REBECCA'S STATUE 10/27, OLD TOWN SCHOOL OF FOLK MUSIC This is a combination record-release party and benefit for multiple sclerosis research by a quartet that claims to combine urban blues, groove jazz, world beat, funk, pop, folk, hip-hop, and techno. On their debut, Drinking From the Water Clock (Livin' Live), which clocks in at well over an hour, they jam and jam some more, with a cast of dozens that includes Son Seals--who they're set to back on a forthcoming Phish tribute album--and Fareed Haque, both of whom are on the bill here as well. TRS-80 10/27, EMPTY BOTTLE On their third CD, The Manhattan Love Machine (Invisible), the local synth and drums trio TRS-80 spikes happy space-age burbling with creepy beats and finally comes up with something that's better than merely inoffensive. LOS LOBOS 10/28, RIVIERA The early 80s were heady years for roots musicians in LA. When Los Lobos recorded Los Lobos del este de Los Angeles, an album of Mexican standards sung entirely in Spanish, in 1977, they were barely out of high school and playing weddings and barbecues. Fired from a regular restaurant gig as they grew more raucous, they began playing the same venues as bands like the Blasters (from whom they stole saxophonist Steve Berlin), issued How Will the Wolf Survive? on Slash in 1984, and the rest is history. In hindsight their versions of stuff like "Cielito Lindo" and "Guantanamera" hint at a higher than average degree of heart and skill, but no one could've predicted that these guys would make something like Colossal Head one day. For this show the band will play separate acoustic and electric sets that may well highlight both the contrast and the connection. 90 DAY MEN 10/29, EMPTY BOTTLE The local quartet 90 Day Men provide a stunning display of bedhead on the cover of their new (It (Is) It) Critical Band (Southern). The album, which follows a passel of singles and EPs dating back to 1995, strains against the edges of math-rock restraint with spasms of funkiness and occasional stretches of something resembling dreaminess. NEW FOUND GLORY 10/31, HOUSE OF BLUES The flacks at MCA are no clearer on what constitutes "emo" than the rest of us: the press kit for Florida's New Found Glory hypes their blend of "punk, emo, and rock" in a way that reminds me of that classic T-shirt "I like both kinds of music--country and western." Their second full-length, New Found Glory, is fast, sweet, tuneful, and wrenching in its utter conviction that teenage heartbreak is forever. Midway through the relentless pathos, I started craving the ex's side of the story--until I realized it would probably be a Fiona Apple record. BRATMOBILE 11/1, FIRESIDE BOWL Allison Wolfe, Erin Smith, and Molly Neuman are probably living legends to kids too young to have partaken in the original riot grrl antimovement. As Bratmobile, the trio produced a handful of singles, one EP, and one primitive but influential full-length before calling it quits in 1994. Smith and Wolfe veered off to Cold Cold Hearts and Neuman ran with the Frumpies and the Peechees, but none of those bands cast quite the cultural shadow Bratmobile did. The group re-formed in 1998 for the hell of it, toured with the Donnas, and recorded the new Ladies, Women and Girls for Lookout, the Berkeley punk label Neuman helps run. In some ways they're a different band--there are harmonies and hand claps, and not surprisingly Smith's guitar and Neuman's drumming are a hundred times more confident than they were in '93--but thanks to Wolfe's fierce smart-girl 'tude, the record sounds like it could have been made six months after the first one. SALTEENS 11/1, SCHUBAS Vancouver's Salteens, who've just released their first album, Short Term Memories (Endearing), have their Swinging 60s tropes down--la la la, ba ba ba, and so forth. There are too many of these cute puppy bands around and not enough loving homes--but don't even think about drowning a bag of 'em, because they'll just rise up out of the water playing and singing like something out of The Monkees.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Pat Graham.