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MUSIC PICKS: Paris Spleen, Selkie, The Nextdoor Neighbor, Where Sails Meet Rails, The Winter Sounds

May 7-9: Live music in Tacoma and Olympia

Paris Spleen are back and playing The New Frontier Lounge Friday night.

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>>> Friday, May 7

To the joy of underage girls everywhere, Paris Spleen announces they are still a band. Despite a dramatic onstage breakup last fall, they will continue to deliver the goods. The goods being bass-driven disco punk, bad attitudes, and a multi-racial mélange of shirtless guys who can dance. Paris Spleen's Brooke Envy says the breakup was, "just a dumb fight" and the band plans to write new songs, record a single and tour this summer. Beyond the complications and the comedowns, Paris Spleen is Tacoma's rough gem. Perhaps their story is a coming-of-age, and this summer will be the endless kind where they fall in love, discover a dead body and are inevitably transformed. At The New Frontier Lounge with Oh, Dear! and Hotels, you can come witness Paris Spleen's new member Vaughn Kelly put some hurt on the tambourine. - Heather Loepp

[The New Frontier Lounge, with Hotels, Oh, Dear!, 9 p.m., cover TBA, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma, 253.572.4020]


>>> Saturday, May 8

Selkie, AKA Jack Doyle Smith, will be playing his first show (ever, apparently) at The Den on Saturday. A self-described player of experimental pop, it's hard to know what you'll see when he's at The Den. All I know is that "I've Never" - one of only two Selkie songs available on the entire World Wide Web - is an appealing slice of hazy indie rock. Saturday's show is another good example of why a place like The Den is important for Tacoma. It gives a stage to first-timers as well as well-traveled veterans, almost indiscriminately. A place like The Den takes a chance on a show where no one knows exactly what to expect - and the band isn't even from Tacoma. I, for one, am curious to find out what a Selkie show looks like. - Rev. Adam McKinney

[The Den @ urbanXchange, 8 p.m., all ages, cover TBA, 1932 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.2280]


>>> Saturday, May 8

This girl-girl duo - who rose to prominence through 2008's EMP Sound Off! Competition - deserves better than the "folktronica" label and the Tegan & Sara comparisons that are typically lobbed in their direction. The band's marginally-twee electro is totally economical, with no wasted sonic space; the beats are heavy and ably-crafted but not distracting, and well complemented by sharp lyrics and competent vocals. Though they're a relatively young band, The Nextdoor Neighbors have an impressive handle on production. Their full-length Magic Vs. The Machine boasts a terrific mix, and juxtaposes electronic and acoustic sounds (djembe drums, even) to great effect. They might have more accurately called their record "Magic and the Machine" or "Magic in the Machine," because the synthesis works like gangbusters. - Jason Baxter

[Le Voyeur, with Height, 10 p.m., no cover, 404 Fourth Ave. East, Olympia, 360.943.5710]


>>> Saturday, May 8

Tacoma's Where Sails Meet Rails - a band in tune with the history of the town that spawned them - has mastered the classic loud/soft, clean/dirty dynamic. In fact, it's one of their specialties. Through guitarists Christian Jordan and Jake Westhoff, Where Sails Meets Rails charges full steam ahead into the realm of "aggressive indie rock," as it's been called, and Tacoma's ears are all the better for it. Having released The Economics of Love EP earlier this year, the band seems to get a little tighter and more polished each time out. "We want to elevate Tacoma," Westhoff once told me. So far, Where Sails Meet Rails is doing its part. - Matt Driscoll

[Doyle's Public House, with Ryan Purcell and Last Round, 9:30 p.m., no cover, 208 Saint Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.7468]


>>> Sunday, May 9

Athens, Ga., band The Winter Sounds are beyond slick, as recorded. Layers and layers of churchly harmonies, chiming guitars and driving rhythms, dominate the band's songs. It's all a little too sterile for my taste. But when you get up close and personal to see the band live, they allow themselves to show their seams. The songs get a little nervier, those background hints of post-punk move to center stage, and those layers and layers of harmonies are cut back to just two men singing as loud as they can. Like most things, when The Winter Sounds are reduced, they get noticeably stronger. Seeing them live at Le Voyeur, in that concrete cave, is only bound to crank up the cacophony. - Rev. AM

[Le Voyeur, with Parachute Musical, Ron Hexagon, 10 p.m., no cover, 404 Fourth Ave. East, Olympia, 360.943.5710]

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