The Short List: This Week’s Recommended Shows

Rihanna & A$AP Rocky

Wednesday, April 3

Pop superstar Rihanna and Harlem-bred rapper A$AP Rocky may not appear to have a lot in common, but they do have this: controversy. For the former it’s scandalous duds, a thing for bad boys, and over-the-top sexuality. The latter: a daring sense of fashion, run-ins with the law, and presidential tendencies (did you see his turn as JFK in Lana del Rey’s video for “National Anthem”?). They’re also both at the top of their respective genres: Rihanna as the reigning Princess of Pop, A$AP as the up-and-coming go-to MC . . . Er, maybe they have more in common than we thought. KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., 733-9200. 7:30 p.m. $50–$145.


Friday, April 5

One of Seattle’s long-running rock favorites, Kinski tonight releases Cosy Moments, their first new album in six years. While their first on storied Olympia/Portland indie imprint Kill Rock Stars still veers into edgy psych territory, CM is also an infectious pop record with fuzzy surf riffs and melodic vocal (!) hooks sung by guitar man Chris Martin. The quartet’s songs have always been well-thought-out burners, but it takes a different kind of aptitude to make their trademark build-ups this accessible—especially without sacrificing their adventurous leanings. They’ve found a happy medium here—or a brilliant mesh-point, rather—and turned out their best work to date. With Mark McGuire, Bali Girls. Sunset, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $10. 21 and over.

Merle Haggard

Friday, April 5

With the Americana revival in full swing, a running debate has emerged within the circuit: Who’s the better singer, Waylon Jennings or Merle Haggard? Both helped to popularize their country sub-genres—Jennings in the outlaw category, Haggard for contributions to the Bakersfield sound—both garnered dedicated fans far and wide, and the lives of each showman, lined with failed marriages, drug abuse, and barroom brawls, are inextricably linked to their music. But on pure vocal talent, I’ve gotta go with the Hag. Jennings was an entertainer, but his pipes were never as clean as Haggard’s. Now 75, his 2011 release, Working in Tennessee—which features his current wife Theresa and their two children—reveals a voice that crackles with age but can still kick out a croon. Emerald Queen Casino, 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma, 253-594-7777. 8:30 p.m. $35–$70.



Saturday, April 6

It’s a year of anniversaries over at Sub Pop HQ. Both the local label and one of its proudest (or most rancid, depending on your perspective) sons, Mudhoney, turns 25 this year. Low, the label’s longtime “slowcore” (sorry) concern out of Duluth, Minn., marks 20 years in the biz with the release of The Invisible Way, which features the knob-twisting of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. “People who are more individual are the ones you can kinda sink your teeth into,” Low frontman Alan Sparhawk recently told me in regard to Tweedy. “It’s a little more interesting to let them sink their teeth into you. I’m curious to see what we sound like through other filters.” The result—sparse, gorgeous slow burns—shouldn’t shock longtime fans. And there’s nothing wrong with that. After 20 years, they know what they’re good at. With Thalia Zedek. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-4618, 8 p.m. $18. All ages.


Tuesday, April 9

Listening to Phosphorescent’s latest, Muchacho, you might get the impression that songwriter/primary member Matthew Houck simply had a few glasses of whiskey in his New York jam space and accidentally let his Alabama roots seep into his songs. But those who know better know Houck has been working the dark-liquor river for half a dozen albums. Tempoed like a late-afternoon lope down a dusty trail on a stoned old pack mule, Muchacho may have an old-country soul, but packs the immaculate digital mastering of a hip Brooklyn studio. Whether or not that’s how it all went down (Houck actually wrote the bulk of the record on sabbatical in Mexico), the geographical imagery he evokes plays with your perceptions throughout the album and makes a unique canvas for his emotional wanderings. With Strand of Oaks. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $13 adv. 21 and over.

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