The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Shows

Jimmy Cliff / Wednesday, July 21  See the Q&A.

Mary Gauthier / Wednesday, July 21

I'm shocked there hasn't been a movie made about Mary Gauthier. Maybe I'll write the screenplay. All the compelling, dramatic elements are there: Given up for adoption as a baby, she's raised by alcoholics in Louisiana. She steals their car and runs away as a teen, becomes a heavy drug user, goes to jail, goes to rehab, goes to college and studies philosophy, moves to Boston and opens a successful Cajun restaurant, writes her first song at age 35, and launches an acclaimed folk/country career crafting dark, gritty, autobiographical songs. She tours with Willie Nelson, and Tim McGraw and Jimmy Buffett cover her tunes. Until my movie comes out, you can catch her performing songs from her gripping new record, The Foundling, about being abandoned and searching for her birth mother. With Peter Bradley Adams. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8 p.m. $20. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

The Spinto Band / Wednesday, July 21

Do you know anyone from Delaware? I've met a lot of people in my life, and none of them are from there. However, if the Spinto Band's otherworldly pop is any indication (and if Delaware actually exists), it must be a pretty awesome place to live. The Spinto Band are one of those "too smart for their own good" pop bands; their take on the pop genre carries a brilliant sheen, jubilantly crashing and nearly careening off the rails into chaos while somehow being held together by a few well-placed threads. It only makes sense that such a band would be from a totally (seriously, they don't even have a baseball team!) fictitious place. With Miniature Tigers, Blunt Mechanic. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 9 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba / Thursday, July 22

Sub Pop built its reputation on grunge and sustained it on indie rock. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba are absolutely neither of those. The first signees to Sub Pop subsidiary Next Ambiance, Ngoni Ba is a four-person family act from Mali; they all play the ngoni, a West African string instrument related to the banjo but unique with its long drum-skin body. The sound is rolling, soulful, and nimbly picked. Four of these nuanced instruments play like the wittiest and liveliest of conversations sung by clever plucks and strums. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $17. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

Origami Ghosts / Thursday, July 22

Like their respective namesakes, Seattle's Origami Ghosts make music that is delicate and haunting. The band's hushed, intimate songs glide along in slow motion like a hand out a car window on a golden summer day, floating and diving with the wind. They sound as if they were recorded in a dark, quiet bedroom, but they especially shine when fleshed out into full-band arrangements. Whether building on some of the oceanic sway of Three Mile Pilot or Black Heart Procession ("Endless Corridors") or presenting a janglier version of Polvo ("East Station"), Origami Ghosts have struck a near-perfect balance of still-of-the-night melancholy and the dreamy introspection of a midsummer afternoon. With Hello the Mind Control, Waytansea Point, Teeth of Turquoise. Jewelbox/Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave., 441-5823. 10 p.m. $5. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Capitol Hill Block Party / Friday, July 23—Sunday, July 25

CHBP organizers really outdid themselves this year. The three-day lineup (increased from two) is current, big-name, and ultra-hipster-friendly—exactly the spirit of Seattle's most holier-than-thou neighborhood. MGMT, Yeasayer, Blonde Redhead, and Atmosphere have all made favorable waves in the music scene this year, as have hometown heroes like Shabazz Palaces, Unnatural Helpers, the Physics, and many others. The festival's biggest coup, though, is snagging The Dead Weather to headline on Sunday (see page 41). Jack White is a god among mortal rockers, and that he's deigned to set foot on the humble, dirty Pike and Pine streets is truly an honor. South Capitol Hill. $25 adv./$30 DOS/$60 three-day pass. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Red Heart Alarm / Friday, July 23

Last Saturday, the Dusty 45s headlined an impressive local lineup at the PBRBQ (a barbecue sponsored by Pabst) at Slim's Last Chance. If Seattle had its own search engine, and you typed in "reliably crowd-pleasing, highly competent, traditional rockabilly band," the Dustys would be the very first return. But to some, their refusal to deviate much from the rockabilly purist's canon can be a bit boring. The same cannot be said of Red Heart Alarm, who play Slim's this Friday, a gig that serves as a release party for the band's debut LP, White Elephants. They describe themselves as "gruntry"—grunge meets country, as if that weren't instantly obvious. And as awful as that label sounds, their music is anything but. Creatively, they're the type of band the Dusty 45s should aspire to be. With Scrubjays, The Boxcar Rebellion. Slim's Last Chance, 5606 First Ave. S., 762-7900. 9 p.m. Free. MIKE SEELY

Bobby Valentino / Friday, July 23

Apparently in R&B, the fall from the top is a long one. One minute you could be singing the hook on Lil' Wayne's platinum hit "Mrs. Officer" and have your own gold-selling record on Def Jam. The next you could be penning sexist commentary for Vibe and posting groupie-sex cell-phone snapshots on the Internet. At least that's what happened to Bobby Valentino. The Atlanta-based singer has a knack for highly sexual tracks, including "Beep," "Butterfly Tattoo," and most recently "Phone #," the Jazze Pha–produced single from his upcoming fourth studio album Fly on the Wall, about—you guessed it—phone sex. Bobby just can't get his mind out of the gutter. With JugaHill. King Cat Theater, 2130 Sixth Ave., 448-2829. 8 p.m. $27 adv./$37 DOS. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

GreenNote Festival / Saturday, July 24

Amos Lee is the only performer coming to this sustainability-obsessed concert by airplane (flying in from Pennsylvania—horrible for the carbon footprint), so you know he'd better be good. Lee teases his strings with ambling folk tunes birthed from R&B in its truest sense. His songs are sung low but full of emotion and history, like a man who talks slow but says much. Locals Star Anna, Rocky Votolato, and Ian Moore will also play this all-acoustic benefit for the Sierra Club, People for Puget Sound, and the People's Waterfront Coalition. Mural Amphitheatre, 305 Harrison St., 4:30 p.m. $15–$25. All ages. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

Moneta / Saturday, July 24

On their MySpace page, Moneta writes about existing in a wasteland music scene filled with "auto-tuned teenie-boppers," "neon-clad frat-core," and "a million faceless Fall Out Boy clones." Someone should tell them that, well, they sound a whole lot like Fall Out Boy. The hometown power-pop five-piece, who have opened for the likes of Paramore and the Smashing Pumpkins, thrive in the land of power chords and prepubescent harmonies that take me straight back to age 17—pissed off at my parents, crushed by my ex-girlfriend, and looking so forward to moving far away. This is the music that you're supposed to leave behind, but a little reminiscing never killed anyone—embarrassed, maybe, but never killed. With Hello! High Water, Scream for Eden, Striking Back, The Vallar. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave. 7 p.m. $11 adv./$13 DOS. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Young Sportsmen / Saturday, July 24

Young Sportsmen have written some of the best local pop songs this side of the Young Fresh Fellows. Ditties about "girl pants" and muscle cars married the best ingredients for pop confections: wry wit and sunny euphoria, with just a dash of melancholy. That's why it was such a damn shame when they broke up back in 2008. Or did they? "We all still really like playing together," says bassist Richard Davidson. "If the opportunity to play a good show comes up and we're all actually available, we'll do it. We just haven't talked about what that means!" Given their perpetual ambiguity, this is not a show one should risk missing. With Eightball Break, Eccentric Souls, The Dignitaries. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $5. HANNAH LEVIN

Lake / Sunday, July 25

Eli Moore and Ashley Eriksson started the Olympia collective Lake with every intention of touring as a Fleetwood Mac cover band. They ditched that plan to write and record their own spacious, lulling pop songs, but their inspiration is still obvious. Lake's most recent effort, last year's Let's Build a Roof (produced by Karl Blau and released by K Records) sounds very similar to Rumours—lively melodies peppered with tambourine rattles and Rhodes piano chords, intermixed with smooth and easy tunes of jazzy guitar runs and velvety vocal harmonies. That sunny '70s retro atmosphere just never gets old. With Breathe Owl Breathe, Typhoon. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $8. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Alpha Yaya Diallo / Monday, July 26

Though he's been out of Africa, and based in B.C., for years now, the Guinea-born singer and guitarist continues to find new ways to synthesize the many West African styles he was reared on. His new disc, Immé, is a fantastically varied stew of rhythms, languages, and instrumentation, all of it tinged with a certain melancholy that only seems to come from someone far from home. Diallo's solo set at KEXP earlier this year was solid, but he's better with a band, and word is he'll have at least a trio with him. Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729. 7:30 p.m. $24.50. MARK D. FEFER

Etran Finatawa / Monday, July 26

I'm guessing you will probably have very few opportunities to see a nomad culture brought to life onstage, and even fewer to see two nomad tribes come together and make music. The six members of Etran Finatawa hail from two tribes in the West African contry of Niger—the Wodaabe come from a tradition of a cappella music with wide harmonies and unique rhythmic sounds, and the Tuaregs bring lively beats driven by guitar and various percussion instruments. Together they create a deep desert blues that calls out into the Sahara and pulls the voices of western Africa into a powerful, riveting sound. With Baba Maraire & Nhaka Yedu feat. Lora Chiorah. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

Wolf Parade / Monday, July 26  See the music lead.

Kinky Friedman / Tuesday, July 27

Kinky Friedman's career is not like yours. It doesn't matter who you are, because you're not a satirical, smart-ass Jew from Texas known as the Lone Star State's Mark Twain. And he is. The first full-blooded Member of the Tribe to grace the stage at the Grand Ole Opry and the man who sought to be the first independent Texas governor in 169 years comes to Seattle for the first time in 20 years. Expect the hits—"They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore" and "Asshole from El Paso," to be sure—and some lite literary fare from a new release, his 29th, titled Heroes of a Texas Childhood. And don't expect to see anyone quite like him ever again. With Little Jewford, Rat Malone. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7:30 p.m. $30. All ages. CALEB HANNAN

Maylene and the Sons of Disaster / Tuesday, July 27

Southern rock lives on in the grooves of Alabama's Maylene & the Sons of Disaster—country-fried like Skynyrd and the Allmans, and plenty battered with metalcore and hard rock so it'll stick right to your guts. Those heavy textures come from frontman Dallas Taylor's past as frontman for metalcore heroes Underoath. Taylor split from Underoath under less-than-friendly circumstances back in 2003; he formed Maylene a year later, and since then the quintet has issued three albums, their latest imaginatively titled III. After six years, the band has cultivated a look straight out of Deliverance and perfected the art of sounding like the beer-soaked party on the infield of a NASCAR track and the brutal crashes happening on the track at the same time. Righteous. With For Today, Blessed by a Broken Heart, A Plea for Purging, The Color Morale, The Crimson Armada, I the Breather, The Great Commission, In the Midst of Lions, Hundredth. Studio Seven, 110 S. Horton St., 286-1312. 2 p.m. $15 adv./$18 DOS. All ages. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

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