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Pretty Girls Make Graves at Cafe du Nord

Pretty Damn Urgent

The music of Seattle's Pretty Girls Make Graves is often described as urgent -- a wholly appropriate word associated with compelling, immediate action. This band is certainly all three of those things: they feature a compelling sound, their music demands immediacy and, as for action -- well, let's just say there's no standing around at their live performances.

For the uninitiated, a brief history of the band goes something like this: the quintet formed in the summer of 2001 from the ashes of a few bands prominent in the local Seattle scene. They released a power-packed EP fairly quickly, followed by their 2002 debut Good Health on Lookout! The 27-minute affair was a rousing success, generating significant buzz and a ton of press, as well a wealth of anticipation for the follow-up. That came in late 2003 in the form of The New Romance after the group signed with Matador, and PGMG avoided the sophomore slump with an emotional, energetic and imaginative collection of songs. The New Romance finished the year on many critics' Top 10 lists and the band toured relentlessly last year, including stops at SXSW and Coachella, building a legion of indie fans and even making a splash internationally. Their momentum and talent has the potential to carry them onward and upward towards more mainstream success in the wake of other indie success stories.

Pretty Girls Make Graves are one of those cases where a hyphenated genre description makes an awful lot of sense. In this case we'll go with punk-pop. The punk side of things are the tightly packed short songs, hard-driving bursts of energy that avoid your typical verse-chorus structure. The band succeeds in creating a hard sound which is also extremely pretty, and that's where the pop comes into play. There are tons of guitar and vocal hooks, purposeful handclaps and the centerpiece: captivating lead singer Andrea Zollo belting out powerful vox lines and gorgeous melodies. PGMG also boast Nick Dewitt, one of indie rock's best drummers and purveyor of the band's hard-driving rhythm section. Dewitt's amazing musicianship is mesmerizing to behold when he's on stage.

Which leads us to what we're really hear to discuss, my friends -- Pretty Girls' incendiary live act. It's loud. It's energetic. It's passionate. And the crowd reacts in kind: dialed in, jumping around, feeding off the sonic energy. A good friend of mine stated without exaggeration that his first time seeing them at Café du Nord in 2003 was "a life-changing event". This time around, they will be previewing songs from their upcoming LP Shivering Duck. And what do you know, we get them for two nights at du Nord, the perfect venue for such a bombastic show. Grab your chance to see this one -- sounds to me like it's pretty damn urgent.

Pretty Girls Make Graves w/ Dios Malos and Kill Me Tomorrow
Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26, 9 pm
Café du Nord, $10