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BLACK-EYED SNAKES 9/19, SCHUBAS Alan Sparhawk seems to think side projects are for catharsis, not relaxation--the Black-Eyed Snakes are primal and dirty in a way his other band, Low, never has been. Far from your typical country-rock- or garage-revival exercise, their second album, Rise Up!, harks back to the abrasive but simple junkie-cowboy chic of the Divine Horsemen or the Gun Club or even the latter-day Birthday Party, though something about its slinky, stylized menace suggests that their snake role model is the cobra that Bo Diddley wears for a necktie. (Maybe it's their cover of "Bo Diddley.") Califone's Tim Rutili contributes some wicked slide guitar; live, the band's been known to bring extra percussionists to augment the death-rattle beat. Kid Dakota (see Critic's Choice) opens. KILL YOUR IDOLS 9/19, FIRESIDE BOWL The name's misleading. This respected slightly-poppy-hardcore band has an arguably healthy reverence for history, and it rears its head again and again on their Funeral for a Feeling (Side One Dummy, 2001)--who the hell else is writing sad anthems about Alan Freed ("This Is Not Goodbye, Just Goodnight")? Not that I'm complaining: horror stories about payola and blacklisting could hardly be more timely. KITTENS FOR CHRISTIAN 9/20, METRO This LA band was the first signing for Serjical Strike, the label owned by System of a Down front man Serj Tankian, but the choice of producer, new-wave-loving Dave Trumfio, is a better clue to what the Kittens' Privilege of Your Company is all about. It sounds like a cutting-edge early-80s record collection thrown into a blender and left in the fridge to reconstitute. I'm pretty sure I hear scraps of Wire, Talking Heads, Japan, the Cure, Bauhaus, Pere Ubu, Joy Division, New Order, Gang of Four, and even Oingo Boingo in there somewhere, but it all goes by real fast. The Raveonettes headline (see Critic's Choice). OVER THE RHINE 9/20 & 21, SCHUBAS This Cincinnati duo didn't set out to make their tenth release, Ohio (Back Porch), a double album, but once they got going they didn't know when to stop. There are an awful lot of sparse piano ballads here, each painstakingly manufactured and given a sort of emotive overdrive by Karin Bergquist's rural show-tune enunciation; they achieve some of the Cowboy Junkies' frailty but not the indelibility, and only after many listens can you start to tell one song from another. Except for "What I'll Remember Most," which is actually indelible. Saturday's show is sold out. EXHUMED 9/21, bottom lounge So what happens when a gore-metal band--it's the step beyond death metal, aimed at those who find that, say, Mortician doesn't provide quite enough of the maggoty squish they're looking for--brings in a mainstream producer (Neil Kernon, who's worked with Dokken, for Rotting Christ's sake)? Turns out the only difference between the new Anatomy Is Destiny (Relapse) and Exhumed's previous work is that now all the instruments are audible. And yes, that's a good thing. This is one of drummer Col Jones's last shows with the band, as touring is taking too much time away from his career as a molecular biologist. If you want the job, there's an open call for a replacement at the Exhumed Web site. WE INVENTED TORNADOES 9/21, FIRESIDE BOWL I can see why this Minneapolis band changed its name from Snails, which promised an indie cuteness it had no intention of delivering. What its eponymously titled CD on Learning Curve seems to aim for is an apotheosis of angular riffing; what it achieves is a lot of derivative thumping and shrieking that's appealingly primitive but off-puttingly joyless. MY MORNING JACKET 9/25, METRO Back when the mainstream rock industry was essentially the only game in town, it nurtured careers much more than it does now, giving oddball geniuses the time and budget to grow as they would. Pink Floyd and Neil Young would likely be indie artists if they were starting out today, and we can only imagine what their lower-rent discographies might have sounded like. But My Morning Jacket has found a patron in Dave Matthews, of all people, and the Louisville band's third album, It Still Moves (on ATO, Matthews's RCA imprint), is well-crafted, ambitious, passionate art rock like they used to make. Songs stretch out in a bloozy guitar haze without losing focus--the solo on "One Big Holiday" pulses and yearns like the live Allmans before trickling away into the dreamy groove that opens the beautiful "I Will Sing You Songs." Too heady for a mainstream-size crowd? Maybe, but did anyone think Radiohead would get so huge?

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