THE SHINS, WASHED OUT (Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) For a little while there, real life for the Shins was nowhere near as mellifluously perfect as the band's soundtrack-famous music. Longtime members left (read: were fired), and the group went years without releasing a new album. That finally changed this year, and thankfully the band is trotting out its new-look lineup. DENIS C. THERIAULT
ODD FUTURE WOLF GANG KILL THEM ALL (Roseland, 8 NW 6th) It's always hilarious to try and watch people—journalists or otherwise—put some all-encompassing theory or grand narrative behind Los Angeles' Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. The fact is they're apathetic as fuck about what any of us think. But that's what stimulates the national appeal. They're so aware of societal entrapment and the irregularities of disillusioned youth that they can't help but incorporate lyrics of dysfunctionality with blaring identity declaration. See their power? Now I'm the product of my initial criticism. Regardless, check out the music video for "Oldie" off their debut album The OF Tape, Vol. 2: It's 10 minutes of verse from the core members of the group, all tracked over footage that heavily suggests their natural day-to-day. JONATHAN MAGDALENO Also see My, What a Busy Week!
K.FLAY, MICHNA (Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Like many of the best rappers, K.Flay's career began in California—albeit in a Stanford University dorm room. But that first silly parody of a genre from which she had always felt alienated evidently hit a spot in her brain. A handful of EPs and mixtapes later, she's become one of the most boundary-pushing voices in hiphop. On her Eyes Shut EP, a free download on her website, K.Flay ranges from aggressive to sunshiny with surprising frequency and agility. It's impossible to tune out her cyclonic lyrics, which are fast and mind-boggling and witty. K.Flay makes her own beats and credits Parliament-Funkadelic as one of her biggest inspirations. This gives her at least a few things in common with the most influential producer in the history of hiphop, Dr. Dre. So I'd be excited to hear her repertoire of thin tracks and squeaky samples expand to include meatier, G-funk-inspired beats. REBECCA WILSON
DODGE LOGIC, TOMTEN, CONSTELLATION PRIZE (Ella Street Social Club, 714 SW 20th Pl) Fans of the late, lamented the Dutchess and the Duke might find some solace in their Emerald City citymates Tomten. Not that the quartet attempts D&D's dueling boy-girl campfire intimacy. Rather, Tomten shares a similar affinity for the smokiest, most world weary of all the amber-tinted folk-psych-pop made in the '60s: Between the Buttons, Songs of Leonard Cohen, Chelsea Girl. Frontman Brian Noyeswatkins sounds like Mick Jagger at his "Lady Jane"-iest, as the band traffics in lovely, organ-augmented tones that flicker like candlelight. Their album Wednesday's Children makes good on the promise of the Ta Ta Dana EP (whose title track makes a welcome reappearance on the full-length), and Tomten makes clear that they're capable of making great tunes that stand on their own strength, no references to the past required. NED LANNAMANN