! = recommended
* = all-ages
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If you are a fan of smartly written music that wallops with chutzpah and high energy, and were to ask for the line up coming this Thursday night, May 13 to The Crocodile, you would appear rapacious. A four band cavalcade that also serves as a CD release party for The Redwood Plan's first full-length Racing Towards The Heartbreak, it might be the best value for your local night life buck this week. (Just from their last show at the venue alone, it would be worth the door price.)
Starting with the headliners, Brooklyn's The Shondes returns with their sensual yet ornery helter-skelter, which should feel very pleasing to acolytes of K Records' fiercest female-led albums, and fans of klezmer cabaret alike. My Dear One is their debut on new label Fanatic, and is a sidewinder of a break-up album (of a sort). The title track and "You Ought To Be Ashamed" unleash sharp-witted fire on the lily-livered and capricious, but also "Make It Beautiful" by including plenty of violin.
The Redwood Plan's album is a collaborative production between the band and creative hard rock recording visionary Martin Feveyear. Maelstroms of emotional need and deferred hopes are chronicled through mad-tempo tracks like "For What It's Worth," "Swing," and "Push," full of femme-focused vim and verve from Lesli Wood (Ms. Led). With her new husband Larry Brady (Shorthand For Epic) anchoring and adding the oompah to Betty ST's beats and Sydney Stolfus' guitar and backing vocals, this allows Ms. Wood to treat the stage like a combination feminist monster truck rally or an intellectual salon if debate was carried out with throat level kicks. It's all just sweaty bodies knocking into each other with a whole lot of groove and chant. See them and you'll walk away with all eleven full throttle episodes of Racing Towards The Heartbreak.
I feel weird waiting this long to bring this up here, but Troy Nelson has a new band, and though I would have paid to see either of the bands above separately, I feel like kicking in three times to catch The Young Evils. You might recognize Nelson from his razzle dazzle work in his satire-fueled, often musical alternative comedian duo Black Daisy bend the (heavy) metal for you. The Young Evils has been something he's been plotting and percolating for a while, with Mackenzie Mercer and Mark Pickerel and Cody Hurd and first album-recorder Barrett Jones, and it has little to do with farce or Aqua Net. (Far as I know about the latter, could be wrong there.) This is Nelson turning his alakazam wordplay skills, fetching singing, and rapscallion rocking into straight-ahead songwriter territory, long overdue. Looking forward to him bringing this straight-forward big pop to the big high Crocodile stage.
Starting the evening off will be Mal Del Mer, appropriately, as their stuff is clean, tight, and high quality like what's described above. But that's no surprise considering it's formed out of four bands that Seattle loves: Slender Means, The Divorce, The Amazombies, and Lila. From their My Space page they're going to a welcome ruckus all on their own, so get there early that evening.