Friday 7

FIERY FURNACES New York's Fiery Furnaces are about to follow up last year's grandiose and excellent Blueberry Boat with Rehearsing My Choir (Rough Trade/Sanctuary), which ought to baffle even their most ardent fans. A collaboration between siblings Matt and Eleanor Friedberger and their 83-year-old grandmother, Olga Sarantos, Choir is a rambling, fanciful near rock opera about Sarantos's life in Chicago, crammed with details about everything from her visit to a Gypsy fortune-teller on South Halsted to her recollection of writing letters to her husband while he was in the Pacific. The lyrics are sung alternately by Sarantos, in a low cabaret sing-speak, and Eleanor, who brings out irresistible melodies amid her brother's multitracked layers of keyboards and guitar. The press materials suggest that the music reflects "the average person's aspirations and experiences," but when the two women rant about a doughnut factory-owning MD who treats wounds with blackberry filling, it's obvious these aren't the recollections of anyone average. The band may also preview songs from Bitter Tea, a more conventional collection of new material due early next year. Pit Er Pat opens. 9:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $17. All ages. --Peter Margasak

JIM HALL DUO On the surface guitarist Jim Hall seems like one of the most mild-mannered middle-of-the-road jazz musicians of all time; he's bald and bespectacled, and until very recently he's favored an ultraclean tone. But he's actually one of the most sophisticated, daring, and open-minded people to ever play the instrument. He's appeared on a diverse range of recordings led by the likes of Jimmy Giuffre, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Lee Konitz, and Ornette Coleman, and his inventive melodic contributions are instantly recognizable on each of them. But it's Hall's advanced harmonic ideas that makes him unique. On his new album, Duologues (CAM Jazz), he and Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi create sublime thickets of unusual note combinations in three improvised pieces and a variety of original tunes; the two masters are less concerned with pushing the music outward than with exploring the subtleties of even the most familiar chord progressions. For this show Hall's joined by flexible New York bassist Scott Colley, one of five players on Jim Hall & Basses (Telarc, 2001), a superb collection of duos and trios. Hall experimented with effects pedals on the disc and even strapped on a 12-string for the folksy opening cut, "End the Beguine!" The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra headlines. a 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $19-$47. All ages. --Peter Margasak

HOCKEY ISLAND I doubt any of the countless hot bands in Williamsburg have even heard of Hockey Island--they're unsigned and have yet to release a full-length album. But if they keep writing material as good as the stuff on their two self-released EPs, all that's gonna change real soon. Guitarists Virat Shukla and Greg McKenna originally played under the name in Baltimore in 1999, but that incarnation fizzled and the two parted ways. After separate stints with Bawmer pals the Oranges Band, they reunited in NYC last spring, and it sounds like they hit the ground running: "Everything Twice," from the Chopping Block EP, shares the Oranges' sleight-of-hand grooves and nonchalant melodicism (imagine Weezer after a beer and a lay, or maybe just a Xanax), and Shukla's voice has the easy polish most pop rockers would sell a thumb for. Sleepwalker Defense, the Late Nights, the Lesser Events, and the DeeTees open. 9 PM, Nite Cap, 5007 W. Irving Park, 773-794-1317, $6. --J. Niimi

BRIJ NARAYAN Brij Narayan, one of the greatest living players of the sarod (a lutelike 25-string instrument), learned from the best: much of his schooling in Indian classical music came from his father, sarangi master Nam Narayan, and he also studied under Ali Akbar Khan. His uncle and first teacher, tabla player Chatur Lal, seems to have had the greatest impact on him; Narayan is a fluid melodist capable of transcendent extended improvisation, but he also plays with a dazzling rhythmic ferocity. At his most intense he produces flurries of notes in dense, neatly articulated clusters that never sound murky, followed by brief respites that seem just as much about heightening the tension-and-release dynamic as giving his fingers a rest. He's joined by tabla player Abhijit Banerjee. 8 PM, Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st, Oak Brook, 708-798-2025, $20, $10 students. All ages. --Peter Margasak

POSIES Though the Posies officially called it quits after recording their 1998 album, Success--a fitting bookend to Failure, their '88 debut--the Seattle power-pop combo never really went away. There's been a steady stream of Posies releases--a best-of, a couple of live collections, a four-CD rarities box--and front men Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow started playing as an acoustic duo not long after the breakup. The two have kept busy separately--Stringfellow's put out a pair of 70s-style soft rock albums and Auer's been toiling on a long-delayed disc of his own--but they clearly can't resist the urge to play in a band. Last year they recorded the new In Space (Rykodisc) with the reunited Big Star, and called in drummer Darius Minwalla and bassist Matt Harris to make a new Posies record, Every Kind of Light (Rykodisc). It feels like a collaborative effort instead of the product of two songwriters who happen to be in the same band, a problem that plagued their later albums. Auer and Stringfellow's crystalline voices and harmonies are in classic form, though their songs are unusually political, reflecting an obvious dissatisfaction with life in the Bush era. The album isn't their finest moment--that would be 1993's Frosting on the Beater--but for pop aesthetes it's a welcome comeback--even if they never really went away. The psych-pop band Oranger, which Harris also plays in, goes on second, and May or May Not opens. 10 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $12 in advance, $14 at the door. --Bob Mehr

Saturday 8

PETRACOVICH On Petracovich's 2003 debut, Blue Cotton Skin (Red Buttons), Jessica Peters's flutelike voice floated between the radiant bedroom trip-hop of "Nighttime" and the more subdued, rose-petal-and-sandalwood electroacoustic ambience of tunes like "Fall From Trees." On the new We Are Wyoming, also on Peters's Red Buttons label, the (mostly) one-woman band follows more of a Kate Bush template--slow, airy piano and muted drums give way to atmospheric interludes. The unceasingly melancholic tone of the album sometimes gets dangerously close to crossing the line between majestically sad chanson and incidental music for soap operas. But a few standout tracks, like the languid "All I Have to Say," glow like a roomful of candles. Shemilaya and Unlucky Atlas open. 7 PM, Black Spot Gallery, 2315 W. Huron,, $6. All ages. --J. Niimi

TOSSERS These south-siders do the Pogues thing better than anyone since, well, the Pogues, but with a voice of their own--their Irish folk-punk is a little more rock 'n' roll, a little smoother, and their angry narrative lyrics are a good deal easier to understand. On its fifth album, The Valley of the Shadow of Death (Victory), the septet tackles wars past and present, pays homage to Dee Dee Ramone, and hoists the requisite pints. They're playing with familiar themes, but they do it fiercely and joyously. Beer Nuts, the Danglers, and Flatfoot 56 open. 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $10. --Monica Kendrick

Sunday 9

PETER BROTZMANN & NASHEET WAITS Peter Brotzmann produces such a compelling and instantly recognizable tone on his myriad saxophones and clarinets that it's easy to overlook how responsive a player he is. Drummers in particular seem to influence him: on the recent Medicina (Atavistic), Danish stickman Peter Uuskyla plays jagged but well-defined structures that inspire Brotzmann's labyrinthine runs, while in the project Die Like a Dog, Hamid Drake's pan-ethnic matrices summon muezzinlike cries. New Yorker Nasheet Waits brought a composer's mind and an enormous wallop to his duets with Brotzmann at the Empty Bottle in June. He's an exceptionally parsimonious percussionist: instead of dispersing his energy by playing all over the kit, he makes every beat count, and his carefully graduated rolls and martial figures articulate clear melodic shapes. Brotzmann responded to Waits with uncommon patience and restraint, carefully building to bluesy climaxes instead of producing the rushes of sound he's best known for. The two have yet to put out a record together, so for now concerts like this one are the only way to catch their unique chemistry. 7 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. Free. All ages. --Bill Meyer

Monday 10

DANIEL LANOIS & TORTOISE Who knows what sort of arc leads someone from recording a series of ambient albums with Brian Eno in the early 80s to producing polished radio fare for the likes of U2, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, and Emmylou Harris--the surprising thing is Daniel Lanois managed to do it without becoming a total tool. His own latest record, Belladonna (Anti-/Epitaph), is a buoy that's floated off as far as possible from its anchor. Peach-fuzz-soft pedal steel, marimba, percussive effects, and ambient textures that naturally drift into mini vignettes: a tropical paradise where something is amiss; a bullfight in slow-motion black and white, where the animal's death is an act of beauty, not violence. He's oh-so-masterful, for sure, and contemplative without belaboring the point. Tortoise, who are backing Lanois on this tour, also open the show. 7:30 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212, $22.50. All ages. --Liz Armstrong

Wednesday 12

KMFDM The institutional dysfunction of the American political system has a funny way of keeping bands like KMFDM relevant in spite of themselves. Though the group's now winnowed down to cofounder Sascha Konietzko and some hired guns on the new Hau Ruck (Metropolis), the current version doesn't sound or look all that different from the original model. The trashy, shiny-as-a-buzz-saw industrial metal pop they helped perfect with songs like "Virus" remains their stock-in-trade, and a dozen years past their heyday they're still dealing out agitprop--hell, Aidan Hughes is still supplying their faux-Soviet-poster album art. But as the reign of George II has rendered yesterday's hyperbole today's truth, their down-with-the-tyrant rants sound more prescient than ever (though perhaps "ineffectual" is the better word). Acumen Nation opens. 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $28.50. All ages. --Brian Nemtusak

NASHVILLE PUSSY The new Get Some (Spitfire) is the fourth album from these shameless redneck butt rockers, and if you still need to be told what to expect from them, you'll probably hate it. Lead guitarist Ruyter Suys plays white-hot cock-rock licks better than most folks who actually have cocks, and front man Blaine Cartwright has a satisfying knack for capturing the natural rhythms of cussing in his choruses--"Come on come on come on fuck yeah!" makes for a pretty great hook. The band's stage show isn't quite the biker-bitch sex carnival it used to be--fire-breathing bassist Corey Parks left years ago--so this is basically like good Ted Nugent without the psycho right-wing asshattery. Zeke, Dummy, and DJ Last Vegas open. 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $12. --Monica Kendrick

Thursday 13

ADA Techno artist Michaela Dippel, aka Ada, couldn't be more different from her peers in the Cologne scene: she's a woman, she's not a DJ, and she favors pop both in terms of sound and song length. Perhaps most notably, she sings. Not that vocals in techno are unheard-of, but in microhouse they're often limited to the cold ESL mumblings of a lonely Dieter. Dippel started out singing in rock and bossa nova bands, and though her vocals are low-key, her cooing is expressive. Instead of just hooking up a laptop, she performs live with a mixer, drum machine, and keyboards. Superpitcher headlines and Metope opens. 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140 or 312-559-1212, $10. --Jessica Hopper

HORRORPOPS I thought psychobilly had fossilized for good ten years ago, but these veteran Danish delinquents have injected it with revitalizing doses of pop, soul, and punk and kicked it right out of its early grave. The music marries ticky-ticky rockabilly rim drumming to buzz-saw guitar and a hard-rock beat, and the doo-woppy male backup vocals are pocked with stiletto-heeled boot prints courtesy of a lead singer who reminds me of a sneerier Alice Cooper (but with much bigger boobs and a white stand-up bass covered in tattoo flash). The Horrorpops' second CD, Bring It On! (Hellcat), is packed with dirt-stupid lyrics--but I wasn't paying attention to the words at all on tunes like "It's Been So Long," a wolfy lope punctuated by judiciously placed bursts of what sounds like ride cymbal and tremolo-bar guitar losing an argument with a banshee. Roger Miret & the Disasters and Left Alone open. 6 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-252-6179, $12. All ages. --Ann Sterzinger

THE PRAYERS & TEARS OF ARTHUR DIGBY SELLERS If their epic moniker and album title The Mother of Love Emulates the Shapes of Cynthia (Bu Hanan Records) didn't clue you in, Prayers & Tears is all about the words. While front man and lead brain Perry Wright means well (props for positing erudite nuggets like "pluripotency" next to lowbrow spit like "fuckin'"), this song cycle/concept album about a divorcing couple suffers from his frosty grad school distance and clunky polemics. It's a sleepy slowcore adaptation of Pedro the Lion's sound and penchant for Christian morality plays; that said, the indie orchestral arrangements and vulnerable narratives may endear Prayers & Tears to fans of the Mountain Goats, who headline. Prayers & Tears plays second and Bellafea opens. All three bands also play at the Empty Bottle on Friday, October 14. 9 PM, Open End Gallery, 2000 W. Fulton, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $13. All ages. --Jessica Hopper

SWEET COBRA, INDIAN, RAISE THE RED LANTERN One review I read of INDIAN described their singer as sounding like the "put the fucking lotion in the basket" guy from Silence of the Lambs. I was a bit disappointed to discover that isn't true, but that's about the only bummer on The Unquiet Sky (Seventh Rule). (If anyone does know of a band with a singer like that, e-mail me.) This local group's debut, aside from being as heavy as a dextromethorphan trip, shows their mastery at conjuring that vertiginous sensation specific to doom metal, where each massive chord simultaneously sounds like the ending of one song and the beginning of another. They're playing as part of a showcase for local label Seventh Rule, along with the postgrindcore combo RAISE THE RED LANTERN, whose great debut, Breathe Fire, tempers the clobbering art metal of Neurosis with a latent melodicism, and local stoner rock purveyors SWEET COBRA, who at times sound a little like the Melvins playing the beginning of "Kick Out the Jams" on an endless loop. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $7. --J. Niimi

RICHARD THOMPSON Front Parlour Ballads (Cooking Vinyl), Richard Thompson's first acoustic record since 1981, is filled with pretty, highly literate, well-made songs. But like so many of the records he's put out in the past two decades, it displays more intellect than passion. Once again he's pondering male buffoonery in relationships--the lothario of "Let It Blow" gets bored each time he finishes a successful hunt, and the narrator of "Precious One" laments all he's taken for granted once it's too late to matter. Thompson, on acoustic guitar, is backed occasionally by percussionist Debra Dobkin and his own gorgeous electric accents; those overdubs are the only times he sounds like more than a craftsman, with every profoundly articulated note cutting like a knife. Similarly, his electric guitar work makes his sound track to Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man (Cooking Vinyl) transcend its role as incidental music. With Jim O'Rourke playing acoustic guitar and piano, Thompson layers beautiful, lyric lines over the requisite moodscapes. He's joined here by his longtime upright bassist, Danny Thompson (no relation). Eliza Gilkyson opens. Thompson also plays at Park West on Friday, October 14. 7:30 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212, $30, 18+. --Peter Margasak

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