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Friday 22

. . . AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD More than ten years into its career, this Austin band--known for its jet-engine roar and mangled-classic-rock clang--keeps on going like it's never heard of such a thing as backlash. (That instrument-destroying shtick gets old, but I guess they figure it never stopped the Who.) Their new album, Worlds Apart (Interscope), doesn't sound as fresh as it might've back in 1994, but I don't think they care--they've got a fertile and crowded little sound-world, and they seem a lot more interested in exploring where they've already been than in searching for new horizons. Unless they think increased studio polish counts as a new horizon, which wouldn't be a promising development. They also play a free in-store at 5 PM at Reckless Records, 3157 N. Broadway; call 773-404-5080. Sword and Black open. 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16. All ages. --Monica Kendrick

DAMON & NAOMI WITH KURIHARA FROM GHOST Publishers, artists, and musicians, Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang are an arts movement all by themselves, but since the late 90s they've chosen to collaborate regularly with Michio Kurihara--whose band, Ghost, could write a book about singing softly and carrying a big stick. Their second album together, The Earth Is Blue (20/20/20), is sophisticated and dreamy, with a casual complexity that never drifts too far out of focus. Kurihara's guitar forms a tense undercurrent before relaxing like a sigh, and the record showcases the lyricism of his clear tones and his quicksilver interaction with soprano saxist Bhob Rainey and trumpeter Greg Kelley. Many of the originals retain a slight suggestion of the late-night Velvetisms of Krukowski and Yang's old band, Galaxie 500, but the tracks hold up next to almost-too-exquisite versions of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and Caetano Veloso's "Araca azul." At this show, the trio plays with Rainey and double reedist Kyle Bruckmann. David Trinidad, Lindsay Anderson, and Orso open. 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $12. --Monica Kendrick

DESMOND DEKKER & THE ACES Ska legend Desmond Dekker would have a place in history even if all he'd ever released was his mesmerizing 1969 single "Israelites" and his 1970 version of Jimmy Cliff's "You Can Get It if You Really Want." But of course he had a long string of hits in Jamaica before those landmarks, and a long string of hits in England after them. Last month Trojan Records released You Can Get It if You Really Want: The Definitive Collection, a two-CD set that includes all the essentials and a nice smattering of rarities, including material from Dekker's underdocumented early-80s Stiff Records period. He's recorded only sporadically recently and live appearances have been rare, but the reviews of a recent London gig make this show sound very promising. This is one of only seven U.S. gigs he's playing on this tour, and the only one in the midwest. Deal's Gone Bad, the Drastics, Skapone, and the Debonaires open. 7 PM, Bottom Lounge, 3206 N. Wilton, 773-975-0505 or 800-594-8499, $25, 18+. --Monica Kendrick

THE GAME The latest MC Dr. Dre has chosen to mold into a superstar, the Game has different ambitions from earlier proteges like Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent: on The Documentary (Aftermath) he tries to single-handedly resurrect west-coast gangsta rap, which has been floundering ever since Tupac died. Dre contributes his trademark ominous, plunking keyboard riffs; other A-list producers called in include Timbaland, Kanye West, and Just Blaze. The Game delivers smart, well-constructed rhymes with a steely urgency--you believe his gangbanging tales, no matter their veracity--and he also plays the role of hip-hop historian, obsessively referencing his heroes, who've hailed from both coasts. That subject matter can become redundant, and his unsmiling demeanor gets tiresome, but he's capable of changing up the mood: the best track on The Documentary is the closing "Like Father, Like Son," a narrative about the birth of his son with touching lines like "I see hell starin' down the barrel of a Smith & Wesson / My son's ultrasound the closest I ever been to heaven." The album's nearly in the league of Ready to Die and All Eyez on Me, and his fixation with making a disc of that stature is admirable. Snoop Dogg headlines. a 7:30 PM, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont, 847-635-6601 or 312-559-1212, $46. All ages. --Kabir Hamid

MELVIN RHYNE TRIO WITH PETER BERNSTEIN Organist Melvin Rhyne will probably always be defined by his stint in Wes Montgomery's trio between 1959 and 1964, when he played on classics like Boss Guitar and Guitar on the Go. It didn't help that five years after parting ways with the guitarist he moved from his native Indianapolis to Madison, and to Milwaukee not long after that--he continued to perform for more than two decades, but strictly as a local act. These days he's back in Indy, but his profile improved in the early 90s thanks largely to a series of fine straight-ahead albums he cut for the Dutch label Criss Cross Jazz. On his latest, Tomorrow Yesterday Today, he continues to favor the hard-bop model of organ jazz over the gritty gospel and greasy funk that defined the instrument in the 60s and 70s and that acid jazz has repopularized. You can tell Rhyne began his career as a pianist: his elegant solos swing hard, relying heavily on single-note runs and not fatback chords. He's joined here by the superb New York guitarist Peter Bernstein and the great local drummer George Fludas. See also Saturday. 9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $12. --Peter Margasak

Saturday 23

VICTOR MANUELLE As reggaeton, straight-up hip-hop, and pinup pop have gained currency with Hispanic youth, salsa has increasingly become the province of older listeners who still count on a strong singer to keep the dance floor simmering. But judging by the screaming girls who punctuate every track on his recent live album, Victor Manuelle en vivo: desde el Carnegie Hall (Sony Discos), Victor Manuelle has neither lost the young crowd nor fundamentally altered his classic sound. (His heartthrob looks could have something to do with it.) He still makes a few descents into treacle--he'll regularly cut one version of a song for radio and another for the salsa market--but by and large even when a tune starts out slowly, a vamp eventually kicks in and the infectious Afro-Caribbean groove takes over. Manuelle, who began his career in Puerto Rico in the early 90s, is a consummate pro, tackling songs that celebrate love and lament its loss with fervor and a dynamic, rhythmic clarity. And like any sonero worth his salt, he's a superb improviser. Aventura and reggaeton star Ivy Queen open. 8 PM, Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence, 312-666-6667 or 312-559-1212, $37. --Peter Margasak

MOBY Moody bald boy Moby has invented a new subgenre of techno: adult contemporary. He's marketing his latest disc, Hotel (V2), in partnership with the W Hotels chain, which is selling it through gift shops and minibars and hosting DJ lessons, invite-only listening parties, wine tastings, and celebrity book readings nationwide. The book is Moby's too, and according to its cover it's got "stories, food, romance, cartoons, and, of course, tea"--the "of course" because it's titled Teany Book, after the New York tea shop Moby co-owns. Oh yeah, the album: it's full of giddy, hand-holding, skipping-in-the-sunshine melodies, uplifting vocal harmonies, and Barenaked Ladies guitar. There's a companion ambient disc too, but Moby himself has referred to it as "aural Xanax," so I didn't even listen to it. As a recovering Moby fan, I'm glad he's lightened up--in high school I once stalked him just so I could tell him a knock-knock joke--but looking back, it's obvious his melancholy was part of his charm. 7:30 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, $29, 18+. --Liz Armstrong

PACIFICS Sunday's Chicken, the forthcoming second album from the Pacifics and their first for the All Natural label, is peppered with hotshot cameos from locals like the Primeridian, Ang 13, and Iomos Marad as well as out-of-towners Rakaa Iriscience and Pep Love. The local trio also uses more producers than they did on their self-released debut, The September First Project (2002). Sunday's Chicken starts with a bang, embracing old-school fundamentals with lines like "I fornicate with tracks / And birth verses" on "Sureshot," but halfway through, attempts to create some Guru-style faux-jazz tracks suck the life out of the album. "Story of My Life," produced by member KP, gets bland R & B vocals and lite-jazz guitar that render the rhymes toothless; the synth-swaddled neosoul of "One Song" is even more trite. But the album recovers somewhat toward the end with a killer appearance from Denizen Kane of Typical Cats. The Perceptionists headline; Thaione Davis opens. 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $12. --Peter Margasak

PINK LINCOLNS During their 90s heyday, Florida's Pink Lincolns were the snot-punk band's snot-punk band: Screeching Weasel, the Queers, and the Impotent Sea Snakes all counted themselves as fans. But that acclaim has never quite translated into a larger audience--and it hasn't helped that they've taken eight years to follow up their last studio album with the new No Lo Siento (Hazzard). That disc comes on the heels of Background Check, a compilation of oddities and rarities that includes obligatory (though still addictive) punk manglings of pop hits like "I Ran" and "I've Got the Music in Me," as well as presumably more respectable numbers like "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" and "12XU." Sweet Black & Blue, the Geezers, and the Rushmores open. a 5 PM, Bottom Lounge, 3206 N. Wilton, 773-975-0505 or 800-594-8499, $10. All ages. --Monica Kendrick

MELVIN RHYNE TRIO WITH PETER BERNSTEIN See Friday. 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $12.

GLENN TILBROOK & THE FLUFFERS Transatlantic Ping Pong (Compass, 2004) is only the second solo album of Glenn Tilbrook's nearly 30-year career, and the first wasn't till 2001. It's hard to call the former Squeeze front man lazy, though, considering his steady touring schedule. I'm glad someone booked the studio time: Transatlantic Ping Pong is a pretty rock-solid collection of smart, persuasive pop songs, genteel but sly and sinuous. If Tilbrook occasionally overreaches, well, "Lost in Space" is still funky in a Peter Gabriel sort of way, and the obscure but raunchy cover "Genitalia of a Fool" turns out to be almost convincing country. Jim Bianco opens. 10 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $15. --Monica Kendrick

Sunday 24

GRAYSKUL Deadlivers (Rhymesayers), the debut album by Grayskul, reminds me of Swollen Members' 1999 album Balance--you have to go back that far to hear anything resembling the unique brand of nerd-hop this Seattle collective creates. Deadlivers combines a hint of the macabre Dungeons & Dragons universe that Swollen Members conjured up with some sci-fi comic-book mythology of its own, but the Grayskul guys don't sound like complete dorks: JFK's nasal delivery is reminiscent of Cage and the MCs of Non Phixion, while Onry Ozzborn's deeper voice works more slowly and rhythmically. Both pack their verses with multisyllabic and internal rhymes, and the team of producers on the disc mixes high-pitched instrumentation--strings, horns, Indian-style flutes, vocal loops--with boom-bap bass, giving the lyrics the eerie, cinematic backdrop they require. I'm especially impressed that these self-proclaimed "freedom fighters" unapologetically tackle subject matter that many hip-hop heads think is ridiculous. Even though I laugh out loud at lines like "I've been shot in the face, tied to a chair / Chased across the galaxy by villains rocking blue hair," there's something disarming about how far these guys are willing to go. Atmosphere headlines; Grayskul opens and P.O.S. plays second. See also Monday. 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $15 in advance, $18 at the door, 18+. --Kabir Hamid

Monday 25

GRAYSKUL See Sunday. Atmosphere headlines; Vox Vermillion and P.O.S. open. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $15 in advance, $18 at the door.

Tuesday 26

FRANKLIN DELANO On its second album, Like a Smoking Gun in Front of Me (File 13), Italian indie-rock quartet Franklin Delano reveals a predilection for sluggish, druggy interpretations of Americana. A mix of lap steel, upright bass, and mandolin gives the album a glowing, leisurely tone, and though guitarist Paolo Iocca sings languidly, in a thin, brittle voice, his lines are nicely sweetened whenever Marcella Riccardi harmonizes. The band recorded the album's basic tracks at its home base in Bologna before coming to Chicago, where members of Califone helped finish the songs; Tim Rutili, Jim Becker, and Ben Massarella enhanced the music with guitars, keyboards, and percussion, and former Califone member Brian Deck mixed the album. The album, perhaps inevitably, feels a lot like Califone; it's tough to say precisely what Franklin Delano sounds like without those extra layers, but there's an appealingly dusky folk-rock mood at the core of the tunes. Mass Shivers headline; Brief Candles open. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $8. --Peter Margasak

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