SIMA BINA One of Iran's greatest folksingers, Sima Bina specializes in the traditional music of Khorasan, the region of northeast Iran where she was born and raised. But she's also spent years traveling and collecting songs from other regions that were in danger of disappearing--both because the oral tradition has suffered a general decline and because women were forbidden from singing in public after the 1979 Islamic revolution. When such strictures relaxed in the 90s, Bina regained her public profile (she hosted a popular radio program before the revolution) and released a slew of records. Some of the discs are treacly pop-folk affairs that don't do justice to her talents, but on the better ones--like 1998's Nava'i (Quartertone) and 2000's Musique du Nord du Khorassan (Buda)--her voice quivers with emotion, and her gripping readings of Khorasan poetry stitch together the sparse arrangements for daf (a hand drum) and dotar (a twangy ancient string instrument). She favors more traditional modes when she tours, and her backing quartet for this show includes the great Hossein Behroozinia of the Dastan Ensemble playing barbat, a lutelike instrument. 9 PM, Ryan Family Auditorium, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan, 224-636-4726, $35-$40, $25 students. All age. --Peter Margasak
LUKA BLOOM Irish singer-songwriter Barry Moore, born in County Kildare, took his stage name from a Suzanne Vega song and a character in Ulysses, and he's put out ten albums since his 1990 debut, Riverside. Last year's Innocence (Big Sky) might be his most beautiful yet--though I could've said that about every one when it came out. Bloom's approach is so sparse and direct, leaning heavily on his lyrics and his delicate guitar playing, that each song makes its mark individually: "City of Chicago" is a great-famine weeper, "June" sounds like an Astral Weeks homage, "Salvador" celebrates Brazil's most interesting city, and "No Matter Where You Go, There You Are" is a heart-wrenching story about a Muslim immigrant finding himself through music. His peace anthems aren't very subtle, but anthems don't have to be. Sabrina Dinan opens. 8 PM, Gunther Murphy's, 1638 W. Belmont, 773-472-5139, $30. --Monica Kendrick
DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER Ever since her brief flirtation with pop and R & B in the mid-70s, Dee Dee Bridgewater has focused on pure jazz, and who can blame her? She's a glorious, glamorous diva in the tradition of Sarah Vaughan--like Vaughan's, her music mixes voluptuous balladry, operatic intonation, hip attitude, and intrepid improvising. A glance at her discography reveals the gamut of material at her command: she's recorded tributes to composers like Horace Silver and Kurt Weill (the latter on her magnificent 2002 disc, This Is New), a set dedicated to Ella Fitzgerald, and a tribute to French cafe tunes on her most recent album, last year's J'ai Deux Amours (Universal). She last appeared in Chicago at Symphony Center in 2004, headlining a reunion of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra--the band she first recorded with, when she was fresh out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At that show she demonstrated her absolute control of a concert-hall crowd; imagine the kind of intimate intensity she'll generate at this rare club engagement. See also Saturday and Sunday. 9 and 11 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand, 312-670-2473, $25. --Neil Tesser
TARANTULA HILL BENEFIT Last month Chicago expats Carly Ptak and Twig Harper of Nautical Almanac suffered a major fire at their Baltimore home, Tarantula Hill, which doubled as an art space, studio, and venue. They lost almost everything--master tapes, artwork, instruments, DATs, hard drives, recording equipment, homemade electronic gadgets, even their three cats. And like many artists who've built their dreams on a shoestring, they didn't have insurance--their wood-burning stove meant they couldn't get coverage. This show is the first in a series of noise benefits to help Twig and Carly rebuild; the next is April 29 at Enemy. Tonight's enormous bill includes local trio Pommel, a Billy Sides production that's less rambunctious than his other noise projects--they play a kind of smooth ambience with a dash of pre-cum urgency--as well as Andy Ortmann, aka Panicsville, making his first Chicago appearance since returning from a seven-month stay in New Jersey. Admission is "give what you can," but don't be a cheap asshole or you're going to hell. The entire lineup, headliner first: Bloodyminded, Lambsbread, Panicsville, Pommel, I Don't Do Gentlemen, Rubber Spunky, Warmth (a collaboration between Roxanne Jean Polise and Knife City), Insect Deli, Is, B29, and DJ Rotten Milk. Bloodyminded and Is both perform Monday at the Empty Bottle with Cotton Museum (see Critic's Choice). 9 PM, Ex-Nihilist, 2255 S. Michigan 4E, 312-567-9407, donation requested. All ages. --Liz Armstrong
TORCHE Last summer some friends and I coined a genre name, "crossover doom," and this Florida metal band is just the sort of thing we were talking about. To date, membership in the genre is restricted to a closely related group of bands: Floor (defunct, led by Torche's singer-guitarist Steve Brooks), Dove (with guitarist Henry Wilson, former drummer of Floor and Cavity), Cavity (also defunct), and now Torche, who released their self-titled debut last year on Robotic Empire. What defines crossover doom? The "doom" part refers to frighteningly huge guitar chords, and of course to the liberal use of the all-important "bomb string"--a flapping low E that, when struck, makes a sound like an Incan city sliding down a mountain. But the "crossover" part means you get sing-along vocal melodies and harmonies to go with your detuned death metal (no Cookie Monster of the Dark Realm here) and tracks trimmed down to the shape and duration of pop songs. Perfect music for on-the-move types who don't have time for 20-minute Earth or Boris tracks. The Sword headlines, Torche plays third, and Sweet Cobra and ASG open. 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $8 in advance, $10 at the door. --J. Niimi
YEAH YEAH YEAHS As much hyped sophomore albums go, Show Your Bones (Interscope) ain't half bad, but it sure is weirdly evasive. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs neither thunder like a band committed to pop-chart ascendancy nor snottily scuttle their shot at fame. Instead they sound diffident and insular, like they don't believe anyone's actually listening. I can attest, though, that the new stuff makes more sense live. Karen O's lyrics sound less willfully private when she's teething on her microphone, and Nick Zinner's guitar ebbs and swells with a three-dimensional richness the new disc's flat, clipped production denies him. Blood on the Wall and Imaad Wasif, a touring member of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, open. 7 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, sold out. All ages. --Keith Harris
DAN BERN Since debuting in 1993, this above average "new Dylan" has neatly reversed the old Dylan's political-to-personal trajectory, progressing (or regressing, depending on your perspective) from the often abstract verbal fantasias of Dan Bern to the committed political tunes of his 2004 EP My Country II (Messenger), which is subtitled "Music to Beat Bush By." But even on the what-it-says anthem "Bush Must Be Defeated" he's as word drunk as ever, remembering a simple fact that so many earnest political folkies forget: when you're funny you don't have to be subtle. Al Rose opens. 10 PM, Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494 or 800-594-8499, $15. --Keith Harris
DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER See Friday. 9 and 11 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand, 312-670-2473, $25.
SOUL POSITION Soul Position has made some daring, electrifying tracks in the past, but there are parts of the duo's second full-length, Things Go Better With RJ and Al (Rhymesayers), that sound like the plug got kicked out of the socket. Rjd2's 2002 masterpiece, Deadringer, was the most gorgeous instrumental hip-hop I'd heard since DJ Shadow's Endtroducing, and he hasn't completely fallen off his game--on the new album he makes masterful use of horns and guitars. But he tends to pull back when he's laying backdrops for MCs, and here he's pulled back a little too far--I miss the full, busy sound he brings to his solo work and remixes. Blueprint, his partner in Soul Position, fixates entertainingly on everyday stuff like his cell-phone plan and crappy used car, but the simplicity of his lines can be grating--and not even his heart-on-the-sleeve delivery can rescue blah, first-draft couplets like "When I was sober that broad looked like Al Gore / Now she look a lot more like Demi Moore." But on tracks like the closer, "Things Go Better," where Blueprint passionately recounts the duo's history over a beat bedecked with zigzagging violins and bubbly, chirping flutes, their zeal pushes them into truly sublime territory. One.Be.Lo opens. 11:30 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $15, 18+. --Kabir Hamid
DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER See Friday. a 4 and 8 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand, 312-670-2473, $20.
EDITORS My friends in New York have endured a long line of Interpol imitators (Intertators? Imipols?) over the past few years, and they're convinced the Editors are the death knell, the last band that could possibly become popular in this supersaturated genre. For that reason alone we should celebrate. The good news is if you love Interpol but hate dropping three hours' wages on Ticketmaster surcharges to see them with 4,000 other people, you can see this unbelievable facsimile of Paul Banks and company for a measly 15 bucks--with a little taste of Echo & the Bunnymen thrown in at no extra charge. Or, if you're a self-respecting music fan, you can go, drink up, and call it a wake. Stellastarr* headlines. The Editors will also DJ at Smart Bar at 10 PM; admission is free, 21+. 8 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $15, 18+. --Jessica Hopper
FATALS When I saw these French degenerates open for the Pagans at last year's Blackout, they made a great first impression. "We are zee Fatals," one of the guitarists said, "and we are fuck-airs." Desperate, furious, and incoherent, their brain-damaging blues punk yokes the campy B-movie swagger of the Drags and the reckless sleaze of the Oblivians to a jet-engine shriek of raw volume that makes Guitar Wolf sound like Steely Dan. To puncture the din, the drummer has to play a piccolo snare not much deeper than a dinner plate, hammering out backbeats as sharp as rifle shots. So far this year the Fatals have released the candidly titled seven-inch Trashy, Fuzzy, Rock 'n' Roll Idiots . . . on Ben Blackwell's Cass Records and an eponymous ten-inch on the French label Yakisakana, but any one of their singles, splits, or comp appearances is as good as any other. I mean, do you think arsonists drive around the block asking themselves, "Hmm, Citgo or BP?" The Busy Signals, the Rat Traps, and Rapid Adaptor open. 10 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10. --Philip Montoro
JOSEPHINE FOSTER & THE SUPPOSED After the surprise success of her odd, old-timey 2005 solo album, Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You, Josephine Foster could easily have returned with a follow-up that moved her even deeper into New Weird America. Instead she's released an album of 19th-century German art-song adaptations called A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (Locust). Nobody would mistake German for a Romance language, but Foster--assisted by guitarist Brian Goodman--manages to imbue the material with her signature blend of operatic melancholy, freak-folk whimsy, and acid-rock turbulence, making for a beautiful and lusty sonic tapestry. She'll be joined by her occasional backing band, the Supposed, for this show, which will be her last in town for a while--she recently left Chicago, and she'll be spending much of this year on the road in the U.S. and Europe. Romantica and the Get Up Johns open. 9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $8. --Bob Mehr
RHETT MILLER & THE BELIEVERS When I heard the last Old 97's studio disc, 2003's Drag It Up (New West), it was clear to me that front man Rhett Miller had started hoarding his best stuff for his solo career: the album's meat-and-potatoes roots rock was a step back from the hooky tunes he'd written for the band's two previous records and his solo debut, 2002's The Instigator. The velvet suit Miller models on the cover of his follow-up, The Believer (Verve Forecast), suggests he's traded up from dusty denim--but the silly love songs pumped up with gritty, raucous rock guitar still work better than the silly love songs swaddled in strings and brass. Garrison Starr opens. 8 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212, $17.50, 18+. --Peter Margasak
OWEN Confession: I think the Kinsella surname has been associated with more of the boring music to come out of Chicago in the past decade than any other; keeping up with the clan's endless proliferation of side projects, not to mention the personnel changes within them, is a task for people with minds far more methodical than my own. Owen, which is usually just unadulterated Mike Kinsella, ought to be the most ennui-inducing act in the bunch--his pedigree consists principally of membership in glum emo bands--but his rippling acoustic songs actually go somewhere, and last year's I Do Perceive (Polyvinyl) has a pleasantly naked beauty. William Elliott Whitmore, the Snake the Cross the Crown, and Davey von Bohlen open. 6 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $10. --Monica Kendrick