in rock 'n' roll history? Can you really get sick of scuzzy, fuzzy guitar chords that stumble around a melody like a booze-guzzling fool slipping in a giant puddle of beer, barely maintaining a hold on consciousness? Will the howls emanating from a set of vocal cords that almost certainly have been slashed up with a rusty X-Acto knife, power-sanded, burned with Lucky Strikes, and doused with tequila someday stop eliciting thrills? I say nay, and that's why Seattle quartet the Whore Moans are where they're at tonight. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG Comet Tavern, 9 p.m. $5.

Gabriel Teodros + Medusa + Burntface

Saturday, February 24

SEE FEATURE (Gabriel Teodros), P. 48. Chop Suey, 8 p.m. $10. All ages.

Josh Ritter + the Submarines

Sunday, February 25

Moscow, Idaho—Pullman's better-looking sister city on the Palouse—lays claim to three famous faces among its exports. There's Dan O'Brien, the Olympic gold medalist; Idaho Gem, Earth's first cloned mule; and singer-songwriter Josh Ritter. The townie is the least familiar mug of the trio (at least in this country), but Ritter can outrun O'Brien and Gem on the fretboard. In Ireland, of all places, his thoughtful folk tunes have made him a chart-busting wunderkind. On The Animal Years, his latest full-length studio release, Ritter's care in crafting melody translates into a record full of depth and personality, transcending the singer-songwriter cliché. Tonight he plays solo, stumping his new EP, Live at the Record Exchange. CHRIS KORNELIS Showbox, 8 p.m. $17.50 adv./$20.

The Annuals + Pilot Speed + Emilia

Tuesday, February 27

SEE WIRE (The Annuals), P. 31. Neumo's, 8 p.m. $10. All ages (balcony only).

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