Chan Marshall (pronounced "Shawn"), who plays music under the name Cat Power, has changed backup bands and recorded Moon Pix (Matador), the best disc of her five-year career. On each of her first three albums, the lockstep of drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth, Two Dollar Guitar) and guitarist Tim Foljahn (Two Dollar Guitar) sometimes cramped her meandering tunes like too-tight shoes. But Marshall cut Moon Pix in Melbourne, Australia, with guitarist Mick Turner and drummer Jim White, whose work with mercurial violinist Warren Ellis in the Dirty Three has made them sympathetic to her haunted melodies and unpredictable phrasing. They shadow her sorrowful vocals on "Metal Heart" and "Moonshiner" with small, fluid gestures, and pour out feedback, drum clatter, and backward-looped percussion to buoy the uncharacteristically jubilant "American Flag." Turner and White also play together as the Tren Brothers, and their understated, bluesy twang and shuffling rhythms complement the Atlanta-born Marshall's accent to make Moon Pix Cat Power's most southern-sounding record to date--Australia, after all, is a lot farther south than Georgia. They'll back her here and play their own set; also on the bill are Two Dollar Guitar and the bicoastal indie-pop group Fuck. Friday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620. BILL MEYER
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Stephano Giovanni.