TACOCAT, TIJUANA PANTHERS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Last month, Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O'Malley made a stop in Seattle to promote his latest graphic novel, Seconds. As part of an event titled "Verse Chapter Verse," O'Malley's Q&A was sandwiched between performances by Seattle pop-punk quartet Tacocat. How I wish I could have attended. Seconds has made for my favorite read of the summer, and I've had Tacocat's NVM stuck on repeat more than any other album released this year. Both O'Malley and Tacocat have crafted infectious worlds within sugarcoated music and illustrations. In fact, Tacocat could have easily inhabited the world of Scott Pilgrim: The band's sharp-witted lyrics hit at real issues, but they do so through an undeniably sun-drenched satirical lens. Tacocat's music proves the perfect pairing to O'Malley's playful meditations on entering adulthood in the information age, and both cleverly utilize humor as a means to defuse strenuous situations. Also, they're a lot of fun. CHIPP TERWILLIGER Also see My, What a Busy Week!
SUPERCHUNK, BLANK RANGE, RADIATION CITY
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Superchunk's 2013 record I Hate Music hardly embodies the emotional, frantic power pop that characterizes the group's more popular, punk-informed material. Instead, it seems geared toward fans of their restrained, late-'90s efforts Indoor Living and Come Pick Me Up. This was pretty much exemplified by the group's MusicfestNW set last year, where fist-pumping standbys like "Cast Iron" and "Driveway to Driveway" were eschewed in favor of weirdo cuts like "Hello Hawk." But that's not any real threat to the group's edge: Superchunk are still a tremendous live animal even when exploring the mellower side of their canon, and vocalist/guitarist Mac McCaughan is still the same frighteningly energetic, impetuous guitar anti-hero, despite the fact that he's an adult now with a really prestigious day job. There's no telling what the future has in store for Superchunk—but it's probably gonna rule. MORGAN TROPER Also see My, What a Busy Week!
MUSICFESTNW: SPOON, HAIM, TUNE-YARDS, FUCKED UP, THE ANTLERS, WILD ONES, EMA, MODERN KIN, THE DISTRICTS
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park, SW Yamhill & Naito) Day Two of Musicfest boasts an undeniably stronger lineup, including the effervescently great Haim—perhaps the only music that my six-year-old niece and I can agree on (sorry, Frozen soundtrack)—and the lovely, forlorn Antlers. But really, tonight's all about Spoon, who just dropped a great, late-model album in the form of They Want My Soul. Their eighth full-length since 1996, it's an assured, catchy, cool rock record that broadens the band's reach immensely, a happy change since 2010's deliberately inward-gazing Transference. We've reached the point where it's possible to have endlessly lengthy debates about the best Spoon album: 2001's Girls Can Tell gets all the indie cred, while 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga has both their biggest pop moment ("The Underdog") and their artiest masterwork ("The Ghost of You Lingers"). As for me, I'm still firmly in the Kill the Moonlight/Gimme Fiction camp, but who knows? Given enough time, They Want My Soul might give them a run for their money. NL Also, read our articles on Fucked Up and EMA.
FESTICIDE: DRUNK DAD, SLOTHS, MORE HELL, MOAN
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Read our article on Festicide.
FESTICIDE: BIG BLACK CLOUD, POLST, SAD HORSE
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) Read our article on Festicide.
THE MURDER CITY DEVILS, DEEP CREEP, COREY BREWER
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) The Murder City Devils were hot business in the late '90's and early 2000s. They built a cult legacy and a dedicated fanbase in five short years, with just three full-lengths and an EP before they split up in 2001. After popping back up for a few select shows in 2006 and 2007, it seemed like the band was just reuniting for a few cash grabs here and there to make ends meet. But on August 5, the Murder City Devils released The White Ghost Has Blood on Its Hands Again, effectively clearing their name and firmly wedging my foot in my mouth. The White Ghost doesn't ooze as much rock 'n' roll swagger as their self-titled debut, but it's still raw, honest, and seemingly fetched from the same dank gutters and shadowed alleys as their best records. The screaming, drunken-preacher poetry of Spencer Moody hasn't changed a bit either, making the 13-year wait since the Murder City Devils' last release seem fleeting. AW Also see My, What a Busy Week!