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OUR LADY PEACE 4/21, DOUBLE DOOR On their debut, Naveed (Relativity), these hit-bound Canadian exponents of the Pearl Jam sound set the vocals of Raine Maida--which can sound either overwrought or passionate depending on how generous you're feeling--amid rippling hard-rock guitar textures and a solid rhythmic foundation, but it's time to start asking the question "Isn't Eddie Vedder expressing enough ennui for the whole continent?" They'll be back in town next weekend opening both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant shows, apparently at the serendipitous request of the latter. FORESKIN 500 4/21, LOUNGE AX As heard on their recent Manpussy (Basura!) these jokehole rockers from Denver proffer a novelty-sopped metal-heavy industrial-rock crud with unimaginative sampling gimmicks, rigid metal riffs, and exaggerated vocals. They might tickle someone's funny bone with lyrics like "Baby burn my stickshift / Send me into overdrive" (from "Highway 69"), but unless the first Spinal Tap album represents a musical Holy Grail for you, you'd be better off catching a Benny Hill rerun. SPIRITUALIZED 4/21, RIVIERA Led by former Spacemen 3 visionary Jason Pierce, Spiritualized continues to unravel a kaleidoscopic musical fabric. The trio's second album, Pure Phase (Dedicated/Arista), swirls multifarious influences--from quasi gospel to shiny Brian Wilson-esque pop--together into a sprawling mantra of warm sounds. Alternately gliding along with ambient minimalism and glistening with vibrato-drenched excesses made possible by help from a full horn section and the Balenescu Quartet, the album reverberates as a whole. If you go, try to grab a seat; it'll be much easier to blissfully nod off. Siouxsie & the Banshees headline. SHERMAN ROBERTSON 4/21, BUDDY GUY'S Texan Sherman Robertson served time with some of Louisiana's best-known zydeco band-leaders--Clifton Chenier, Rockin' Dopsie (with whom he performed on Paul Simon's Graceland), and Terrence Simien--but his recent I'm the Man (Code Blue/Atlantic) suggests that he's cut from the Robert Cray mold. A tune like "Am I Losing You?" proves he's got the voice for slick soul excursions, and he generally eschews rock's lack of subtlety. But the album's sheen covers the grit and passion that characterizes the best blues. A few decades ago studio polish would slip away in a live setting, but now that sonic sparkle makes big money it ain't evaporating anymore. CARTOGRAPHERS 4/22, EMPTY BOTTLE One of the more promising Chicago bands to emerge in 1994, the Cartographers mix earnest indie-rock aggression and raw melodies with seemingly incompatible 60s organ sounds. In place of the usual slack boredom, this foursome forges a nice tension; the Farfisa swells from bouncy to melancholy while the guitar-bass-drums attack rips with contemporary ferocity. The songs, most of which sport half-buried hooks, ain't bad either. This show is a benefit for Fortune 5's forthcoming Asian American rock compilation and also features Mint Aundry, Neil Rosario, Squash Blossom, and Yanti Arifin. ROYAL TRUX 4/26, METRO After the spaced-out folk of their eponymous debut and the hallucinatory dissections of the landmark double album Twin Infinitives, the hazed-out Summer of Love psychedelia and distended Stonesy raunch of their third and fourth albums suggested Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty were wandering toward songlike cohesion. They've arrived there with their major-label debut, Thank You (Virgin), but its fatback, southern-flavored rock isn't exactly the destination one would've expected. With their first steady band in tow, Royal Trux worked with Neil Young producer David Briggs to create an almost conventional batch of tunes. Limned by Hagerty's terrific guitar playing, the joint vocals of Herrema and Hagerty generally work, and while the percussion jams of Robbie Armstrong occasionally reek of drum-circle indulgence, Thank You is the first Royal Trux album that sounds like the product of a working band. Motocaster and Gastr del Sol open. DOUG HOEKSTRA 4/27, SCHUBAS Doug Hoekstra banged around Chicago for a number of years, but when his slightly palsied roots-flavored rock combo Bucket No. 6 dissolved, he opted for solo work, eventually ending up in Nashville. Based on last year's When the Tubes Begin to Glow (Back Porch Music), he's evolved into a mildly engaging songwriter. I would've written singer-songwriter just then, but Hoekstra's shy sing-talking barely qualifies him as a vocalist. SLASH'S SNAKEPIT 4/27, METRO With this side project the hirsute Guns N' Roses guitarist apparently seeks to connect with his roots. On their debut It's Five O'Clock Somewhere (Geffen) the band--fronted by former Jellyfish guitarist Eric Dover and supported by Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez, G N' R drummer Matt Sorum, and former G N' R guitarist Gilby Clarke--serve up a large dose of dopey bad-boy hard rock reminiscent of Guns, but with a heavier emphasis on fat, preworn riffing. The sentiment suggested in its party anthem "Doin' Fine" by lines like "The local P.D.'s been around / That's one right over there / And the chick that's sittin' on his face / Is glad that he's around" balances some of the band's more, um, pensive moments.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Michael Lavine.

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