The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion/Wednesday, August 17 Kids today! Bah! They think Jack and Meg White singlehandedly invented deconstructed, ballsy blues. When it comes to this youthfully naive history, Jon Spencer and his Blues Explosion are as overlooked as Bella Swan's period. What the Whites did accomplish was to take Spencer's sexified trailer-park hussy and, by treating her nice, transform her into a respectably cheeky, mellowed-out bad girl, acceptably packaged for the masses. Now this isn't meant as a dis on JW. There certainly is a Detroit lineage to which Spencer is beholden. Hell, there's room in the garage for everyone to play. And as are the Stripes, JSBE live are a magical rarity, supremely tight yet wholly combustible. Not to mention the allure of Mr. Spencer himself. In a D.C. warehouse somewhere there must be a portrait rapidly aging, as time has only made him more and more delicious. With Hillstomp. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $20. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR Cut Chemist/Friday, August 19 Here you have three guys who approach hip-hop from decidedly left-field perspectives. There's Cut Chemist, the scratch-happy DJ and producer behind backpack-rap consortium Jurassic 5 and world-beaters Ozomatli. There's Mr. Lif, the long-dreaded Definitive Jux MC whose most towering record, I Phantom, is a narrative concept album that follows an everyman b-boy from birth to the apocalypse—while still managing to be an easy, enjoyable listen. Then there's Edan, who studied hip-hop production at Boston's esteemed Berklee College of Music but whose omnivorous, well-informed productions and wordy, adenoidal flow are far from merely academic. Bonus: Someone outside the show with a Jansport full of CD-Rs is 100 percent guaranteed to ask you if you "support local hip-hop." Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $15 adv./$18 DOS. All ages. ERIC GRANDY Obits/Friday, August 19 You don't necessarily expect a band calling themselves Obits to be a party band. Given the recent turns in the financial market, naming their eerily tinged sophomore LP Moody, Standard and Poor gives the album an even creepier vibe than it did a few weeks ago. Co-fronted by Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes mouthpiece Rick Froberg and Edsel frontman Sohrab Habibion, Obits are unwavering avoiders of current trends; you'll never lose sleep worrying about any experimentation with dubstep or electronica showing up on an Obits record. They revel in their primitive, aggravated selves, with their records sounding like stream-of-consciousness rants transmitted live from a damp garage in the part of town you don't want to venture into after dark. Writing unapologetically straightforward, supercharged swampy jams that serve as reaffirming life anthems for the callous, skeptical masses, Obits is the kind of band you secretly hope never learns to crack a smile. With Disappears, Broomsticks. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $12. GREGORY FRANKLIN Weezer/Friday, August 19 Dumb idea: Letting Rainn Wilson name your record Raditude. Weird idea: the Weezer cruise. Terrible idea: the entire Make Believe album. Amazing idea: the Memories Tour, which finally hits Seattle tonight, and in which Weezer plays both the holy Blue Album and the cult classic Pinkerton in full, along with a few choice cuts from their not-as-good later albums ("Hash Pipe, "Keep Fishin'," and a cover of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" have been popping up at shows so far). At last year's Bumbershoot, Rivers Cuomo and co. proved they can still put on a dynamite, crowd-pleasing rock show, and even if they slip in a song or two from that album with the fat guy from Lost on the cover, the ripping riffs of "Getchoo" and the sheer epicness of "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" will more than make up for it. With the Thermals. WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 381-7555. 8 p.m. $43. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON ***EDITOR'S PICK Whalebones/Friday, August 19 Whalebones frontman Justin Deary has been spending part of his time moonlighting as a Rolling Stone, and the release date of the band's self-titled full-length debut has been pushed back a couple of times, but at long last the record is here, and was worth the wait. Deary and his bandmates, bassist Bradford Button and drummer Faustine Hudson, have created a collection of hearty tunes that meld nostalgic, full-blooded Americana ("I want everyone to see the mountaintops/I want everyone to see the desert sky," Deary sings on "I Don't Wanna Live in the City No More," recently named SW's Best Single of the Past 12 Months) and surly psych rock ("I don't wanna have a fucking job no more," he snarls in the same song). This week, Whalebones celebrates the album's release three times—a Tuesday in-store performance at Ballard's Sonic Boom, a KEXP in-studio on Thursday, and tonight's concert at the Mural. With Black Mountain, My Goodness. Mural Amphitheater, Seattle Center, 684-7200. 6 p.m. Free. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON Debacle Fest/Saturday, August 20 It's hard to read "Debacle Festival" and not hear it as an inversion of next month's Decibel Festival. Swapped consonants aside, it's not a bad comparison: Both are local, both offer decidedly non-rock-'n'-roll musics, but while Decibel is high-tech and high-polish, Debacle is noisy, lo-fi, and DIY. Over three days, at scruffy venues like the Black Lodge and the Josephine, Debacle—the brainchild of Samuel Melancon, who runs a corresponding label and performs with the band Megabats—showcases 35 mostly local, mostly experimental acts, from the austere void-surfing folk of Tiny Vipers (Friday at the Black Lodge) to the bristling black noise of Blue Sabbath Black Cheer (Sunday at the Josephine) to the unpredictable, jazz- and prog-influenced electronic jams of Brain Fruit, who headline tonight's show at the Lo-Fi. With Konntinent, Operative, Golden Retriever, Brother Raven, Plankton Wat, Panabrite. Lo-Fi Performance Gallery, 429 Eastlake Ave. E., 254-2824. 8:30 p.m. ERIC GRANDY The Pajama Jammy Jam/Saturday, August 20 Ever since Kid 'n Play burst into "Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody" in House Party 2, the "jammy jam" party has been an institution—if you're lucky, one with a new jack twist. Thanks to local hip-hop clique Members Only, Seattle gets a taste of it, featuring 2x4 DJ sets from the likes of SW's Best Hip-Hop DJ for 2011, DJ Swervewon, and a full-on dance contest. Whether you're rocking Play's silk robe or Kid's billiard-ball-covered fleece number, you'll still be paying less at the door than the squares in their street clothes—and having a lot more fun. With DJ Swervewon, DJ Gyrate, DJ Hannibal, DJ Topspin. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $7/$5 if in PJs. NICK FELDMAN The Vandals/Saturday, August 20 It's odd to think that a band with songs like "Christmas Time for My Penis" and "Don't Make Me Get My Fat, Lazy Ass Off This Couch" could be such a pivotal part of modern music history, but if it weren't for the Vandals, Blink-182 wouldn't have 4.5 million "likes" on Facebook. The Huntington Beach, Calif., foursome first hit the scene back in 1980, opting to embrace fun, immature humor instead of the punk norm, which consisted mainly of political and social subject matter. This set the scene for the '90s wave of California punk bands, like Blink and The Offspring, who also turned to lighthearted antics (and occasional nudity) to draw fans. After becoming a Warped Tour staple, the band stepped up to worldwide tours, including multiple performances in Afghanistan and Baghdad for the troops. With Angelic Upstarts, U.S. Bombs, the Dickies, Neutralboy, Fiction Reform. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 5 p.m. $25. All ages. JOE WILLIAMS Stiff Little Fingers/Sunday, August 21 Music critics (yes, I'm guilty too) so overuse use the word "seminal" to describe bands past, it's become like salt on fast-food French fries: heavily applied to mask the fact they're just plain old. So if you're only familiar with Stiff Little Fingers as a reference in High Fidelity, it's hard to appreciate how important these guys really are. True, there would be no Green Day without them, but this band is a pioneer in the field of sociopolitical punk. "Seminal," or as the Dutch say it, invloedrijk, is an understatement. Simply put, Stiff Little Fingers are The Clash if they'd had their own problems to sing about. What was going down in the band's home city of Belfast in 1977 makes London's unemployment crisis and garbage strike seem the stuff of fluffy summer pop tunes. With Swingin' Utters, Tim Barry, My Life in Black and White, Hanover Saints, Pascal Briggs. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 4 p.m. $30. All ages. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR Atmosphere/Monday, August 22 It wasn't long ago that Seattle heralded the first-ever local hip-hop takeover of the Paramount Theatre. Now a different brand of underground rap gets its turn: Rhymesayers, the Minneapolis label that's poached liberally from Seattle's hip-hop scene, brings Atmosphere's Family Vacation Tour to the historic venue in support of their sixth LP, The Family Sign—which also happens to be their first full-length in three years, following the acclaimed When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. After more than a decade of music and ascendance to the forefront of indie hip-hop as arguably the niche's most successful and long-standing artists, the latest release sees the duo of rapper Slug and producer/DJ Ant trying to grow up—it's the same angst, just redirected. The uplifting Family Sign most certainly is not, but one would be hard-pressed to find something more deeply personal. Note: Show moved from Paramount Theatre. With Evidence, Blueprint, DJ Babu, Prof. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $31 adv./$36 DOS. All ages. NICK FELDMAN The Devil Whale/Tuesday, August 23 The Devil Whale could best be described as a "thinking man's band," since their songs unfold like a poem or story. There's no definite beginning, middle, or end, just pieces to a puzzle that seem to line up and take shape. The Salt Lake City pop-psychedelic-folk band is led by vocalist Brinton Jones, who provides an irreplaceable backbone for the group: His words leap and crawl simultaneously, creating a fresh and sincere vibe on each track. The quintet's newest effort, Teeth, was released May 24, and is rooted in the same curious and erratic melodies as 2008's Like Paraders. With Cumulus, Young Lions. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $6. JOE WILLIAMS

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