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BANG! BANG! 2/6, EMPTY BOTTLE You can classify the hopped-up, itchy pop on this local trio's new debut EP, Do You Like It? (Heads Up), as more new-wave revivalism if you must, and it's true that there are a few late-70s signifiers (studded belt, hot-pink hot pants over torn fishnets) on the cover. But at least as tired as the trend itself are pundits who see it everywhere and make too much of its meaning. Besides, front man Jack Flash's yelpy, sultry nerdisms and jagged guitar punches--like torn fishnets--are timeless. This show is a release party; the Functional Blackouts and Vee Dee open. MICHELLE ANTHONY 2/7, SCHUBAS This Milwaukee singer-songwriter put a band together last summer as a side project from her main outfit, Capital 8, but it seems to be edging toward front and center. They've already recorded a debut album with Jay Bennett; judging from a four-song preview, it's polished yet rousing indie country rock, carried up into glory by Anthony's singing, which reminds me a lot of Linda Ronstadt. Amy Rigby headlines. FASHION BOMB 2/7, METRO Fashion Bomb's classic gothic-industrial-metal sound and everything's-from-the-Alley look hasn't been near the cutting edge since the heyday of Ministry and Nine Inch Nails (or at least since Marilyn Manson still rocked). Not like they care: the painted-up and tricked-out five-piece recently won a demo deal with Hollywood Records in a battle of the bands. If they wind up making the album I'll bet you it sells--to pretend there's no market for this is pure snobbery. POSTER CHILDREN 2/7, EMPTY BOTTLE I don't know what's gotten into these downstate veterans, but it's a pity they can't bottle it: their eighth album, No More Songs About Sleep and Fire (Hidden Agenda), is the best thing they've ever done. It's as if all the phases they've gone through, all the flirtations with cutesiness and spaciness and tech for tech's sake, have jelled into the organic, holistic rush that eluded them for so long. Alternating harmony-rich trance-outs ("The Floor," "Shy") with bursts of righteous rage ("Flag," "The Leader"), they're revved up like a cheerful midwestern Wire--like they want to sell you widgets, register you to vote, and hump your leg all at once. THIN MAN 2/7, FIRESIDE BOWL; 2/13, Hideout H.M.S. Mondegreen, the second self-released album by Kennedy Greenrod--aka the Thin Man--isn't too different from the underexposed first; the arrangements are a little sparser, relying more on Greenrod's wartime-cabaret accordion. But the instruments take a backseat to Greenrod's vocals, which could be Bowie-esque or Cohenoid if he wanted to play it totally straight. He doesn't, though. A mondegreen is a misheard lyric, and this album should launch plenty: Greenrod swallows, gurgles, and stretches his words, treating them as purely sonic elements. Meaning isn't quite the point and arrives only via allusion. The Hideout show benefits the Chicago Women's Health Center. MY FAVORITE 2/8, EMPTY BOTTLE One big problem with most 80s retro is its tendency to play everything for laughs, but it's an easy enough habit to slip into--hell, the teenage romantics who took John Hughes movies and the Cure seriously got made fun of even at the time. Long Island's My Favorite does a beautiful job of re-creating that fragile adolescent moment and making it new without the slightest hint of a smirk. The Happiest Days of Our Lives (Double Agent) gathers a series of three limited-edition EPs from a few years ago together with the songs from an unreleased fourth EP--all of it connected loosely to the life of Joan of Arc, the patron saint of black-clad 16-year-olds--then throws in a bonus disc of remixes. The set conveys its pristine passion for a hazy time of life and state of mind ("The suburbs are killing us / Asleep when we should be dancing"; "Loneliness is pornography to them but to us it is an art") with synths and voices so clean as to be almost angelic. TOKYO SEX DESTRUCTION 2/10, FIRESIDE BOWL All four of these Spaniards use the last name Sinclair, in homage to John, and they've taken MC5 worship to a whole new level with their Le Red Soul Communitte (Dim Mak): they have that maniacal garage-R & B overdrive down cold and a political platform that, like the 5's, makes up in passion what it lacks in coherence. Of course, 35 years on, they can't break out their idols' crucial weapon--the element of surprise--but the passion makes up for some of that too. TARBOX RAMBLERS 2/12, SCHUBAS Mixing old-time rural fire-and-brimstone music (white or black) with rock is harder than you might expect: few who try get the proportions of joy and terror, simple melodies and weird-ass harmonics, just right. Boston's Tarbox Ramblers, however, seem unable to get it wrong. No quaint folkways reconstructionists, they sound lean and modern on their second album, A Fix Back East (Rounder). The gritty slide and keening fiddle heard here are clearly products of the same world that created the Velvet Underground, Jimi Hendrix, and nuclear-arms stockpiles, and are all the more satisfyingly fervent for it. I have no desire at all to take this out of my CD player. Ever. Dollar Store (see Post No Bills) opens.

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