MUSIC PICKS: Josh Martinez, Led to Sea, Splendid Vengance, The Plastards, David Bazan, Gold Teeth, Coldnote

April 22-28: Live music in the South Sound

By Volcano Staff on April 21, 2010


>>> Thursday, April 22

Tonight, Vancouver, B.C. native turned Portlander Josh Martinez will make a return visit to "Tha O" as he headlines an awesome lineup of hip-hoppers at Olympia's Royal Lounge. The show, put on by Homeland Security, features appearances by The Junkyard Gang and house-party rockers extraordinaire Night Fox - followed by The Elements with Cornerstate, and DJ Deadbeat holdin' down the tables and hosting duties. Junkyard Gang dropped the official re-release of their award-winning album Where In The World Is Taylor Jones? on April 20 - and should certainly be in rare form tonight with their West Olympia rock star antics. - Jose S. Gutierrez Jr.

[The Royal Lounge, 8 p.m., cover TBA, 311 Capitol Way N., Olympia, 360.705.0760]


>>> Thursday, April 22

L. Alex Guy (as Led to Sea) is one of those artists, like St. Vincent or Andrew Bird, who approaches pop music with the eye of a classical composer, breaking down and rebuilding pop tropes into something resembling fine art. Guy is an accomplished violist, having lent her talents to the likes of Laura Veirs, Mirah, Xiu Xiu, and Seattle's art-punk collective, Degenerate Art Ensemble. Her music can be a challenging, sometimes frustrating, but it always sweeps up through pop and rock on its way back to chamber music, and her voice is always expressive and engaging. It's a constant balancing act, combining classical and pop. But in Led to Sea's case, Guy is able to have her cake and eat it too. - Rev. Adam McKinney

[Northern, with Mirah, Kane Mathis, 8 p.m., all ages, $7, 321 Fourth Ave., Olympia,]


>>> Friday, April 23

Way back in the day I pissed off (I think) Tacoma's spandex-clad, glam metal rockers Splendid Vengance - by calling them gimmicky, or hair-spray-y, or something. I can't really remember. It was a long time ago. Plus, it's tough to tell what's serious with these guys and what's tongue in cheek. Would guys in full '80s regalia, rocking out with their figurative cocks out, really get upset that some punk like me might poke fun at them? That seems unlikely - but I've always encouraged drama for the sake of moving papers, and I'm not going to change now. What seems certain is Splendid Vengance will put on one of the most entertaining shows this week has to offer. - Matt Driscoll

[Hell's Kitchen, with Mahnhammer, Careless Eaters, Big Wheel Stunt Show, Vile Red Falcons, 9 p.m., $5, 928 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.759.6003]


>>> Friday, April 23

The Plastards are an anomaly in this town. At a time when every band is scrambling to make records and set out on tours of the coast and beyond, capitalizing on technology and endless networking potential, the Plastards have remained quietly removed from it all. For more than 10 years this band has been a staple of the local bar scene, pounding out frantic sets of pure quality garage punk. They play shows, draw crowds, and are a popular and entertaining group that doesn't ever fail to deliver. Yet this band has not ever released so much as a demo. So what is the deal? This band has remained so independent they make Fugazi look like Poison. What makes these guys different? Well for starters, they simply don't care what anyone else is doing. - Potter

[Malarkey's Pool & Brew, with Indecisive Rhythm, Chico's Revenge, 9 p.m., cover TBA, 445 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, 253.383.3301]


>>> Friday, April 23

"Tacoma gets a bad rap, but it's always been a good experience when I've played there," David Bazan once told me, prior to a performance in this Gritty City of ours. This week, Bazan - probably best known for Pedro the Lion - once again returns to Tacoma for what should certainly be another memorable, all ages friendly performance in T-town - this time at Urban Grace Church. "I feel guilty because I don't really strive to play all-ages shows. But when they happen they are usually better. Kids love music in a slightly more pure way than grownups," Bazan said way back then. Still, the young and old alike can find something to get behind in the reluctant singer/songwriter's gut wrenchingly painful yet still beautifully melancholy song crafting style. Uber talented and young Tacoma band Hail opens the show - MD

[Urban Grace Church, with Hail, 8 p.m., all ages, $10, 912 Market St., Tacoma, 253.272.2184]


>>> Sunday, April 25

Church or awesome garage rock? These are the types of dilemmas presented to you when Tacoma's Gold Teeth (now with seven members!) slithers out of the depths and decides to plug in for a rare matinee show at Top of Tacoma. OK, sure - technically you could probably attend a reasonably scheduled Sunday service and still make it to Top of Tacoma for Gold Teeth's first Rainier beer tuned, three chord, fist-pumper - but that blows the whole premise of this blurb. Plus, if you're down with Gold Teeth, Sunday service probably isn't too high on your priority list. Just sayin'. "Our rule of ‘No Rocking Before Rock O' Clock!' has only been stifled by our friends at The Top of Tacoma. We can break tradition for good pals," says Gold Teeth's Chris Trashcan. Won't you join the mayhem?  - MD

[Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe, ? p.m., 3529 McKinley Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1502]


>>> Wednesday, April 28

There's not much convincing needed when talking about a band like Coldnote. You know right now whether or not you're onboard. The band plays smooth, sexy soul and funk that's more Marvin Gaye than Prince, if you know what I'm saying. And that's all you need to know, really. If you're into it, you're going to be really into Coldnote. The vocals are natural, unforced, and very soulful. The music rides in the background, finding a solid groove. Reader, this is baby-making music, and there's no other way to slice it. If your date leaves you cold after seeing Coldnote, you can feel confident in the knowledge that it's all your fault. The music did all it could. - Rev. AM

[The Swiss, 8 p.m., $5, 1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.2821]