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Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music

Just look at that face. That's James Blake, and he's doing a DJ set at the Mezzanine this Saturday before he plays a Treasure Island set on Sunday. Dare ya to see both. 

More to come on Treasure Island Music Festival later this week. First, the warm-up shows going down this week, all of which could be considered natural fits with the festival’s curatorial mission:

The Dodos, Great American Music Hall, Wednesday

From the Hey That’s Kinda Cool files, San Francisco’s Dodos just released a music video in rather unconventional fashion. The band teamed with local (and awesome in their own right) string outfit Magik Magik Orchestra and re-recorded the single “Substance” from its new album Carrier (rather than just playing the track over visuals like every other band in the world). It’s that dedication to mixing things up that makes the Dodos the Dodos. Their songs rarely settle for status quo formulaic rock, opting for soaring crescendos and eager, complex guitar meandering. Carrier is the band’s best effort yet, an incredibly inspired body of art largely inspired by late Women guitarist Christopher Reimer, a former touring member of the Dodos who passed away in his sleep last year.  

Wavves/King Tuff, Slim's, Wednesday

Wavves is cool, but I'd show up early for King Tuff if I were you. Kyle Thomas’ garage-psych rock project — now officially endorsed by Sub Pop — makes intriguing noise in a variety of ways. They do it with distortion, distorted hazy vocals, confident guitar solos, dirty, vibrating basslines, and assertive drum fills your mother wouldn’t approve. But twee melody always prevails, and the innocence he exudes is fascinating. That might explain why Tuff has blown up over the past two years and figures to be a major player in indie rock in the long term.

Junip, Bimbo's 365 Club, Thursday

Jose Gonzalez’s side project Junip triumphantly returns to Bimbo’s, site of their decidedly tour de force performance earlier this year. Of course, that was before their song “Line of Fire” soundtracked the trailer to the final Breaking Bad episode. I KNOW. That changes EVERYTHING. OK, maybe not. But it’s great to see this incredibly irresistible project expand in stature and audience and associative powers. The Swedish six-piece crafts moods as much as they do songs. The prevailing moods never stray too far from the median, as Gonzalez is a realist. His music hints at truths we all suspect but can never articulate ourselves.

James Blake, Mezzanine, Saturday

For folks not sold on Treasure Island Music Festival but desperate to see James Blake in the flesh, here’s a solid plan B. Blake plays a DJ set the day before his hugely anticipated Treasure Island set. It’s easy to forget that Blake, who was nominated for the Mercury Prize AGAIN this year, is only 25 years old. Disgusting, right? Everything the kid touches turns to golden genius, including collaborations with Chance the Rapper, one of the rap world’s phenoms of 2013. The kid can knock socks off in his proper live sets, but his DJ sets are a lesser known quantity. Check it out and let the world know if he really can do it all.  

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