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BUZZCOCKS 6/20, METRO It may be a bit premature to say the punk generation is aging better on the whole than the Woodstock crowd, but I'll cite the Buzzcocks' new self-titled album on Merge, their fourth release since their 1993 reunion, to support that theory. Front man Pete Shelley's 12 short, cruelly infectious songs don't break any new ground, but the Buzzcocks were always more about harnessing rock 'n' roll energy than about being shocking or avant-garde anyway, and they lean on every beat like they've still got something to prove. The band also opens for Pearl Jam at Alpine Valley on Saturday. DEADLY SNAKES 6/20, SUBTERRANEAN Toronto's Deadly Snakes belong to the Doors/Stones/Seeds school of garage, and they play their buzzy, cheap-sounding R & B as though it were 1965 and earnest white dorkiness were meeting up with black cool for the very first time. Their previous two albums (recorded with the aid of Greg Oblivian) were promising, but with the new Ode to Joy (In the Red) the Snakes really hit their stride--on "Closed Casket" they disturb a quiet moment with a sinisterly stupid piano line that drops like the proverbial pin, and on "Trouble's Gonna Stay Awhile" they beat the concept of "rave-up" nearly to death. LONG WINTERS 6/20, SCHUBAS Though this Seattle quartet's new album, When I Pretend to Fall (Barsuk), has the delicate diffidence of an indie-rock shoestring operation, it's really the work of a cast of thousands. Members of the Walkabouts, the Posies, the Minus 5, Sunny Day Real Estate, Death Cab for Cutie, Fountains of Wayne, the Presidents of the United States of America, R.E.M., and many, many other bands each add details and stretched pixels until John Roderick's intimate emotional snapshots become a full-wall-projection slide show. CINERAMA 6/21, ABBEY PUB With the Wedding Present far behind him, David Gedge is now making his play for the big time. The just-released Cinerama Holiday (Manifesto) is a 14-track collection of the band's singles that holds together as well as or better than many bands' proper albums. Since forming Cinerama in 1998, Gedge has become increasingly polished as a songwriter and singer, assuming a confident grace that fans of the Church and the Smiths might have missed in his earlier work. TRAILER BRIDE 6/22, EMPTY BOTTLE Though Trailer Bride's fourth album, Hope Is a Thing With Feathers, isn't due out till September, it's done, and this North Carolina outfit, one of the best alt-country units on Bloodshot's prestigious roster, is embarking on a short tour to road test the material. The band translates the full-bodied songs of missionary-raised hell-raiser Melissa Swingle (who took to playing music during a break from her first love, painting) into bluesy backwoods plaints and desperate boogies with quieter moments worthy of the Geraldine Fibbers. And Swingle's throaty delivery and uneasy mysticism remind me in places of the country-flavored mourning on Patti Smith's 1996 comeback album, Gone Again. CANYON 6/23, EMPTY BOTTLE This D.C.-based band's new release on Digital Club Network, Live in NYC, is probably the first record to really do them justice. In the studio they're a little too fond of wispy atmospherics, but live they create trippy, menacing pulsations grounded in a firm sense of rock history. The album's closer--a snaky version of "Cortez the Killer"--is just the most obvious example of the Neil Young/Crazy Horse worship apparent throughout. JETS TO BRAZIL 6/24, METRO This Brooklyn band is just now touring behind its third album, last fall's Perfecting Loneliness (Jade Tree)--the original tour was canceled due to illness. But the delay might not have been all bad--since the album's rewards lie in the surprising spaces within its general instrumental density, its songs might well benefit from repeated listening before you hear them live. I still think these guys take their poetic fervor a little too seriously; still, my favorite recent bit of writing from front man Blake Schwarzenbach is the speech he gave at an antiwar event back in March, posted at jetstobrazilonline.com. DEMOLITION DOLL RODS 6/25, EMPTY BOTTLE This Detroit-based gigging machine is a rarity these days: a singles band. Together since 1993, the Doll Rods live so much for the show and the song that their two full-length albums come off as afterthoughts, blurry snapshots of something forever on the move that'd never be admissible as evidence. The lyrics never dip far below an R rating, and each single (including the new "Big Rock Candy Mountain," on Munster) hits hard and disappears quickly, like a sudden blast of bright light on the retina. SWEET HEAT 6/25, FIRESIDE BOWL This trio, which has a song on a forthcoming Kill Rock Stars comp, seems charmingly raw off the bone. Tamar Berk (of the Countdown) and Kim Thompson (late of Delta 72 and Skull Kontrol, recently relocated to Chicago) trade off vocals on their rough three-song demo of crunchy resurrected-Runaways hard rock. FIN FANG FOOM 6/26, FIRESIDE BOWL After wandering for some time through the desert of emo, this North Carolina band seems to have slaked its thirst for meaning by cribbing from Nick Cave on the new With the Gift Comes the Curse (Lovitt Records). It should come as no shock that wrapping the band's sound in some curtains of velvet piano barely moves the music beyond the realm of the pleasantly dissonant and vaguely gothic. As brood music goes it's fine, but only in a few spots--as when the groaning ballad "Cruel and Unusual" lifts off from a chuggy bass groove before the inevitable hollow howl of feigned pain--is there any real sense of tension or charisma.

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