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Empty Space Orchestra, Roman Holiday, Polka Dot Dot Dot, Tallest Tree

Jan. 14-17: Live music in the South Sound

TALLEST TREE: performed live last August at the Music and Arts in Wright Park Festival. Photo courtesy of MySpace

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>>>Thursday, Jan. 14
Orchestras are fucking big, which is why it takes a certain amount of balls to reference one in your band name - unless, of course, you're being ironic. And chances are, that's what you're doing - especially if you're still wearing that godforsaken "KISS ME I'M IRISH" shirt you scored at Value Village. But I digress. By sound alone, Bend's Empty Space Orchestra is one of the few bands that has the gusto to back up a name including the word orchestra; there might not be 100 players in Empty Space Orchestra, but this band has one big-ass sound. Coming from Bend, there's a hint of that familiar, herbal jazz cigarette scented, hemp shirted, long white guy goatee vibe spliced into the Empty Space mix, but there are also plenty of moments of geek-shred prog rock power. - Matt Driscoll
[The New Frontier Lounge, with Symmetry/ Symmetry, 9 p.m., cover TBA, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma, 253.572.4020]

>>>Friday, Jan. 15
Roman Holiday is a band that begs to be seen live. It dares you, song after song, to sing along and raise a lighter. There's not a single moment in any of Roman Holiday's songs that suggests a band that's resting on its laurels. Every build-up is tight and suspenseful, every chorus explodes, and every hook is more gigantic than the last. Having been birthed in a recording studio means their sound was born running, and it really shows. They are the most radio-ready band in Tacoma, and to say that you should hurry and see them before they get big is no kind of exaggeration. Their full-length debut CD release party happens Friday, so time is quickly running out to catch them before everyone else does. - Rev. Adam McKinney
[Liberty Theater, Roman Holiday CD release party, 8 p.m., all ages, $10, 116 W. Main Ave., Puyallup, 253.864.8116]

>>>Sunday, Jan. 17
Almost two years ago I attended a free concert in People's Park. There, along with a modest crowd of polite audience members, I listened while several delightful folk bands sang loudly and without microphone. The show culminated in Kimya Dawson performing while sitting on the steps with the audience, my friend sitting right next to her, and me at her feet. She sang these yarns like a camp counselor around a fire, and we sat intently, singing quietly along if we knew the words. The experience was magical. And somehow, listening to Polka Dot Dot Dot brings all those feelings rushing back. It's innocent, intimate stuff, and when Polka Dot Dot Dot's three voices intertwine so sweetly, it's easy to imagine sitting at their feet on a sunny day in the park. - Rev. AM
[The Loft on Cherry, Polka Dot Dot Dot vinyl release show, 1 p.m., $5, 535 Cherry St., Olympia,]

>>>Sunday, Jan. 17
First and foremost, we've raved about Brooklyn Pool before. We may have been calling the band "Former Foxes" at the time, or even "As Far as Foxes Go" or "Bearfeat" - but that's just because they were too. We've evolved as they've evolved - and now that the band is comfortably Brooklyn Pool, we've come to terms with the latest name as well. And, let's be honest, the tightly-sewn indie pop Brooklyn Pool exudes helps make the transitions a lot easier to stomach. On the other hand, we haven't gushed much over Tallest Tree - but that's not because the band isn't slowly winning us over with modest, unassuming indie rock. Quite the contrary, actually; an infatuation that started at last year's Music and Arts in Wright Park has continued with Tallest Tree, and we're even more intrigued than ever. When these two bands play Sunday at The New Frontier, you'd be well advised to be on hand. - MD
[The New Frontier Lounge, with Brooklyn Pool, 8 p.m., cover TBA, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma, 253.572.4020]

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