The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

Cars vs. Violent Femmes Night / Wednesday, December 15

Tonight we celebrate the music of two bands who took their punk-rock roots in very different directions. The Cars are best known for riding the New Wave with hooky, synth-heavy tunes, vocals that made you ponder whether they actually were British, and "Coverdaling" supermodels; they bore the platinum curse of merging well-chosen underground influences into major mainstream accessibility. The Violent Femmes smelled like teen spirit way ahead of their time. It took 10 years for the Femmes' debut—bare-bones, angst-soaked acoustic anthems—to go platinum, but as with those aggro minimalists the Velvets before them, the first 100 kids who bought Violent Femmes surely all started bands. With Dating Pool, Royal Bear, Jiffy, Devolutionaries, Pocket Panda. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $6. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Three Imaginary Girls Holiday Party / Thursday, December 16

When Three Imaginary Girls, Seattle's venerated indie-rock enthusiasts and promoters, launched their annual holiday concert/fund-raiser seven years ago, they didn't predict it would become a cherished tradition for Northwest music fans. This year's beneficiary, Teen Feed, provides meals for homeless youth, and has elicited widespread altruism, with Columbia City Theater donating the venue and the performers playing either for free or an extremely modest donation. John Vanderslice dons a Santa suit and photographer Laura Musselman shoots his lap festooned with patrons; then Vanderslice performs as the "secret" act. Also bringing the rock: the Tripwires, the Young Evils, Jose Bold, and DJ Greg Vandy. Columbia City Theater, 4918 Rainier Ave. S., 722-3009. 7:30 p.m. $15. LITSA DREMOUSIS

Kinski / Friday, December 17

It's hard to believe local noise architects Kinski have been a band for more than a decade now, but it's true. Since 1998, they have churned out guitar-driven dramas that pay homage to obvious touchstones such as Sonic Youth and Spacemen 3, but with the subtle muscle of their own understated performances as a secret weapon: They are always more substance than flash. A Kinski show is an enveloping yet invigorating sonic experience—one that requires not only earplugs but a willingness to follow their tangential dalliances. It's a worthwhile journey, especially at the Sunset, a venue that's both intimate and well-suited to erecting walls of noise. With This Blinding Light, Brain Fruit. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 10 p.m. $8. HANNAH LEVIN

Tricky / Friday, December 17

Perhaps unfairly pigeonholed by historical typecasting, Tricky remains frozen in time for many music fans who see him primarily as the man responsible for bringing trip-hop across the pond (initially in the context of Massive Attack, later in his wildly successful foray into solo work). Putting a time stamp on your work using a brilliant and zeitgeisty title such as 1996's Pre-Millennium Tension is truly a canonizing blessing and a questionable curse. Despite the release of new work (this year's serviceable but lackluster Mixed Race), the Englishman born Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws resides in a perpetual twilight zone, albeit one that has influenced countless electronica acts since. With Truckasaurus. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $20. HANNAH LEVIN

Wally Shoup Quartet / Friday, December 17

It's true that the power of Wally Shoup's saxophone can easily match a Marshall stack, but for some of us at least, an unplugged scene is where Shoup's muscle and dexterity are shown to their best effect. Tonight, the dean of the city's free-improv scene joins three other leading practitioners of unmapped creative sound, including the not-groove-averse bassist PK and the insistently unpredictable pianist Gust Burns. Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave., 324-0671. 8 p.m. $5–$15 donation. MARK D. FEFER

The Classic Crime / Saturday, December 18

Local Tooth & Nail rock outfit The Classic Crime is used to sharing the stage with pop-punk bands like This Providence and Eclectic Approach. More incongruous is tonight's inclusion of Ravenna Woods; regulars at the Tractor and the Sunset, Showbox SoDo will be the biggest venue the folksy indie trio has played in this city. "It'll be a very eclectic night for sure, but that's what a good show is, in my opinion," says Classic Crime frontman Matt MacDonald. All four bands will play a Christmas tune each, TCC's choice being John and Yoko's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." Hopefully the evening will alleviate some of the inevitable holiday stress. "Santa is a fraud," says MacDonald. "He never got me a Power Wheels truck in second grade, and I've never forgiven him. Plus, if you switch the letters around in his name, it spells Satan. Coincidence? I think not." Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $15. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Cobirds Unite / Saturday, December 18

Rusty Willoughby has been around the block. Playing music around Seattle since 1985 (most notably with Flop), he's one of those workhorse musicians who trudges along quietly, just shy of the spotlight, consistently producing amazing music. His newest project, Cobirds Unite, finds him writing graceful, playful roots/pop songs with lush arrangements that wander loosely while still somehow adhering to a rocky path. Teaming up with Visqueen's Rachel Flotard as the Emmylou Harris to his Gram Parsons (and covering a couple of Parsons' old favorites in the process), Willoughby's songs are as sweet as can be—less roadhouse rambunctiousness and more after-hours reflectiveness. Swaying through the highest, most lonesome sounds, Cobirds Unite manages to be warm and welcoming without ever losing its backbone. With Goldfinch, Trespassers William. Columbia City Theater, 4816 Rainier Ave. S., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $8. GREGORY FRANKLIN

The Hounds' Holiday Howl / Saturday, December 18

"Last year, Christmas trees sparked 255 fires in North Carolina," a concerned Hounds of the Wild Hunt told me in a recent e-mail, continuing with "House fires are 14 percent more likely to happen during the holidays and 30 percent more likely to result in deaths." They also say their favorite Christmas carols are the Sonics' "Don't Believe in Christmas" ("Well sure enough, don't ya know/The fat boy didn't show") and the Murder City Devils' "364" ("The bullshit flows, the bullshit flows"). But dour statistics and Grinchy tunes aside, even the Hounds are getting with the season and hosting their own holiday revue, a raucous night of Seattle's best pummeling garage rock and whatever else it takes to get you in the goddamn Yuletide spirit. With Thee Emergency, Strong Killings, Thomas Hunter. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9:30 p.m. $8. ERIN K. THOMPSON

The Maldives & the Moondoggies / Saturday, December 18

This is simply a powerhouse alt-country bill, transplanted from its usual Ballard environs (Tractor, Sunset) in what will prove to be an interesting heat check for the Moondoggies and the Maldives, both looking to broaden their popularity. Speaking of broad popularity, isn't it high time people stopped ragging on the fucking Eagles? Not the Tacoma-based Fucking Eagles, but the Henley/Frey/Walsh supergroup that stands forever accused of kidnapping Americana music and exploiting it for an ungodly ransom. "Inauthentic" is the term you typically see batted around when Eagles roasts commence, but they're no more inauthentic than the Moondoggies, the Maldives, or any other Seattle-based country-rock outfit with hickory-smoked lyrics that live anywhere but here. The Maldives are great, the Moondoggies are great, and so are the Eagles. Come on, baby, don't say maybe. With Drew Grow & the Pastors' Wives. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $15. MIKE SEELY

Mistah F.A.B. / Saturday, December 18

As a major part of the Bay Area's notorious "sydeshow" street festivities, "ghost-riding the whip" isn't just some party trick—to properly execute, you hop out of a moving car and dance alongside it or on the hood. Hyphy godfather Mac Dre popularized it, as did rapper E-40, but no one captured the vibe quite like Mistah F.A.B. did with the single "Ghost Ride It," slated for his repeatedly delayed Atlantic debut Da Yellow Bus Rydah. And though he might be known to set meetings with Oakland's mayor and sit in on city council sessions, his songs are made more for losing yourself in the beat; hyphy is a style that leans heavy on the style of the MC, and F.A.B. is far from lacking in charisma. With Neema, Cool Nutz, Jay Barz. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10. NICK FELDMAN

Mike Herrera / Sunday, December 19

Asked about the necessary ingredients of a song, country singer/songwriter Harlan Howard famously said "All you need is three chords and the truth." Well, what do you do when you're a veritable pop-punk superstar, still full of all that truth but looking to do something a little bit different than those three chords? If you're MxPx's Mike Herrera, you grab an acoustic guitar and try those chords with a little less chug and a little more twang and call it Tumbledown. Raucous in all the right places, Tumbledown finds Herrera writing gritty tales of bar fights, blackout drunk nights, and near arrests from the road, combining Social Distortion's brazen attitude with the social-networking sect. Playing a rare solo acoustic show, one can expect an evenly split selection of MxPx classics and some of the newer Tumbledown material, showcasing the finest of Herrera's hook-laden world. With Gasoline Heart, Seth Roberts. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 8 p.m. $8. GREGORY FRANKLIN

For the Love of Music / Tuesday, December 21

It's been another boom year for Seattle hip-hop: Records have been featured everywhere from Pitchfork to Amazon, music videos made their way onto MTV, and tours stretched all the way to the East Coast. The local scene is continuing to grow, and the beauty of its hometown support is that it's oft-reciprocated—in this instance, through a compilation called "4 the Love of Music," a benefit for the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club Music Program that features some of the best Seattle has to offer: everyone from OG legend Sir Mix-a-Lot to media darlings Shabazz Palaces. Though our hip-hop still might not have the big-time national audience it seeks, it's certainly closer than ever. With Shabazz Palaces, Macklemore, Mad Rad, Mash Hall, Thee Satisfaction, Champagne Champagne, Cloud Nice, Draze, Meez, Run-a-Way Slaves, Stay Hi Brothers, Young Fast. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 8 p.m. $15. NICK FELDMAN

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