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SPIRITUALIZED 8/8, DOUBLE DOOR Spiritualized's recent Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (Arista) is an audacious dose of sweeping pretension equal to any 60s heavy psych or 70s prog: choked with strings, horns, paisley organs, and tranced-out accordions, not to mention the pedal steel of B.J. Cole and the piano of Dr. John, and whipped to a celestial climax by the London Community Gospel Choir. It's the pop equivalent of purple prose, and, gloriously drunk on its own excess, it works. Live, it's likely to become a mess, but even that could be fun to watch.

WORLD PARTY 8/8, METRO How nice to have World Party back for their first tour in four years, especially since there are more inferior Beatles-esque popsters now than at any time since 1965. On the new Egyptology front man Karl Wallinger shows them how it's done. The crucial element is his utter confidence in his tunes and words, which allows him a wider expressive range--it's the difference between sincerity and milkin' it.

REBECCA GATES 8/9, DOUBLE DOOR Rebecca Gates's spiraling, buzzing electric guitar is what gave the Spinanes' records their beautiful unease, but it was the way sunglasses model-cum-drummer Scott Plouf filled in some gaps and left others wide open that lifted the band head and shoulders above the rest of the dream-pop pack. Gates, who moved here recently, has been playing around alone and acoustic, and this show probably won't be any different. But look for a new Spinanes LP this winter featuring ex-Trenchmouth drummer Fred Armisen.

HANK WILLIAMS JR., CHARLIE DANIELS BAND 8/9, rockford metro center Fruit of the Loom is plugging its wares with this Country Comfort package tour--an inspired notion to be sure, but it does make me wonder if the tighty-whiteys are sold prestained.

ARCHER PREWITT 8/10, LOUNGE AX No one could ever accuse Chicago darling Archer Prewitt (the Sea and Cake, the Coctails) of milkin' it. His new "solo" record, In the Sun--which features half the population of the local scene on backing orchestration--is admirably restrained yet sort of heavy-handed at the same time, as if he's striving for a pop masterpiece while paranoically avoiding emotional engagement. It's all really well done, I guess, but after many, many tries I still haven't managed to pay attention to all of it. r22 JACKS 8/12, FIRESIDE BOWL Hear that rushing noise? That's the sound of 40,000 generic pop-mod-punk bands being sucked into the vacuum created by the continuing absence of a Jam reunion tour.

HATERS 8/14, Empty Bottle GX Jupitter Larsen has been masterminding ugly Dada since the late 70s, struggling always to top himself as a provocative and confrontational conceptualist. He's mellowed enough that respectable venues like the Empty Bottle no longer fear for their smashables, but since this American Noise Tour bill also includes RRRecords avatar and Merzbow collaborator Emil Beaulieau and extreme noise merchants Skin Crime, even hard-core sonic masochists might do well to remember their safe words. --Monica Kendrick

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Rebecca Gates photo by Dan Winters.

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