Hear ThisScientific methods, stoner rock, and Scandinavians

Seattle art-rock trio the Dead Science draws a lot of comparisons to bleak postpunk melodramatists Xiu Xiu — mainly due to the gripping, affected falsetto wanly delivered by singer-guitarist Sam Mickens. Oh, there's also the fact that Mickens and upright bassist Jherek Bischoff were in Xiu Xiu for a spell a few years back. Yet the Dead Science, rounded out by drummer Nick Tamburro, operates within somewhat more standard rock convention; melody and structure are vital to the songs, but the group isn't afraid to screw with the proceedings via unpredictable dynamic shifts and odd little sonic fillips that nod to roots in free-jazz and avant-noise scenes. If creative musicianship and high drama is your thing, don't miss the Dead Science on Wednesday, August 2, at the Hemlock Tavern at 9 p.m. Admission is $6; call 923-0923 or visit www.hemlocktavern.com for more info. Michael Alan Goldberg

Stoner metal is many a rocker's game these days, with thickets of repetitive riffs enough to tangle mediocre acts with weighty praise. Santa Cruz's Mammatus get high respect not only for the name (which signifies those heavy pouches resting underneath clouds), but also for the band's sound, which expands into the nether regions of metal's mental excursions. On its debut, eponymous journey, Mammatus chases "Dragons of the Deep" while riding the trails of Hawkwind, Nicholas' (no last names here) vocals breaking across stormy feedback that fries your feelers in all the right places. You could lose yourself in one song for days — or at least 20 minutes — so bring the metaphorical compass on Thursday, Aug. 3, at Café Du Nord at 9 p.m. Admission is $7; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com for more info. Jennifer Maerz

Though this East Vancouver, B.C., four-piece can Big Muff foot-stomp like mountain men through heartbroken power-chord crashes on its recent eponymous debut, Ladyhawk is more willing to drag its rump through a number of spooky midnight forest strolls. The band members best not get any more spirit-crushed, considering they're such young lumberjacks, or they'll be crying in their beers prematurely. As it stands, the impressive depth of lyrics and production keep the Pabst foam firmly flying off their mustaches. And live-wise, the foot-stomping comes in spades. Your older brother will just harrumph that he already owns Buffalo Tom and Dinosaur Jr. records. But those hoping for rejuvenated flannelled folk-chug will be more than satiated with this act. Ladyhawk performs on Friday, August 4, at Bottom of the Hill at 10 p.m. Admission is $12; call 626-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com for more info. Eric Davidson

Some acoustic-based singer-songwriters get onstage, strum a few chords, pick a few arpeggios, and sing melancholy love songs, while you — bored to tears — make a beeline for the back bar. Others play the same damn chords and arpeggios, make the same friggin' lyrical observations, and the little hairs rise on the back of your neck as you stand there, wholly rapt. Norwegian-born, Sweden-based chick-with-guitar Ane Brun definitely falls into the latter category. She's not doing anything particularly novel with her instrument — wielding it with the simple, delicate touch of a Nick Drake — or her voice, within which lurks the introspective warble of Joni Mitchell and the pliant, vaguely troubled-but-yearning sway of Emiliana Torrini. But when she opens her mouth and plays, magic happens. On occasion, luscious emotional darkness flows from her compositions, suggesting the possibility of a Cat Power-like meltdown onstage, but you'll have to see for yourself if Brun keeps it together when she performs on Friday, August 4, at the Fillmore at 9 p.m. Admission is $20, call 346-6000 or visit www.livenation.com for more info.— Michael Alan Goldberg

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