LONESOME ORGANIST 10/18, Lounge Ax Former 5ive Style keyboard whiz Jeremy Jacobsen might just be making a vain play for sympathy by calling himself lonesome, because on his debut Collector of Cactus Echo Bags (Thrill Jockey) he generates a lot more excitement in collaboration with himself than the hundreds of guitar-toting boys who conceal the fact that they're starting to hate their band mates behind a facade of grim purpose. And as anyone who's caught his previous live performances has undoubtedly marveled, Jacobsen is a genuine one-man band in concert as well as on record, banging spastically on multiple keyboards, junkyard guitar, traps, and various other toys while blowing a harp and yodeling through a heavily reverbed vocal channel. His maniacal hodgepodge of funk, rockabilly, jazz, and sound track and broken-down merry-go-round music is the aural fulfillment of the Jim Rose Circus's ambitions, and much more cost-effective. Grace Braun (see Critic's Choice) opens; the Sea and Cake headline.
COCO MONTOYA 10/18, Buddy Guy's Legends It's clever of Californian Coco Montoya to thank his family first and write a goopy instrumental called "Mother and Daughter"--for not just his own wife and daughter but for every mother and daughter--on his Just Let Go (Blind Pig). Because while stricter university drinking policies may have slightly hurt the market for thoroughly unremarkable beer-commercial blues, I understand the Promise Keepers are becoming quite the consumer bloc.
CESARIA EVORA 10/19, House of Blues I suspect I know what it is about Afro-Portuguese music that makes authenticity vampires like David Byrne so thirsty: it's a sort of intensely bittersweet nostalgia called saudade (the word has no English equivalent) that's built into the dialects of both Brazil and Cesaria Evora's native Cape Verde Islands, off the coast of Senegal. Less raucously rhythmic than their transatlantic cousins, Evora's mornas resonate with the Mediterranean melancholy of accordions and violins, and her husky voice trails across the beats in haunting counterpoint. Cabo Verde (Nonesuch) is the 56-year-old's fifth album, and this is her third U.S. tour since her "discovery" in Lisbon in 1985--so maybe colonialism was good for something.
GRAND FUNK RAILROAD 10/22, Riviera Having heroically survived the collapse of the quaalude industry by raising rabbits for pets or meat, the pride of Flint, Michigan, actually manage to find someone to pity: their new double album, recorded live in Detroit with Peter Frampton and the Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra ("I'm Your Captain" has only grown longer with age), financially benefits the Bosnian American relief fund. Fortunately they'll play without the orchestra here--and if they haven't learned any new chords since 1973, at least they haven't forgotten any.
CHRIS KNOX 10/22, Lounge Ax Video auteur, cartoonist, and Tall Dwarf Chris Knox isn't just a hero of the New Zealand punk scene--there were times when he was the New Zealand punk scene. (A couple of years ago he filled an epic Forced Exposure profile with scabrous and hilarious tales of provoking fistfights and scaring sheep throughout his native land.) On his solo records he shows his sensitive side--if that's the word for a sensibility that explores the territory between Jonathan Richman and Lux Interior. His new Yes!! (on Flying Nun, of course) breaks no new ground--unless you count that bagpipe part--but it's a dirty and painful good time. I nominate "The Sweaty Hide of Circumstance" as song title of the year.
THE CALL 10/23, Subterranean I know a lot of people who own one Call record, but very few who ever listen to it. But one thing that can be said for retromania is that it gives a lot of fair-to-middling never-quites a second shot at earning their bread and butter--and who's to judge whether 80s mediocrity is any worse than the 90s kind? --Monica Kendrick
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Cesaria Evora.