Bettie Serveert is a rarity: a rock band of quality from a non-English-speaking country. The Dutch foursome are your standard alternative rock lineup, their shtick similar to many other U.S. outfits: languid, plaintive vocals, background washes of guitars, and cool, sinuous guitar lines up front. (The backing tracks occasionally sound like they've been stripped from a Galaxie 500 record.) But singer Carol van Dijk thinks all this alternative-rock disaffectedness is bullshit; she sings real words with real emotion, and the rest of the group backs her up with simple but dramatic song settings. They're alternative, but nice. This isn't always great: overearnest lines like "You can travel for a lifetime / And stay right where you are" can send you scrambling right back to your Pavement records. But the title song of their new Palomine is a beautiful and heartfelt ode to friendship ("The sun will always shine / On this polomine"), the band efficiently solutes both the Godfathers and the Who on "Kid's Allright," and the climactic ending of "Sundazed to the Core" rocks my world every time I hear it. Bettie Serveert open for the loud boys of Superchunk on a bill that also includes Gastr del Sol. Saturday, 3 PM, Reckless Records, 3157 N. Broadway; 404-5080. Saturday, 10 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Reiner Veldman.