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ONE RIOT ONE RANGER 12/8, SCHUBAS Low-impact old-timey country from Columbus, Ohio. Considering that former Great Plains keyboardist Mark Wyatt is in the band, it's no wonder that One Riot One Ranger's business card carries the humorous disclaimer "Faux cowboy at its best." From playing Duke Ellington's "Caravan" as a bluegrass breakdown to penning a variety of charming originals, this quintet delivers a decent cowboy-song/western-swing hybrid without a lick of irritating novelty shit. They open for the Robbie Fulks Band. DELILAHS 12/8, BEAT KITCHEN On its new album, Dying to Build a Bridge (October), this Minneapolis quintet evokes the clean and sweet melodies of antiseptic rockers like the Gin Blossoms and Del Amitri. At the same time, their music suggests little more than a 90s version of 70s schlockmeisters REO Speedwagon without the anthemic possibilities. OASIS 12/8, HORIZON Amazingly enough Oasis have managed to cough up the goods on their second effort, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (Epic). The band's guitarist, songwriter, and general dictator Noel Gallagher has pushed the British combo's retro-pop moves into a thick swirl of quasipsychedelic textures--lifted melodies impeccably housed in a dense melange of guitar, mellotron, piano, hackneyed tape collage, and some more guitar licks courtesy of the bloodied corpse of Paul Weller. When you get right down to it, though, their follow-up to last year's Definitely Maybe isn't much more than another dose of vacuous ear candy, residing a couple of notches farther along on the nostalgia-as-innovation time line. The real trick would be if Oasis learned to be something other than a snooze live, especially on this occasion (the annual Q101 holiday mass inculcation), where they're joined by lots of ticket-selling dullards: Silverchair, White Zombie, and Tripping Daisy, to name the three worst culprits. REMY ZERO 12/8, DOUBLE DOOR On the basis of its forthcoming DGC debut, this Birmingham, Alabama, quintet possesses no lack of admiration for the Flaming Lips. Loading their fairly hooky tunes with layers of typical stuff (guitars) and some unusual sounds (toy piano), Remy Zero seem intent on transporting the Beatles into the retro 90s. They open for the Ass Ponys and 5ive Style. SUPERNOVA 12/8, FIRESIDE BOWL On their recent Ages 3 and Up (Amphetamine Reptile/Atlantic), Supernova place skittering punk-rock moves within artificially flavored surroundings that evoke cheap 70s sci-fi, checked primary-colored carpets, junk food, and old board games. You'll hear lots of pilfered 70s punk, but Supernova's knack seems to be presentation; they couldn't look more ridiculous, so you may not immediately notice that the hooks they sink are stolen. If anything's going to drive you nuts it'll be the ultraquavery vocals, which sound like they're sung from a vibrating bed. SPECULA 12/9, LOUNGE AX Originally little more than an excuse to model wearable musical instruments, Specula have slowly transformed into a more pragmatic--and predictable--rock band, though a place in their hearts still seems reserved for novel, usually goofy experimentation. Their debut album, Erupt (Scat), layers various 70s hard-rock paradigms over stiff rhythm loops supplied by Mike Zelenko of Material Issue and Black Caesar (nee Blackie Onassis aka John Rowan) of Urge Overkill. Singer Sigh Moan tempers his implacable Lemmy-like groan with an uneasy, coagulated tunefulness, while Specter Spec doles out thick, impenetrable slabs of riffage. Along the way things get spiced with primitive keyboard sounds, particularly the queasy low-rent sci-fi sound track (a la Chrome) on the instrumental "Dual." DANDY WARHOLS 12/10, EMPTY BOTTLE On its eponymous debut album, this Portland, Oregon, quartet plods along with largely ineffectual neopsych machinations ripped from all those largely forgotten British combos: Ride, Stone Roses, early Lush, Slowdive, et al. They also have a reputation for stripping down onstage, but you take your clothes off every day so why should you be impressed? EBN 12/13, METRO This New York multimedia performance troupe exploits technology in order to reflect upon its increasingly pervasive role in our daily lives. With banks upon banks of TV monitors spitting out rapidly changing images lifted from a variety of sources--everything from CNN broadcasts to soft-core porn videos--EBN (Emergency Broadcast Network) exaggerate information overload by bombarding the audience with visual and aural data. Josh Pearson offers disjointed, preacherlike exhortations from a TV-studded podium while music blares and hundreds of images flicker; I guess you'd call it postmodern commentary. You're drowned with input and you're expected to synthesize it--then you thank EBN for helping your pea brain sort it all out. You're too stupid to figure it out on your own because, after all, you're nothing but a pawn of the media. While their recent debut album, Telecommunication Breakdown (TVT), features jarring "interactive" visuals playable on CD-ROM, EBN's music, produced by Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto, offers a rather tedious redux of Bomb Squad funk densities, smothering stiff grooves with loads of sampled sound bites. There's absolutely no reason to listen to this stuff at home, but I'm sure you can get a terrific headache if you catch them live.

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