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DUB NARCOTIC SOUND SYSTEM 5/10, SCHUBAS The collective led by ex-Beat Happening front man and K Records owner Calvin Johnson doesn't have a regular lineup, and it hasn't released an album since 1999's Sideways Soul (K), a collaboration with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (their companions for most of this tour but not in Chicago). Like Spencer, Johnson puts a distinctly pale and self-conscious spin on a variety of black musical forms that inform rock 'n' roll (in Spencer's case it's the blues, in Johnson's reggae and funk, though both also dabble in hip-hop). There is a new record in the works, but no release date has been set. Johnson does have a solo album, What Was Me, due in July. This is an early all-ages show. BALDWIN BROTHERS 5/10, DOUBLE DOOR It took this Fender Rhodes-fetishizing Chicago quartet three years to get Cooking With Lasers on the shelves, between inking a deal with TVT and recruiting guest stars like Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori, Frente! singer Angie Hart, rapper Barron Ricks, DJ Jesse de la Pena, and vocalist Nora O'Connor, all of whom give extra glisten to a Dave Trumfio production job that's already slicker than an oil spill. The 70s references come fast and thick: between "Lava Lamp," "The Bionic Jam," "Viva Kneivel," and "Are You There Margaret? It's Me God," the album's the aural equivalent of getting locked overnight in Strange Cargo. Whatever the delay, it seems to have been worth it: of the countless notes and beats and ruffles and frills on this velvety layer cake, hardly a one is in the wrong place--not that this sweet funky stuff invites critical thinking anyway. Hart, Ricks, and other guests will perform with the group at this CD-release party. PINEBENDER 5/10, HIDEOUT On Pinebender's second album, Too Good to Be True (Ohio Gold), the tunes are functional, but what gives them jet-crashing firepower is the interplay between guitarist Chris Hansen and baritone guitarist Matt Clark. Their sounds hang casually on the songs' frameworks, sometimes breaking loose and battering them like a windstorm; the strum and drag of ordinary pre-post-rock post-punk is liberated and redeemed by bits like the bluesy acid-rock breakdown of "Built Like a Bubble." QUEERS 5/10, METRO Sometimes written off as Ramones worshipers (as though that were a bad thing), the Queers have stuck it out for 20 years now, playing the kind of music that Metro was renovated for--dangerously catchy and deceptively dumb. "See You Later Fuckface," from their latest, Pleasant Screams (Lookout), has the most indelible chorus since Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," and "I Wanna Be Happy," written with Ben Weasel, would be heart-wrenchingly sweet even if it weren't derived from an unfinished Joey Ramone demo. They blunder through controversy with staggering guilelessness--the chorus to "Danny Vapid" (which proclaims that the Screeching Weasel bassist, now in the Queers, "ain't no faggot") bumps up against "Homo," the last line of which is "Be proud of who you are and don't be scared." RETURNABLES 5/10, BEAT KITCHEN On their full-length debut, Unrequited Hits (Jettison Music), this local quartet plays pop punk that sounds refreshingly unpolished next to, say, the Queers' wall of sound; all four members have adopted the surname Lee Ray, and all four sing in a tuneless but heartfelt bleat. It's a simple pleasure best enjoyed in a small dark place--like Old Style. RUDY RAY MOORE 5/11, BEAT KITCHEN Part blues singer, part blue comic, Rudy Ray Moore is a comedy legend to whom masters like Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor have cheerfully acknowledged their debts. He's the brains behind Dolemite, Petey Wheatstraw, and other black trickster characters who live on in song and on-screen; for better or worse, he paved the way for explicit comics of all colors. Race conscious and foulmouthed, yet somehow loving and generous, Moore is guaranteed to joyously offend just about everyone. This is his second appearance at Beat Kitchen in the past year; I'm told at the last one he attempted to engage Thax Douglas in a rather one-sided dialogue about eating pussy. He'll be backed for a handful of tunes by the Sol Reys, the new local quartet featuring Mark Blade and Pete Nathan of the Crown Royals. DAVE DAVIES 5/12, ABBEY PUB Rumors are always flying about the possibility of this enfant terrible's possible reconciliation with his brother Ray--but do either of them really need it? Both men have efficiently traded on the Kinks legacy for years now--both have even written books, for chrissake. Ray's the undisputed genius, but Dave has the underdog appeal (which is perhaps extra appealing to Kinks fans). He's set to release a new solo album, Bug (Koch), in which he explores the theme of alien brain implants; on this tour he's drawing from it and his other solo works but also from the Kinks' discography. He's at least partly responsible for such beauties as "Death of a Clown" and "Living on a Thin Line," so that's not as pathetic as it sounds. SLITHERYN 5/12, HOUSE OF BLUES This very young local nu-metal act, fronted by 12-year-old Frankie Burke, just put out its second EP, a four-song enhanced CD produced by one of their idols, Corey Taylor of Slipknot. Hhhhhssssshhh hhssssshhs sssshhhsss hhhhssssh hhhsshhhsss? Hhsiisiiiisssssssssssssh hessh. Translated roughly from Parseltongue: "Have the Weasley twins been dosing the Sorting Hat again? Sounds like typical lunkheaded Gryffindor chest beating to me." COHEED AND CAMBRIA 5/13, FIRESIDE BOWL This upstate New York outfit claims to have spent years trying to fit its odd-shaped sound into standard niches; now they've hooked up with Equal Vision, the label that made room for Converge's take on the intersection of metal and hardcore. The way they conflate punk, pop, and prog has something to annoy just about everyone: their new The Second Stage Turbine Blade (Equal Vision) is Fugazi-esque in its earnest poeticism, but more than any so-called punks since Jane's Addiction the band seems determined to make the world safe once again for Rush worship. DREKKA, IMPOSSIBLE SHAPES 5/15, SCHUBAS Drekka is Michael Anderson, head of the Bloomington, Indiana-based Bluesanct label; his project's first full-length, Take Care to Fall, is constructed lovingly of atmospheric sounds and pneumatic drones, sometimes drifting into Flying Saucer Attack's eerie nightmare territory but in other places displaying a graceful, wintry fragility that reminds me more than a little of the delicate minimalism of Richard Youngs. Anderson's homies the Impossible Shapes take a more conventional, song-based route on their Laughter Fills Our Hollow Dome (on the Indianapolis-based Mr.Whiggs Recordings); their folksy pop is less instantly arresting, but pays off in moments like the Beatles-by-way-of-John Cale piano on "Look for an Opening." Bluesanct artists Static Films headline.

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