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Critic's Choice/ music

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April Aloisio Quintet 10/24-26, Metropole Lounge On her sophomore Southport release, Footprints, this Chicago chanteuse covers plenty of ground, from the light frolic of "In Walked Bud" to the melodramatic stalk of "Last Tango in Paris," accompanied at every step by excellent area players like sensitive guitarist Dave Onderdonk, who is featured on these dates. (Aloisio will also perform solo next Friday, November 1, at Pops for Champagne.) Jackopierce 10/25, Metro Jack O'Neill and Cary Pierce began as a duo while attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Backed by a new rhythm section on the recent Finest Hour (A&M), they fantasize about lovers who bow and curtsy and dream of raising kids in "a little house down there in Oak Bluffs"--making for the tamest 50 minutes you'll find on a rock album today. Graham Parker 10/25, Park West When Parker asks, on "Obsessed With Aretha" from his new Acid Bubblegum (Razor & Tie), whether (a) the new generation of wannabe divas can get down, (b) the queen herself has still got it, and (c) journalists tell the truth, the answer he comes up with applies as well to the question of whether, after 20 years of struggling, the angry once-young Parker himself can still rock with conviction: yes, "but not that much." Disciples of Agriculture 10/31, Schubas On this Brooklyn-based quintet's self-titled debut (KranePool), Dan Finn's country-preacher-on-a-bender vocals and Sibel Firat's dark, fiddlelike cello lines cook up a backwoods tension under a wonderfully sloppy guitar sound that nearly compensates for the shortage of strong material. Goblins 10/31, Empty Bottle On their self-produced tape, Goblin Pride, these four masked Chicago boys come off more as a nutty cartoon concept than an actual band. Printed exegeses of their frequently self-referential "songs" ("Worst Brother Ever" takes the point of view of the alleged Unabomber; "Mr. Beef" sets forth a plea for tolerance between vegetarians and meat eaters) are much more involved than the actual tunes. Still, Buh Zombie's fuzztone guitar and Beau Grumpus's primal drumbeats rock out for real. If you're looking to get stupid for Halloween, the Goblins can take you there. Frontier headlines. June of 44 10/31, Lounge Ax For the recent Tropics and Meridians (Quarterstick) this four-piece piloted by former members of Rodan, Codeine, and Hoover relies on grim vocals, deliberating guitars, and ponderous beats to navigate waters alternately choppy and calm, scoring a direct hit with the death-disco torpedo "Lusitania."

--Frank Youngwerth

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): June of 44 by Pat Graham.

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