Seattle art rock climax

Two of the Bay Area's more notable experimental rock upstarts are celebrating new releases this Friday. KIT is a quartet that wields guitars and sing-song female vocals to create spastic pop that's surprisingly catchy, as evidenced by the band's debut full-length, Broken Voyage. Think Tokyo's Melt-Banana meets local quirkmeisters Deerhoof. Death Sentence: Panda! is an odder animal: a flute/pitch-shifted clarinet/drums trio featuring the yelps of Kim West (who also plays in T.I.T.S). The band's short no-wave songs can be grating at times, but isn't that kinda the point of noise rock? DS:P! is fun to watch, in any case. Expect a hyperactive blast when KIT and Death Sentence: Panda! perform on Friday, Feb. 16, at Artists' Television Access at 8 p.m. Admission is $6; call 474-0365 or visit for more info. — Mike Rowell

The country in Camera Obscura 's 2006 release Let's Get Out of This Country could refer to rustic hinterlands, American country music, or a map whose borders can no longer contain your imagination. Elements of each combine to fuel this album's palpable sense of escape, making for one of Merge Records' finest releases in years. “Tears for Affairs” vibrates with jazzy guitar, accordion, a trickling keyboard line, and shivering castanets. But Camera's studio precociousness is attenuated by confident arrangements that serve the Petula Clarklike voice of Tracyanne Campbell. The band's new If Looks Could Kill EP offers up more high-romantic pastoral. Camera Obscura performs on Friday, Feb. 16, at Bimbo's at 9 p.m. Admission is $17; call 474-0365 or visit for more info. — J. Niimi

Seattle's Climax Golden Twins move among genres with quicksilver agility. From dusty blues to outsider rock to cryptic field recordings to thorny noise eruptions, CGT performances keep you gleefully befuddled. Friday's show will encompass a collection of those stated genres while Saturday's gig centers on manipulated sounds of 78s with video collage accompaniment. Fellow Seattleites Factums evoke the Fall and Chrome's repetitive, lo-fi, anti-garage rock. Stark and menacing, their 2004 self-titled album is the rare post-punk resurrection that doesn't sound crass or contrived. Climax Golden Twins, Factums, and the Why Because , perform on Friday, Feb. 16, at the Hemlock Tavern at 9:30 pm. Admission is $7; call 923-0923 or visit for more info. Climax Golden Twins also perform on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Exploratorium's McBean Theater at 1 p.m. Call 563-7337 or visit for more info. — Dave Segal

Most of Kristin Hersh 's post-Throwing Muses career has been spent making a series of indistinguishable solo records. Perhaps it was rediscovering the cathartic qualities of power chords with 50 Foot Wave, or simply a concerted effort to make something more memorable, but her latest solo offering, How to Sing Like a Star, is both a triumphant return to the ragged beauty of her earlier work and a willful expansion of her palette. Introspective without becoming self-pitying, Hersh delivers lines like “Getting up is what hurts” with a fresh sense of conviction that hints at an artist getting ready to hit a second-high watermark. Kristin Hersh performs at Amoeba Records on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. Admission is free; call 831-1200 or visit for more info. — Hannah Levin

Electro-country-indie-pop bands are hard to market, even when they fall into such a cozy, self-described pigeonhole. Tip your hat to San Francisco resident Mike Sempert, aka Birds & Batteries , for making eccentric music without worrying about fitting into an easy genre. After recording an adventurous demo called Nature v. Nurture, Sempert met drummer Brian Michelson at an open-mike night and reworked the material. Their collaboration, Selections From … Nature vs. Nurture, offers dystopian visions with disjointed sci-fi lyrics and a vocal style recalling the weary soulfulness of Peter Gabriel. Birds & Batteries perform on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the Hemlock Tavern at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $6; call 923-0923 or visit for more info. — J. Poet

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