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HAR MAR SUPERSTAR, THE FEVER, VHS OR BETA
(Chop Suey) See preview, page 50.
THE CHARITY STRIPE, SHIM, MORTIMER
(Crocodile) If somebody were to ever slip Superchunk a handful of sedatives before a show, they'd probably end up sounding a lot like the Charity Stripe. I mean that in the best possible way. The Charity Stripe fill the air with utterly lovely indie rock that combines Death Cab's charming pop sensibilities with Superchunk's dreamy melodies. Ross McMeekin's calm, quiet vocals only briefly break a whisper on the band's new Islands EP. "I don't need you to love me for me to love you back/I need no one to love me, for me to love you back," he sadly but sweetly sings on "Circumstance." With songs as gentle and engaging as these, though, it'll be difficult to not to return the admiration. MEGAN SELING
NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALL STARS, DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND, RISING STAR FIFE & DRUM BAND
(Showbox) If you're going to be two clean-cut white siblings who play hill-country-blues covers with a name like North Mississippi All Stars, you'd better be damn good. Fortunately, brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson, guitarist and drummer respectively, fit the bill and then some. This is no mere scavenged blues act. Forming North Mississippi All Stars in 1996 with bassist Chris Chew, the brothers Dickinson eschewed the sound of their former punk band, DDT, in favor of a roots-based sound they grew up listening to with their father, the legendary producer and musician Jim Dickinson. Their latest album Hill Country Revue is their best to date. All Stars season gutbucket shuffle and boogie-woogie rave ups with post-punk fervor; the country-blues of R. L. Burnside and Mississippi Fred McDowell are a heavy influence, mixed with a rock edge. The brothers' call-and-response vocals and dense trance-like blues channel Othar Turner and Junior Kimbrough while casting a spell all their own. NATE LIPPENS
THE LEGENDARY SHACK SHAKERS, SLIM CESSNA'S AUTO CLUB
(Tractor) J. D. Wilkes has said that if he were not doing "this," he'd "probably be a serial killer," so perhaps nowhere outside his current native turf of Nashville will Wilkes, the intoxicating vaudevillian instigator of the quarter-a-peek county-fairish sideshow that is the Legendary Shack Shakers, feel more at home than here in our frightening burg. Like Charlie Feathers-meets-Iggy Pop fronting the Jim Rose Circus, Wilkes hiccups and harps his way through a chaotic potion of country, rockabilly, blues, and punk on the band's new album Believe (Yep Roc). Three nights before All Hallows Eve there's no telling what havoc these unconventional, unpredictable, unrepentant, and rafters-shaking rockers will inflict on Ballard Avenue. Ann Rule, you're on the guest list. SCOTT HOLTER
THE A-FRAMES, SEXY PRISON, FACTUMS
(Comet) See Live Wire, page 51.
WAY OUT WEST
(Qwest Field Event Center) See Data Breaker, page 67.
THE NEW MEXICANS, OLDOMINION, GRAYSKUL, AzRAEL, INFECT
(Catwalk) See My Philosophy, page 47.
DEEP THROAT SOUNDTRACK RELEASE: THE PEEPERS, MR. SUPREME
(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker, page 67 and Stranger Suggests, page 35.
HIGH ON FIRE, BIG BUSINESS, FREE VERSE
(Graceland, late) Seattle is the size of a pinhead when it comes to connections in the music industry--and it only continues to shrink. Massive Bay-Area metal power trio High on Fire is said to currently feature bassist Joe Preston, formerly of the Melvins, who also plays as Thrones and used to play in the Whip with Jared Warren. Warren's scaled his operation down to a two piece as Big Business, though, and together with Coady Willis they've dropped a steaming hunk of studied and muddied metal. Their new disc, Head for the Shallow, comes out in January. Tonight also marks the CD release for Northwest metal maidens Free Verse, whose tangled briar-patch constructions of riot grrrl and hardcore are heavily layered and highly agitated. JENNIFER MAERZ
THE TIGER LILLIES
(Moore) "Cabaret" is a loaded word. For most folks it conjures up images of Liza Minnelli, straddling a chair in fishnets and a bowler hat, or another overpriced review of Bacharach chestnuts and a two-drink minimum. Push those filthy images from your mind--to make way for something genuinely disturbing: The Tiger Lillies. The UK trio's music owes more to Tiny Tim, Lotte Lenya, and Stravinsky than rock of any stripe (leader Martyn Jacques sings in an unsettlingly high register, accompanying himself on accordion and ukulele), while their presentation is part Mexican wrestling, part Expressionist circus. In addition to Shockheaded Peter, their landmark show based on terrifying German children's stories, they've also worked with macabre illustrator-writer Edward Gorey and Kronos Quartet, and count The Simpsons creator Matt Groening among their biggest fans. Quite simply, they are intoxicatingly insane... but that's the only point where their vision overlaps with Liza's. KURT B. REIGHLEY
SLY AND ROBBIE, HALF PINT, TONY REBEL
(Les Amies) See preview, page 53.
HALLOWEEN COMEBACK FETE: MC CHOMPERS, COLBY B, DJ PORQ, DJ FUCKING IN THE STREETS
(Chop Suey) This here's what we call a collective--four DJs, four different (sometimes overlapping) tastes in music, four chances to get the gay boys on the dance floor (and get the girls who love them out there, too) with high-energy hiphop, indie rock, pop, and punk tracks. Created with the same vibe in mind as Pho Bang (i.e., everyone's welcome, so long as you're ready to dance), Comeback features a lot of the same faces as that popular club night, minus the hosts on teetering heels (but including a couple of fuzzy bears and cuddly rabbits). JENNIFER MAERZ
united state of electronica, TRAVIS MORRISON, something for rocets, guests
(Crocodile) Watching the Dismemberment Plan live, it was always apparent that frontman Travis Morrison is a guy possessed by music. Now with the Plan officially defunct, Morrison has completed his first attempt at a solo album, Travistan. Unfortunately it doesn't capture the same immediate and energetic explosion that the Dismemberment Plan records always managed to project. After a few initial listens, it feels like Morrison is holding back with a collection of fairly mellow pop songs. After more listening, though, I don't know that he's neglecting to unleash his wild side, it just sounds like he's calmed down since his Is Terrified days. As a solo artist, Morrison seems to have little interest in continuing to create the Dismemberment sound. If you can think of him as Travis Morrison and not as the former frontman for the crazy, beloved Dismemberment Plan, there's a chance you'll be in as much love with his sweet power pop as some of us were with Emergency & I. MEGAN SELING See also CD Reviews, page 55.
WORMWOOD, SIN DIOS, SLIGHTLY LESS THAN NOTHING, AND PIP SQUEEK
(Comet) Like their name implies, Wormwood infect your head with meditative poisons. Their metal potions of the industrial, goth, and black variety fog over into a landscape of atmospheric sounds and cloak complex compositions under layers of graveyard effects. JENNIFER MAERZ
PJ HARVEY, KNIFE & FORK
(Showbox) See preview, page 47.
PHO BANG HALLOWEEN: JACKIE AND THE CONTROL TOPS, URSULA AND THE ANDROIDS, VERONICA LIPGLOSS, THE EVIL EYES, DALMATIANS
(Mirabeau Room) See Stranger Suggests, page 35, and Live Wire, page 51.
SCHOOLYARD HEROES, AIDEN, ON THE LAST DAY
(Hell's Kitchen) There just may be nothing more perfect than catching a Schoolyard Heroes show on Halloween night. This local foursome could raise the dead with their ferocious zombie rock. Ryann Donnelly's blood-curdling, operatic yowls paired with bassist Jonah Bergman's vocal-chord-shredding hollers are enough to knock you on you ass, but Steve Bonnell goes for the throat with insanely quick, deafening metal-flavored guitar work. Death has never sounded so good. If you already have Halloween plans, however, the Heroes will also be playing the Vera Project on the 30th--both nights should be one hell of a deadly dance party. MEGAN SELING
CRITTERS BUGGIN, CANNED HAM
(Neumo's) Seattle genre-blenders Critters Buggin fit right into their new home on New York's eclectic Ropeadope Records, which recently issued their Stampede album. The disc finds Critters mellowing out a bit, lounging around the opium den with sensual vibes, soothing, soaring strings, and lightly glowing organ drones. To give you an idea of Stampede's range, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard and Master Musicians of Jajouka's Bachir and Mustapha Attar guest. In between, Critters take rewarding detours down psychedelic jazz corridors and non-kitsch exotica parlours. Live, you can expect every facet of Critters' multi-pronged repertoire. Stay on your toes. DAVE SEGAL
THE DELGADOS, CROOKED FINGERS
(Crocodile) See preview, page 49 and Stranger Suggests, page 35.
HOT SNAKES, RED EYED LEGENDS, DAN SARTAIN
(Neumo's) See preview, page 47.
DAN BERN, GARRIN BENFIELD, CHRIS CHANDLER
(Tractor) See Border Radio, page 61.
(Neumo's) See My Philosophy, page 47.
THE LOST SOUNDS, WOLF PARADE, BLANK ITS
(Crocodile) Jay Reatard and company continue on with their latest Lost Sounds album of futuristic noise and despair. Not nearly as exciting as their first record, Memphis Is Dead (Big Neck), Future Touch (In the Red) tries to employ all the bleeps and blips of a noise rock band, but the results sound more like the soundtrack to a bad Halloween party. The band is at its best when they keep it poppy; this was true of Jay's former band the Reatards as well. It's not surprising that the best track on the record is the cover song "Black Flowers"--mixing cello with synthesizers is a step in the right direction, but if you're going to put out a record that nobody is gonna buy anyway, why not make it a little more interesting overall? JED MAHEU
THE CRAMPS, GORE GORE GIRLS, DEADBILLYS
(Showbox) Such is the Big Bang of the Cramps' sleazy garageabilly bop that they aren't just "precursors," but have become a genre of their own. And it could be further argued that their embrace of all things lowbrow and post-war (B-flix, horror comics, S&M, the Stooges both Iggy and Shemp, etc.), all thrift-store bought and wrapped in leopard print, is the lifestyle template most bohemians spend their tip money trying to attain. It's weird to think that there is a direct lineage from a teen Lux Interior salivating over a leg lamp at a junk store in 1971 to "shabby chic" In Style articles today. So the Cramps' latest release, How to Make a Monster (Vengeance), a two-CD compilation of early demos and live sets, comes as a good reminder of the band's true trashy roots. ERIC DAVIDSON
(Triple Door) As a member of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, the Rutles, and as a songwriter for Monty Python's Flying Circus, Neil Innes resoundingly proves that, contrary to many, comedy does belong in music. The 59-year-old British cult figure is probably best known for his fabulously clever parodies of Beatles songs that he perpetrated with the Rutles. (They were so good, the Rutles even inspired other musicians to record a tribute album to them.) Besides cultivating a cult following among geeks who appreciate sly humor and brilliant pop tunes, Innes starred as Ron Nasty (a faux John Lennon) in Eric Idle's 1978 mockumentary All You Need Is Cash, which again lovingly spoofed the Beatles. Prepare for a not-so-serious abdominal workout tonight. DAVE SEGAL
VERA ELECTION PARTY: KING COBRA, WIVES, MIKA MIKO, BA_AR, 1999, SHOPLIFTING
(Vera Project) Too young to drink and/or vote? It's a shame, both ways. For young'uns, there's always Vera. King Cobra, those drum-crazy ladies of the night (not prostitutes, just the p.m.) will spout their dependable mix of art skronk and metal. L.A.'s nihilistic post-punks Wives whacked everyone's heads off at Chop Suey last month, and one half of Shoplifting will also play, as the other half is--on tour with another band? Moved to Texas or something? But the most important thing about attending this election show is the prime location of the Vera Project: any post-election craziness should happen downtown anyway. Catch this show, but check the street once every 20 minutes to see what kind of shit is going down. ARI SPOOL
ORSO, SIN ROPAS
(Sunset) A mainstay of Chicago's experimental-rock scene (he's played in Rex, Loftus, HIM, and Loftus), Phil Spirito leads oRSo into seldom-trod territory, crossbreeding the rural (poignant banjo) with the urban junkyard (scrappy metallic percussion), adding some subtle electronic ambience and woozy blues licks for good measure. (Seek 2000's Long Gone By for a righteous intro.) On the band's new album, My Dreams Are Back and They Are Better Than Ever, Spirito recruits Carlo Cennamo (alto sax), Griffin Rodriguez (double bass), and Julie Liu (viola, violin); the results are more song-oriented, orchestral, and sentimental. oRSo have smoothed some rough edges, but not too cloyingly so. Red Red Meat/Califone auteur Tim Rutili guides Sin Ropas, bleak blues-rock deconstructors who drunkenly trash the Heartbreak Hotel--in slow motion. DAVE SEGAL
MOVING UNITS, KILL ME TOMORROW, CHINESE STARS
(Neumo's) See preview page 50.
(Triple Door) Frank's iconic offspring had the good luck/instincts to hook up with genius songwriter Lee Hazlewood in the mid-'60s. Together they deadpanned and winked their way into kitsch-pop legend (and the charts) with songs like "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," "Sand," and most sublime of all, "Some Velvet Morning." Nancy's new self-titled album is a surprisingly enjoyable comeback. Sure, her lusty, country-esque voice is more weathered now, but the retinue of ardent fans who wrote and played on Nancy Sinatra (Morrissey, Pulp, Jon Spencer, Thurston Moore, Calexico, and others) usher her into the 21st century with panache and dignity. DAVE SEGAL