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Friday 13

ANTHRAX This venerable metal act has put out five best-of albums since 1998, so I'm beginning to suspect these guys realize their main value now is historic; Anthrology: No Hit Wonders (1985-1991) (Island), released in September as both a DVD and a two-CD set, is the current shameless repackaging of their most influential period. It isn't exactly what fans might be hoping for--that would be remasters of Anthrax's back catalog--but it still (mostly) paints the band as visionary: the majority of hip-hop-metal fusions wound up doing a disservice to both genres, but Anthrax and Public Enemy were very well matched on "Bring tha Noize." On this tour the "classic" lineup is pushing both the album and a campaign against mandatory vaccinations in the military for guess what. God Forbid, Sworn Enemy, and Manntis open. 7 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, sold out. All ages. --Monica Kendrick

EVEN IN BLACKOUTS This group was founded in 2001 by founding Screeching Weasel guitarist John "Jughead" Pierson, who hoped to create what he called the first acoustic pop-punk band. Though the Violent Femmes might want to have a word with him about that claim, the approach Pierson's come up with on the band's two full-lengths doesn't step on many toes--the Femmes never thought to do acoustic covers of Operation Ivy (or Screeching Weasel, for that matter), and the 2004 disc Zeitgest's Echo (Knock Knock) has a wry, literate richness that's quite distinct from Gordon Gano's wry, literate bitterness. This show is a release party for Pierson's novel, Weasels in a Box, and a warm-up for the band's upcoming European tour. The Grackles and Mittens open. 7 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444, $6 in advance, $8 at the door. All ages. --Monica Kendrick

JUICEBOXXX Less than a year ago, this teenage DJ prodigy and wacky hip-hop wizard was blogging about finding a pink tie to go with his prom tux and waiting for his dad to pick him up after a date with his one and only ("I mean it when I say she's my sunshine"). Now he's rapping about his sacks of money and bragging about his sick rhymes over nimbus clouds of murderous gangsta beats and blasts of high-energy Euro techno. Thankfully the fresh-faced boy in love is still in there too: on his current CD, R U There God?? Itz Me Juiceboxxx (Vicious Pop), there's plenty of charmingly earnest old-school hip-hop, complete with rinky-dink drum machines and hooray-for-everybody lyrics, and even a bit of tone-deaf NKOTB-inspired crooning. Juiceboxxx knows how to kick out the party jamz 4 sure, but I can easily imagine the kid getting corrupted in the next year or so--take advantage of the chance to see him at this nutso apartment show before somebody offers him a real live sack of money and convinces him he should go legit. Squidbots, Sik With Society, Rotten Milk vs. Bubblegum Shitface, Insect Deli, and Carpet of Sexy open. 7 PM, Beauty Shop, donation requested--call 708-738-9656 or e-mail rottenmilk@lumpen.com for more details. All ages. --Liz Armstrong

MOONLIGHT TOWERS One might complain that the music this Austin quartet plays lacks regional flavor, but I don't think that's a bad thing: lots of Austin bands claiming to have regional flavor sound as phony as a plastic shaker of "Cajun seasoning" that's actually 40 percent MSG. I'm racking my brain for some way to resist the glistening, hard-surfaced, perfectly molded power pop on the Moonlight Towers' second album, Like You Were Never There (Spinster), but the only complaint I can make is that listening to a bunch of their songs at one sitting feels like too much--the same way one hard butterscotch candy is the best thing in the world but a whole bag makes your mouth hate you. This show is part of the Tomorrow Never Knows festival; for a complete schedule see page 34. Manishevitz headlines, the Spinto Band plays third, and the 1900s play second. 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $12. --Monica Kendrick

TORG These beefy local meatheads wear their self-appointed "Worst Band in the World" tag with maniacal dog-humping glee, but I'm not convinced: to achieve such a rarefied level of suck, they'd have to believe they were important and take what they do utterly seriously. They would come up with album titles like "Azure Longing for Rural Evolution" or "Planeshift Epiphany"--not Hot Yogurt Enema, which is what Torg called their splattery debut. (Their latest is The Dumbening, on Scarey Records.) I also seriously doubt that the actual Worst Band in the World would have two huge vocalists sparring like rutting yaks, and they most certainly would not feel right at home opening for the Mentors. Torg aren't quite crusty punk: their musical evocations of contaminated precious bodily fluids sound moist and fresh. Black Cat Rebellion headlines; Johnny Vomit and Youth Dekay open. 9 PM, Nite Cap, 5007 W. Irving Park, 773-794-1317, $7. --Monica Kendrick

Saturday 14

FAST PRODUCT Of the various influences enumerated on the MySpace page for local band Fast Product, those most immediately identifiable in the music are the Au Pairs, Delta 5, and Pussy Galore. ("Life" doesn't count. Nor does its antonym, "Keith Richards.") The group--John Roeser (of Hot Dog City) on drums, Greg Hamilton on guitar, Farfisa, bass pedals, and backing vocals, and Cyndi Elliott (ex-Star Vehicle) handling guitar and vocals--is christening its self-released debut, the six-song Tall Coin EP, at this show. The jousting guitars on tunes like "The Time We Killed" and "Xenophobia" make a satisfying clatter, like when you shake the shit out of a can of spray paint. Three Dollar Bill headlines. 9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $8. --J. Niimi

TAPES 'N TAPES This free-ranging Minneapolis band reminds me of the games kids play in the privacy of their own brains--like where you have to grab hold of another piece of playground equipment before you're allowed to let go of the last one, or where you can't step on the red squares in a tile floor lest the demons get you. On last year's The Loon (Ibid) they stick to an indie-rock base but roam widely within it, with bits of explosive guitar giving way to Mark E. Smith-style monologues giving way to xylophones and vocal harmonies. Their songs move along merrily but tentatively--they never abandon one mode until their metaphorical hands are firmly grasping something else. This show is part of the Tomorrow Never Knows festival; for a complete schedule see page 34. Chin Up Chin Up headlines, Pit Er Pat plays third, Tapes 'n Tapes play second, and Lake Holiday opens. 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10. --Monica Kendrick

Sunday 15

TONY YAYO G-Unit rapper Tony Yayo has little interest in climbing out of 50 Cent's platinum-plated rut: like his partner, he sticks to a formula of lean beats, no-frills production, and ugly lyrical poses. Yayo's done hard time for jumping bail on a weapons charge, and on his debut album, last year's Thoughts of a Predicate Felon (G-Unit/Interscope), he offers up that prison stint as proof of his realness. But he doesn't bring anything fresh to his gruff, hard-nosed descriptions of wanton violence, drug dealing, and surviving on the streets, and his ragged delivery has little rhythmic finesse. A handful of songs take a stab at romance (for want of a better term), but Yayo's paranoia poisons his view of the ladies. Women, in his mind, are gold diggers who ignore his cuddly demeanor (wouldn't you be touched by an offer to "eat your fur burger"?) and instead train their sights on the rims of his coupe. Spider Loc and Next open. 8 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $15 in advance, $17 at the door. All ages. --Peter Margasak

Monday 16

WE ARE SCIENTISTS On their three self-released EPs, We Are Scientists were able to cook up myriad permutations of their basic sound: restrained indie-guitar rock with outsize hooks and peerless harmonies. Despite overdoing the band's geek chic, "Ode to Star L23," from 2002's Safety, Fun, and Learning (In That Order), is as great as the Thermals on a bad night (which is still pretty great), while "Over and Out," with its chomping eighth notes and Weezer-like harmonies, has a kind of contrived irresistibility. With Love and Squalor (Virgin), their full-length major-label debut, starts off in much the same vein, but not long after the opening track, "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt," you start to realize the new record is a lot like the woman in that Seinfeld episode who irks Jerry by always wearing the same thing, so that he starts to obsess over figuring out if she only has one outfit or a whole wardrobe of identical ones. The difference here is you really don't give a shit. Oxford Collapse and Aberdeen City open. 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10. --J. Niimi

Tuesday 17

IMOGEN HEAP Paste magazine recently compared Imogen Heap to Madonna and Kate Bush, and those two are definitely influences--the songs on Heap's solo debut, Speak for Yourself (Megaphonic), are multivalent and complex like the ones on Ray of Light and Hounds of Love. But the album sounds more like a feel-good, Euro-techno version of a Postal Service record, with some added Top 40 ultrasheen. Heap's strong voice (with her British accent evident in the trills) can shift from husky to delicate, and the dynamic juxtaposition of skittering beats and power synths against cello and piano propels her ornate dramas to great heights. Zoe Keating opens. 7 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, sold out. All ages. --Jessica Hopper

Wednesday 18

THE GUNSHY, GET HIM EAT HIM Singer-songwriter Matt Arbogast, a Pennsylvania native now living in Chicago, has just released his third full-length as THE GUNSHY, Souls (Latest Flame). Try as I might, I can't shake the image of a jowl-flapping Jimmy Durante whenever Arbogast delivers another wistful lyric in his sandpapery voice (which is almost constantly). Luckily his garrulous songs give you lots of other stuff to pay attention to: he employs a crowd of guest musicians on drums, upright and electric bass, and string and wind instruments. For this show he'll be joined by a six-piece featuring two members of the now defunct local band Troubled Hubble. Hotch-cha-cha-cha-cha! Halfway through the decade, the indie-rock template for the aughts has become pretty clear: inoffensive music with hideous vocals (see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). At least on Geography Cones (Absolutely Kosher), the debut from GET HIM EAT HIM, the singing is inoffensive too. These five Brown University students, formerly known as Grumble Grumble, recently tumbled with Chicago's Grimble Grumble over their name and wound up swapping it to dodge a rumble. Grimble Grumble would be humbled by the pretty vocal harmonies on "Mumble Mumble," but GHEH fumbles with "Bad Thoughts," a jumble of satanic growling and cloyingly oversynthed backing vocals. Their biggest bumble is tacking on an unfinished, untitled, throwaway instrumental that upstages the rest of their material. The Gunshy headlines, Get Him Eat Him plays second, and This Is Me Smiling opens. 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8, 18+. --J. Niimi

SCOTT TUMA & MATTHEW DE GENNARO Last year Matthew De Gennaro definitely joined the revived "American primitive" guitar scene, throwing his hat into the ring with a flourish by putting out Humbled Down (Last Visible Dog), his first solo album to get a release more formal than a limited-edition CD-R. Though it's his most tuneful record, the Michigan-based multi-instrumentalist hasn't forsaken the passion for drones he displayed on his collaborative albums with New Zealander Alastair Galbraith; sustained organ tones provide a shady backdrop for his sunny, fingerpicked guitar patterns on "Ross Creek Wander" and "Candlestick Maker." On other tracks, cantering banjos and field recordings of birds and crickets amplify the music's lost-in-the-sticks vibe. Local musician Scott Tuma, who'll share the stage with De Gennaro at this show, plays guitar, harmonium, and harmonica on his most recent solo album, 2003's The River 1 2 3 4 (Truckstop), regarding similar material with a more melancholy gaze. Zelienople headlines, Odawas plays third, and Rope plays second. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Bill Meyer

Thursday 19

JASON ANDERSON It's apt that "The Hospital," a piano-driven ballad on Jason Anderson's The Wreath (K), sounds a bit like the theme from a soap opera (The Young and the Restless, to be exact): the album is filled with the drama of the lovelorn. On "I Was Wrong" Anderson sings plaintively, "How many letters / How many breakfasts / How many I need yous did we send, spend, and plead?" The words tumble clumsily in uneven cadences, so quiet they sound like they were recorded in a confessional booth, backed with simple acoustic strums, cello, and brushed hi-hat. The pace and mood remain pretty steady throughout the record; even at its most upbeat it sounds like the Pastels with a crippling case of seasonal depression. Anderson, who also performs and records under the name Wolf Colonel, is a deft songwriter, and his old-school K Recs lo-fidelity simplicity is grown-up sounding and austere. It's nice to know that in a genre currently populated by dudes perfecting their Conor Oberst imitations, someone knows how to pull back on the reins. The Heligoats open. 8 PM, South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union, 312-850-1049, donation requested. All ages. --Jessica Hopper

CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN Camper Van Beethoven's reunion album, New Roman Times (Vanguard), released almost 20 years after their debut, was one of the most headache-inducing full-lengths of 2004, and I mean that in the best possible way: it's a very long, very dense, stylistically diverse record that's barely bound together by a loose, cracked-out narrative. It's about (as near as I can tell) a disillusioned war veteran passing through fascist-occupied California who winds up working with drug dealers on the Texas border before joining a hippie resistance movement--and damned if it's not one of the few post-1975 concept albums to mix head-spinningly eclectic musical vocabularies, slightly addled ripped-from-the-headlines political grandstanding, and hallucinatory dubya-tee-eff jolts. It's as close as you can get these days to the Platonic ideal of the 60s rock manifesto, the sort of thing H.P. Lovecraft (the band, not the writer) or Country Joe & the Fish might have pulled off if they'd actually been geniuses. Trampled by Turtles opens. 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $20. --Monica Kendrick

MOUNT SIMS Electroclash was hot shit back in 2002, but these days it's getting hit with the kind of backlash that only a million ill-advised haircuts can inspire. Matt Sims, aka Mount Sims, might be wise to downplay his role in that scene. Goth revivalism is still popping, though, and last year's Wild Light (Gigolo) has more than enough eyeliner attitude to get him past its velvet-cloaked gatekeepers. He's playing tonight at Dark Wave Disco, a monthly residency held down by a group of DJs friendly to electro-rock, including Trancid and Kill Hannah's Greg Corner; Sims will be backed by a four-piece band which by all accounts rocks hard enough to satisfy pogoers and vampire-dancers alike. Trancid, Mark Gertz, and Greg Corner open. 9 PM, Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-7600, $12. --Miles Raymer

MARSHALL VENTE TRIO WITH BOBBY SCHIFF Marshall Vente has headlined almost every night of his annual jazz festival for the past dozen years, drawing on the panoply of bands he leads--and on his skills as a sprightly pianist and inventive composer-arranger. He's found yet another format to spice up this year's event: a two-keyboard quartet, in which he'll add Bobby Schiff to his regular trio (which includes bassist Scott Mason and drummer Isidro Perez). Dual-keyboard music isn't unheard-of in jazz--take, for example, Marian McPartland's weekly NPR program. But a quartet fronted by two keyboardists? That's relatively rare, in part because of the pitfalls confronting two pianists when neither has to lay back to handle the purely rhythmic chores. Count on the arranging skills of both Vente and Schiff--whose upcoming album, Late Game (Southport), features several big string charts--to ensure balance and allow for sparks. A quartet led by saxist Rich Corpolongo and a trio led by bassist Nick Tountas open the evening. The festival continues through January 22. 8 and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand, 312-670-2473, $20. --Neil Tesser

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