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Originally published Friday, June 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Night Watch

Truckasaurus says no to techno

Two months ago, The Seattle Times raved about a performance by ridiculously named local quartet Truckasauras. Calling them "a techno outfit...

Special to The Seattle Times

Two months ago, The Seattle Times raved about a performance by ridiculously named local quartet Truckasauras. Calling them "a techno outfit for people who like rock 'n' roll," freelancer Jonathan Zwickel predicted their upcoming debut album, "Tea Parties, Guns & Valor," was "sure to be one of the summer's most talked-about releases."

He was mostly right. People will absolutely be talking about "Tea Parties, Guns & Valor" (the release party is Sunday at Nectar), but let's leave out the "techno," OK?

"We don't consider ourselves techno by any means," Adam Swan said in an e-mail, worrying any mention of "techno" — or even the more palatable "electronic music" — indicates a seriousness he wants nothing to do with. On stage, he's known to wear a sleeveless T-shirt that says "HECHNO."

"I mean, we use an 808," he says, referring to the classic Roland drum machine you've heard on songs by Run DMC, the Beastie Boys and Sir Mix-a-Lot. "Is there anything more hip-hop than that?"

Hip-hop is one of Truck's clear entry points. Earlier this year, local rap acts the Physics, Cancer Rising and Macklemore caught their first Truck show at Sole Repair in Capitol Hill. The consensus: If Truck were to enter the Red Bull Big Tune, the biggest hip-hop producer battle that happens in Seattle, the title would be theirs.

At 29, Adam Swan is the oldest Trucker (brother Tyler Swan and Ryan Trudell are 27; Daniel Bordon is 28). His instrument is the Sidstation, a small box full of knobs and buttons from which he extracts an abrasive, melodic heather. Truckasauras has a soft side, too, and on "TP,G&V" there are lush moments. But turn up the volume and witness the trick of Truck. All the buzz and static — and there's a lot — gets under your skin in ways you won't expect. Buoyed by Adam and Ryan's expert harmonies, Truckasauras' instrumental jams go right past grating and arrive at soothing.

Live, Bordon projects images on a screen from two VCRs, but "TP,G&V" sounds 3-D all on its own.

At the "TP,G&V" release party, the talk will likely be about the album's unique physical manifestation. Instead of a traditional format, Truck offers a comic-book-sized, colorful, 10-page book full of download links. "Each page is inspired by our 10 tracks on it," says Adam. "With digital downloads, you have an inch-by-inch square of the cover on your computer and iPod. What we are doing with this album is keeping the artwork part of an album relevant by giving someone a really cool artifact with their download." He thinks it's the future. "We wanted to get in on the new way of marketing music before it becomes the standard."

The band's reliably great performances blow audiences away every time. This time Truckasauras is on a bill with the Dead Science, Past Lives and DJ Introcut; doors open at 9 p.m. Sunday at Nectar ($8, 21 and up).

A few more concerts of note this week:

Saturday

If you've been to a performance by a Mass Line clique member (Blue Scholars, Common Market, formerly Gabriel Teodros), you've seen Nam, the big Vietnamese guy who sometimes raps a supporting verse. Politically, he's in league with Mass Line (go ahead and guess whether "This Is for the Cops" — a takeoff on last year's ubiquitous "This Is Why I'm Hot" — salutes or indicts the PD). Saturday, Nam plays at The Vera Project ($8; 7:30 p.m.) and releases his debut CD, "Exhale." With Good Medicine (Geologic of Blue Scholars, Khingz, Gabriel Teodros and Macklemore), the Physics and Bambu, and hosted by Ra Scion of Common Market, this will be one of those nights when the Seattle hip-hop scene comes off tight-knit and talented.

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Monday

Chicago three-piece Russian Circles recorded the excellent new album "Station" in Seattle and is signed to local label Suicide Squeeze Records. "Station" is linear instrumental rock, moody guitar stories with few hooks and no familiar verse/chorus/verse structures. Precision and tone, especially in climactic moments, are rife with the majesty of metal, but "Station" is ultimately too varied and nuanced to be headbanging music. Let Russian Circles introduce you to the heavy side of progressive rock Monday at Neumo's with Daughters and Young Widows ($10; doors open at 8 p.m.; all ages, bar with ID).

Wednesday

Minneapolis drum genius Dosh plays Wednesday at Nectar with Anathallo and Wesafari ($10; 9 p.m.; 21 and up). Normally, he supports whistling pop savant Andrew Bird. Solo, Dosh is a prodigious freestyle arranger, a loop-pedal wizard concerned with knitting warm synth and rhythm blankets out of thin air.

Andrew Matson contributes to www.raindrophustla.blogspot.com and www.206proof.com. Reach him at matson.andrew@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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