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Friday 4

BLACK LIPS We Did Not Know the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow (Bomp), the last album from Atlanta's Black Lips, is a raucously successful fusion of all of garage rock's best elements: it has a trippy, hungry-sounding, stripped-down eloquence, like the Yardbirds if they'd been raised by wolves, combined with a certain dissonance and punk jaggedness. Their next one, Let It Bloom (In the Red), is due out later this month, and as the title suggests, the 16 tracks have a Stones-ish satanic majesty about them. The King Khan & BBQ Show headlines, Black Lips play second, and River City Tan Lines open. The Get Drunk DJs spin between acts. 10 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10. --Monica Kendrick

DICKIES If you're the grumpy old punk rocker underage punks hang around to get beer and you've never once bothered to turn them on to the Dickies, consider yourself guilty of child neglect. These venerable purveyors of goofy, hooky, fast-and-loud rock 'n' roll claim to be the oldest active punk band (now that the Ramones are no more), but they still have the rambunctious joy of a litter of pit bull puppies stuffed into an empty beer case. True, they haven't released an above-par album since the mid-90s, but with a back catalog full of anxiety-fueled sing-alongs--"Fan Mail" and "(I'm Stuck in a Pagoda With) Tricia Toyota" especially--they ain't going to be hurting for numbers. I only pray they're still trotting out the talking-dick puppet for "If Stuart Could Talk." The Dickies perform as part of the two-day Riot Fest; see page 24 for a complete schedule. The Dead Kennedys (with youngster Jeff Penalty in Jello Biafra's shoes) headline. Also on the bill are Suicide Machines, Lawrence Arms, Angry Samoans, Street Brats, Unmutuals, Settle for Nothing, Vacation Bible School, Rule 22, and Short of All. 3:30 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 888-690-9875 or riotfest.indietickets.com, $27.50-$60 in advance, $30 general admission at the door. All ages. --Ann Sterzinger

KYLESA This four-piece from Savannah, Georgia, is easy to love, combining all the potent signifiers and satisfying tricks of punk metal: melodic post-Sabbath riffage, sinister drop-D drones, voracious soloing, stop-on-a-dime breakdowns, and of course merciless hammering obliteration. The band's most recent full-length, To Walk a Middle Course (Prosthetic/Havoc), nods to Nordic black metal, west-coast sludge (Melvins, Flipper), American crust (His Hero Is Gone), Motorhead, and even prog rock, often all in the same song--it's one-stop shopping for all your headbanging needs. There's even a bit of originality too, in the triple-vocalist lineup--bassist Corey Barhorst and guitarists Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants all contribute their throaty screams. Coliseum, Torche, and Raise the Red Lantern open. 7 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444, $6 in advance, $8 at the door. All ages. --Jessica Hopper

Saturday 5

LOS CENZONTLES This group is the live-performance face of the Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center, a community-oriented music and dance school in San Pablo, California, that's sort of like the Old Town School of Folk Music. Many such folkloric ensembles sound quaint and stale, but under the guidance of musical director Eugene Rodriguez, Los Cenzontles (Aztec for "the Mockingbirds") take a lively, catholic approach to Mexico's various folk forms. Their 2000 compilation, De Una Bonita (Arhoolie), showcases the fiery intensity they bring to traditional rancheras, boleros, and son jarochos, and they take some admirable stabs at Cuban son and Colombian cumbia as well. Most of the arrangements are string driven, but there are a few superb brassy banda tracks; only a couple of mediocre Latin-rock tunes drag down the album. Pasajero: A Journey of Time and Memory, a documentary screening this week at the Gene Siskel Film Center, chronicles a trip some of the group's members made to Jalisco to learn from precommercial mariachis, and it further illustrates Rodriguez's refreshing lack of pedantry--he's more interested in helping Mexican-Americans understand their cultural roots than in making museum-quality simulacra. Sones de Mexico open. 9 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $17 in advance, $20 at the door. --Peter Margasak

WHITEHOUSE In 2002 this electronic/industrial band parted ways with its longtime Chicago-based collaborator, notorious transgressive writer Peter Sotos--with whom they created such classics as "Rapemaster," "I'm Comin' up Your Ass," and "My Cock Is on Fire"--citing "lifestyle differences." What this means for founding members William Bennett (not to be confused with that Book of Virtues tool, amusing as that might be) and Philip Best is a chance to branch off from a confrontational ethic that became tedious long ago. Predictably, old fans are squawking, and reports of recent shows have run the gamut from disappointed to glowing. Those in search of the traditional Whitehouse Experience might not find what they're looking for, but those out to hear some ripping electronic noise have a decent chance of getting lucky. This show is part of the Two Million Tongues Festival; see page 18 for a complete schedule. Whitehouse headlines, Josephine Foster (see the Meter) plays third, Andy Ortmann plays second, and Haptic opens; Chris Connelly and Traveling Bell give "sideshow" performances between sets. 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $12 in advance, $15 at the door. --Monica Kendrick

Sunday 6

JULIETTE & THE LICKS Celebrity-fronted rock groups are usually more about the celebrity than the rock, but Juliette Lewis and her Licks sound enough like a bona fide band that you can forget it's a movie star singing. Lewis is in fine form on tunes like "I Never Got to Tell You What I Wanted To" and "Money in My Pocket," both from the recent full-length You're Speaking My Language (Fiddler); though she told me in a phone interview that her training helps her bring "theatrics and emotional movement" to her performances, it doesn't sound like she's acting at all. In her hoarse, bawdy vocals you can hear traces of her idols Grace Jones and Iggy Pop, plus a liberal dollop of Patti Smith, and her stage presence is explosive--the girl really moves around. Right now the Licks lean a little too heavily on the MOR punk of Social Distortion (with whom they've shared a few bills), but Lewis, who writes the lyrics and cowrites the music, says the next record will have "more contrasts and more atmosphere" as well as some departures from the usual guitar-bass-drums instrumentation. I'm looking forward to it. Veruca Salt headlines; the Lovemakers and Porsealin open. 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16.50, 18+. --J. Niimi

OKKERVIL RIVER Your appendix is a generally unnecessary thing you only think about when it has to be removed, which is why it's always bugged me that we don't have a different name for it--appendices are often quite important parts of books, after all. Okkervil River push their luck by calling their new seven-song EP Black Sheep Boy Appendix (Jagjaguwar)--folks who already own the Black Sheep Boy full-length are hardly gonna prick up their ears at that. But though this appendix is indeed a collection of outtakes and unfinished tracks from the album, they've been revisited and transformed into rich new songs in their own right. And I've got to say that seven tunes is just about the right number--more than that, and Will Sheff's almost-naked, shivering alt-folk (which, amazingly, takes ten people to create) starts being much too much of a good thing. Minus Story and Catfish Haven open. 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $10 in advance, $12 at the door, 18+. --Monica Kendrick

Monday 7

JORGE DREXLER Though he's commanded a devoted following in South America for more than a decade, Uruguayan singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler didn't get much attention in the U.S. until last year, when his song "El Otro Lado del Rio" appeared in The Motorcycle Diaries. It was nominated for an Oscar, but Drexler wasn't asked to sing it at the ceremony--Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana coughed up a hackneyed version instead. When the song won, Drexler got his revenge by singing a couple of verses onstage. I hope this bit of tragicomedy directs listeners to his latest album, the brilliant Eco (Warner Music Latino). Drexler sings gorgeous, jazz-tinged melodies with the sensuality and restraint of a bossa nova singer, relishing every syllable. (It's no surprise that Celso Fonseca and Maria Rita have covered his tunes.) The son of German Jews who fled to Uruguay shortly before World War II, Drexler gave up a medical career to become a folksinger, but the ultracatchy songs on Eco show his increasingly open ears and pop sensibility. He embraces electronic production throughout the album--rhythmic loops spin beneath easygoing guitar and piano patterns, and digital manipulations chop some of the sounds into cubist constructions. This is his Chicago debut. 7:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $20. --Peter Margasak

ON In 2003 the duo On--local drummer and prepared-piano player Steven Hess and French guitarist Sylvain Chauveau--recorded three hours of improvisations in Chicago, then handed the tapes to Norwegian producer Helge Sten (aka Deathprod), who was given free rein to reshape them into an album. They might have been taking their cues from Brian Eno, who once wrote that an embrace of uncertainty is what distinguishes ambient music from Muzak; though Chauveau and Hess knew Sten's style from his production work with Supersilent, they had no idea how their record would turn out. Your Naked Ghost Comes Back at Night (DSA) opens with a whirring guitar loop that sounds like something from Rafael Toral's classic 1995 ambient album, Wave Field, but as the music progresses the foreground drones recede, leaving a spacious environment in which solitary drumbeats are amplified to sound like sonic booms and plangent prepared-piano notes decay like sonar echoes. All of On's concerts so far have been in Europe; this is the duo's U.S. debut. Magic Arrows, Dan Friel, and Big Bear open. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401. Free. --Bill Meyer

Tuesday 8

BIG BUSINESS While the press release for their debut album, Head for the Shallow (Hydrahead), declares that Big Business's sound is "mastery of what punk rock should be," a more apt description might be "mastery of what you wish the Melvins still were." The Seattle-based duo consists of bassist/singer Jared Warren--whose previous work in Karp was also, in essence, one long love letter to the majesty of King Buzzo's hair--and ex-Murder City Devils drummer Coady Willis, and for just a two-piece, they push a mammoth sound, contrasting a wall of overdriven low-end pummel with Warren's stentorian shrieking. They're not even vaguely original, but their raw power and bass-blowing force will snap your neck nonetheless. Local H headlines, Detachment Kit plays third, Russian Circles plays second, and Big Business opens. 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $15, 18+. --Jessica Hopper

Wednesday 9

STINKING LIZAVETA A little bit noisy and a little bit rock 'n' roll, the long-running Pennsylvania trio Stinking Lizaveta render Balkan and Mediterranean sounds into joyful, eerie, spacey excursions tinged with metallic power. On their 2004 album, Caught Between Worlds (At a Loss), they achieve a sort of apotheosis: a beautiful hour of focused, intense trancework that occasionally snaps back down to earth and lands in a dreamscape version of Persia or ancient Greece, or in some smoky club where a belly dancer is ceding the stage to a creaky old bluesman with a guitar and the smell of hashish smoke and burning amplifiers fills the air. Avagami opens; Captured! by Robots, with their new Star Trek: The Next Generation-themed stage show, headline. 8 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444, $8. All ages. --Monica Kendrick

ADRIENNE YOUNG & LITTLE SADIE Not too many country singers cite Benjamin Franklin as a key influence, but Adrienne Young isn't particularly interested in country convention on her second album, The Art of Virtue (Adiebelle). She mixes up bluegrass, folk rock, and even Celtic-tinged fiddle tunes without sounding like a revivalist, and instead of falling into self-obsessed emoting she spins stories about simpler times. Franklin's pamphlet "Thirteen Virtues," included in a booklet with the CD, is the foundation for the title track, in which she embraces his program for modest living, and "It's All the Same" was inspired by Franklin's autobiography. Young's a decent singer and she's backed by a crack band, Little Sadie, that has little problem with the range of styles on the album. Some of the songs suffer from the antiseptic precision that mars a lot of contemporary bluegrass, but the best ones--like the original murder ballad "Rastus Russell" or the Cajun-stoked honky-tonk tune "Wedding Ring"--are more intense than mannered. Ember Swift opens. 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8 in advance, $10 at the door. --Peter Margasak

Thursday 10

JOHN CALE There've been long stretches in the past decade or so when it seemed like John Cale had entirely given up on rock and pop, but he's just followed up 2003's HoboSapiens with the new BlackAcetate (Astralwerks). (Table of the Elements released his amazing experimental 60s work with electronics and tape loops in the interim, which made for a nice distraction.) He says he's taken inspiration from hip-hop, but thankfully that shows up only in the music's revved-up energy and production values, not in any stabs at reproducing the genre itself--it's hard to imagine anybody less suited to that. Cale's at his best when he remembers that he's capable of rocking out, shaping his thick, awkwardly regal voice into a declamatory instrument of sinister confidence. Or maybe he's at his best when he's writing really, really pretty songs and playing a little viola on them. After all these years I'm still not sure, but there are enough of both kinds of moment on BlackAcetate that I can forget the songs where he goes astray. Chris Connelly opens. 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $20. --Monica Kendrick

KINGSBURY MANX For their fourth full-length, The Fast Rise and Fall of the South (Yep Roc), these erstwhile Chapel Hill psych rockers settle into a softer musical cushion--more piano, more acoustic guitars--that makes their music prettier but also wispier and more precious. When they elect to startle you by returning briefly to their old freaky ways, it's truly startling--most of the time they're content with a familiar, middle-of-the-road sound bordering on light rock. The Standard and Gaberdine open. 9:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10. --Monica Kendrick

SOFT CIRCLE Former Black Dice drummer Hisham Bharoocha, who plays drums, guitar, keyboards, and electronics in this newish solo project, is reportedly aiming for a more chanting, meditative feel this time around. He doesn't have any new recordings to judge from, but I feel pretty confident he'll provoke the same kind of love-hate response the Black Dice always have. Grizzly Bear headlines and Lichens plays second. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Monica Kendrick

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