The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Slack Fest to Neko Case.

Jessica 6/Wednesday, July 6

Jessica 6 is the new project from Hercules & Love Affair's Nomi Ruiz, the transgender performing artist whose diva moan and towering presence were defining features of both the band's fine disco-house debut and their sporadic live shows. The name brings to mind both Prince's once seemingly never-ending supply of assembly-line pop protégés (Vanity 6, Apollonia 6) and Spike Lee's Girl 6, a comedy film about a phone-sex worker (with a score by Prince, coincidentally). Their music recalls classic house and the moodier end of '80s R&B, from the bubbling, bass-pumping "White Horse" and the sleek "Fun Girl" to the slow disco strut of "Good to Go" and the (rather plodding) torch song "Not Anymore," with Ruiz's distinctively melancholy voice taking center stage. They're at their best with the up-tempo numbers, which they emphasize with a full band live. With Jeffrey Jerusalem of YACHT, SPORTS, DJ Nark. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $5. ERIC GRANDY

Erik Blood/Thursday, July 7

Brian Eno, John Cale, Dr. Dre, and Todd Rundgren are just a few music icons who started as band members, became producers, and then went on to achieve solo success. If all these talented guys had been able to produce offspring from a sweaty gang bang, they likely would have created our own Erik Blood, who started as a multi-instrumentalist with the Turn- ons and whose work behind the boards in various capacities can be heard on records by artists as diverse as the Moondoggies and Shabazz Palaces. His upcoming solo record, Penetration, due this fall, musically explores pornography with rich, warm, Britpop-ish tones, with the kind of depth and detail that Sufjan Stevens slathered on our seemingly boring-in-comparison 50 states. With Minirex, Watch It Sparkle, 1-2-1-2. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $6. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Darrius Willrich/Thursday, July 7

It's hard to discuss the music made by Darrius Willrich without the phrase "grown and sexy" sneaking into the conversation, brought on by equal parts slow jams and upbeat love songs—or, as he calls them all, "Sweet Urban Soul." The feel-good singer is a Seattleite through and through: Trained as a jazz pianist at Cornish, his most recent record, Can't Get Enough, was produced and recorded by local hip-hop luminary Vitamin D. And while the instrumentals are of undeniable quality, it's ultimately Willrich's vocals that steal the show. Warm and versatile with audible influences from early Stevie Wonder to Babyface, Willrich is just as likely to get you dancing as to soundtrack the things that go on behind bedroom doors. With Richie Aldente, Reva DeVito. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $5. NICK FELDMAN

The Elected/Friday, July 8

Last year, around the time Jenny Lewis started focusing full-time on her boyfriend project, Jenny and Johnny, her longtime Rilo Kiley compatriot Blake Sennett announced that he was retiring from the music industry. That didn't last long— Sennett's friend and producer Jason Cupp reportedly convinced him to write and record some new songs. The result is the first album from Sennett's side project, The Elected, in five years. Like its predecessors (2004's Me First, 2006's Sun, Sun, Sun), Bury Me in My Rings has a breezy groove buoyed by Sennett's sweet, delicate vocals and soulful, R&B-influenced tracks like "Babyface" and "When I'm Gone." It's solid proof that Sennett belongs in the music-making business. With Whispertown, Lucas Field. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9:30 p.m. $12 adv./ $14 DOS. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Alison Krauss & Union Station/Friday, July 8

There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe how good Alison Krauss & Union Station are at performing bluegrass. Krauss is simply the most gifted vocalist—of any genre—in the world, and she's long surrounded herself with the finest collection of pickers money can buy (even before she had the money to buy them). While Union Station could presumably be susceptible to cries of "Too polished!" from those who like their bluegrass dipped in moonshine and molasses, the only way to beat them in a bluegrass competition would be to create the bluegrass equivalent of IBM's Deep Blue, the chess computer which famously defeated the Russian genius Garry Kasparov in 1997. Except in the bluegrass computer's case, it would be called Deep Bluegrass, and Krauss and Union Station would prevail. With Jerry Douglas. Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E., Redmond. 7 p.m. $45–$65. All ages. MIKE SEELY

Summer Babes/Friday, July 8

If it's an audacious move to name your band after indie royalty Pavement's first great pop song ("Summer Babe"), it's perhaps an equally dicey proposition to go around invoking summertime in a city not exactly known for an excess of the season. Seattle band Summer Babes do both, brazenly, and if they don't manage to resurrect a young Stephen Malkmus or usher in 90-degree days early, they at least dole out sweet, easygoing garage-pop songs. Jeff Albertson of the Lights leads the band on guitar and vocals, singing in a high, keening voice which sometimes seems almost to crack but which always just makes it back around the bend to the melody; he's backed by a second guitar, bass, drums, and keys (the latter played by an actual babe). This will be the band's second summer, but they still come off as a young, scrappy act. With the Pytons, Eastern Grip. Blue Moon Tavern, 712 N.E. 45th St., 675-9116. 10 p.m. $5. ERIC GRANDY

The Whisperlights/Friday, July 8

Although their name hints at gentle, still evenings, there's nothing particularly quiet about the Whisperlights. The Tempe, Ariz., collective are a bit more of a hyperactive, noisy breed. While retaining their native state's sunny outlook on life, the Whisperlights deliver colorful, layered walls of lush melody that are simultaneously comforting and chaotic. An eclectic collective spirit is alive and well in this bold, brash group unafraid of genre-hopping, dipping their toes in various musical pools along the way: Destroyer's breezy, jittery delivery, The Sea and Cake's jangly melodicism, Broken Social Scene's borderline-destructive wall of syncopated, textured harmony. The Whisperlights manage to piece these together into a lovingly sloppy and sweet rush of spirited noises. With Fascination Movement, Concours d'Elegance, Underground Cities. Columbia City Theater, 4918 Rainier Ave. S., 722-3009. 9 p.m. $9. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Obadiah Parker/Saturday, July 9

Matt Weddle owes his breakout success as a onetime hip-hop cover artist to an accident. The Arizona native was performing at an open-mike night in Tempe, Ariz., when a friend uploaded his performance of Outkast's "Hey Ya" to YouTube. The video has now been viewed more than 7.6 million times. Weddle hopes to make a name for himself as a legitimate musician, however, and this April his band, Obadiah Parker, released The Siren and the Saint. The 12 songs feature the same warm, whisper-like voice that made his version of "Hey Ya" so memorable, plus a soulful, funky, acoustic setup akin to Jack Johnson's or John Mayer's. Each one is sincere and passionate and revolves around the addiction and turmoil of his relationships with two women. With Lights From Space, Blvd Park. Cafe Venus/Mars Bar, 609 Eastlake Ave. E., 624-4516. 9 p.m. $6. JOE WILLIAMS

Slack Fest 2011/Saturday, July 9

Slack Fest, the overnight festival in Stanwood celebrating the lifestyle of KEXP's Swinging Doors host Don Slack, returns this year after a brief hiatus. The Slack lifestyle includes a steady diet of American rock 'n' roll (My Goodness, Moondoggies, Petty cover band American Girls, etc.), cheap beer, and an optimistic radio voice. For those going for the true replication, Slack tells us his fridge is currently home to a collection of bottles and cans of Pabst, Rainier, Dogfish IPA, "and I think there's some summer ale." As for the essentials festivalgoers shouldn't forget, Slack says it's simple: "Well, you need a tent, sleeping bag, and some warm clothing, and perhaps a flask, for some internal warmth." Easy enough, boss. With the Moondoggies, the Maldives, Whalebones, the American Girls, the Golden Blondes, My Goodness, Joseph Giant, Jack Wilson. Slime Dog Race Track, 23311 70th Ave. N.W., Stanwood. 10 a.m. $25–$35. CHRIS KORNELIS

The Verve Pipe/Saturday, July 9

The Verve Pipe isn't a name that resonates like the Goo Goo Dolls or Hootie & the Blowfish, but the once-upon-a-time '90s favorites hit a home run with "The Freshmen" before falling into obscurity. With only two original members remaining, singer–guitarist Brian Vander Ark and drummer Donny Brown, the post-grunge, alt-rock band found another sliver of success in 2009 with the release of A Family Album—a 10-song CD specifically for children and their families, boasting songs like "Cereal," "Suppertime!" and "Go to Sleep Now." Vander Ark has a solo album coming out this year called Magazine, and the band is still being called on to play kids' festivals and shows. Seattle—well, Snoqualmie—gets the better end of the deal, as they'll appear (as part of KJAQ 96.5's Vodka Rocks! event) with fellow '90s band Toad the Wet Sprocket rather than with the Wiggles. With Candlebox. Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, 425-888-1234. 4 p.m. $40. JOE WILLIAMS

Neko Case/Sunday, July 10

Although it's been years since she's made her home here, Neko Case remains a Northwest treasure. Her inimitable voice and fairy-tale songwriting have endeared her to a cross-section of listeners from the alt-country, indie, folk, and modern-rock corners of the dial. But her shows have never lived up to her records. She's yet to unleash her crackerjack band to take some liberties with her material. It seems inevitable that it will happen someday. With any luck, she'll start tonight. With Y La Bamba. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 467-5510. 8 p.m. $27–$32. All ages. CHRIS KORNELIS

REKS and Stalley/Sunday, July 10

Where you're from doesn't have to dictate shit about where you go—both young vet REKS (repping Lawrence, Mass.) and the self-styled "Bruce Springsteen of hip-hop" Stalley (of Massillon, Ohio) stand as living proof of that. A decade after his debut album, this year's Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme sees REKS skillfully maneuver beats from legendary producers like DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Statik Selektah—and do so in a hard-rapping style that's equal parts brazen and introspective, developed but hardly changed. Meanwhile, recent Maybach Music signee Stalley is fresher on the scene but no less talented; February release Lincoln Way Nights: Intelligent Trunk Music shows him less concerned with co-signs from Damon Dash or Mos Def (both of which he's earned) than with channeling small- town hardship and sincere storytelling. With GMK, DJ Swervewon. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 6 p.m. $7. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

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