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Music Critics' Picks: Bottlecap Boys, Fitz of Depression, The Cutwinkles, Luke Winslow-King

Aug. 23-24: Live music in the South Sound

Luke Winslow-King brings his pre-World War II blues to Doyle's Saturday night. Photo credit: Jason Kruppa

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As much as I've always enjoyed the tone of bluegrass, I've tended to think that a lot of the bands in that genre more often than not sound very similar. There's not much distinction, I've found. While the Bottlecap Boys are planted firmly in the bluegrass niche - with some added elements of poppy hooks - they certainly distinguish themselves with their impressive musicality, which allows them to pull out all the stops in a delightfully show-offy way. In the lively "Try and Try," for instance, there's a bit of vocal acrobatics where the two lead vocalists seamlessly trade off word for word in a breakneck refrain. Also helping to make the Bottlecap Boys stand out is the wry humor that permeates their songs, even as they shine as tightly crafted melodies. {REV. ADAM MCKINNEY}

BOTTLECAP BOYS, w/ the Rusty Cleavers and Vaudeville Gallows, 8 p.m., Harmon Tap Room, 204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, $5, 253.212.2725

[ROCK] + SAT, AUG. 24

It's time again for Oly's favorite backyard skate jam - the Stupid Fucking Ramp Party (SFRP) - a place for ripping, riding, and hanging out with beers, barbeque and bands. Fitz of Depression is playing this year with the Have At Its and DJs Mike Corvin and Dalton Goodwin spinning hardcore classics - the perfect soundtrack for Lib Tech riders and local rippers to hit the ramp. What makes this particular show special - besides Fitz shows are few and far between - is it's a tribute to the late, great Casey Heath, who won "Best Trick" the previous three years. "I decided this year it would be appropriate to have Fitz return. They played the first party here, and were also a huge part of all the other benefits for the Casey Heath memorial fund," said Scott Lewis, event organizer. "They're about as local skatepunk as it gets, and they're the homies. Like, they'd be here even if they weren't playing anyway." Prepare to be rocked. {NIKKI MCCOY}

STUPID FUCKING RAMP PARTY, w/Fitz of Depression, DJs Mike Corvin and Dalton Goodwin, 2 p.m., 12th and Jefferson, downtown Olympia, $20 covers entry, keg cup and food with proceeds to the Casey Heath Memorial Fund


Without slipping into needless hyperbole, I'm just going to go ahead and say that the Cutwinkles are a Tacoma institution. Formed at the Tacoma School of the Arts about a decade ago, they established themselves as a genuinely unique entity in these parts. Armed with an unhealthy preoccupation with video games, the Cutwinkles specialized in goofily theatrical pop-punk odes to Super Mario Bros. and dragons. They were always marked by a sense of humor and playfulness that stood out against the typically serious garage rock, metal, and folk that tend to dominate the Tacoma music scene. Last year, the Cutwinkles parted ways, which makes their reunion at Bob's Java Jive even more of a must-see than a Cutwinkles show usually is. My fingers are crossed for one of their awesome covers (their rendition of Cee Lo's "Fuck You" at last year's Squeak and Squawk was a highlight). {REV. AM}

THE CUTWINKLES, w/ the Fabulous Downey Brothers, Dava Tara and Yevtushenko, 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 24, Bob's Java Jive, 2102 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, $5, $3 with potluck dish, 253.475.9843


Luke Winslow-King charms his way through a cross-pollination of rickety jazz, Delta-folk and gospel-blues that is both rustic and elegant. That's not a knock. Yes, he's charming, but the 30-year-old musician also has studied pre-war blues and traditional jazz relentlessly, gaining confidence and control that comes across effortless, as if he invented the genres. Growing up in Cadillac, Michigan, moved to New Orleans by chance in 2001 - he honed his skills watching and performing with Big Easy veteran jazz and blues musicians such as John Boutte, "Washboard" Chaz Leary and Paul Sanchez before firmly establishing a name for himself as a slide guitarist/singer/composer that fuses classical instruments and older musical styles with personal, simplified lyrics documenting his artistic evolution. Winslow-King's latest offering, The Coming Tide, his third album, showcases his tightening chops and poised melodic sensibilities. Winslow-King and his gang of sultry horns, percussive bass and scrappy washboard will roll up to Doyle's Saturday for a night of boy/girl harmonies, slide guitar flurries, chain gang call and response vocals sure to get the pub crowd stomping and hollering all over the Stadium District. {RON SWARNER}

LUKE WINSLOW-KING, 9:30 p.m., Doyle's Public House, 208 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, no cover, 253.272.7468

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