HATEWAVE 6/19, METRO This local "ultraspeed deathmusik" trio's first official LP, a limited-edition vinyl pressing on Up Jumps the Devil Records, has scared off the band's European distributor--gee, I wonder if it was the mangled corpse faces on the back cover or song titles like "Slit the Catholic Throat" and "Hate Crime Spree" that broke the camel's back. Guardians of the public morals are so thin-skinned. But the inured, the desensitized, and the jaded will appreciate the sheer bloody-hamburger power of Marc Rucker and Sasha Tai's guitars, Tai's garbage-disposal gargling, and Weasel Walter's rabid-Energizer-bunny drumming. The Boredoms (see Critic's Choice) headline. WANDA JACKSON & The CADILLAC ANGELS 6/19, FITZGERALD'S If you want to sweat with purpose for a change, do it here, at the feet of rockabilly heroine Wanda Jackson, who shook as hard and played as dirty as Elvis when she toured with him in the mid-50s and was therefore just too scary for aforementioned moral guardians. Last year she paired up with the Cadillac Angels, who at the same venue cleared up my usual reservations about rockabilly revivalists by crashing through that museum-quality-reproduction sensibility like Jackie Chan through a plate-glass window. Jackson has been a devout Christian since the 70s, but she no longer lets that keep her away from rowdy classics like "Fujiyama Mama." After all, the reason you go to church is pretty much the same reason you go to rock 'n' roll shows: if it's good, for an hour or two you remember why you believe. LOWER EAST SIDE STITCHES 6/20, FIRESIDE BOWL Clearly Rudy Giuliani didn't have the "quality of life" of punk rockers in mind when he began cracking down on outdoor drinking, cheap T & A, dive clubs, and other hurdles between him and his vision of a shiny, happy Manhattan. But in a way he's done as much as anyone to light a fire under Big Apple scum rockers, much as Reagan did for the Dead Kennedys and their ilk: as an article in the New York Press pointed out, those posters this band put up with Giuliani's mug on them also plugged a new single, and the line "The higher standard of livin' is workin' against us," from their "NYC Is Dead," is perhaps the sharpest nonalcoholic sentiment on the Stitches' second LP, STAJA98L.E.S. (Ng). BRIC-A-BRAC 6/22, LOUNGE AX While vocalist John Sinatra Connors's arch croon--he sounds very much at home on a rendition of "It Was a Very Good Year"--is dated twice over by now, the pulsing arrangements of guitar, percussion, and fiddle on this local combo's forthcoming debut, The Acorn Sessions, straddle twang and Drang with liveliness and taste. Despite the thick 60s shtick, the four-song preview I heard mixes cocktail kitsch with honky-tonk and trippy teen garage in ways no 60s band would have dreamed. Since the recording was made, Bric-a-Brac's expanded to include Evelyn Weston on the singing saw, which can only augment la difference. ANTI-FLAG 6/23, METRO As you might guess, this Pittsburgh quartet, founded by childhood friends "Justin Sane" and "Pat Thetic," is a political punk band. They're straight-edge, high-energy, and even funny--"This Is NOT a Crass Song," from their third album, A New Kind of Army (Go Kart), cracked me up harder than anything I've heard on a punk record in...weeks. There's nothing here you haven't heard before if you've hung around lefty punk culture for at least 15 minutes, but if you've been around longer you'll notice that these guys do it better than most. CASTLE BROADWAY 6/23, LOUNGE AX Two years in the making, this Chicago-Milwaukee project's debut, Raymond Carverland (Soutrane), is a beautiful return to the golden age of space rock--a subtle but elaborate web of Popol Vuh-style meditation with moody Moog, wandering reeds, muted and vaguely tribal percussion, melodic bass lines, and minimalist acoustic strumming. I guess the pretentious song titles ("For Gregorio, Scelsi, Messiaen, Coxhill," "Floodplain (a) Conscious Suffering (b) Acceptance") just come with the territory. The group, led by multi-instrumentalist Jason Wietlispach, will mostly improvise here. SUPER DIAMOND 6/23, HOUSE OF BLUES The less well-known sequel to Jeff Krulik's cult classic Heavy Metal Parking Lot (filmed before a Judas Priest concert in 1986) was called Neil Diamond Parking Lot, and its subjects could have been the metal kids' parents and grandparents, with short-curly old-lady dos, golf pants, and sweatshirts with sparkly appliques in abundance. But Diamond's fans were no less obsessive, no less inarticulate, and no less confident that they were about to undergo a transcendent experience. And whatever it was that they saw in him, this San Francisco band promises a "glittering, smoke-filled" facsimile. RICHARD THOMPSON 6/23, DOUBLE DOOR Though his mid-70s albums with ex-wife Linda still stand as his career's high-water mark, Richard Thompson's earlier gig with Fairport Convention, his session work with fellow cult-hero visionaries Nick Drake and John Cale, and his 80s and 90s solo records all have their great moments. When he's jumping or when he's pushed, he's one of the finest songwriters of any era, but his last studio record, the double You? Me? Us?, would've made a better EP. Even when he's on autopilot as a writer, though, he's possibly the most lyrical and expressive rock guitarist alive. Here he'll most likely play songs from his forthcoming record on Capitol, Mock Tudor (lightly produced by Beck's pals Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf). I hadn't heard it yet at press time, but the title sums up his distinctive neo-Elizabethan-Sufi aesthetic with a knowing smirk. --Monica Kendrick
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mick Rock.