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DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS 9/24, SCHUBAS This Georgia quartet made a better record than smarmy song titles like "The President's Penis Is Missing" and "Zoloft" might lead you to believe. Pizza Deliverance (Soul Dump/Ghostmeat) pairs thoroughly enjoyable slackerbilly with that time-capsuled Athens sound for something like the Bad Livers meet Guadalcanal Diary; the best tracks, like "Bulldozers and Dirt" and "Too Much Sex (Too Little Jesus)" (based on something overheard on a Christian radio call-in show), manage to be clever and touching at once. SUPERCHUNK,...AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD 9/24, METRO One of the best-named bands in indie-rock history and one of the worst--but you and I may disagree on which is which. Austin's...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead are the more likely of the two to declare a party over only when the empty keg is rolling down the street and there's nothing left to break. Their latest, Madonna (Merge), adds new layers of sub-Gun Club sinister to their roiling guitar charge. After them, keepers of the Chapel Hill indie-pop flame Superchunk (who run Merge) will probably look like nice, bemused hosts contemplating the work of some destructive houseguests. For nigh on a decade the quartet has practiced a distinctive and consistent brand of naive pop in which no sweetly obvious guitar lick or opportunity for fizzy harmony is passed by. For their latest, Come Pick Me Up, the hooky kids-next-door melodies were polished to a maraschino-cherry shine in Chicago by Jim O'Rourke and the Chicago improv mafia (including trombonist Jeb Bishop, who actually played with Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance in a pre-'Chunk rock band circa 1988), none of whom is ashamed to partake of a musical Shirley Temple once in a while. TED ANSANI 9/25, METRO The EP Throttle and Pistons is the first solo effort from former Material Issue bassist Ted Ansani, who understandably has taken several years to bounce back from the suicide of that band's charismatic front man, Jim Ellison. Its six catchy, up-tempo rock songs are in no way a break with Ansani's power-pop past--the liner notes even offer that they're "reminiscent of MI's melodic 'in your face' rockin-pop"--but none of them is quite "What Girls Want" either. PETER LERNER 9/25, HEAR MUSIC Contemporary-jazz guitarist Peter Lerner has made a name for himself in theater as well as the conventional music proving grounds: he's played in The Rocky Horror Show at the Organic, Randy Newman's Faust at the Goodman, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Chicago Theatre, among others. Theater people tend to conceive of music as backdrop, and Lerner does backdrop well: he's done sessions for Patti LaBelle and B.B. King; toured with Ramsey Lewis, the Fifth Dimension, Tito Puente, and Sugar Blue; and tracked commercials for Bud Light and Noxema. Unfortunately, his sweet-toned competence is unobtrusive even on his solo debut, South Side, a tribute to his Hyde Park upbringing. Despite a smattering of convincing Latin percussion and some funky slap bass, this is jazz at its most depressingly domesticated--the sort of stuff that sounds "pedestrian" because it's never in any kind of hurry. CAROLYN CRUSO 9/27, HEARTLAND CAFE For 11 years multi-instrumentalist (hammer dulcimer, flute, guitar, and others) Carolyn Cruso was half the New Age folk duo Almblade and Cruso, living on a bus and playing coffeehouses and pagan festivals, until her partner and collaborator Robert Almblade died suddenly of a heart ailment in 1997. Her latest album, Transformation (Blue Heron), is partly reconstruction of several unfinished duo recordings, partly themes developed on her first solo tour (this is her second), and partly extensive liner notes describing how every chime or tinkle here relates to grief and healing. Fluffy as this stuff can be, some of it resonates pretty deeply. THE UNSHOWN 9/30, EMPTY BOTTLE Musician and psychedelic artist Steve Krakow, aka Plastic Crimewave, has been instrumental in boosting local appreciation for the white-light-white-heat school of Japanese psychedelia and has played with members of Musica Transonic and Mainliner in the intercontinental collaboration Splendor Mystic Solis. His power trio, the Unshown, is the local half of that meeting, and it takes the frenzied energy of his previous band, Utopia Carcrash, to a more sophisticated level with its tormenting dynamics, fake-out grooves, and eerie flat chanting. It's unsuitable for background music for conversation and too blinding to see and be seen by, and it doesn't really invite grad-school analysis--it's just pure psychic violence. --Monica Kendrick

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