MEG LEE CHIN, JARED LOUCHE 11/5, LIAR'S CLUB On her solo debut, Piece and Love (Invisible), industrial diva Meg Lee Chin--who's lent her nasal, sometimes piercing voice to Martin Atkins's supergroup Pigface--puts an attractive spin on Atkins's stiff production with her own above-average programming and catchy songwriting. I could see this going over big in tiny-T-shirt land. Chin's labelmate, former Chemlab leader Jared Louche, is also pushing a new record: Covergirl, a collection of pointless industrial-lite revamps of classics like Roxy Music's "In Every Dream Home a Heartache" and Iggy Pop's "Sister Midnight." His double-time take on "Famous Blue Raincoat," despite the hostile 'tude of the intro, just shows that there's more grief and menace in one of Leonard Cohen's pregnant pauses than in the flat affectations of ten Glyn Styler wannabes. And I think we've just got to pull the curtain of decency over what's been done to Love's "7 and 7 Is" and the Stooges' "Search and Destroy." (Look out honey, he's using technology.) The ratio of pose to impact is pretty unfavorable even on Louche's own material: did the world really need a retro-jazz rendition of Chemlab's "Suicide Jag"? PARK: A ROCK BAND 11/5, ELBO ROOM These hyperactive alums of Second City's Detroit troupe have supposedly just finished shooting a full-length musical comedy called Garage: A Rock Saga, starring themselves as a 1972 garage band still plugging away in 1998. Somewhere in the process they found time to record a second album, What I Did on My Summer Vacation (Planet Ant), a rock-opera parody that features bits of pop, funk, prog, ska, and found sound. If you've got anything resembling an attention span, this will more than likely annoy the hell out of you. PATRICIA BARBER 11/6, PARK WEST Hometown jazz sensation Patricia Barber has just released Companion, her first album for Blue Note--a live one, culled from a three-night stand recorded this summer at her usual haunt, the Green Mill. One of the four originals, "If This Isn't Jazz," sets the tone for the three covers she chooses, none of which remotely qualifies as a standard. "There just had to be a new repertoire for jazz singers," she explains on her Web site, "so I decided to sit down and give it a shot." With regular drummer Eric Montzka and percussionist Ruben Alvarez, she coaxes smoky Latin jazz not just from "Black Magic Woman" but also Bill Withers's "Use Me," and most impressive of all, she brings considerable dignity to Sonny Bono's "The Beat Goes On." This show, at the most intimate of Chicago's caverns, should in some ways be preferable to one of Barber's regular packed Green Mill gigs--if nothing else, the $15 ticket price might keep the chatterboxes at bay. BEES ARE BLACK 11/6, LOUNGE AX This local quartet's four-song demo CD is a sweet-and-dour dish of cerebral, shifting noodle rock, with chiming guitars and thin Olympia-style vocals. The lineup features drummer Kim Ambriz (who's played with Squash Blossom, Neil Rosario's 15 Couples, the Bells, and the Dishes, among others), Texas transplants Cheree Jetton on guitar and vocals and Natalie Hill on guitar, and bassist Atsu Nagayama, who's recorded with the Boredoms--even a touch of whose wild energy and surprise could do wonders here. HAPPY RHODES 11/11, MARTYRS' Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Happy Rhodes, with her heavily orchestrated blend of electronic New Age, prog, Jungian philosophy, and science fiction, has been a cult phenomenon since the release of her first CD, Warpaint, in 1991. She's a more-than-competent songwriter of the movie-in-your-head-starring-Kate-Bush school, and on Many Worlds Are Born Tonight--her tenth record, and her first for a real label, the Omaha-based Samson Music--her rich voice is layered in deep resonant waves and, occasionally, a slightly jarring pop beat. For this rare concert appearance, she'll perform with Project Lo, featuring Gongzilla guitarist Bon Lozaga. --Monica Kendrick
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Beth Blis.