It takes some pretty heavy hitters to get the Shins down to the small typeface on the event posters, but Live 105's Not So Silent Night parties are never short on the marquee talent. Along with those Portland indie poppers, 2006's NSSN boasts sets from Modest Mouse , the Killers , the Raconteurs , and the band that seems to land a new opening slot every other week, Silversun Pickups (along with one lucky local act yet to be named at press time). The merriment goes down at the Bill Graham Civic, but unless you already have tickets, your luck getting in to this sold-out gig is black as a lump o' coal. You can, however, try to buy entry to the NSSN afterparty with U.K. blogger-bait Lily Allen , she of the innocuous pop-reggae melodies and sharp lyrical smackdowns. Allen, Starsailor , and a gaggle of DJs keep the post-Civic festivities going on Friday, Dec. 8, at Mighty from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. Admission is $15; call 762-0151 or visit www.mighty119.com for more info. Jennifer Maerz
In a sense Calexico has crossed borders its entire career, forging the Rio Grande with dusty post-Poco folk rock that leans heavily on a variety of Mexicali traditions. It follows that the band should touch on the hot-button border debate, and its final tour of 2006 aims to raise awareness about the complex social issues facing citizens on both sides of the barbed U.S.-Mexico line. It's not the trite rocker's soapbox either; the group is bringing along representatives from Humane Borders and Music for America to shed light on humanitarian issues of the debate. For the cause, Calexico is ideally matched with Chicano rock legends Los Lobos , whose most recent record, The Town and the City, takes a long, somber look at the same issues. Even without the bonding politics, it'd still be an exciting night of music; with them, it's all the more powerful. Calexico joins Los Lobos for a two-night stand at the Fillmore on Friday, Dec. 8, and Saturday, Dec. 9, at 9 p.m. Admission is $36.50; call 346-3000 or visit www.thefillmore.com more info. Nate Cavalieri
How many drummers d'ya think have "the right stuff" to share stages 'n' studios with New Orleans R&B diva Irma Thomas, jazz guitarist John Scofield, and shred-meisters Corrosion of Conformity? You need only count to one: Stanton Moore . From N'awlins, Moore has the finesse of a jazz musician, the whole-torso bash of a rocker, and the moxie to excel at both. Moore's latest III runneth over with smoldering, funky grooves, and hearty 'n' terse soloing imagine an urbane Meters, or an earthier Medeski, Martin & Wood. With Greyboy Allstars organist Robert Walter and Bay Area/T.J. Kirk alum Will Bernard on guitar, how could it be otherwise? The Stanton Moore Trio puts 12 Galaxies into orbit on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 9 p.m. Admission is $25-30; call 970-9777 or visit www.12galaxies.com for more info. M.K.
Stop the presses: Mates of State no longer hold the Kewpie-doll title belt in the girl-boy/keyboard-drums category of two-piece indie rock. Coming straight out of Brooklyn, with singalong choruses and twee-influenced melodies ablaze, are Matt and Kim , who have been forging trails among scenesters and music bloggers with their effectively lighthearted pop. When the chorus of "Yea Yeah" playfully slaps you in the face, even the hardest screwface gets twisted into a smile, as Matt attempts to fit as many "yeah's" into two bars as possible. While Kim plays the Meg White beats under Matt's new-wave synth lines, never forget: It's all about the simplicity, stupid. This isn't rocket science, it's power pop, and the Matt and Kim live show will certainly inspire handclaps and goofy grins. Plaster your face with one when they perform on Monday, Dec. 11, at Bottom of the Hill at 9 p.m. Admission is $8; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com for more info. Jonah Flicker