The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

Dirty Projectors ~ Wednesday, November 4This New York trio (which adds two members when touring) is as easy to love as Animal Collective and as easy to hate as Vampire Weekend. It depends how much credence you give to the charge that the Dirty Projectors' mad scientist David Longstreth blatantly rips off his predecessors, such as Frank Zappa, and/or appropriates the music of an entire continent—namely, Africa. To those of us who fall somewhere between these two warring camps, however, the trio's arty indie rock, with its lush arrangements, angelic harmonies, and circuitous rhythms, is just uncommonly good music. Before 2009, their efforts had confused and even enraged many, but the pop sensibility the Dirty Projectors injected into Bitte Orca, released in June, converted at least as many as it alienated. With Little Wings. Neumos, 925 Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15 adv. KEVIN CAPPSkinny Puppy ~ Wednesday, November 4You could make the argument that Canadian anarcho-industrial-rock pioneers Skinny Puppy have been at their most artistically potent (and successful) over the past 27-plus years when there's a right-wing bogeyman at the helm of the free world to rail against. The group—long led by frontman Nivek Ogre and multi-instrumentalist cEvin Key (third original mainstay Dwayne Goettel died of a heroin overdose in 1995)—rose to prominence and crafted some of their best work during the Reagan/Bush years, fell off (and split up) during the Clinton '90s, and re-emerged, wholly revitalized with two new albums, during the W years. How they'll fare while Obama's in office is anyone's guess, although with a couple wars still going on, a lousy economy, continued animal abuse, media manipulation, and tons more awful shit happening in the world, there's still plenty to be noisy, chaotic, intense, and pissed off about. Plus, Skinny Puppy's multimedia stage show, as always, is fucking amazing. With Vverevvolf Grehv. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $27 adv./$30 DOS. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERGHoliday Shores ~ Friday, November 6Suddenly and out of nowhere, a whole generation of young bands is looking to the beach for inspiration. It's a coast-to-coast phenomenon, from San Francisco's Girls to New Jersey's Real Estate to San Diego's Wavves. But the subject doesn't yield the air of innocent escape it once did. Dotted with drugs and misfits, it can actually be a sinister setting for the above bands. Sitting between these poles of warm nostalgia and tingling paranoia are Holiday Shores, a Florida outfit named for an idyllic street near the ocean. Led by Nathan Pemberton, the band has made its full-length debut with Columbus'd the Whim, a collection of nifty, somewhat retro guitar-pop gems. Heavy helpings of reverb, vintage keys, and vocal harmonies lend a wintry feel to Pemberton's summer-pitched musings. Despite some fleeting earmarks, though, Holiday Shores don't really sound like other bands. It's as if Pemberton is too immersed in his own little world to take cues from anyone outside it. With Evangelicals. The Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $8–$9. DOUG WALLENJohn Abercrombie Quartet; Trio 3 ~ Friday, November 6Like Bumbershoot, the Earshot Jazz Festival sometimes presents painful choices. Tonight is one of those nights, as the festival offers two great bands several miles apart. On the other hand, the groups are pretty musically distant as well, so it shouldn't be too hard to decide where you belong. If you like the ECM tradition of expansive, cerebral music that's both wistful and austere, guitarist John Abercrombie's quartet will serve you at the Triple Door. If you're craving something rougher-edged, with ties to the searing free jazz of the '60s, the all-star Trio 3 of Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman, and Andrew Cyrille will give you some hard knocks. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7 (all ages) & 9:30 p.m. $24. PONCHO Concert Hall, Cornish College, 710 E. Roy St., 726-5066. 8 p.m. $18. All ages. MARK D. FEFERLights ~ Friday, November 6Lights (Valerie Poxleitner) began creating and distributing synth-pop via MySpace in her teens, but it wasn't until last year, when Old Navy used four of her songs in their spring ad campaign, that she got her big break. The Toronto native has since performed at SXSW, and recently announced that she'll open for Owl City on his upcoming national tour. Her commercial appeal is obvious—she's pretty, petite, and wields a keytar on her enchanting debut studio album The Listening. If none of that wins you over, she also includes an adorable cover of the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" in her live set—because, let's face it, everybody knows the words. With Stars of Track and Field. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 7 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. All ages. ERIKA HOBARTThe Raveonettes ~ Friday, November 6It's a rare feat for a band to simultaneously pay homage to their influences, sound current and not nostalgic, and maintain an element of originality. These are some of the finer points of the Raveonettes' latest, In and Out of Control, an album that on its surface is a high-school soundtrack complete with bubblegum, a summer tease, and synthesizers. It would have taken Phil Spector an orchestra in his days outside of prison to create what electronic Danes Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo have accomplished here. But the Raveonettes aren't trading in teen pop. Their sweetener is in the raw, and belies an album full of dark undercurrents, such as overdose in the single "Last Dance." And nobody's keeping any secrets on "Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)." It's hard to disagree with the beats or the missives. With the Crocodiles. Neumos, 925 Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15 adv. CHRIS KORNELISBishop Allen ~ Saturday, November 7Justin Rice and Christian Rudder of Brooklyn's Bishop Allen both moonlight as actors in their spare time—most notably, both appeared in last year's otherwise-awful Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. It follows, then, that the duo's ultra-hip music is perfect for scoring a cute indie film—kicky, catchy, and generally cheery. Their newest album, Grrr..., packed with swingy bass lines, soft shakers, and innocuous melodies sung in Rice's charming tenor, proves that Bishop Allen has a definite handle on pop's broad appeal. Whether the songs address existential crises (as on "Dimmer": "Am I dimmer every day?/Am I just a little glimmer/Like a tiny bobbing head of an ocean swimmer?") or sweet romances ("True or False," an adorable love song about taking your shoes off and having tea with your lover), they're all undeniably hooky and winsome. It's truly music for the masses. With Throw Me the Statue and Darwin Deez. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 9 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. E. THOMPSONU District Jazz Walk ~ Saturday, November 7Over the past year, David Pierre-Lewis has managed to achieve what few club owners even attempt: He's gotten the kids into jazz. His LUCID Jazz Lounge on the Ave has become a regular hang for 20-somethings drinking in the retro bohemian atmosphere and soaking up local jazz acts like Hardcoretet and organist Ron Weinstein. Thursday nights is the Hang itself—Josh Rawlings' and Evan Flory-Barnes' jam session, formerly at Lo-Fi. To celebrate the space's first anniversary, Pierre-Lewis has organized a night of concerts up, down, and around the Ave—everyone from the Galway Arms to A-Pizza Mart is participating, with 23 local bands on board. Guitarist Leif Totusek will get your evening started right at Curio Confections, while Rawlings and Flory-Barnes' band will close out the night at LUCID itself. 5241 University Way N.E., 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Free ($5 wristband pays the musicians and gets you discounts on food and drink). MARK D. FEFERVerellen Amp Night ~ Saturday, November 7Verellen amps are the custom-built, low-end-loving beauties designed and manufactured locally by Helms Alee frontman Ben Verellen. I really can't say enough good things about Verellen himself; he's a mad-scientist Viking with a huge heart and an even bigger brain. His handiwork is fetishized by players who appreciate his signature synthesis of warmth, depth, and unfathomable volume, which typically means artists who traffic in material that is hard, heavy, or otherwise intricately noisy. Tonight's bill includes Verellen's own band, as well as Helms Alee drummer Hozoji Matheson-Margullis' metal-minded duo, Lozen, and Verellen Amplifier investors Mico de Noche, whose new split 10" with Brothers of the Sonic Cloth is quite possibly one of the best local metal releases of the year. Given the small confines of the Rendezvous, earplugs are mandatory for this one. Jewelbox/Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave., 441-5823. 10 p.m. $5. HANNAH LEVINHeadlights ~ Sunday, November 8Ethereal and deeply emotional, Headlights' new album Wildlife is not so much a departure for the band as a fuller realization of its ultimate intentions. While much of Headlights' work to date has been noticeably poppier and more upbeat, it's always carried an undercurrent of emotional depth and sonic dreaminess. This time the band captures that ruminative quality, encapsulating it in wistful keys and chiming guitar figures, with the ever-furtive sound of Erin Fein's vocals acting as a foil whenever the melody and meter veer toward purer pop territory. That dichotomy informs the album's best moments—when the two sides coalesce in catchy tunes that leave you smiling despite a nagging sense of melancholy. As always, even Headlights' headiest songs offer moments of pure pop bliss. With Anni Rossi, Pomegranates. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $10. NICHOLAS HALLDevo ~ Sunday, November 8 and Monday, November 9When Devo was at its peak nearly 30 years ago, founding members Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh sublimated their political ire in biting social commentary. At the time, the band's ironic restraint and knack for humorously tinged performance art worked in favor of the furious undercurrent blazing beneath the music. That Devo's work didn't explicitly announce its motivations only bolstered its message's power: Human civilization is devolving before our very eyes. (Hence the band's name.) Casale and Mothersbaugh were both present at the infamous 1970 Kent State shootings, and Casale cites the incident as a crucial turning point in his life and as the seed of discontent from which the band sprung. And while Devo's run on a major label may have constituted a small coup, the band learned quickly that it wasn't going to be able to undermine the ruthless corporate machinery. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 443-1744. 7:30 p.m. $38–$75. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNIThese United States ~ Monday, November 9It's been a good handful of years for honest-to-goodness American rock. Among the many bands who have gained notoriety eschewing sub-genre-isms and arty sonic excess, These United States stands out as the most unrelentingly positive with its latest album, Everything Touches Everything. Much of the album feels like one long rave-up, with crescendos everywhere. Punchy, chunky riffing; straightforward beats; lyrics that can be heard and largely understood; and a sense of well-wishing largesse define the album's sound. It's a big album, with big aspirations and giant touchstones. There's Springsteen in here, and Neil Young, too, to get a bit of country into the mix. This is music that wants nothing more than to bleed its enthusiasm into its audience, and it largely succeeds. The only disappointments come when the band gets mired in downtempo philosophizing. TUS can pull that off, too, it just doesn't quite fit in this set of grin-splitting barnstormers. With Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 8 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. NICHOLAS HALLLittle Dragon ~ Tuesday, November 10When it comes to inventive pop, no country's got the goods quite like Sweden, and one of their brightest offerings is the dreamy electronic collective Little Dragon, which comes to Seattle this week for the first time. Frontwoman Yukimi Nagano, ofJapanese-Swedish-American descent,last came to town as a supporting vocalist for fellow Swede Jose Gonzalez, and sings with a transfixing, ragged delicacy on Machine Dreams, the band's sophomore release. Creating its own sonic micro-universe between the electro-punch of The Knife and the rich introspection of Gonzalez, Little Dragon's compositions are ambient jewels rooted in folk and jazz, wrangled by a drum machine, and dusted with an unmistakable Nordic fancy. With DJ Topspin. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10 adv. HOLLIS WONG-WEARThe Mountain Goats ~ Tuesday, November 10Mountain Goats mainstay John Darnielle has a recurring, if uneasy, relationship with Christianity. After the death and illness in recent years of several people close to him, he turned to hymns, niche Christian artists, and of course the Bible. The latter's impact on the Mountain Goats' new The Life of The World to Come is obvious: Every song is named for a Bible verse. The lyrical content is a bit more diverse, showcasing Darnielle's long-standing ability to speak volumes with just a word or two. Musically the album's a mixed bag as well, pairing whispered ballads with gently rolling folk-pop and hints of fuller rock, thanks to returning bassist Peter Hughes and drummer Jon Wurster. Even Darnielle's bristling vocals are smoother as he arrives at something closer to actual singing. For all his iconoclastic ways, the beloved songsmith always conjures at least one great single on his near-annual albums, and the one this time around is "Genesis 3:23." With Final Fantasy. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151.8 p.m. $20. DOUG WALLENPinback ~ Tuesday, November 10San Diego's Pinback is one of those rare progressive pop-rock bands that cultivate a sound so uniquely compelling and downright pretty, it's a wonder more artists aren't trying to emulate them for commercial gain. Perhaps frontman Rob Crow just has such an innate sense of creative self that his delicately paced, deceptively intricate compositions can't be replicated. If the late Elliott Smith and Brian Eno had collaborated, they might have ended up with songs like "Good to Sea," a dark, swiftly percolating ditty (from their latest Touch & Go release, 2007's Autumn of the Seraphs) that exemplifies Pinback's deft touch for mixing disparate sonic elements and rendering work perfectly balanced between the dismal and divine. With Joe Jack Talcum. Neumos, 925 Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $17 adv. All ages. HANNAH LEVIN

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