Friday 14

CAKE When these novelty rockers released their Caucasoid flattening of "I Will Survive" ten years ago, sobersides dismissed them as a one-joke wonder. Turns out the joke was on the naysayers. Cake is a gag that not only survives but thrives. They're still recording for Columbia and have a live disc due this fall, while all the scenesters they chided in '94's "How Do You Afford Your Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle?" are either dead, gainfully employed, or playing in Pearl Jam. H.M.S. and Buddy Nuisance open. 5:15 PM, Old Saint Pat's World's Largest Block Party, Madison and Desplaines, 312-648-1590, $35 in advance, $40 at door. --Keith Harris

SOUL ASYLUM Once upon a time there was no shame in liking Soul Asylum: following in the wake of fellow Minnesotans Husker Du and the Replacements, the pop-punk combo was arguably the best live band on the planet during its late-80s heyday. But early fans jumped ship after the 1992 breakthrough, Grave Dancers Union, and after 1998's Candy From a Stranger, the band sounded like it needed a break, if not a breakup. Front man Dave Pirner went on to make a solo record and Dan Murphy turned out a couple of discs with Golden Smog, but the group eventually reconvened to rally around bassist Karl Mueller, who was battling throat cancer. They finished their new album, The Silver Lining (Sony/Legacy), shortly before Mueller died last summer, and it's not exactly a stirring epitaph--Soul Asylum is now comfortably settled in the middle of the road. But they can still put on a blinding live show, as they did last month at a rare club gig at the Cubby Bear. The band's currently rounded out by Prince drummer Michael Bland and producer John "Strawberry" Fields on bass. a 9 PM, Century Park, Vernon Hills, Rte. 60 at Lakeview Parkway, 847-367-3700. Free. All ages. --Bob Mehr

Saturday 15

BUZZCOCKS A half decade back the Buzzcocks' legacy was being cheapened everywhere, and for critics the job was simple and depressing: just explain how the current strain of pop punk was dumber, clumsier, and frattier than the original. Well, times have changed: All is now emo, and weren't those the days? As for Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle's long-running franchise, it's fittingly slowed and wizened on the recent Flat-Pack Philosophy (Cooking Vinyl). The guitars prickle as effectively as they once chugged, and petulant sentiments like "Wish I Never Loved You" have accumulated resonance with age. "Sell You Everything" and "Credit" might be shallow, not to mention callow, forays into social criticism, but at 51 Shelley's old enough to realize that growing up ain't all it's advertised to be. Blink-182 was never so wise. The Adored and the Strays open. 9:30 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $20. --Keith Harris

DARBYE WITH KADENCE, PERCEE P Ann Arbor techno artist DABRYE just fucked with hip-hop on his first two instro releases, but on the new Two/Three (Ghostly International) he's fully engaged with it, spurred by his 2004 collaboration with the late MC J Dilla, "Game Over." Dabrye (aka Tadd Mullinix) used that track as a sort of template for the new disc, playing it for prospective MCs, and he attracted Motor City talent like KADENCE (who joins him on this tour) as well as Vast Aire, Wildchild, AG, and others. MF Doom's characteristically bizarre, laconic rhymes grace "Air," the album's key cut; as if in response, young gun Kadence begins his fiber-optic word gush with a refusal to "act like a black superhero," riding the Dalek-like cyber-throb of "Encoded Flow." --J. Niimi

New York MC PERCEE P has been an underground hip-hop star practically since hip-hop began. He's been rapping since 1979 but has yet to release an album of his own, though last year's Legendary Status (MTA) is a terrific collection of his cameos and mix-tape appearances with both old-schoolers (Lord Finesse, Big Daddy Kane, Pharoahe Monch) and new-breed MCs (Aesop Rock, Vakill, Rhymefest). Percee P rips into his rhymes with the hunger of a battle rapper but none of the flash or sleaze of so much contemporary hip-hop, gliding over classic funk samples like a champ. He's working on a proper debut with Madlib, and with more than two decades of work behind him, he should have plenty to bring to this show. --Peter Margasak

Dabrye with Kadence headlines, Percee P goes second, and Mel Gibson & the Pants open. 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10.

Sunday 16

AWESOME SNAKES The Awesome Snakes are Annie Holoien and Danny Henry, both members of Minneapolis punk band the Soviettes, and their debut, Venom (Crustacean), is crunchy, limpid electro-garage pop that's sublimely, ridiculously simple. And the lyrics are indeed about "snakes and things that are awesome," as the PR promises. The God Damn Doo Wop Band opens. 9 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011, $8. --Monica Kendrick

JUICEBOXXX Last year teengenue Juiceboxxx came straight outta Mequon with R U There God?? Itz Me, Juiceboxxx (Vicious Pop). He was an earnest, energetic, gentle-natured DJ and performer who threw monthly all-ages dance parties in Milwaukee. But lately he's fallen in with the postironic art-school crowd, and an act people used to love for its sincerity is starting to come off more like a put-on. The question now is whether Juiceboxxx can ever get serious about being serious. DJ Dog Dick, Door, and Fashion Dictator open. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Jessica Hopper

ROLLDOWN Since returning from Madison a few years ago, vibist Jason Adasiewicz has become an integral part of the local jazz scene, bringing his aggressive yet lyric style to the likes of Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra and the quartet Arrive. He emphasizes his terrific originals in Rolldown, a quintet with cornetist Josh Berman, alto saxophonist Aram Shelton, bassist Jason Roebke, and drummer Frank Rosaly. Many songs on the group's still-unreleased debut album recall the brilliantly oblique postbop material Bobby Hutcherson recorded for Blue Note in the late 60s, but others are based on gently rippling, coloristic passages. Adasiewicz lays down spiky, sweet-and-sour harmonies behind the solos, and his own improvisations are jagged tangles that make unexpected turns and recapitulations. Shelton lives in Oakland now, but he's back for the summer--hence this rare gig, and the performance by his duo Grey Ghost on Tuesday (see separate Treatment item). Block and Tackle headlines. 10 PM, Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, 773-935-2118, donation requested. --Peter Margasak

Monday 17

PEACHES Yacht Rock enthusiasts might be interested to know that Peaches recorded Impeach My Bush (XL) at the LA studio built by Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro, a choice so perverse I find it both deeply appalling and strangely fulfilling. Beyond that, Peaches isn't breaking any new ground. Her double and triple entendres and filthy-girl straight talk are still riding bareback on cheerleader chants and hooky electro-bounce, and her playful frankness about fetishes and fluids continues to chip away at pop's hypocritical prudishness, exposing the creamy center of pleasure underneath. Maybe everyone could see that Bush joke coming--so to speak--but at least someone's writing songs about women wanting threesomes with two guys for a change. Eagles of Death Metal and Racine open. 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $25. All ages. --Monica Kendrick

Tuesday 18

GREY GHOST The next time somebody sends me an article lamenting the imminent demise of jazz, I think I'll just mail him a copy of Grey Ghost's new self-released CD-R, Broad Oration. The duo's music demonstrates a deep engagement with the past five decades of jazz history--on alto sax Aram Shelton echoes both Ornette Coleman's bluesy cries and John Tchicai's more restrained, lyrical phrases, and drummer Johnathan Crawford reconciles the crisp, rock-oriented backbeat Tony Williams appropriated toward the end of his Miles Davis years with the pure-sound approach of European free improvisers like Sven-Ake Johansson. But they also use live electronics--looping and processing their acoustic instruments, insinuating stuttery melodies and layers of texture--in a way that's every bit as inventive and au courant as anything Davis did in his heyday. The Minuend Ensemble and the duo of Eric Leonardson and Carol Genetti open. 9 PM, Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee, 773-772-3616, donation suggested. --Bill Meyer

Thursday 20

AKIMBO Most super-punishing metalcore bands try to put across this angry-but-suicidal vibe, which I guess is supposed to fit thematically with the music, but they've all got a dirty little secret--that shit's actually totally fun to play. Why not take a hint from Akimbo and act like it? Throw in a total classic-rock riff once in a while, just for kicks, or give your songs titles like "Spooning With Disaster" and "Ground Control to Major Bummer." It's not like we really believe you're all manic-depressive druids. Sweet Cobra, Lords, and Elders open. 9:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10. --Miles Raymer

BALUN On its debut full-length, Something Comes Our Way (Brilliante), this Puerto Rican trio plays almost painfully sparkly pop; the electronic frameworks of the songs support delicate, shiny arrangements of accordion and violin topped by Angelica Negron's pixieish vocals. But nearly every time the preciousness threatens to overwhelm you, they flex their dance-music muscles and sweep it away. This is their first U.S. tour, and on top of the full-length they're pushing a compilation of their first three EPs. Brenmar Someday and LMNOP open. 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8. --Monica Kendrick

JUNIOR BROWN, TIJUANA HERCULES Local junkyard-blues mutants TIJUANA HERCULES have just followed up last year's self-titled full-length with a seven-inch of two more twisted death rattles, "The Undertaker Cancelled" and "Fighting Off the Evil Eye," on their own Black Pisces label. The group is now down to a duo--guitarist-singer John Forbes and percussionist Zak Piper--though live they're often joined by a stand-up bassist and a small horn section. A split LP with Velcro Lewis & His 100 Proof Band is scheduled for release later this summer. Tonight's headliner, Texas guit-steel whiz JUNIOR BROWN, is still touring behind last year's incendiary concert album, Live at the Continental Club: The Austin Experience (Telarc), and once he wraps up the current series of club dates he'll be opening for Bob Dylan on a tour of minor-league ballparks. 9 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $18 in advance, $20 at the door, 18+. --Bob Mehr

FOUR TET I didn't have high hopes for Four Tet's contribution to K7's perennial mix series, "DJ Kicks." The other installments have missed more than they've hit, and Four Tet's records have always been too dry and academic for me. So imagine my surprise--seriously, imagine it--when I finally gave it a listen and it turned out to be the most killer set I'd heard, live or recorded, in the past two years. Including everything from Curtis Mayfield to Akufen to Showbiz & AG, it's like a love letter to good taste. Tonight's performance is a DJ set; Super Meego opens. 10 PM, Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-7600 or 866-468-3401, $12. --Jessica Hopper

THE SKIES WE BUILT On their self-released, self-titled debut, these locals prove themselves expert cake decorators, piling layers of keyboards and percussion atop moody but unpretentious guitar hooks. They sound so confident that sometimes I fear they might turn into an indie-pop version of Styx--one that uses 80s college rock as the foundation for its ostentatious edifices. Thing is, in their hands that might not be as dire as it sounds. In Praise of Folly, Charles de Gaulle, and Soft Targets open. 9 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011, $7. --Monica Kendrick

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