Shannon & The Clams, The Earshot Jazz Festival, The Julie Ruin, And More Critics' Picks For October 3-9
by Stranger Things To Do Staff
As the impending presidential election looms in the near future, try new methods of escapism, like live music! We've got plenty of ways to distract you, from the biggest band in America in an alternate reality, to the indie rock duo that's only possible thanks to fertilized zygote splitting, to the beginning of the season of Seattle's premier jazz event. As always, be sure to check out our music calendar, which houses every event you could ever want to attend, or our list of the 78 biggest concerts throughout this entire month.
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These days, party god Andrew W.K.’s positivity empire is humming—you might catch him fronting Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg (what is basically an excellent Ramones cover band), tune in to his America W.K. radio show, read his advice column in the Village Voice, follow his fervent Twitter account (he is the author of one of my all-time favorite tweets: “PARTY TIP: Tenderly squeeze a cat's paw”), or get totally pumped at one of his motivational speaking gigs. It’s almost easy to forget that in real life he is one hell of a musician (who can f’real play that piano), and his over-the-top power-pop party anthems are timeless in that unadulterated fun-having never goes out of favor. Wear head-to-toe white because IT’S TIME TO PARTY! EMILY NOKES
Danny Brown with Guests
It’s been six years since Danny Brown’s unforgettable goose-call of a voice first burned itself into ear canals on his proper debut album, The Hybrid. His outsize persona as an outlandish hornball and fearless amateur pharmacologist never obscured his MC bona fides, the fact that he spit like it might be his last: “I rap like I bet my life”—he says on “Greatest Rapper Ever”—“’cause in all actuality, nigga, I DID.” Brown has also been a bit of a tastemaker, being an early Pitchfork-approved champion of acts like Main Attrakionz and Young Thug (and, let us not forget, Kitty Pryde). He was also the only American rapper to claim a grime artist (Dizzee Rascal) as one of his chief influences, before the UK style was enjoying its Skepta-driven stateside resurgence. And now he’s got a new album coming out, Atrocity Exhibition. Touring with Brown is a well-deserving indie stalwart, the bellicose H-Town goon Maxo Kream—as well as Danny’s fellow Bruiser, Brigadeer ZelooperZ. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Tegan and Sara with Shura
If you have a twin, you basically owe it to the world to start a band with them and cash in on those perfect harmonies. Cases in point: the Breeders, P.S. Eliot, Wet Nurse, and um… Good Charlotte? Fellow twin band, Canadian pop stars Tegan and Sara, make the kind of music that fits seamlessly into a Forever 21 soundtrack but somehow still oozes real emotion. They weren’t always pumping through shopping-center sound systems alongside recycled air, though. The record that endeared me to them was 2004’s So Jealous, which I first heard through the CD library of the community radio station where I volunteered. For months I would drive home at 3 a.m. after my DJ shift listening to the perfectly crafted indie-rock breakup record, and feel justified in liking something my cooler friends deemed uncool because Weezer/Rentals member Matt Sharp played Moog on it. Tegan and Sara’s rise to full-fledged pop stars has made the music more electronic and mainstream-palatable, but it kept the same whip-smart heart (and magical twin harmonies) that first cut straight to my heart. ROBIN EDWARDS
The Zombie Apocalypse Tour with Fabio Frizzi and DJ Veins
What fresh hell is this? Only the magnificent Italian horror-film soundtrack maestro Fabio Frizzi darkening Seattle's nightscape for the first time ever. With Death Waltz, Cinevox, Finders Keepers, and other reissue labels leading a revival of all things sonically and cinematically blood-curdling, the time's ripe for acts like Goblin, John Carpenter, and now Frizzi to bring their hauntological cues and tenebrous atmospheres to America's stages. Frizzi got his start in the mid '70s with Franco Bixio and Vince Tempera in the legendary Magnetic System group, who put the fright into the funk in many a sample-worthy track. Frizzi went on to score several movies by gore-mongering director Lucio Fulci, including Zombi 2, The Beyond, and Manhattan Baby. His powerful melodies, suspenseful rhythmic dynamics, and flare for tension-dissolving levity have gained Frizzi entry to the soundtrack pantheon, and tonight's a rare chance to experience them in the flesh. DAVE SEGAL
Chick Corea with Eddie Gomez and Brian Blade
Chick Corea has spent his life searching, seeking, finding, and then seeking and searching all over again. The 75-year-old keyboardist finds a way to expand jazz vocabulary by probing the outskirts of sound, composition, improvisation-as-composition, and sonics. He can cede the left-hand piano parts largely to the bassist (Eddie Gomez, this time—illustrious, tasty, and only a few years younger than Corea), or dive in for dive bombs. Drummer Brian Blade, this trio’s youngest member by decades, got his start in gospel music at his father’s church, filtered that through John Coltrane, Bird, and Miles, with a heaping helping of Coltrane’s classic drummer Elvin Jones, and never looked back. Go and plug into deep convolutions of jazz language. ANDREW HAMLIN
Robyn Hitchcock with Emma Swift
Fortunately for jangle- and microfloral-loving soft-punks, 1980s alternative-rock icon Robyn Hitchcock is in town for two nights, and he seems pretty delighted about it himself. As the paisley-clad and polka-dotted frontman for weirdo 1970s power-pop legends the Soft Boys, and in the 1980s with the Egyptians, and then just as himself, Hitchcock has released more than 20 records in the realm of fantastical neo-psych folk and “college rock.” With local musicians (including vocalist Sean “Seattleite of Love” Nelson) joining Hitchcock onstage, both nights should abound with mystically enriched lyrical imagery and well-crafted pop songwriting. The British singer-songwriter has a serious love for the Pacific Northwest: He wrote a song called “Viva! Sea Tac” and also noted in a recent Facebook post that he “can’t wait to be back under the gills of the Space Needle!” With the first night already sold out, it seems as though Seattle can’t wait, either. BRITTNIE FULLER
Caroline Goulding and Joshua Roman: Duos
Caroline Goulding makes her Seattle debut at Town Hall with TownMusic Artistic Director Joshua Roman, featuring a program of beloved works from Ravel, the Kodaly duo, and the Handel-Halvorsen collaboration.
Cymbals Eat Guitars, Field Mouse, Wildhoney
Do young shoegaze bands have an issue with aggravated hypermasculinity? On the West Coast, you have Whirr’s transphobic comments and internet-trolling practice of “weeding out the pussies.” On the East Coast, you have Nothing’s frontman doing jail time for attempted murder. It’s as if My Bloody Valentine worship is the counterbalance to being an aggro dude. If you’re looking for heavenly melodies set against blizzards of distortion but want a vibe that’s a little less Fight Club, be sure to check out Baltimore’s female-fronted, queer-inclusive Wildhoney. Rather than following the precedent of burying the singer beneath squalls of cascading guitar, Wildhoney use Lauren Shusterich’s airy vocals to guide the band’s exploration of 4AD jangle and Psychocandy bluster. This makes the band not only a welcome respite from new-gaze’s tough-guy facade, but a much more engaging and dynamic ride overall. BRIAN COOK
KING with Joey Dosik
A couple months ago, I wrote that heavenly neo-soul trio KING were “lushly expressive within even the simplest of gestures.” This rings especially true in the album they released when I last saw them in February. Tearing through the tropes of neo-soul, KING apply their craft with strong conviction yet a tender hand, like a thoroughly modern En Vogue, if they were high priestesses of an Afrofuturist beat-tropic temple ruled by Sade. We included them in our regretful piece “The Best Music We Failed to Write About in the First Half of 2016.” I suggest you learn from our pitiful mistakes and absorb every bit of sonic wisdom KING lay before you this October. KIM SELLING
A quick breakdown of Washington, D.C., duo Thievery Corporation's music into its three fundamental parts: The band's spirituality is drawn from the Rasta tradition in reggae/dub, their urbanism from black-American hiphop, and their cosmopolitanism (which is not the same as urbanism) from continental European chic or cool. These basic parts form a musical machine that processes Nigerian Afro-beat (the duo's most recent album, Radio Retaliation, featured Fela Kuti's son Femi Kuti), Brazilian bossa nova (which is prominent on their third album, The Richest Man in Babylon), and Indian raga/classical (which is featured on their second and most successful album, The Mirror Conspiracy). From this multicultural sound rises Thievery Corporation's politics, which, because of its global scope, is a politics of what the philosophers Negri and Hardt call "the multitude." CHARLES MUDEDE
Discharge, Eye Hate God, Toxic Holocaust, Oxygen Destroyer, Disciples Of Dissent
Tonight, Discharge, one of England’s original leather-clad hardcore/peace-punk/street-punk groups of the late ’70s, make a rare Seattle appearance. Considering it’s been almost 40 years since they began, the band doesn’t exactly carry the firepower of the 1978 lineup, but they do promise to charge forward at full speed, as their current frontman does a bang-up job of hollering like the original singer, Cal. And from what I sussed, Discharge will be playing their best-loved heavies and (heh heh) nothing off the loved or hated Grave New World LP. As if Discharge aren’t enough, dig the rest of the night’s lineup: Eyehategod, Toxic Holocaust, Oxygen Destroyer, and Disciples of Dissent; it’s gonna be heavy as shitballs in Sodo, y’all! MIKE NIPPER
Skate Like A Girl Benefit: Mommy Long Legs, Hoop, Kelli Frances Corrado, SciFiSol
I hope we can all agree that sexism is ridiculous, stupid, and harmful, which is why organizations like Skate Like a Girl are essential; its chief focus is promoting women’s skateboarding at a community level as an early push for female empowerment and leadership. Local bands have joined up to support the cause at a benefit show that boasts a superior lineup to much of what’s been cobbled together this fall. Enjoy sets from abstract elevators of “brat-punk” Mommy Long Legs, cherubic basement soothsayers Hoop, the haunting Black Forest divinity of Kelli Frances Corrado (with a bonus premiere of her new video that features several Skate Like a Girl community members), and electronic collagist SciFiSol. KIM SELLING
Lauded by the Wall Street Journal as "the best jazz and blues singer going today," Catherine Russell takes the stage at Jazz Alley for four straight days, with six shows worth of genre-blending elegance.
Dr. John & The Nite Trippers
Jazz and blues legend and top '60s freak-a-leek Dr. John showcases his lifelong embodiment of New Orleans' musical heritage with his band The Nite Trippers, headlining at the Pantages Theater.
Frankie Cosmos, iji
Tender-hearted new wave-influenced pop surrounds Seattle Center and manifests Frankie Cosmos and iji at the Vera Project.
Shannon & The Clams with Guests
I don’t know which fiendish scientist is responsible for exiling Shannon and the Clams from the TV dimension (did they play the unaired Lenny & Squiggy Get Married special or the deleted Muppet Baby Prom Massacre?) to the mundane drudgery of this world, but I thank them. Their George Romero–infectious blend of high-camp soda-jerk pop, wailing lowrider oldies, and paint-peeling garage rock is some of the most gut-punching, ass-shaking guitar music I’ve heard in the modern era. Gone by the Dawn, their 2015 release on Hardly Art, is a monsterpiece of loss and loneliness. Give them their money. In another dimension, Shannon and the Clams would be the biggest band in America. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Tobacco, High Tides, Odonis Odonis
In the hyper-speed, tech-boner world of today, it’s comforting to know that time has left Tom Fec the fec alone. Whether with his introverted, acid-tab, soft-rock outfit Black Moth Super Rainbow or his sludge-shoveling synth solo act Tobacco, Fec has found no need to exit his cave of creativity to check anyone’s watch. Released last month, Tobacco’s Sweatbox Dynasty still sounds like it was recorded on your balding uncle’s cassette recorder and still attacks the synthesizer like an unsupervised kid playing with bottle rockets. Nobody stuffs tinny drum-machine and distorted chip-tune sounds into the blender and has it come out chopped as neatly as Fec. The only hang-up you might have at his show is deciding whether to dance or headbang. TODD HAMM
Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds
Baby Boomer nirvana will be attained tonight, if all goes according to plan. The Beach Boys’ 1966 album Pet Sounds is about as canonical a rock album as the world has ever heard (ask the Beatles). For millions of discerning and casual listeners, Pet Sounds is a touchstone for youthful romantic feelings and a bottomless source of melodic beauty, idiosyncratic timbres, and earnest spirituality. Fifty years after its release, the album continues to defy time’s ravages, its songs as wrinkle-free and supple as they were back when Brian Wilson and Tony Asher massaged them into timeless ebullience and dulcet melancholy, boosted by the finest session players—the legendary Wrecking Crew—that Capitol Records could hire. Sure, Mr. Wilson’s voice has experienced deterioration, but Pet Sounds’ 13 evergreen compositions should keep your election-year dread at bay for at least an hour or so. You still believe in Brian. DAVE SEGAL
Enjoy the sunset filtering through the windows of St Mark’s while absorbing some of Seattle’s most powerful voices, including Jeremy Enigk, Laura Gibson, Tomo Nakayama and additional guests. All artists will perform stripped-down sets with no instruments, only equipped with the versatility of their own voices, in the Cathedral.
Earshot Jazz: Honey Ear Trio
Subtle, innovative, a master across genres including a few nameless ones, Allison Miller remains one of the most fascinating drummers living. The Honey Ear Trio join her with saxophonist Jeff Lederer and bassist Rene Hart. They cut Steampunk Serenade back in 2011, and the new album, Swivel, drops in October. Swivel opens in a rock smackdown tone and a “Tom Sawyer” drone, then gets both weird and friendly. Weird, since you can never tell when they’ll drop a beat, shift an emphasis, dance into a new time signature—watching them is almost as fun as hearing them. Friendly, because they aren’t out to alienate. From rock/jazz to jazz/rock to everybody-into-the-pool improv, they wish to take you with them. ANDREW HAMLIN
Earshot Jazz & Cornish Present: Steve Lehman Trio
Sorry to say, I only learned about American saxophonist/composer Steve Lehman a couple of months ago, after reading a feature about him in The Wire. That article spurred me to look into Sélébéyone, his new album with an African musician of that name and the excellent rapper High Priest of Antipop Consortium. Much of Sélébéyone recalls myriad Bill Laswell projects from the ’90s, with his polyglot, ad-hoc ensembles blending jazz, funk, hiphop, and electro. Lehman’s work here extends that approach even further, and his compositions smack you with the shock of the new. You’ve probably never heard rhythms and melodies like these. His trio with drummer Damion Reid and bassist Matt Brewer can be heard on 2012’s Dialect Fluorescent, which hews slightly closer to jazz conventions, but is still bold and exploratory. Lehman’s ability to improvise in the Max/MSP program has added fascinating dimensions to his music. Studying under Anthony Braxton and Alvin Lucier hasn’t hurt, either. DAVE SEGAL
The Julie Ruin
New York agit-pop quintet the Julie Ruin are the realization of an impossible scenario: What if a post-punk singer like Ari Up had fronted a girl group like the Shangri-Las? The outcome might have resembled the perceptive party music on Hit Reset, their second full-length (not counting bandleader Kathleen Hanna’s 1998 solo debut as Julie Ruin). As a singer, Hanna does most everything except sing: She murmurs, shouts, speaks in tongues—whatever fits the song. It’s a style that served her well in Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, but she’s never collaborated with players this versatile before, especially keyboard player and comic foil Kenny Mellman (of Kiki and Herb), who illuminates the proceedings with space-age squiggles, elegant arabesques, and an occasional shout of his own. KATHY FENNESSY
Okkervil River, Landlady, Julia Jacklin
Okkervil River’s third album, Black Sheep Boy, may not cut as deep as Big Star’s Third with its exposed-nerve laments about love, death, and love as death—but it comes close. Front man Will Sheff holds nothing back on the Austin sextet’s masterpiece, though what impresses some may merely exhaust others (one critic dubbed them “Overkill River”). It’s an understandable reaction, but for those drawn to Sheff’s destabilizing lyrics—“sometimes the blood from real cuts feels real nice”—and campfire-meets-concert-hall aesthetic, this show promises to be as revelatory as the new, extended version of the record with bonus tracks and covers of influences from Leadbelly to the Louvin Brothers. KATHY FENNESSY
Raekwon, Supernatural, Guests
One of the original nine members of legendary New York hiphop outfit Wu-Tang Clan—and one of its core members alongside RZA, GZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, and the dearly departed Ol’ Dirty Bastard—Raekwon should need no introduction. But, here we are. If you’ve never listened to a Wu-Tang album, stop reading this and then go jam Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and pursuant to that, check out Rae’s first solo LP, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Both records present a master class in atmosphere and lyrical ferocity as primary drivers of the music, as opposed to dance beats, hooks, or choruses in general. In other words, Raekwon is everything most modern hiphop is not, and that’s a point in his favor. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Rocky Votolato with Chris Staples
At first listen, Rocky Notolato's 2012 album, Television of Saints, feels a little shallow compared to his past releases. Votolato has never sugarcoated his emotions—from 2003's Suicide Medicine to 2010's True Devotion, he's openly addressed depression and heartbreak. Television of Saints sounds so much more gentle and copacetic. But listen a little closer, and his daily battles are still there. For example, "Sunlight" sounds like a warm harmonica-laced country song, but it wasn't until the third or fourth listen that I really heard the lyrics: "Till you fall you never know what you've been standing on/Oh, mental health, where have you been hiding?/These illusions, they can be so blinding." Preach it, Votolato. MEGAN SELING
Ryley Walker with Circuit des Yeux
Tonight you have the luxury of witnessing two of Chicago’s deepest rock talents on one bill. Ryley Walker is the golden-toned folkadelic troubadour whose fluidly turbulent songs hark back to the pastoral profundity of Bert Jansch, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, and Van Morrison. Walker perhaps wears his influences too brazenly on his buckskin jacket sleeve, but oh, what influences they be. Circuit des Yeux guitarist/vocalist Haley Fohr recalls Buckley, too (think Starsailor), with a voice that also plumbs Scott Walker–like depths, but it comes across more as natural expression rather than slavish imitation. Her vibrato-laden contralto lends an unequalled gravitas to Circuit des Yeux’s songs, which have morphed from hallucinatory loner folk to orchestral art rock on In Plain Speech, possibly the only record from this decade that approaches Nico’s magnificently morose Marble Index. Fohr remains one of America’s most riveting performers, whether with a full band or simply playing guitar and crooning soulful anguish. DAVE SEGAL
Chanticleer: The Washing of the Water
Grammy-winning, all-male chorus Chanticleer will perform their latest effort, focusing on "the power of water to redeem, restore, and refresh the human soul," with selections from ancient to contemporary.
Benoit Pioulard, Skin Lies, White Cloud
Benoît Pioulard’s relentless release schedule continues with Temper, a reissue of his 2008 sophomore album for Kranky Records (it’s packaged as a double LP with the 2006 debut, Précis). The Seattle musician’s leaned heavily on his Eno-/Basinski-esque ambient proclivities over the last couple of years, to stunning effect. But people should know that Pioulard (aka Thomas Meluch) also excels in hushed singer/songwriter mode, as his earliest Kranky output and his work with Rafael Anton Irisarri in Orcas prove. Sweet glumness and melodic delicacy rule, with Pioulard’s innate chillness pervading every move. Oakland quartet White Cloud—not to be confused with the ’70s country-rock group led by Thomas Jefferson Kaye—are supporting their latest great album, Seven Heads. A lot of bands now get tagged “psychedelic” but have only the most tenuous connection to the genre at its senses-scrambling best. White Cloud truly deserve the appellation. They shimmer in the Morgan Delt/White Fence/early Tame Impala lane of hazy disorientation and melodic splendor; it’s a mystery why White Cloud aren’t playing the festival circuit yet. DAVE SEGAL
Shonen Knife, Ichi Bichi, Full Toilet
Forming in 1981, Japanese DIY pop-punk trio Shonen Knife were heavily influenced by ’77-style punk and have performed as a Ramones cover band called the Osaka Ramones throughout their career. Throughout the ’80s, Shonen Knife (literally meaning “Boy Knife”) gained a cult indie following after gaining distribution from Sub Pop and K Records and touring with Nirvana. Shonen Knife’s sparkly, whimsical pop songs about banana chips, cookies, and riding bikes won over bands like Sonic Youth in alternative rock’s early-’90s heyday, with mega-fan Kurt Cobain claiming to be “transformed into a 9-year-old girl at a Beatles concert” upon seeing Shonen Knife play in 1991. They’re down to only one original member (vocalist/guitarist Naoko Yamano), but Shonen Knife’s cutesy, proto-kawaii aesthetic and cotton-candy clouds still reign supreme on their latest album, Adventure. BRITTNIE FULLER