(El Corazon) Who would’ve thought that a small group of longhairs from North Carolina would become so obsessed with Egyptian history that they would create a devastatingly brutal death-metal band solely dedicated to the folklore and culture of the area? Furthermore, who would have guessed that millions would eat it up? Since the release of Nile’s first demo, die-hards have successfully pushed that very band to the top tier of American death-metal bands, cementing them as much more than just a gimmick that happened to work. Only in the strange alternate world of death metal, my friends. KEVIN DIERS
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(Old Fire House) The MCs of Kirkland's Kung Foo Grip—the afro'd Greg Cypher and the dread-shaking Eff Is H—are classic-minded, upper-range-voiced spitters in the vein of prime-time Hiero, but they're no real-rap revivalists. Since their quickly embraced appearance as teens upon the scene some four or so years back, they've been as committed to progression as they have to their incendiary live presentation. Their production has morphed from jazzy loops and boom bap to cloudy trap, their couplets from merely impressive rhymes to naked emotion (particularly on 2013's Growing Up in the Future), they've never once sounded out of their lane, always honed their trajectory, always remained fans first of the area's illest shit—very based. The duo's ribs-touching hunger has long been dead obvious when they're onstage, but I suspect that as the stakes for local rap rise, they're working on the material that'll enable their own breakthrough. Godspeed, gents—don't let up. LARRY MIZELL JR.
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(Cairo) Fans of ’90s shoegaze rock—specifically the British band Lush—will find much to love in Portland’s WL. Their songs often bustle by in a sweet melodic whoosh with Misty Mary’s sub-zero, distant-female-waif vocals riding surging guitar jangles and supple, curvaceous bass lines. One of their best tunes, though, “Point of Focus,” features a surprisingly funky rhythm and a guitar tone that’s closer to the clangorous chime of Athens, Georgia, post-punks Pylon—which is a very great thing. WL’s 2013 album, Hold, is a subtle pleasure from start to finish; check it out at wellwell.bandcamp.com. DAVE SEGAL
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If you pay attention—and you will never go wrong doing just that, trust me there—you know Grynch's trademark thoughtful everyman steez, and either you rock with it or you don't. If you do, you'll be glad to hear the 2014 edition. He's still taunting doubters and bragging on his young-vet status in the Six ("Shine"), keeping it West Coast (the Kokane-featuring "On a Good One"), and being as disarmingly self-deprecating as ever (the amorous failure-to-launch hookup ode "My Folks' Spot"). The smooth '80s grooves and R&B assists that served him so well last time out are even slicker (check his chemistry with Malice and Mario Sweet on a couple cuts), and he sounds even more at home in the mix—if town-rap ever had an earthy Bobby Caldwell, it's him. And just like Mr. Do for Love, Grynch is just as fucking nostalgic as ever ("Time Flies")—he's virtually Seattle rap's Kevin Arnold. It suits him, though. The Wizdom and Fearce Vill–featuring "My City's Filthy," full of boilerplate civic pride, rides a pretty played-out sentiment (and overcooked hook) but is ultimately as innocuous as the latest Seahawks-inspired Space Needle tee. Most telling, though, is the stakes-is-higher attitude felt here, the narrator less satisfied with things than he was just a couple years ago, admitting that he almost called it quits—and on some joints, in particular "I Can Try," the G-child recaptures some of the hunger that typified his 2008 My Second Wind. LARRY MIZELL JR.
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Those searching for extraterrestrial dance beats need search no further tonight. Beam up with Timm Mason and Jayson Kochan—both of Midday Veil and each a slew of other projects (Master Musicians of Bukkake, Airport, Mood Organ)—who together make up the off-kilter electronic force TJ Max. To call their debut release, Wrong to Run, "dance-able" would be an understatement; these songs—which fall somewhere between Blade Runner and the floor of la discothèque—are dance-requisite, and demand physical reaction. No other Seattle act is making galactic dark disco to its grimiest and get-the-fuck-down-est like this: I literally couldn't control my body's reaction to these cosmically pulsating grooves, and I simply don't want to meet the person who can. The night is also appropriately hazed by Nashville-based Linear Downfall's experimental psych flourishes. At times they are reminiscent of '60s psych-electronic pioneers the United States of America, with near-delirious of Montreal-esque pop breakouts hovering over icy and weird electronics. Black Lodge, 9 pm. BRITTNIE FULLER
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, Bonkers! has another essential night of leftfield electronic music to lovely up your first Friday. Wndfrm (Portland producer Tim Westcott) is one of the country’s most accomplished purveyors of Basic Channel/Chain Reaction-style dub techno. I implore you to listen to his live performance at Sensory on Soundcloud and bask in the micro-granular texture and sublime, hypnotic propulsion of it all. Raccoon Acid (Nils Elde) makes mad, spastic IDM full of wonkily cantilevered beats that may dislocate your pelvis if you try to move too literally to them. To cap it all off, Bonkers! lured Greg Skidmore—now a licensed massage therapist—out of retirement to flex his impeccable taste in electro and IDM and his precise mixing skills for the first time since around 2010. It should be noted that Bonkers! also has some of the weirdest and most hilarious visuals—courtesy of Pleasure\Vision—flickering along with the crazy sounds. With Neural Net. Re-bar, 10 pm- 3 am, $5 before 11, $10 after, 21+. DAVE SEGAL
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(Chop Suey) Vox Mod, a local sonic fiction producer, has been very busy lately. Last month, he and RA Scion released an excellent album, Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon. At the end of this month, he releases another excellent album, The Great Oscillator, which in many ways explores the same galactic spaces as in SYN-ÆSTHETIC, an album he released in spring of 2013. There are, however, a number of new adventures in The Great Oscillator, such as “Icycles,” which is a collaboration with IG88 and can be considered a new and very accomplished addition to the expanding universe initiated by London’s Burial in 2005. My guess is that the deep dub of this track has a lot to do with the contribution by IG88, the local producer behind Shaprece’s ghostly “Tell Me.” Altogether, The Great Oscillator only deserves praise. It’s bold, big, and Seattle. With Truckasaurus and Nordic Soul. CHARLES MUDEDE
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And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, and beyond!