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Helvetia takes on Duster tonight at Mississippi Studios

 Helvetia has been a Pacific Northwest gem for some years now. At times experimental, Helvetia's chill take on alternative and indie has been one thoroughly enjoyed since the band's inception back in the mid-2000s, though none of their sounds would have come to light if it weren't for the dissolution of another prevalent group. Helvetia came from Duster drummer Jason Albertini after the band broke up and tonight, he and the rest of Helvetia will be doing a little bit of a tribute to their catalyst act.

Though they've only a couple releases under their belt, Duster's slowcore sound was a fairly important part of the late 90s. Helvetia's set tonight, which will include participation from original Duster member Dove Amber, will include some of Duster's tracks, though it's not entirely confirmed which ones made the cover set cut.

Playing along with Helvetia will be Floating Room's moody shoegaze and the goth-pop of Deathlist





Garage band Veins hits Brick & Mortar on 12/26

The San Francisco-based garage band Veins is the side project of Michael Bang and Jeff Mark, who come from another Deli SF favorite, The Riot Professor. In this project, their psychedelic influences relegate to the back seat, while grunge takes center stage. Their self-titled EP drones in a way you can bang your head to, on tracks like the opener “Bipolar By Nature” (streaming below) that invite the listener into a washing machine of scudzy sounds that perfectly capture the angst of the Bay Area scene. They will be playing their next show right after Christmas, at Brick & Mortar on December 26th. - Lilly Milman





Service release brash, expansive EP “CHARM”

Experimental-noise newcomers Service have released an aggressive debut EP, cheekily titled CHARM. The Boston quartet covers plenty of ground in the three track release, shifting from assertive punk dudes to meandering noise-heads by opening up tight, mathy structures into longform explorations. Though the momentum of CHARM dips from intensely focused to wayward abstraction, the volume is always up to 10, and there’s a great deal of integrity behind every note. Check out Service on December 17th at Deep Thoughts in Jamaica Plain, doors at 8pm. -Charley Ruddell





New Track: "Strangled by Stars" - The Skating Party

Patetico Recordings recently released a charitable compilation, Rock Back: Stronger Than the Storm, aimed to support victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria. “Strangled By Stars,” the new single from The Skating Party, a.k.a. Gregory James, is one of 50 songs included on the collection. Reverberating guitar provides an electrical storm to the head that lingers in a cloudy daydream haze, while the ascending vocals demonstrate a hopeful resilience.





The 5th Annual Freakout! Fest comes back tonight

Triple city-based indie label Freakout Records has been churning out some pretty fine electronic, psych and lively rock from three out of the four corners of the states. Operating out of Seattle, Los Angeles and New York, Freakout has taken to occupying various venues in Ballard for its festival since 2012, with artists of their own catalog, as well as other artists scattered around the Northwest and the country. Freakout! Festival returns again tonight, and its bill is as stacked as ever.

Co-presented by The Stranger, Audioasis on KEXP and supported by Killroom Records, Treefort Music Fest and Artist Home Record Club, Freakout! Fest will be hitting up its usual Ballard staples like Conor Byrne and Tractor Tavern, with Sarah Gerritsen and Roadkill Ghost Choir kicking things off with some early sets. Tonight's hip hop will be fulfilled by up and coming lyricist Taylar Elizza Beth, with some dark stoner psych coming from Blackwater Holy Light. Energetically folky blues comes from Battleme, who are out on tour supporting their new Cult Psychotica release, while Charms and FKL bring more of a dancey feel to a couple of the headlining spots.

Much of Saturday's bill recalls a warmer, more carefree season thanks to some surf-drenched sets from Baywitch, The Shivas and Guantanamo Baywatch, The White Tears and Pearl Dragon is Dead are collaborating on their performance at the Conor Byrne, Porter Ray and Jus Moni killing it in the rhythm and rhymes department, and Kelli Schaefer and Maiah Manser representing for solo noir pop.

There's so many more acts to see, thank goodness they're all playing on the same street. You can find more information about the artists, venues and tickets over at the Freakout Records site.

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