Music Critics' Picks: Specters, Ultra Violent Rays, DJ Qualifi, Hungry Skinny

Feb. 21-24: Live music in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

By Volcano Staff on February 18, 2015


Seattle quartet Specters are romanticizers of the '90s, as they say. Specifically, they bring the sort of slacker vibe to their music that bands like Pavement mastered. Unlike the weirdo energy that recent slacker rockers like Mac Demarco carry, there is a gentle power pop grandeur to the Specters that honors the guitar rock bands of the past. Melodies and hooks take their time establishing themselves, after which they nonchalantly burrow their way into your ears. On Saturday, they'll be sharing the stage with Tacoma favorites Wheelies and Wow, Laura, who will be bringing their brands of ragged rock and mathy pop, respectively. It'll be a night of appreciating the simple pleasures of indie rock, bent and stretched in various directions while respecting the fundamental power of a couple loud guitars. {REV. ADAM MCKINNEY}

SPECTERS, w/ Wheelies, Wow, Laura, 9 p.m., The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma, $5, 253.572.4020

[GOTH POP] + SAT, FEB. 21 & 23

I don't normally do this, but I'm at a loss to describe Ultra Violent Rays' trippy electronic sound, so instead I'll let the band give it a go: "Imagine Philip K. Dick howling at a pale and dangerous moon while Siouxsie Sioux does a rain dance around him, but instead of rain, rainbow-colored fire falls from the sky consuming everything, leaving only a net of blue-gray regret." Ooookay. That's pretty close to the truth, actually. The Rays are bassist/vocalist Cooper Gillespie and percussionist Greg Gordon, former Mad Planet members who hail from Silver Lake, California. (It's the arty suburb of Los Angeles that most resembles Tacoma.) UVR describe their style as shamanic goth pop, but there's also something very ‘80s collegiate gloom about them. They're joined at the ol' Coffee Pot by Beatrix Sky, Ishtmusia, masonsapron, and at least two dudes in black coats and guyliner. {CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL}

ULTRA VIOLENT RAYS, w/ Beatrix Sky, Ishtmusia, masonsapron, 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 21, Bob's Java Jive, 2102 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, cover tba, 253.475.9843

ULTRA VIOLENT RAYS, 9 p.m., Monday, Feb. 23, Deadbeat Olympia, 226 N. Division St., Olympia, $5, 360.943.0662

[RAP] + SUN, FEB. 22

I found it. There is at least one place in the South Sound that plays materialistic, no-holds-barred rap: TacLanta Part 2!  If you are looking for the crunk, trapped out, hustle-music haven, check out Champions every Sunday night. DJ Qualifi keeps the beats bangin' - deep bass, booty music, trap music, D-Boy/Girl music. ... All. Night. Long.  This is officially one of the spots to hit if you want to appear like you're in a 2015 rap video. Twerkin' will happen. Yeah, Champions is a hole-in-the-wall type bar/club, but it is where Tacoma rocks on a Sunday. {JOSE GUTIERREZ}

DJ QUALIFI, 9 p.m., Champions Sports Bar, 8765 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, cover charge, 253.582.3400

[ROCK] + TUES, FEB. 24

Hungry Skinny perfect a kind of dirtbag glam befitting their Northern California roots. What initially sounds like the same sort of garage pop that comes from Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin eventually reveals itself to be impeccably assembled rock that draws from the sloppy blues-rock of '60s mods like the Rolling Stones and the Kinks. Filled to the brim with untold amounts of swagger and spit, Hungry Skinny effortlessly recreate the days when the musicians in bands were more totems than men: shorthand in human form for the carefree living, drinking and fucking that rock 'n' roll supplies in spades. Despite the goofy sloppiness the band presents, the music reflects what professionals the members of Hungry Skinny are. These are tightly constructed songs that find their hook and get out before they wear out their welcome. {REV. AM}

HUNGRY SKINNY, w/ the Loud Potions, Phil Taylor, 7 p.m., all ages, Le Voyeur, 404 E. Fourth Ave., Olympia, no cover, 360.943.5710