METRIC
Live It Out
(Last Gang)
recommendedrecommendedrecommended

After two minutes of Emily Haines's ethereal keyboards and whispery vocals, Live It Out's opening track "Empty" erupts. The song's whirlwind midsection, all crunchy guitars and striking percussion, appears without warning and fades equally abruptly. It resembles a grunge-style dynamic shift, but with a subtle twist: The chorus provides cathartic release through jubilance, not angst. After moaning "When there's no way out, the only way out is to give in" during the introductory verse, Haines, seemingly emboldened by the assertive instrumentation, proclaims "I'm so glad that I'm alive." During Metric's next high-volume crescendo, Haines hoots with animated glee.

When Metric aren't using upbeat phrases to usher in feedback-drenched riffs, they're sneaking subversive content into their effervescent synth-powered songs. Haines's robotic repetition of the consumerist cycle "buy this car to drive to work to pay for this car" recalls Dead Kennedys' "At My Job." But while the DK's tune rhythmically mimicked drudgery, Metric's song boasts a riveting pulse. With its barbed lyrics and noisy outbursts, Live It Out becomes one thrillingly unpredictable dance party. ANDREW MILLER

Metric perform Tues Nov 1 at the Crocodile, 8:30 pm, $11 adv/$12 DOS.

LIL' KIM
The Naked Truth
(Atlantic Records)
recommendedrecommendedrecommendedrecommended

Ten years ago, Lil' Kim was making her recorded debut as the rapping eye candy of Notorious B.I.G.'s Junior M.A.F.I.A. and declaring herself "the black Erica Kane." That turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy for Brooklyn's Kimberly Jones. She's since lost her man and mentor, her crew turned against her, and now she's in jail for almost a year for lying to protect former associates. Minus the multiple nuptials, that's nearly as much drama as the All My Children regular she once claimed as her own.

But those who only know Lil' Kim's soap operatic plotline might be surprised to learn that she has a decent track record with her music. She's always given more than a single and filler, famously delaying albums for months to achieve the right balance. The Naked Truth, her fourth full length, improves on 2003's La Bella Mafia (which generated one single, "The Jump Off").

Kim's always trying to stretch the boundaries of her voice, making her a ripe talent for animated features (as she proved in the cartoon "Lil' Pimp"). And while she can actually sing (check "Durty" and "Last Day") her approach doesn't always work. Where her faux patois on the hit "Lighters Up" is cute, her acquired Southern accent on "We Don't Give a Fuck" (which features Dirty South rap legend Bun B and Chicago's Twista) borders on lame.

Kim has often created fun interpolations of older songs from Biggie and others on her albums. It's less so here, though she does lick her lips in honor of LL Cool J on "Kitty Box," where she tries—too hard—to be a fantasy object. She's sexier and more fun as she cools out and jams with Snoop on "Kronik," which references the Goodie Mob and tributes Marvin Gaye in spirit. "All Good" is the requisite Biggie tribute—her best attempt yet, owing equally to her delivery and a clever use of samples.

Naked rises above other Lil' Kim albums because it shows more than skin. She bares the drama of her betrayals throughout, and even directly snipes at armchair critics ("Shut Up Bitch"). The subject matter is realer than anything she's talked up before; underneath it all, she seems like a fairly good girl that's some distance from the orgiastic image. So while Kim's gone to hang out in Philly for a while, she's thankfully left us with enough juice to go on until the big return. TAMARA PALMER

MIKE DUMOVICH
Mesojunarian
(Self-released)
recommendedrecommendedrecommended

A few years back, Mike Dumovich played an entrancing set opening for Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter. Slouched over his guitar, grinning sheepishly from under his ball cap, his notes rang as clear and true as anything I'd heard since laying ears on John Fahey many moons ago. Since then, I've been anxious for this impending full-length. Currently only available from Dumovich himself, Mesojunarian reflects the plaintive picking and singing he's known for, but also brings to light his remarkably original songwriting approach. Structured around razor-sharp fingerplucks rather than chords, Dumovich's lyrics often draw a chilly parallel between geography, weather, and human emotions, a condition we Northwesterners are well familiar with. Joined by Seattle's genius violinists Eyvind Kang and Anne Marie Ruljancich, Dumovich is given the damp atmospherics his words require—words that are barely sung. Instead, he melodically speaks quite matter-of-factly about "10,000 storms over 10 counties" ("Warm Territories"), "discarded engines and one dead bee" ("Wasps of Rain"), and how "Saturday's the third in a long series of planets that have been burned" ("5$"). While Dumovich can be a morose motherfucker, it's never in the tiresome woe-is-me plague of most singer-songwriters. Rather, he is deeply thoughtful in the Nick Drake/Townes Van Zandt tradition. However, with producer Tucker Martine at the knobs, Dumovich shows he can also craft a catchy rock tune, such as "Sand and Swallow," which borders on the Long Winters' more somber moments. With Mesojunarian, we finally have a recorded document of one of Seattle's most treasured songwriters. And if you have any sense at all, you'll go see him this weekend and buy a copy for yourself. BRIAN J. BARR

Mike Dumovich performs Thurs Oct 27 at the Tractor, 9 pm, $6.

SKYGREEN LEOPARDS
Jehovah Surrender
(Jagjaguwar)
recommendedrecommendedrecommended

Somewhere the putrid, zombified remains of Buffalo Springfield are stumbling happily along, expecting to fly once again now that the Skygreen Leopards have re-reanimated Cali folk-rock consciousness. On Jehovah Surrender, Buffalo and Leopards roam on a shore dotted with fuzzed-dappled guitar and bass. Hesitant tambourines wash up in the tide as boyish harmonies ebb and flow. Their words carry stony, lonely dreams of natural bliss, carefree country daze, and holy fool transcendence.

San Francisco's Leopards come to their psych-pop the roundabout way, through the wilder backcountry: Blithe Sons/Thuja vet Glenn Donaldson cofounded the Bay Area microlabel collective Jewelled Antler about six years ago, upon which he released a slew of CD-Rs of field recordings, among other experimental dispatches. Side projects like the gorgeous Ivytree hinted at the songcraft buried beneath the atmospherics of this six-song shortie though those endeavors didn't aspire to the self-consciously awkward, otherworldly sensations in Donovan Quinn's airy vocals and 12-string fingerpicking. Together, Quinn and Donaldson reach for an uneasy enchantment, filtered through layers of distortion. Their music requires a certain endearing amount of trust—that we'll catch them as they reach for those high notes and fall for the possibly cornball sentimentality and hackneyed forms last reverently visited by '80s-era Paisley Undergroundlings. These skyward-gazing felines dare to show a soft, vulnerable underbelly here—odd, additional nipples and all—and that very shaky courage, along with these quietly insinuating tracks, bodes perhaps godly rewards in their future. KIMBERLY CHUN

SILVER JEWS
Tanglewood Numbers
(Drag City)
recommendedrecommendedrecommended1/2

It's been four years since the Silver Jews released Bright Flight, the reassuring follow up to 1998's superb American Water. For Tanglewood Numbers, frontman David Berman's wife Cassie handles much of the backup singing; Stephen Malkmus, absent for Flight, plays guitar on every number; and a host of guests, including Will Oldham and Bobby Bare Jr., make guest appearances. The Jews have played live only a handful of times, but now Berman is considering a tour in support of Numbers.

With the facts out of the way, now we can get at the opinion: Numbers follows through with the more country-tinged aspects hinted at on earlier albums, but rockers like the opener "Punks in the Beerlight" and "How Can I Love You If You Won't Lie Down" recall the more epic compositions of Water. With backup singers, Bob Nastanovich's ever-tightening percussion, and Malkmus's increasingly confident guitar work, most of the slack is gone from the Jews' sound. The considerable cast of guests, augmentation from traditional country-music instruments, and relatively elaborate compositions find Numbers less dependent on Berman's vocals, but his subject matter still colors the tone considerably. Throughout, he sounds simultaneously dejected and self-assured—more the former when he delivers lines like "Sleeping is the only love" or "Who's who/in hell?" But a definite highlight here is the two-part closer, "There Is a Place," where, over lumbering drums and burning, driving guitar, Berman bellows, "I could not love the world entire/There grew a desert in my mind/I took a hammer to it all/I saw God's shadow in this world" with newfound conviction. GRANT BRISSEY

BOARDS OF CANADA
The Campfire Headphase
(Warp)
recommendedrecommendedrecommendedrecommended

Boards of Canada are a Scottish duo who produce surreal instrumental works informed by warped cassette tapes, '70s school instruction films, and '90s British hiphop, among other disparate influences. They're also one of the most dissected electronic acts since Aphex Twin's reign in the mid-'90s. Their first two albums, Music Has the Right to Children and Geogaddi, have elicited a variety of opinion, from rapturous acclaim for their breezy psychedelia to debate over their meanings, triggered by samples of children laughing and playing laid over a strange, uncomfortably warm ambience. The Campfire Headphase eschews samples completely, marking a break with the "dreams of children" aesthetic; instead, it focuses solely on the blissed-out qualities of their In a Beautiful Place out in the Country EP, as Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin lay guitar, computer, and synthesizer strains over skittering beats. The beats, however, are still relatively complex, and subtly shift patterns every four bars to create songs that are unapologetically bright and hazy but not lazy and languid. Still, the prominence of those eerily hypnotic melodies may make The Campfire Headphase the most accessible recording in Boards of Canada's discography. This will undoubtedly lead to accusations that the group has devolved into a postmillennial form of New Age avatars. A close listen, however, reveals that they continue to work toward a harmonic convergence of forward-thinking rhythm and thought-provoking ambience. MOSI REEVES

LADYTRON
Witching Hour
Rykodisc
recommendedrecommendedrecommended1/2

To forecast the eventual unfurling of Ladytron's third full length—stuck in nearly three years of label turmoil—one would only have to listen to the Liverpool-formed quartet's 2003 compilation, Softcore Jukebox. With a cover referencing Roxy Music's Country Life—and featuring songs by My Bloody Valentine, Wire, Lee Hazlewood, and Fat Truckers, among others—Ladytron positioned their next release as smelting smoggy guitar to vamping synths; chunky bristles for fans of Visage, Curve, and Lush. And Witching Hour lives up to that potential, using icy vocals, palling guitars, and motorik roil to conjure a chromatic bleakness and the yearning glamour of a sagging starlet.

Witching Hour is a dense album of steely sediment; yet some lines that might have been played previously on keyboard have been transposed to guitar. This allows for androgynous swoons to buoy hook-infused filigree on dusky songs such as "White Light Generator," "Soft Power," and "Beauty*2." Witching Hour marries the analogue grit of Ladytron's debut 604 and the digital gleam of sophomore release Light & Magic with some of Siouxsie Sioux's crepuscular majesty. What once was some plasticine, disassociated posturing is now pneumatic rhythm-grafted on songs such as "Destroy Everything You Touch" and "International Dateline." Angular and brittle is now multibeveled, and Ladytron are as commanding as they are melodic. TONY WARE

DEADLY SNAKES
Porcella
(In The Red)
recommendedrecommendedrecommended

This record is expansive... fucking HUGE in its reach. And it ain't "garage," not in the least. Porcella is far too well written and thoughtfully arranged to be stuck in the (no) class of the slurred, snotty, single-note holler. It's lively, engaging and probably best described as a songwriter's record, sans "songwriter" pretense. The Snakes are writing to write THEIR song, not bothering to cop any generic rock clichés. Honestly, it really FEELS like they've been affected by early country as the songs are built from well-conceived bits of melodies and rhythmic plucks spun together for a certain passive sweetness. But Porcella is NOT a country record. I'd reckon it's a little like Iggy Pop's version of Morphine, sans Ig's creepy vibe, so no hands down leather-clad crotch, thanks—with Tom Waits arranging via his assimilation of all that was Captain Beefheart's fucked up sense of fucked up. If that makes any sense at ALL... and if not, well, I promise Porcella IS indeed quite brilliant. MIKE NIPPER

The Deadly Snakes perform Tue Nov 1 at the Funhouse, 9:30 pm, $6.

NEW ENGLAND ROSES
Face Time with Son
(DoggPony)
recommendedrecommended1/2

When most friends from college get back together to shoot the shit, entire albums don't usually result. Then again, most people aren't reuniting with Le Tigre's JD Samson, Brendan "BARR" Fowler, and Sarah Shapiro of the Bachelor, three Sarah Lawrence alums who use their get-togethers to collaborate in New England Roses. Throughout the endearing but uneven Face Time with Son, the bicoastal band harks back to the minimalist, proudly amateurish spirit of early K Records, with technical expertise running a distant second to earnestness—a department in which Samson, Fowler, and Shapiro are certainly not lacking. So while their eclectic, ridiculously lo-fi mix of folk, fractured pop, and rap can be sloppy and insufferable at times—the spoken word of "Confidence," in particular, is sure to induce mass eye-rolling in all but the most stubbornly devoted Le Tigre fanatics—it's hard to resist three friends so eager to inspire and celebrate one another." This is our favorite way to feel!" they exclaim on the call-to-queer-arms "Kids in the City," while "Candy" incorporates lyrics by Alice Deejay and After 7 into an infectious pep talk about going after your dreams. Don't let the more indulgent, lib-artsy aspects of Face Time deter you, then: Any band capable of making Dave Matthews sound pretty damn good, as the Roses do on their cover of his "Dancing Nancies," deserves to big-up itself. JIMMY DRAPER

THE GIRAFFES
The Giraffes
Razor & Tie
recommendedrecommended 1/2

Giraffes are of that très au current mock metal—powerful pummeling that by itself would've been enough to impress in Sabbath's heyday, but now must be tarted-up with ironic mustaches (don't ask) and constant brief downshifts into incongruous genre asides, all to seemingly apologize for just wanting to rock. The Giraffes' qualifying quirks generally don't impede the overall Metallica-based hell ride.

They don suits and affect a cocktail-sipping suave. Besides all the curious tempo shifts, they'll start the record with a '50s "shoo-wop shoo-wop" back-up vocal or slip '60s Merseybeat bits into a song about fighting skinheads ("Man U."). But perhaps most curious are the lyrics. Singer Aaron Lazar, in a gargantuan James Hetfield yowl, reflects on the old hometown losers: "Good old college try, I hope you had a good time." (A couple of these guys had moved from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Brooklyn, New York.) But he's none too impressed with his new hipster neighbors either. "You're having fun with assholes. You're just like anyone else I ever met." But all these quirks come, get squashed, and go quickly. The preponderance is sly fist-thrust stuff that would give Queens of the Stone Age a run for their glossy growl moola. The Giraffes are actually at their best when confusing, fret-racing, and pissed ("Jr. at His Worst," "Haunted Heaven," "Million $ Man"); plain numbing when the songs are less dynamic and plodding ("Having Fun," "Blckntwhtcstl"). So by the last redundant tune, it's apparent you've been rocked, but it's also apparent maybe that really isn't enough anymore. ERIC DAVIDSON

NEW ENGLAND ROSES
Face Time with Son
(DoggPony)
recommendedrecommended1/2

When most friends from college get back together to shoot the shit, entire albums don't usually result. Then again, most people aren't reuniting with Le Tigre's JD Samson, Brendan "BARR" Fowler, and Sarah Shapiro of the Bachelor, three Sarah Lawrence alums who use their get-togethers to collaborate in New England Roses. Throughout the endearing but uneven Face Time with Son, the bicoastal band harks back to the minimalist, proudly amateurish spirit of early K Records, with technical expertise running a distant second to earnestness—a department in which Samson, Fowler, and Shapiro are certainly not lacking. So while their eclectic, ridiculously lo-fi mix of folk, fractured pop, and rap can be sloppy and insufferable at times—the spoken word of "Confidence," in particular, is sure to induce mass eye-rolling in all but the most stubbornly devoted Le Tigre fanatics—it's hard to resist three friends so eager to inspire and celebrate one another. "This is our favorite way to feel!" they exclaim on the call-to-queer-arms "Kids in the City," while "Candy" incorporates lyrics by Alice Deejay and After 7 into an infectious pep talk about going after your dreams. Don't let the more indulgent, lib-artsy aspects of Face Time deter you, then: Any band capable of making Dave Matthews sound pretty damn good, as the Roses do on their cover of his "Dancing Nancies," deserves to big-up itself. JIMMY DRAPER

THE GIRAFFES
The Giraffes
Razor & Tie
recommendedrecommended 1/2

Giraffes are of that très au current mock metal—powerful pummeling that by itself would've been enough to impress in Sabbath's heyday, but now must be tarted-up with ironic mustaches (don't ask) and constant brief downshifts into incongruous genre asides, all to seemingly apologize for just wanting to rock. The Giraffes' qualifying quirks generally don't impede the overall Metallica-based hell ride.

They don suits and affect a cocktail-sipping suave. Besides all the curious tempo shifts, they'll start the record with a '50s "shoo-wop shoo-wop" back-up vocal or slip '60s Merseybeat bits into a song about fighting skinheads ("Man U."). But perhaps most curious are the lyrics. Singer Aaron Lazar, in a gargantuan James Hetfield yowl, reflects on the old hometown losers: "Good old college try, I hope you had a good time." (A couple of these guys had moved from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Brooklyn, New York.) But he's none too impressed with his new hipster neighbors either. "You're having fun with assholes. You're just like anyone else I ever met." But all these quirks come, get squashed, and go quickly. The preponderance is sly fist-thrust stuff that would give Queens of the Stone Age a run for their glossy growl moola. The Giraffes are actually at their best when confusing, fret-racing, and pissed ("Jr. at His Worst," "Haunted Heaven," "Million $ Man"); plain numbing when the songs are less dynamic and plodding ("Having Fun," "Blckntwhtcstl"). So by the last redundant tune, it's apparent you've been rocked, but it's also apparent maybe that really isn't enough anymore. ERIC DAVIDSON

OHMEGA WATTS
The Find
(Ubiquity)
recommendedrecommendedrecommended

Portland's Ohmega Watts came out swinging—laying down an intro track that's no mere throwaway. It's two minutes, two seconds of solid, soulful hiphop introducing his shit with music that's something like Sly Stone having some glorious, liquefied acid-vision of conscious hiphop to come. It's smart, personal, heartfelt stuff, with even the liner notes asking questions. ("Jesus said he'd return when we least expect, but do you believe in him anyway, or is his life and God all fairy tales made up by Christians?" he proposes in the notes to track 17.)

The Find is autobiographical, heavily referential (and reverential) of the ghosts of hiphop past, and full of heady wordplay and kickass writing. "Groovin' on Sunshine" opens with shimmering tambourine—a hazy, stoned, funk mini-epic at just over three minutes. Throughout, Ohmega Watts never wastes time, as The Find is all economy: just enough wah-wah guitar, only the right amount of Stevie Wonder–like piano on "Mind Power" to be completely effective enough without taking away from dude's storytelling. Best of all, there are no skits, and the interludes are just pure, grooved-out funk. And not the kind your older brother plays in that Parliament tribute band. Fuck that shit. ADAM GNADE

GREG DAVIS & SÉBASTIEN ROUX
Paquet Surprise
(Carpark Records)
recommendedrecommendedrecommended

Paquet Surprise is a collaborative work between Parisian computer music researcher Sébastien Roux and the golden boy of the "folktronica" genre, Greg Davis. These guys are of serious academic stock and their collage of recordings draws from a deep musical well of subtle acoustic jams, musique concrète, and sunny harmony pop. Tracks like "To See the Wonderful World" and "Good Decision" tie invisible threads between Iannis Xenakis and the Beach Boys, as soft voices rise up and digital glitches cohabitate with gentle, sweeping guitars. The album is far from a bare-knuckled thrill ride, but succeeds at painting an imaginary world of the future where nature and beauty can coexist with technology. This is certainly a place where I'd like to vacation for a while. JOSH BLANCHARD

NEON BLONDE
Chandeliers in the Savannah
(Dim Mak)
recommendedrecommended

For those few of us who've paid attention to the many splinter groups that arose from the Blood Brothers' family tree—a list that includes such long-forgotten, embarrassingly named diversions as the slick, arty new wave of the Vogue and its slightly more angular spawn Soiled Doves—the spit-shined glamour of brand new double-B side project Neon Blonde (featuring the band's drummer Mark Gajadhar and primary squealer Johnny Whitney) should come as no great surprise. For the vast majority of their fans, however, who likely picked up a record during one of their tours with some band like the Used or something, Neon Blonde is probably going to seem like some seriously gay-ass shit—the sort of shit that's been threaded through nearly every other band in which Whitney's taken part. Counting among their primary influences the British glam triumvirate of Roxy, Queen, and Bowie, Neon Blonde (whose name, incidentally, is so awful it could only be that of a Blood Brothers side project) is primarily a drum and keyboard affair, tempered with occasional guitar squelch and electronics for atmosphere. It's more scattered and caustic than its instrumentation might suggest, and not entirely without its avenues of interest: Whitney's traditional bizarro narratives—strung together atop stagger-stepping rhythms and cut-and-paste transitions—are generally compelling, and throughout, there are a handful of memorable tunes. Overall, however, Chandeliers reeks of the same slapdash, tossed-off sensibility that mars so many of hipster-dumping-ground Dim Mak's releases—a place where the cool kids (the Gossip, Erase Errata, Blood Brothers, etc.) can always find a home for their one-offs, side projects, and other bullshit that's not good enough for their real labels. ZAC PENNINGTON

LADYTRON
Witching Hour
Rykodisc
recommendedrecommendedrecommended1/2

To forecast the eventual unfurling of Ladytron's third full length—stuck in nearly three years of label turmoil—one would only have to listen to the Liverpool-formed quartet's 2003 compilation, Softcore Jukebox. With a cover referencing Roxy Music's Country Life—and featuring songs by My Bloody Valentine, Wire, Lee Hazlewood, and Fat Truckers, among others—Ladytron positioned their next release as smelting smoggy guitar to vamping synths; chunky bristles for fans of Visage, Curve, and Lush. And Witching Hour lives up to that potential, using icy vocals, palling guitars, and motorik roil to conjure a chromatic bleakness and the yearning glamour of a sagging starlet.

Witching Hour is a dense album of steely sediment; yet some lines that might have been played previously on keyboard have been transposed to guitar. This allows for androgynous swoons to buoy hook-infused filigree on dusky songs such as "White Light Generator," "Soft Power," and "Beauty*2." Witching Hour marries the analog grit of Ladytron's debut 604 and the digital gleam of sophomore release Light & Magic with some of Siouxsie Sioux's crepuscular majesty. What once was some plasticine, disassociated posturing is now pneumatic rhythm grafted on songs such as "Destroy Everything You Touch" and "International Dateline." Angular and brittle is now multibeveled, and Ladytron are as commanding as they are melodic. TONY WARE

NELS CLINE/WALLY SHOUP/CHRIS CORSANO
Immolation/Immersion
(Strange Attractors Audio House)
recommendedrecommendedrecommended

In a career brimming with amazing collaborations, sexagenarian Seattle saxophonist Wally Shoup may have assembled his best lineup yet on Immolation/Immersion. Guitarist Nels Cline has played with everyone from Wilco to Charlie Haden, and he's tackled (with Gregg Bendian) John Coltrane's Interstellar Space. Drummer Chris Corsano is the go-to guy for high-level improv dates.

For several years, Shoup has proven he can still hang with free-jazz/improv's young lions. Known for his fiery, expressive tones and soulful chops, Shoup—like Pharoah Sanders and Albert Ayler—is comfortable with both chaos and structure, and capable of both volcanic lung power and mellifluous grace.

On Immolation/Immersion, the trio displays an impressive facility for many modes over five tracks totaling 54 minutes. On the brief "Lake of Fire Memories," Shoup immediately assaults you with agonized squeals, before a furious drum rampage ensues and Cline chips in barbed-wire skree. It sounds like an elephant stampede with hail raining on oil drums. Welcome to these motherfuckers' world.

The 28-minute title track finds each member spiraling upward on idiosyncratic paths of high-flying creativity. The sparser passages allow for quirky pools of tension to accumulate and provide a respite before the next full-on attack. The piece is like a triple helix of DNA code that reads, "chaos is beautiful and inspirational." But for all the brain-bursting fury here, the disc's finest moments are its quietest ("Minus Mint," "Ghost Bell Canto"), which are menacing, eerie soundscapes that could score a dystopian film's postcatastrophe scenario. DAVE SEGAL

Wally Shoup/Nels Cline/Greg Campbell perform Fri Oct 28 at Consolidated Works, 8 pm, $12 general/$10 members; Shoup and Cline perform Sat Oct 29 in-store at the Fifth Ave Tower Records, 2 pm, free.

DEADLY SNAKES
Porcella
(In The Red)
recommendedrecommendedrecommended

This record is expansive... fucking HUGE in its reach. And it ain't "garage," not in the least. Porcella is far too well written and thoughtfully arranged to be stuck in the (no) class of the slurred, snotty, single-note holler. It's lively, engaging and probably best described as a songwriter's record, sans "songwriter" pretense. The Snakes are writing to write THEIR song, not bothering to cop any generic rock clichés. Honestly, it really FEELS like they've been affected by early country as the songs are built from well-conceived bits of melodies and rhythmic plucks spun together for a certain passive sweetness. But Porcella is NOT a country record. I'd reckon it's a little like Iggy Pop's version of Morphine, sans Ig's creepy vibe, so no hands down leather-clad crotch, thanks—with Tom Waits arranging via his assimilation of all that was Captain Beefheart's fucked up sense of fucked up. If that makes any sense at ALL... and if not, well, I promise Porcella IS indeed quite brilliant. MIKE NIPPER

The Deadly Snakes perform Tues Nov 1 at the Funhouse, 9:30 pm, $6.