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LYDIA LUNCH & CYNTHIA PLASTER CASTER 5/30, Lounge Ax Lydia Lunch has never been given her due as a wit, and Cynthia Plaster Caster has never been given hers for her brilliantly intimate interpretations of rock history, so the pairing of the two woefully underrated great minds should yield a frothy mixture of truth and consequence. Thanks to a comprehensive reissue series (on the local Atavistic label) that covers Lunch's early career, she's poised to catch the respect long denied her by the castration anxious, and I'm anticipating a celebratory vibe.

RALPH COVERT 5/31, lyons den; 6/1, FIREHOUSE While Covert may have penned a few pop gems for the Bad Examples, his solo album, Birthday, is head-spinning schmaltz. He sounds like a watered-down, oversweetened Stephen Stills--with a worldview so precious he makes Dan Fogelberg sound like John Lydon. And while I realize there's a vast market of new yuppie daddies out there, Covert should remember that babies are never quite as cute to the rest of the world as they are to their parents.

GRIFTERS 5/31, LOUNGE AX Unglamorous and quietly superb, these sly, soulful Memphis veterans contort themselves around indie-rock cliches without ever quite touching them...OK, maybe the twisted wailing on their recent Ain't My Lookout (Sub Pop) has become a cliche, but it's said that all cliches contain a grain of truth. Here's one: I heard a line from "Boho/Alt" as "Oh, to be the sunshine on your ass." If I got it wrong, I don't want to know.

MALUKOSAMBA 5/31, MARTYRS' This local Afro-Brazilian percussion troupe was poised for flight in the early 90s, and its terrific 1993 CD Venicio de Toledo (Urucungo) remains a thing of beauty. Then in 1994 its charismatic--OK, egotistical--leader Venicio de Toledo received a near-fatal beating outside the Bucktown bar the Map Room, and the comeback has been slow. But samba music has always been largely about finding a cause to party even in the worst of times, and this performance should provide an intense example. The exquisitely disciplined Chicago Samba School--who after the Bulls won in 1992 provided the sound track to a near riot in Wicker Park from the roof of the Flat Iron Building--headlines.

ROCK*A*TEENS 5/31, Empty Bottle Georgia hasn't had a fashionable music scene for a long time now, but that's for the best; like southern literature, southern rock 'n' roll has always thrived on underdog status and backwoods eccentricity. So this sludgy art-garage band from Cabbagetown (with members old enough to remember Athens's 15 minutes in the mid-80s) has room to play for power what Southern Culture on the Skids plays for camp. Their second album, Cry (on the Indigo Girls' root-for-the-home-team label, Daemon), has some slow spots, but when the Rock*a*Teens are at their best, the Cramps wish they had this much swamp left in 'em.

SUPERGRASS 6/2, Metro; 6/3รข Tower on clark This British trio's second album, In It for the Money, is a high-energy, protein-fortified cocktail of just about every tried-and-true trick of smart rock from the last 25 years--which might make it too smart for its own good if one of those tricks weren't a disarming goofiness. --Monica Kendrick

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Lydia Lunch photo by Bart D. Frescura.

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