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OLO 6/8, DOUBLE DOOR You may never have heard of this semilocal band--started here but currently based in Bloomington, Indiana--but in Japan their records come out on Trattoria, the label run by pomo-pop megastar Cornelius. Their second full-length, Still Life With Peripheral Grey (on the Milwaukee label No Karma in the U.S.), is far more mellow than anything by their Japanese benefactor: guitars meander, keyboards burble, and guitarist Corey Allbritten occasionally sings in a high, pretty voice that immediately calls to mind Roger Waters. If, like me, you can summon the bygone innocence of your childhood fascination with your parents' space-rock records, it's sheer back-to-the-womb bliss; if you can't, it might sound like music for a porn film in which no one gets laid. PINEHURST KIDS 6/8, FIRESIDE BOWL Indie rock and relationships have something in common: In both, whenever you start thinking that intensity of emotion is enough, you're in trouble. You also need hard work, a willingness to sacrifice some indulgences, good listening skills, a sense of humor, and the perspective to realize neither you nor your love is the center of the universe. The Pinehurst Kids' Bleed It Dry (Barbaric) manages all but the last, so these northwestern boys should have no trouble finding lasting companionship with emo girls and/or fans of Superchunk. BLAKE BABIES 6/9, DOUBLE DOOR As the always prescient Onion warned not too long ago, we are indeed "running out of past." At this rate, by next summer we'll be up to about 1996 in our nostalgia, and by mid-decade--we can only hope--retro will be officially impossible. Then we can start showing some concern for future generations' supply of this unnatural resource by making some new stuff. But in the meantime, if we still half believe that Axl Rose--who, with his constant threats to reemerge, has become the trailer-trash Kevin Shields--can return to glory, then why not the far more charming Blake Babies? Overrated at the time and underrated now, in the late 80s they were just finding their feet, charismatically, like kittens. Their entire back catalog was reissued earlier this week, and their relatively polished new album, God Bless the Blake Babies (Zoe/Rounder)--their first release since 1991, recorded in ten days in Bloomington, Indiana, after a few months of collaboration by mail--even includes guest vocals on three songs by their old pal Evan Dando, who is reportedly plotting a triumphant return of his own. FIRE MARYTRS TOUR 6/9, NERVOUS CENTER This package tour is a wake-up call for those who thought industrial music had died (or gone off to a rave and taken too much E and then just wanted a hug). Schloss Tegal, from Frederick, Maryland, draw their themes from sci-fi and the occult; the Czech Republic's Skrol balance their hard pulse and warp on the line between existentialism and doomsaying; and Einleitungszeit, from Slovakia, pick up the physical/sexual dread thread right about where Throbbing Gristle dropped it. Radical Atlanta filmmaker Joe Christ will also screen his new movie, My Struggle, which he's billing as "a comedy about Amish inbreeding, shit-covered retards, and rape." ISIS 6/9, FIRESIDE BOWL Metal, hardcore, prog, and the noisy end of the "experimental" spectrum were never as far apart as genre snobs would like to think, and lately more and more bands are blurring the lines. Isis, a four-year-old quintet from Boston, aren't as loopy and versatile as the Melvins, nor have they developed their alternate universe as freely as upstarts Cave-In, but their first release for Neurosis's Neurot label, SGNL>05 (which includes a remix by Justin Broadrick of Godflesh), is a fine example of this next-generation stuff. Napalm Death headlines. JAPANIC 6/9, THE NOTE; 6/10, EMPTY BOTTLE; 6/11, DOUBLE DOOR The three-night stand seems a bit excessive, especially since this Houston band does with five people what the Pulsars did better with just two. QUEER IS FOLK FESTIVAL 6/9, OLD TOWN SCHOOL The pride movement has come a long way since the days when 12-year-olds just couldn't believe Elton John was queer. These days an out dyke can actually find herself the butt of jokes about something other than sexual orientation (Melissa Etheridge coulda dipped into anybody's gene pool and she picked David Crosby?), and a well-timed revelation can get a metal icon (Rob Halford) on the cover of the Advocate or go by practically unremarked (Joan Jett in Rolling Stone four years ago--did you miss it?). But not every gay musician is interested in mainstream acceptance--at least not at the cost of what makes the various queer subcultures special--and Scott Free has organized this singer-songwriter festival around that principle. The biggest names are Husker Du vet Grant Hart and Chainsaw Kittens front man Tyson Meade; also on the bill are Free himself and a host of other locals, including Ripley Caine, Tom Yore, Aerin Tedesco, and Ellen Rosner. JANIS FIGURE 6/13, EMPTY BOTTLE; 6/14, FIRESIDE BOWL All of that "is guitar rock dead?" editorializing of a few years back was frightfully shortsighted: since when can only one branch of the music tree flower at a given time? Did blues or country "die" when rock diverged from them and started capturing more record company moola and press? Not hardly. But by now it's practically a ritual: pundits greatly exaggerate the death of rock, and then bands like Minneapolis's Janis Figure come along and "save" it. I don't know about that, but in the grooves of their new Damage Control (on All's Owned & Operated label), that ol' skeleton is as animated as ever, doing the watusi on the alleged grave of punk rawk. High on Fire headlines both shows.

--Monica Kendrick

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