The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Shows

Open Mike Eagle / Wednesday, April 28

Rapper Open Mike Eagle has a slow, conversational flow that's all about making itself comfortable. Many of the songs on his debut Unapologetic Art Rap question the pretensions and motives of underground hip-hop while offering another slice of it in the process. Open Mike Eagle's wry presence goes a long way, and the album's production is similarly laid-back. Making for exciting contrast, Busdriver slots his frazzled flow into "Original Butterscotch Confection," while Nocando spices up "Unapologetic" without hijacking it. Going a bit left-field in his influences, Open Mike Eagle samples a Stephen Malkmus live recording on "Pissy Transmissions." Tucked into a record that plays by its own rules, it's not even jarring. With Nocando, Dumbfounded, Intuition, DJ WD4D. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 9 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. DOUG WALLEN

Baby Dee / Wednesday, April 28

With a knack for balancing theatricality and emotion, Cleveland singer/songwriter/pianist Baby Dee never succumbs to flash over substance. Dee proves that it's possible to be a cabaret/performance artist and still have a heart—not to mention dignity and grace, to boot. Her resume namedrops collaborations with Will Oldham, Antony and the Johnsons, Andrew WK, and the Dresden Dolls. But once you're in the room with her achingly bare-bones presentation, you won't care about the company Dee keeps. Her latest release, A Book of Songs for Ann Marie, first reared its lovely head in a very limited run back in 2004. It epitomizes just how honest and powerful a simple voice and piano can be. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7:30 p.m. $12. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

Ghosts I've Met / Thursday, April 29

Just as Sparklehorse was the late Mark Linkous and a rotating cast of players, Ghosts I've Met is Sam Watts and whoever's in his orbit at the time. (Formerly in Ghosts I've Met's orbit were my brother Joe and his significant other, Margaret White, who also toured with Sparklehorse.) Watts' new album, From a Spark, sounds a lot like his previous recordings: mellow, twangy, and haunting. Lyrically, however, Spark finds Watts straying from his favorite subjects: drinking whiskey, hitting the road after a night spent drinking whiskey, and screwing up relationships by drinking too much whiskey. Watts recently got sober and penned a record dealing with "weightier issues," which was recorded in a motel room in Lind, a diminutive Eastern Washington town located roughly between nowhere and nowhere that's best known for a demolition derby involving combines instead of cars. Ghosts I've Met's songs match these stark landscapes. Don't expect to smile a lot. Tether Design Gallery, 323 Occidental Ave S., 441-9729. 7 p.m. Free. All ages. MIKE SEELY

Noa & Mira Awad / Thursday, April 29  See Q&A.

Messin' With Texas: Seattle Bands Sing Songs of the Lone Star State / Thursday, April 29

It may seem strange that a dozen Seattle bands are willing to proclaim their love for Texas, but it makes sense once you realize how many classic tunes come from there. Janis Joplin, from Port Arthur, wrote "Me and Bobby McGee," a torch song that Visqueen's Rachel Flotard could try on for size. There's "That'll Be the Day," by Lubbock's Buddy Holly, a soulful, pop-tinged number. The Long Winters could pull that off, while Barton Carroll could test out "Brownsville Girl" by Bob Dylan. There's an embarrassment of riches in Lone Star songs: let's not forget Willie Nelson, who not only wrote about Texas but created songs that felt like the restless Wild West. Maybe the Maldives could pull something from Old Willie's songbook? The possibilities are endless. (Also see Rocket Queen.) With members of Visqueen, Shim, Widower, Pablo Trucker, The Long Winters, the Maldives, The Head & The Heart, Thee Sgt Major III, Hannalee, James Apollo, Mostly Dimes, Dark Plum, Shelby Earl, Bryn Lumsden, Barton Carroll, Ben London, Martin Feveyear. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599, 9 p.m. $8. PAIGE RICHMOND

Cady Wire / Thursday, April 29

Transplanted New York band Cady Wire has found a home for itself among Ballard's country-loving, cowboy-boot-wearing populace. Frontman Sam Riley possesses a soulful singing voice that lends itself well to the mournful melodies he favors. Lyrically, Riley tends toward vivid imagery that's so effective, it's downright unsettling. One memorable lyric references a woman sucking the blood out of his stones and spitting it into the shitter. Disgusting, yes, but it does garner a visceral response. Another song, "Tumbleweeds," juxtaposes raw, wistful lyrics with a cheerful tune, a more affecting combination than the tear-soaked numbers that dominate Cady Wire's repertoire. If the band can duplicate the success of "Tumbleweeds" on future releases, it just might have a future as Son Volt's freaky younger sibling. With Ryan Purcell, the River Empires, Jones Family Fortune. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. SARA BRICKNER

The Beets / Friday, April 30

New York's the Beets may not have written the book on fast, loose, and exuberantly amateurish rock and roll, but the page they've torn from it is worth the price of admission. They follow in the grand tradition of starting a band before you actually play an instrument and energetically bashing your way toward competence. It isn't subtle; it isn't novel; it isn't particularly well done. Where the Beets shine is in their ability to embrace their limitations so completely, as on last year's debut effort, Spit In the Face of People Who Don't Want to Be Cool. It's music that's in full possession of its inability, leaving room only for infectious enthusiasm. With German Measles, Coconut Coolouts. Funhouse, 206 Fifth Ave. N., 374-8400, 9:30 p.m. $6. NICHOLAS HALL

High Dive Anniversary Party / Friday, April 30  See B-Sides.

The Magic Carpet Ride / Friday, April 30

One of the foremost anthems of the '60s, Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" is a vintage jam with a proud heritage: Over the past 40 years, three generations of hippies have watched walls melt while listening to this song. It's right up there with "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." Rancorous relations between the band's former members make it unlikely that Steppenwolf will ever reunite. But former Steppenwolf keyboardist and current Seattleite Goldy McJohn has come up with the next best thing: To celebrate his 65th birthday, he'll be appearing with his band The Magic Carpet Ride, featuring Leon Hendrix and a couple of dudes who used to be in Heart. Hard Rock Cafe, 116 Pike St., 204-2233. 9 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. SARA BRICKNER

Big World Breaks' Spring Classic 2010 / Saturday, May 1  See B-Sides.

Brooks & Dunn / Saturday, May 1

In this era of mega-reunions and triumphant comebacks, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn are doing the opposite—calling it quits. After being introduced 20 years ago by Arista Records, the aspiring Nashville songwriters went on to become the biggest-selling duo in music history, even bigger than Simon & Garfunkel. Now that they're breaking up, it's easier to assess their body of work. Though they did give us "Boot Scootin' Boogie," they also delivered dozens of songs of actual substance concerned with the human condition in small-town U.S.A., ones that had little to do with religion or political affiliation. And that is the root of B&D's success—like Oprah, they were unifiers, not dividers. They pleased the alt-country crowd with Red Dirt Road and gave line-dancers an anthem. And they made millions and millions of dollars while working-class rednecks cheered them on. Only in America. With Jason Aldean, Tyler Dickerson. Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma, 253-272-3663. 7:30 p.m. $49.75–$65.75. All ages. BRIAN J. BARR

Rosanne Cash / Saturday, May 1

It's often a difficult path when children try to follow in the footsteps of their famous parents; most times they're crushed by the weight of expectations. Not so for Rosanne Cash, Johnny's eldest daughter. She's fashioned a tremendous discography of her own over the past three decades, won a Grammy, written notable short fiction and essays, and furthered the Cash family legacy in her own unique way. Tonight she'll sit onstage with NPR's Michele Norris—co-host of All Things Considered—for a wide-ranging conversation about her work and her family. Of course, Cash will also perform a bunch of her own tunes and a few traditional country standards, too. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 877-STG-4TIX. 8 p.m. $30–$45. All ages. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Christopher Francis & Son / Saturday, May 1

This Olympia concern, fronted by one Christopher Francis, is at once a soul-fueled, operatic trio of riff-rockers, and absurd exhibitionists who drop rhymes and pseudo covers onstage that may or may not be planned. They're spastic. They're irreverent to the point that they're dead serious. They sometimes keep time on a dustpan, an "instrument" that gets a cameo on their self-titled cassette. When Francis stares into the nothing—as I saw him do at Olympia's Northern, in March—the way the rest of us stare into the bathroom mirror, you wonder what's on his mind, until he says it: "Don't go chasing waterfalls! Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that we're used to!" With Shenandoah Davis, Kaylee Cole. JewelBox/Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave., 441-5823. 10:30 p.m. $7. CHRIS KORNELIS

Liars / Saturday, May 1

The noise-punk trio Liars are always on the lookout for inspiration—they conceived one album after moving to a cabin in the woods of New Jersey to study witchcraft; another was recorded in East Berlin and follows two fictitious characters named Drum and Mount Heart Attack. But the band's latest record, Sisterworld, was written as a reflection of the seedy side of life in L.A., the city where they all first met. Sisterworld has a manic temperament, sometimes slowing down to a sludgy drag, sometimes kicking to life with wailing organs, thrashing drums, and lead singer Angus Andrews' startlingly guttural vocals. It's a thrillingly aggressive and chaotic effect. With Fol Chen, Flexions. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $13. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Javelin / Sunday, May 2

Brooklyn duo Javelin cobbles together boomboxes, broken synths, and pop-culture effluvia into a captivating and intensely fun approach to postmodern electronic music that perversely combines discofied funk and fractured hip-hop with gently swaying global-pop melodies and Bacharach-ian arrangements. It's dizzying and discombobulating, but by stacking layers upon layers of goofiness upon their grooves, Javelin delivers a richly rewarding sonic experience that, in concert, transforms into a participatory experience. This may be the only show this week where you're asked to BYOB (Bring Your Own Boombox). Vera Project, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 7:30 p.m. $8. All ages. JASON FERGUSON

LMNO / Monday, May 3

To celebrate the Year of Our Lord 2010, Long Beach, Calif., lyricist LMNO decided to release 10 albums. You may be forgiven your trespasses for thinking of this project as The Decalogue, as LMNO, who isn't afraid of showing love to the Almighty in his rhymes, would probably approve anyway. Released in February, the first disc is titled Push That Work, and features a song with our very own JFK, of Grayskul fame, dubbed "Fashion Show"—a tongue-in-cheek take on the garment industry studded with lyrical kick flips and ollies. Next came March's fOnk garden, followed by Next In Line in April. How the blessed LMNO, an underground king since the '90s, can remember even half these songs, well, only God knows. With Kev Brown, JFK, All Flags Burn. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 8 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. KEVIN CAPP

Los Campesinos! / Tuesday, May 4

Los Campesinos! are a indie-rock collective in the vein of Belle & Sebastian, only more punkish and much noisier. The eclectic instrumentation on the Welsh septet's third full-length, Romance Is Boring (part of which was recorded at a Seattle studio owned by Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie), includes trombone, piccolo, and flugelhorn, and lots of brash, shouty melodies. The wacky lyrics of Gareth Campesinos! (all seven members have taken Campesinos! as their surname) also pack a frankness that's both disarming and realistic—as on the record's title track, when he sings, "You're pouting in your sleep/I'm waking, still yawning/We're proving to each other that romance is boring." With Signals. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $17.50 adv./$20 DOS. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Jonathan Richman / Tuesday, May 4

On Jonathan Richman's Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild, the seminal songwriter revisits "Old World," a notable track from his previous band, The Modern Lovers. "Well, the old world's a thing of the past/The old world's fading fast/Well I/I say goodbye to the old world," he croons in the new version. It's an odd sentiment for a guy who refuses to get a cell phone and "has nothing to do with the Internet," but there is wisdom in those words even if Richman doesn't take his own advice. A goofy performer best known as the creepy troubadour in There's Something About Mary, it's easy to get distracted by his silly onstage dances and overlook the profound observations sprinkled throughout his music. Don't. With Tommy Larkins. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599, 8 p.m. $12. SARA BRICKNER

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