The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Shows

The Globes ~ Wednesday, December 16The Globes, from Spokane, are way up there on the list of great acts that made their mark on the local indie-pop scene this year, meaning that Seattle's next big thing may actually come from beyond the mountains. The quartet spent the fall recording a full-length with producer John Goodmanson (who has previously worked with Death Cab for Cutie and the Wu-Tang Clan), and are in talks with the label Barsuk (see this week's "Rocket Queen"). Thank God for that, because this band's music needs to be heard. "Wooded Hill," for example, is effortlessly harmonic, nicely syncopated by a stellar rhythm section, and topped off by lead singer Erik Walters' smooth, pitch-perfect vocals. The standard Seattle pop sensibilities are all there, only with stronger hints of darkness and discord—almost like the old-school, pre-Atlantic Death Cab sounded: moody yet warm, deep and lovable. It's the ideal kind of music to get attached to, not demanding attention but definitely meriting it. With Post Harbor, the Oregon Donor, and Kids & Animals. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 8 p.m. $6. E. THOMPSONOne eskimO ~ Wednesday, December 16London-based One eskimO, just out with a self-titled debut LP, is one of those unpeggable bands best described by referencing a bunch of other bands. So let's start, improbably enough, with the late-'90s, neo-R&B grooves of Jill Scott or Erykah Badu, propelled by a beat that borrows more from electronica artists like DJ Shadow or the Chemical Brothers. Then take that tightly produced sound and perform it acoustically (including a flugelhorn and some of the niftiest percussion gizmos around, like drummer Adam Falkner's cajon and stompourine). Sing lyrics about love and loss with a voice like Seal's, even though you (that is, lead singer Kristian Leontiou) look like Eminem in a Jewfro; and when the whole thing comes together live, score your album to the animated film projected onto a screen behind you, which is almost a complete ripoff of Gorillaz vids. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10 adv. ROSE MARTELLITom Russell ~ Wednesday, December 16With more than 20 albums behind him, it's natural that consummate singer/songwriter Tom Russell should seek something new at this point in his quarter-century career. So he recorded the recent Blood and Candle Smoke in Tucson with three members of Calexico, among others. Although based in El Paso for the past decade, Russell utilized Calexico's soulful mariachi and spaghetti-Western flavors for a Tex-Mex vibrancy he couldn't have achieved on his home turf. Lyrically, the album is built on the gutsy calls and cutting detail that have cemented Russell's reputation. "Mississippi River Runnin' Backwards" outdoes Old Testament imagery with scenes of modern decay, while "Nina Simone" is a tribute to her quixotic genius and "Guadalupe" sprang from a visit to Mexico City. Several tracks hinge on the autobiographical—"East of Woodstock, West of Viet Nam" and "Criminology" describe Russell's time in Nigeria in the late '60s. As he sings at one point: "That's my story and I'm stickin' to it/No regrets, no surrender, no apology." Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8 p.m. $20 adv./$22 DOS. DOUG WALLENAFCGT ~ Thursday, December 17So you know that whole "softening of Sub Pop" stuff was/is baloney, right? Sure, several hyphen-wielding critics over the past decade have noted the label's drift toward bands that boast gentle guitars and angelic harmonies. But just when you think they've gone all pansy, they sling some real ear-punishers (think Wolf Eyes). That's where AFCGT come in; the label will release their self-titled LP next year. Less a collaboration than an amalgamation, AFCGT is local bands A Frames and Climax Golden Twins welded together for a giant sonic deathfuck. Volume and intensity are key—AFCGT takes the concept of "rock music" and bludgeons it like rowdy primates. Elements of no-wave repetition, obscure foreign sounds, and free jazz impulses all collide head-on. It's an accident you can't turn away from. With Sic Alps, Magik Markers, Story of Rats. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. BRIAN J. BARRBackbeat Seattle Holiday Party ~ Friday, December 18It's always interesting to take rockers out of the band from whence they came and plop them onstage without any of the accoutrements that generally define their sound. When you peel the layers of sound away from a heavy rock song, it can become something so unlike the fleshed-out original that you might not recognize it. Especially in Lesli Wood's case; the lyrics she writes tend to be as incendiary as her instrumentals, and she sings 'em pretty damn fast, so it'll be interesting to see if she'll slow things down for this solo set. Same for Ben Harwood, formerly the bassist in now-defunct rock band Iceage Cobra. Harwood's moved on to a brand-new bluesy, garage-rock project called Hobosexual, in which he plays the guitar; it's safe to assume he'll be wielding that axe tonight to try out some new material. Gabe Mintz, who regularly performs alone, opens. Blue Moon Tavern, 712 N.E. 45th St. 633-6267. 10 p.m. $5. SARA BRICKNERThe Classic Crime ~ Friday, December 18The Classic Crime is a band that straddles an interesting thematic line—their catalog of songs strikes a careful balance between enduring, positive hopefulness and dragging despondency. It's a duality of feeling that has kept them noteworthy while other emo-core bands have fallen by the wayside. The Classic Crime writes music that, more than their peers', accurately reflects youth's unexpected highs and lows rather than a staid series of stereotypical emotions. The quintet's music is all about the big moments—building verses of dissonant percussion, guitar, and screaming backing vocals that suddenly drop out and leave lead singer Matt MacDonald's sometimes scraping, sometimes lilting voice hanging alone for a few dramatic seconds. "The Classic Christmas Show" will feature holiday tunes as well as new songs from the upcoming Vagabonds, a record that leaves a mainstream rock sound behind in favor of a less-refined garage-rock sound—yet another sign of the band's prevailing elasticity. With Daphne Loves Derby, Moneta, Endeverance, and Katie Lavoie and the Verdict. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $10. All ages. E. THOMPSONLAKE ~ Friday, December 18Restraint is a powerful, often overlooked instrument in a musician's tool kit. It lends possibility, intimacy, and a sense of tension that can't be attained through the brute force of volume, the pyrotechnics of melodic embellishment, or the palpitation of hasty tempos. The tricky thing about restraint is that it often walks a fine line next to tedium. Effortlessness is the key, and Olympia indie-pop collective LAKE has that firmly but gently in hand. With this year's Let's Build a Roof, the band delves deep into organic compositions that sprout in your subconscious and deftly take hold, without ever being more overtly assertive than a whisper from across the room. Somehow these songs manage to attain both a greater degree of sonic complexity and a stronger sense of simplicity, intimating that restraint itself can be handled with restraint. With Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, the Beats, Man. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10 adv. NICHOLAS HALLWinter Classic 2009 ~ Friday, December 18The term "classic" shouldn't be applied lightly, but for this particular hip-hop bill, it's actually appropriate. Big World Breaks, a big-ass soul band that's provided the instrumental backdrops on some of Seattle's best hip-hop releases, headlines, but will likely provide support to the MCs on the bill as well. Definitely make sure to catch Helladope and Khingz, whose album From Slaveships to Spaceships deserves to be on every top-10 list in the city. Nor should you miss Black Aries, a partnership between locals Yirim Seck and Larue, or Hi-Life Sound System, a brand-new project featuring Khingz, B-Flat, and Crispy of GodSpeed. The only conspicuous absence is Gabriel Teodros, still out on tour. Still, this should be remembered as one of the year's best hip-hop shows. With okanomode, Mikaela Romero, GodSpeed, DJ Audeo. Nectar Lounge, 412 N. 36th St. E., 632-2020, 9 p.m. $5. SARA BRICKNERGoodbye Yellow Brick Road ~ Saturday, December 19Every year, Andrew McKeag, guitarist for the Presidents of the United States of America, puts together a holiday benefit show that pays tribute to one of music history's best-loved albums. This year, it's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, widely considered the best release in the long line sired by Sir Elton John. The album will be performed in its entirety and in order; unlike tribute-band shows, though, this evening's lineup is round-robin, with a different band for every song (so if someone manages to butcher their jam of choice, you'll only have to suffer for a few minutes). The evening's proceeds benefit MusiCares, an organization that provides assistance to musicians in financial need. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. SARA BRICKNERNew York Rifles ~ Saturday, December 19When Portland-based bandleader Scott Young was stumped trying to name his new garage-rock project, Dandy Warhols frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor dropped the suggestion "New York Rifles"—and it stuck. While there are no obvious conceptual links here to the Big Apple or firearms, it's clear that Young makes a glorious racket that takes him out of the garage and toward a broader sound that encompasses Undertones-era punk, classic rock, hook-riddled pop, and just a smidge of twang. The band's recently released sophomore effort, Make a Wish (In Music We Trust), builds on the strengths of their 2007 debut, Faraway Faster, providing a possible soundtrack for a Dirtbombs housewarming party. With Gackstatter. Café Venus/Mars Bar, 609 Eastlake Ave. E., 624-4516. 9 p.m. $6. HANNAH LEVIN

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