Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Grand Archives to Guster.

Little Dragon/Wednesday, January 12

Gothenburg, Sweden, has proved to be an unlikely boon to the international pop community—it's the home of José González, Jens Lekman, The Knife, and of course Ace of Base. Despite what her name implies, the singer Yukimi Nagano was born and raised in Gothenburg and formed the electropop quartet Little Dragon with three high-school friends (keyboardist Håkan Wirenstrand, bassist Fredrik Wallin, and drummer Erik Bodin). Nagano is a professed R&B aficionado, and the band's dance-floor electronica—as heard on 2007's self-titled debut and 2009's glossy Machine Dreams—is notable for its warm undertones of colorful soul. Little Dragon spent much of 2010 supporting Gorillaz's massive international Plastic Beach tour, which should have provided more than ample prep for their current headlining U.S. outing. With Billygoat, SunTzu Sound. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $12. ERIN K. THOMPSON

My Goodness/Wednesday, January 12

It's a fact: Anytime you fuse blues and punk, it's going to sound awesome. The White Stripes? The Kills? Black Keys? Come on. It's a combination guaranteed to exude spirit, fire, and soul. The Seattle guitar-and-drum duo My Goodness is one such killer combo. It's unfortunate that all you can hear right now of Joel Schneider's ripping guitar riffs and tough vocals and Ethan Jacobsen's vigorous rhythms are a few songs on their MySpace page, but the duo recently told us that their self-titled debut should be out sometime in February. Until then, they're kicking off 2011 with some good deeds at SW's Happy Hour for Hope tonight at the bar/all-veggie restaurant Highline (proceeds will benefit Brotherton Cadillac's "Race for a Ride" charities), where they'll turn up their amps for a heavy and heady set. Vegans, bring your earplugs. Highline, 210 Broadway E., 763-2696. 7 p.m. $5 suggested donation. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Dashboard Confessional/Thursday, January 13

The year was 2000, and throngs of teenagers were discovering just how difficult their lives really seemed to be. Enter Chris Carrabba and his outfit Dashboard Confessional's debut record Swiss Army Romance. Via quietly stripped-down guitar chords and lovelorn vocals, the Boca Raton, Fla., native related tales of the women he loved and almost exclusively lost. A decade later, songs like "Screaming Infidelities" stand as anthemic embodiments of impressionable teen years, and the record is just as much a desperate, piercing therapy session as it was a decade ago. Some Dashboard lyrics may seem like platitudes today, but that's probably because repetitions of Carrabba's records created the cliché. With Chris Conley of Saves the Day, Lady Danville. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 7 p.m. $25. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Gabriel Mintz/Thursday, January 13

Gabriel Mintz is a purebred eccentric. He has stringy Kenny G hair and wire-rim glasses and talks in a hippie patois. He has been known to office-hop in Pioneer Square in search of free cheese (no joke), and dresses as though he were caught in a tornado—if that tornado contained clothes from Nordstrom Rack instead of dust particles, Judy Garland, and Bill Paxton. He is clearly unconcerned with looking cool, as evidenced both by his appearance and willingness to sing backing vocals during a Peter Cetera cover band's short set at the Blue Moon on Christmas Eve. He also participated in a cream-puff-eating contest at the Little Red Hen, where his pregame liquor consumption earned him the nickname "Rumple Mintz." When performing his own music, he's like Robert Plant and Jimmy Page combined, minus the harem of comely seductresses. With Elba, The Quit. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $8. MIKE SEELY

The Hood Internet/Thursday, January 13

If it weren't for the infectious, processor-heavy creations of a certain laptop DJ called Girl Talk, odds are outfits like The Hood Internet would still be floating their wares around the web. But the Chicago-based duo—Steve Reidell, aka STV SLV, and Aaron Brink, aka ABX—are expert selectors when it comes to matching your favorite rap lyrics with your favorite indie-rock jams. Jay-Z and LCD Soundsystem, Clipse and Matt and Kim,The Pack and Crystal Castles . . . even clever plays like juxtaposing Lil Wayne's "Fireman" and Modest Mouse's "Fire It Up" or combining the intriguing weirdness of Lil' B and Gold Panda have found their way into the repertoire. Though they may not have Girl Talk's complexity, The Hood Internet's game is already leaps above dorm-room mashups. With DJ Sharadawn. Nectar Lounge, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10. NICK FELDMAN

The Allman Butters/Friday, January 14

Sound on the Sound founding editor Abbey Simmons is not only a graceful, passionate writer and a tireless local-scene champion, she's the sort of figure who inspires great affection from the music community at large, so the Blue Moon will no doubt be packed tonight in honor of her birth. Simmons is known for her sonic soothsaying powers, having been the first to discover bands such as The Head and the Heart and Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives. This evening's bill includes one of her first finds, playing under the pseudonym "The Allman Butters." These kids are big enough to have sold out the Showbox last month, so plan to get there early. With Pickwick, Kelli Schaefer. Blue Moon Tavern, 712 N.E. 45th St., 675-9116. 10 p.m. $5. HANNAH LEVIN

Grand Archives/Saturday, January 15

Archives was all the buzz in town in 2007. After releasing four demos and playing one show, they signed a deal with Sub Pop, added the word "Grand" to their name, and went on the road with Modest Mouse. But their self-titled, full-length 2008 debut was overproduced and included none of the energy of the demos. The follow-up, 2009's Keep in Mind Frankenstein, wasn't any better. Today, the band's no longer on Sub Pop, and interest has waned considerably. But The Villains Demos, released for free on the band's website in October, shows some promise. The closing track, "Are We Coming to Get You?", is the best thing the band's ever released. Mat Brooke's faint voice is at its best when he's not trying too hard, when he's not trying to shove too many words or too much volume into a song. If we hear more of this unfiltered sound on the band's next record, we may finally hear Grand Archives live up to the excitement of those first demos. With Feral Children, Astronautalis. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10. CHRIS KORNELIS

Nate "Diggity" Johnson's 30th Birthday/Saturday, January 15

While plenty of people are content to sit on the couch watching Ace of Cakes, Seattle has its own crew of Cake Bosses: marketed by Nate "Diggity" Johnson, House of Cake is the local outfit responsible for extraordinary green-room and birthday edibles. And what better way to ring in Johnson's 30th than with a benefit that aims to revive the mourned SuperSonics franchise—complete with sets from Seattle expat street-rapper Avatar Young Blaze, Dyme Def's Brainstorm, and momentum-gainer Eighty4 Fly. The use of the phrase "charity benefit" might be a little loose in this instance, but furthering the momentum of Sonicsgate—Sports Illustrated's "Most Persuasive Grassroots Flick of 2009"—is as noble a goal as any. With DJ Nphared. Nectar Lounge, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10. NICK FELDMAN

Guster/Tuesday, January 18

While no one will ever mistake Guster for some sort of artfully challenging prog-rock band, they've certainly made a lot of progress in 20 years of music making. Originating humbly from a dorm-room folk trio at Tufts University, Guster's early output is influenced a bit by that myopic college culture of bongos and puka-shell necklaces. Thankfully, Guster has spent the past decade growing more confident, distancing themselves from the soundtrack-for-hacky-sack-sessions vibe of their earlier recordings to evolve gracefully into a consistent, powerful pop force. On record, Guster creates a giant, expansive kaleidoscope of incredibly layered, immediately accessible, well-adjusted pop, full of Pet Sounds-y harmonies, that plays directly to the heartstrings without pandering or unnecessary brooding. With Good Old War. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 467-5510. 7:30 p.m. $27. All ages. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Thirty Seconds to Mars/Tuesday, January 18

Here's a fun fact: Next year Jared Leto will turn 40. For those of us who, hearing his name, still think first of pretty boy Jordan Catalano, this is a bit of a mindfuck—even more so when you consider that 16 years after the cancellation of My So-Called Life broke the hearts of middle-schoolers from Medina to Miami, Leto is still pandering to the same demographic. Occasionally sporting mascara, a pink mohawk that makes him look like a candy-coated rooster, and the fingerless-glove/painted-nail combination that is catnip to the preteen set, Leto's late-career turn as frontman for the high-sheen screamo outfit Thirty Seconds to Mars means that after decades spent brooding in front of crowds and cameras, he's still never had to endure the indignity of being beloved by someone his own age. With Middle Class Rut. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 467-5510. 7:30 p.m. $26.50. All ages. CALEB HANNAN

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