Best shows to see: Paint Fumes, Bill Orcutt, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, Zs

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Paint Fumes
The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be dire for devoted musicophiles. Not only are we in for four weeks of near-constant immersion in the Christmas music that businesses and individuals insist on playing despite the proven scientific fact that there are only two Christmas songs that possess any redeeming artistic value, but it's also the beginning of the off-season for touring bands, meaning a dramatic decrease in the number of shows around town. But with the help of the Reader music staff it's still relatively easy to put together a schedule of live performances to keep you occupied all week long.

Mon 11/26: Paint Fumes at the Empty Bottle

Kevin Warwick calls this Charlotte trio's debut LP, Uck Life, a "spinning top of dizzying, brain-fried garage that ought to bring back fond memories of that time your friend blacked out from huffing gas duster in your parents' garage." If that's not enough to get you to head down to the Bottle tonight, consider the headlining duo King Khan & BBQ Show, who are one of the most consistently entertaining rock bands on the planet.

Tue 11/27: Bill Orcutt at the MCA

It's hard to believe that for a minute back in the 90s the noise-rock outfit Harry Pussy was something of an indie It Band, considering that their antagonism towards indie-rocker types made Big Black look like Death Cab for Cutie. Recently front man Bill Orcutt embarked on a solo career based around "a four-string acoustic guitar tuned to a scale that belongs in an outsider-art museum," according to Warwick. "Twangy, bluesy, and chaotic, but with a fierce drive that can trick you into thinking he's playing in a regular tempo, Orcutt's often improvised songs sprint and halt and twitch in such a way that YouTube clips of his performances attract sarcastic comments ('So that's the song my 4-year old cousin was playing when I gave him my guitar!') right next to the worshipful ones ('Sketches of the most beautiful music in the world!')."

Wed 11/28: Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! at Bottom Lounge

If you're looking to expand your musical boundaries, this Parisian quintet's performance offers an opportunity to explore the subgenre known as "easycore," defined by Leor Galil as a "post-metalcore version of pop punk . . . which juxtaposes slick keyboards, clean vocals, sunny melodies, and major chords with blunt, chugging riffs, hammering double kick drum, booming breakdowns, and guttural growls." The group's best known for its cover of Kesha's "We R Who We R," but according to Galil, "basically they're a pop band already, dressed up in aggro drag."

Wed 11/28: Zs at the Empty Bottle

Last week I had the opportunity to see Zs saxophonist and sole constant member Sam Hillmer perform a scorching but melodic solo performance on the floor at a Brooklyn bar in the middle of an otherwise-unremarkable artsy indie-rock show. His frenetic but highly focused energy is amplified in a group setting. Peter Margasak describes Zs as "a kind of middle finger to people who assume that rock bands are stupid and new-music ensembles are effete. Zs play with such unstinting energy, paint-peeling ferocity, and pinpoint precision that they make most so-called math-rock or prog bands sound malnourished and clumsy."

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