The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

Blood Red Dancers / Wednesday, February 17

It took a little while, but the Seattle music community is finally starting to give props to Tom Waits–channeling savants Blood Red Dancers. At their mosr recent show, former Pretty Girls Make Graves frontwoman and current Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death member Andrea Zollo was front and center, declaring her admiration of the band. Their new EP, Bikini Island, is a sharply drawn collection of songs equally fit for fighting or fucking, and their live shows are memorable, if occasionally messy, events. Also on tonight's bill are Constant Lovers, another local band destined for great things, thanks to wicked heavy percussion and wildly imaginative arrangements. With The Curious Mystery, See Me River. Neumos, 925 Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $7. HANNAH LEVIN

Darude / Thursday, February 18

As exhibited on his debut disc, 2001's Before the Storm, Finnish DJ and producer Darude (real name: Ville Virtanen) is known for his soaring trance tracks—magnum opuses whose synths flash like heat lightning. Roughly nine years later, Darude is still giving his production a similar charge. His remix of J Nitti's "No More Comin' Down" (released this month and featuring Rowetta's golden pipes) is a big, high-energy disco banger that pulses with a progressive style perfect for losing your shit on the dance floor. Not exactly thought-provoking stuff, true, but at least it's not boring. Besides, it's doubtful that the clubbers on hand at Trinity tonight are there for a lesson in the outer realms of electronic music. Trinity Nightclub, 111 Yesler Way, 447-4140. 9 p.m. Free. KEVIN CAPP

Moon Duo / Thursday, February 18

A worthy counterpart to guitarist Erik "Ripley" Johnson's work in Wooden Shjips, his collaboration with Sanae Yamada mines a mellower, more introverted side of the slow-burn psych so close to Johnson's heart. Formed just last year, Moon Duo released a 12-inch single and an EP on two different labels before migrating to Woodsist for the new four-song, 29-minute album Escape. Set quietly swirling, each track stokes a delirious drone from varying shades of guitars, drums, and keys. Different moments reference the hypnotic tug of Silver Apples, Suicide, or Can, while Johnson's vocals manifest themselves merely as incidental wisps or atmospheric undercurrents. When a reverb-soaked tambourine beat can hold one's attention for seven minutes, as on "In the Trees," a band is definitely doing something right. With Du Hexen Hase, Midday Veil. JewelBox/Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave., 441-5823. $7. 10 p.m. DOUG WALLEN

Swollen Members / Thursday, February 18

Canadian hip-hop trio Swollen Members (Prevail, Mad Child, Rob the Viking) kick off their tour tonight in our fair city. With six albums and countless live shows under their belts, these vets have earned a well-deserved place in the indie pantheon (to say nothing of their induction into the Rock Steady Crew early in their career). Swollen's latest full-length, last year's Armed to the Teeth, saw the boys dropping "Bollywood Chick," a highly sexualized ode to Indian cinema hotties with decent dance moves, as its first single. Featuring Tech N9ne, it's classic party rap—good, stupid fun. With Cool Nutz, Jay Barz. Neumos, 925 Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. Free. KEVIN CAPP

Unnatural Helpers / Friday, February 19

When Sub Pop sales manager Dean Whitmore isn't helping Jonathan Poneman's stable of bands proliferate, he holds down dual duties as drummer and frontman for the Unnatural Helpers, a delightfully melodic garage-rock outfit that recently completed a record with producer Kurt Bloch. Its first single, "Sunshine/Pretty Girls," is so ridiculously infectious that one listen will lodge it in your eternal jukebox for days on end. It's a shame that The Dutchess and the Duke's Kimberly Morrison is no longer in the band, but at least a fine candidate like Andrew Sullivan from the Trashies has picked up her duties. With Thee Oh Sees, Urinals. Funhouse, 206 Fifth Ave. N., 374-8400. 9:30 p.m. $12. HANNAH LEVIN

Alkaline Trio / Saturday, February 20

Alkaline Trio knows firsthand the perils and perks of messing with a formula, and the ups and downs of popular acceptance. With its forthcoming record, This Addiction, the band goes a long way to mend fences, crafting a set of songs that harkens back to its early years of straightforward rock efficacy bookended by the raw edge of punk and the melodic sensibilities of pop. "I think there's still a progression there. We've brought in some elements we've never used before, but I think the original spirit is there," opines AT frontman Matt Skiba. While ingenuity definitely plays a role, it's couched in uncomplicated terms, like a simple brass part popping up in the middle of a punchy, melodic guitar rave-up. Fences be damned—this album shows AT more capable than ever of straddling the line between punk spirit and pop flourishes. With Cursive, the Dear and Departed. Neumos, 925 Pike St., 709-9467. 7 p.m. $20. All ages. NICHOLAS HALL

Chamber vs. Chamber / Saturday, February 20

Culinary maverick Michael Hebb's knack for artistic cross-pollination is currently manifesting itself as Chamber vs. Chamber, a performance/symposium series designed to merge the worlds of indie rock and classical composition. Tonight he's pairing sultry marimba player and consummate Francophile Erin Jorgensen and cerebral songsmith/former Harvey Danger frontman Sean Nelson for a night focused on the disposable stupidity of Valentine's Day. After Jorgensen and Nelson square off in their respective musical corners and do their best to desecrate the holiday, City Arts editor Mark Baumgarten will facilitate what will no doubt be a spirited dialogue between both artists and the audience in attendance. Sorrento Hotel, 900 Madison St., 622-6400. 7:30 p.m. $12. HANNAH LEVIN

Port O'Brien / Saturday, February 20

Man has always been fascinated with the sea, and as long as there have been instruments, the sea has inspired songs of inspiration and desperation. Nautical themes have gone overboard (no pun intended) in the world of indie rock lately, but few bands have spent as much time finding their sea legs as Port O'Brien. Each summer, singer Van Pierszalowski joins his father's commercial salmon-fishing boat, spending long hours off the coast of Alaska casting nets for the day's catch. The dark, folky strum of Port O'Brien surges with the sway of the salty sea air, rusty and encrusted with barnacles, and spills over: dripping with exhaustion, isolated introspection, and the inherent satisfaction of a long day spent floating with nothing but one's thoughts. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. GREGORY FRANKLIN

James McMurtry / Sunday, February 21  See feature.

Pepi Ginsberg / Monday, February 22

Singer/songwriter Pepi Ginsberg says she envisioned "the love child of Bob Dylan and Deerhoof" while working on her new album, East Is East. That makes sense, but so do comparisons to Television and Patti Smith. Ginsberg, after all, has one of the best, most restless voices around, full of little leaps and quirks. And her guitar playing is splintered and stuttered, embellished by an agile backing trio. The single "Coca Cola" is reduced to an almost-calypso core, while the exuberant "Shake This" has turned thousands of heads with an unlikely video starring a teenage L.A. dance crew. The follow-up to 2008's slept-on Red, produced by Dr. Dog's Scott McMicken, East Is East is bizarre, buoyant, and defiantly poppy in a way few records could manage. With People Eating People and Pepper Rabbit. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $8. DOUG WALLEN

Salmon Thrasher / Monday, February 22   See Rocket Queen.

The Spits / Monday, February 22

The glorious, debauched spectacle that is a show by local punk veterans the Spits is always a night to remember, but this particular date should be off the proverbial hook. The band has much to celebrate beyond the release of their split 7-inch with British garage rocker Dan Melchior; Island Def Jam Records has agreed to release the vinyl version of their earlier self-titled record. In addition to their pals in local band Coconut Coolouts, they will be joined by Personal & the Pizzas, a like-minded, San Francisco–based outfit they've previously toured with in Sweden, but who have never played Seattle. What's more, the boys are giving out free pizza and champagne, and were wise enough to recruit DJs Kurt Bloch and Danger Nun, who always kick out serious jams. Just plan on calling in sick now. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 8 p.m. $7 adv./$9 DOS. HANNAH LEVIN

Cave Singers / Tuesday, February 23  See Q&A.

Four Tet / Tuesday, February 23

UK-based Kieran Hebden, who's operated under the moniker Four Tet since 1998, has worked with artists as diverse as Madvillian, Andrew Bird, and, perhaps most closely, the reigning kings of indie-ambient excellence, Radiohead. In fact, Four Tet sounds like Radiohead's zany younger sibling, sans the Yorke-ian solemnity and restraint. Hebden's brilliance lies in mashing together entirely disparate sounds—glitch and acoustic, frantic scratch samples with a steady bass line—to make them sound intuitive and musical. His style's been aptly compared to free-form jazz, and his best work, arguably, has been with legendary jazz percussionist Steve Reid: their songs develop with a snowball effect, building, accelerating, and intensifying with each loop. It's club music that confounds genre, a spastic one-man symphony band. With Nathan Fake, eR DoN. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 8 p.m. $12 adv./$14 DOS. HOLLIS WONG-WEAR

Magnetic Fields / Tuesday, February 23 and Wednesday, February 24  See feature.

Past Lives / Tuesday, February 23

Past Lives, comprising ex–Blood Brothers Jordan Blilie, Devin Welch, Morgan Henderson, and Mark Gajadhar, is celebrating the release of their first full-length, Tapestry of Webs, which the band is declaring "one of the most assured art-rock statements in some time." It is indeed a solid piece of work—Blilie's voice still howls and jolts through the songs, but not in the jarringly abrasive way it did in his past life. Actually, much of the music is significantly more toned down than your standard hair-raising Blood Brothers fare. Much of the impact of these songs is in the creepy tension pulsing beneath the guitar and bass lines—in other words, it's not so aggressive that we all can't relax. But on the flip side, Past Lives has still retained most of the galvanizing qualities that made their former band such a fan favorite—sinister melodies, splashy drums, and some righteous guitar shredding. Sonic Boom Records, 1525 Melrose Ave., 568-BOOM. 7 p.m. All ages. Free. ERIN THOMPSON

Tinariwen / Tuesday, February 23

When I heard the opening notes of Tinariwen's Aman Iman, I thought: "Is that T-Model Ford on guitar?" Of course, I knew it wasn't, but whereas most African guitar music is clean and twangy, Tinariwen was playing dirty and raw, much like the hypno-blues of T-Model and his liquor-soaked contemporaries. Of course, it's not news that American blues and African music are linked, nor that Africans have heard the Rolling Stones, but Tinariwen conjured one of the grooviest, funkiest, foot-stompingest world-music hybrids of recent memory, arriving at the perfect moment just as many Americans finally awoke to the idea that we live in a global era. As a result, much attention has been paid to Tinariwen since Aman Iman's 2007 release—thus its 2009 follow-up, Imidiwan, lacks some of the earlier album's punch and eagerness. But the themes of liberation, homesickness, and cultural pride remain intact. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7 (all ages) & 9:30 p.m. $25. BRIAN J. BARR

Goodie Mob / Wednesday, February 24  See feature.

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