PECULIAR BOOGIE 6/17, RHYTHM; 6/18, GRIFFIN'S PUBLIC HOUSE; 6/19, LINCOLN SQUARE LANES My editor passed me Peculiar Boogie's self-released Pay Toll to the Troll because the cover art--a drawing I might charitably describe as "naive"--scared him to death. He was most bothered by the troll doll standing in the river, but it's the red-eyed goat with the messed-up face I'll be seeing in my nightmares. (Surprisingly, the photo printed on the CD is of two ordinary-looking white women, not a crowd of acid-damaged longhairs.) I don't know what I expected to hear when I finally played the disc--but it wasn't bloozy wah-wah-worshipping rock with "Janis Joplin Lives" tattooed on its arm. Though the song structures are just as primitive as the album art, the guitar playing is genuinely electrifying; you can almost imagine this band turning in a down-and-dirty opening set for Bad Company at a muddy racetrack in 1974. ABSTRACT GIANTS 6/18, SCHUBAs These locals take such an audacious approach to hip-hop that despite their huge toolbox--a five-piece band (including turntables and electric violin) plus three MCs (no waiting!)--they sometimes still sound like architects trying to reconstruct the Great Pyramids with sticks and pebbles. This sort of overreaching is nothing to be ashamed of, though: even in its weirdest, trippiest moments, their full-length debut, Agrowculture (available at abstractgiants.com), partakes of the True Spirit of Hip-Hop--it's a joyous creative exploration that thumbs its nose at the genre's self-appointed gatekeepers. Bumpus headlines. SONIA DADA 6/18, TASTE OF RANDOLPH STREET Most musicians don't do their best work at street-festival gigs. But Sonia Dada's jam-band joviality seems tailor-made for a sunburned crowd that's tired and cranky from long lines for bottled water and Porta Pottis, and their kitchen-sink jumble of gospel, funk, dance, and Lord knows what else has a little something for everybody. This headlining set doubles as a release party for their sixth album, Test Pattern (Razor & Tie), to be released June 22 with a companion DVD of "abstract and experimental" films. The songs are free of filler, as though the band has plucked out the best bits from dozens of other jam anthems and strung them together--"Diggin' on the Road" is a little addictive, in a "Sugar Magnolia" kind of way. See the Fairs & Festivals listings for the complete Taste of Randolph lineup--Saturday's bill features the M's, Ted Leo, and Fountains of Wayne. PAPER CHASE 6/19, FIRESIDE Not many bands can extract such infectious, giddy pop from such clamorous noise. This north Texas quartet's brand-new God Bless Your Black Heart (Kill Rock Stars) is a maniacal, inspired collection, both sinister and euphoric--the band comes up with new ideas so quickly that you're constantly expecting the well to run dry, and front man John Congleton reaches deep for the emotion to back up the insane chops on display. Locals Tight Phantomz and ZZZZ open. MANIFOLD 6/22, BEAT KITCHEN On this Tucson band's first full-length, Departures and Arrivals (Stunning Tonto), virtually every tune has a promising intro--sonorous sustained chords, chiming guitar harmonics,
funereal drumbeats--that ends up lost in one of the disc's nine interchangeable morasses of plodding postpunk. Too bad--all those intros, combined with the other scattered flashes of inspiration, would make for one hell of a three-song EP. RACHAEL YAMAGATA 6/22, SCHUBAS Last year's Happenstance (RCA) was Yamagata's first full-length since parting ways with local funksters Bumpus, and the band clearly needed her more than she needed it--at least in the commercial sense (look who just got the nice write-up in Entertainment Weekly). But though she has impressive vocal chops and pretty good taste, the heavy breathing on these stylish songs just makes her sound like her dress is too tight. She's playing two shows tonight; the early set is sold-out. LOS MOCOSOS 6/23, ABBEY PUB This San Francisco sextet--whose name translates loosely to "snot-nosed brats"--has toured with Santana, Ozomatli, and Los Lobos, and on their new third album, American Us (Six Degrees), they add hip-hop, ska, and disco to the pancultural mix devised by Sir Carlos and War, smoothing over the spiky guitar and layers of frisky percussion with romantic melodies and lascivious horns.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Allison Weis.