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Set on shuffle

Four thrillingly incongruous bands converge on Le Voyeur’s stage

Whole Milk’s blend of jazz and surf-rock is one instance of the discord planned for this show. Photo credit: Jonas Conn-Parent

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I recently stumbled across a baffling playlist on Spotify called "Songs to Sing in the Shower." It seemed like the ideal soundtrack to cruising around on a sunny almost-autumn day, but I was quickly surprised by a series of songs that were either picked by a blindfolded person throwing darts at a board, or by someone who had a uniquely refined sense of the value of subverting expectations in favor of fostering unpredictability. Here's one stretch of tunes I encountered on a very confusing car ride: "You Make My Dreams," by Hall and Oates; "Respect," by Aretha Franklin; "Criminal," by Fiona Apple; "The Purple People Eater," by Sheb Wooley; and "Brick," by Ben Folds Five. I don't really know who sings "Brick" in the shower, but I doubt they precede it with "The Purple People Eater."

While I don't think that playlist had much in the way of musical or thematic flow, what it had in spades was a meta-narrative power. That playlist works if you know those songs and imagine some poor soul listening to them in that order. In this instance, and in many others, I don't think that a stylistic consistency is very important. Going out to see a show, I don't really care if all three or four bands play synth-pop, or punk, or rockabilly. Variety being the spice of life, I enjoy approaching a show that seems to have been set on shuffle. And so, we have the bill for the Thursday, Sept. 27, show at Le Voyeur: Whole Milk, Bunny N Bear, Foghorns, and DustFuzzz. Alike in ethos, perhaps, but very distinct in style.

To mix up the order, we'll start with DustFuzzz, a cacophonous duo out of Spokane, dedicated to the fearsome beauty of noise. Elements of industrial music blend with droning, experimental rock, with mechanically insistent beats lurching alongside squalling guitars. Bellowing vocals incant along with the squalls of enormous sound, inviting the listener to fall into its rhythm or leave the room. Meanwhile, Tacoma's own Bunny N Bear's infectious electro-pop folds in funk and R&B influences, creating a playfully sexy sound that coyly coaxes you along. Their eminently winning "F$%# Me Like You Know Me" is an instantly relatable jam for people in loving relationships, and might have a good chance of becoming a radio hit if it weren't so upfront about how couples spend their time.

Based out of San Luis Obispo, California, Foghorns is an indie punk band that's all about the power of music to knock you senseless. As they say in "Comparing Stuff," "When music hits, you feel no pain. F$%#  that; I want music to punk me in the gut," with those last few words accompanied by fuzzy guitars overtaking the earlier acoustic quiet. This band needs you to feel every euphoric, sometimes ugly note they throw at you. And finally, we've got Denver-based Whole Milk, a trio that fascinatingly blends surf-rock and jazz into something that's fairly unique. The mysterious, reverb-heavy atmosphere of surf-rock works well with the exploratory aims of jazz, creating a product that's at once impactful and foggy.

Put all of those sounds on a playlist and see who turns their head.

WHOLE MILK, BUNNY N BEAR, FOGHORNS, DUSTFUZZZ, all ages, 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 27, Le Voyeur, 404 4th Ave. E., Olympia, $5, 360.943.5710,


As they did in 2016, before it was officially known as Alma Mater, Sporty Lee will be performing a rooftop concert on the most ambitious venue in town Sept. 22. The psych-folk mainstays will be joined by the similarly mind-expanding Spirit Award and the cinematic chamber-pop of Glass Heart String Choir to help shake free the reign of summer.

SPORTY LEE, all ages, w/ Spirit Award, Glass Heart String Choir, 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22, Alma Mater, 1322 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, $10,

Sir Richard Bishop, one of the most celebrated guitarists in recent memory, will be taking the stage at Cascadia Brewing Co. Sept. 23 to showcase his impeccable, internationally-influenced guitar-playing. Formerly a member of the cult favorite group Sun City Girls, Sir Richard Bishop has spent the past couple decades honing his world music credentials and becoming a totem for passionate fans of experimental music.

SIR RICHARD BISHOP, all ages, w/ Tashi Dorji Duo, Aaron Turner, 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 23, Cascadia Brewing Co., 211 4th Ave. E., Olympia, $10 suggested donation, 360.943.2337

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