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Friday 18

DETHOLZ! Notwithstanding their weakness for cheese-pop covers ("Sussudio," "What's Love Got to Do With It"), these locals' nerdy, fidgety, aggressively busy new-wave rock is full of original ideas, and I doubt they'll run out of new ones anytime soon. It's tempting to chalk up their weirdness to their Bible-school roots, but as far as I can tell that history only serves to make it more plausible when they detour into a screwed-up approximation of a revival meeting--their dorkalicious energy reads more like a combo of caffeine buzz and record-collector's high. Their next full-length, Cast Out Devils, is due this fall--though at the rate they're going they'll probably have leaked all of it via MySpace and their Web site by then. This show is a Chicago Underground Film Festival party; Mucca Pazza headlines and JL Aronson, director of Danielson: A Family Movie, DJs throughout. For more on the CUFF see Movies. 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10. --Monica Kendrick

THE FORMAT The Format have been a big deal in their home state of Arizona since forming about five years ago, but only quietly chugged along everywhere else. That's mainly thanks to major-label headaches: their first full-length, 2003's Interventions and Lullabies, was a compelling batch of romantic indie pop with a soft-focus 70s singer-songwriter feel, but corporate reshuffling ensured that it would slip under the radar. After a protracted split with Elektra, they've resurfaced with Dog Problems, released on their own imprint, the Sony-distributed Vanity Label. They've picked up where they left off, but the broader instrumentation reveals a maturing sensibility. Rainer Maria, Anathallo, and Street to Nowhere open. 6:15 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, sold out. All ages. --Bob Mehr

Saturday 19

LETOYA LeToya Luckett was a founding member of Destiny's Child--she cowrote and sang on hits like "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Say My Name" before getting booted by her childhood friend Beyonce. She's bounced back with a self-titled solo debut on Capitol that's every bit as irresistible--and superfluous--as the best music of her old group. She's not a great singer, but she's got the hit-making formula down cold: the disc mixes hip-hop-driven tracks (featuring fellow Houstonians like Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Mike Jones, and Bun B) with boilerplate balladry about searching for Mr. Right and dispatching Mr. Wrong. Mary J. Blige headlines and Jaheim performs second. 7 PM, Charter One Pavilion, Northerly Island at Burnham Harbor, 1300 S. Linn White Dr., 312-540-2000 or 312-559-1212, $55-$81. All ages. --Peter Margasak

1986 The good news about the 90s revival currently hovering on the cultural horizon like a jaded, soul-patched vulture is that there will be more bands like 1986. On their new Nihilism Is Nothing to Worry About (Palentine) they scramble up Archers of Loaf, Superchunk, Yo La Tengo, and a half-dozen other acts from the golden age of indie-rock guitar into a slacked-out, fuzzy mess with just enough weird angles to keep them from sounding like a tribute act. The Atlantic Divide headlines, LMNOP plays third, 1986 goes second, and Plan B opens. 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $8. --Miles Raymer

KELLY JOE PHELPS Rootsy singer-songwriter Kelly Joe Phelps will occasionally sell himself short in a strange way: his voice is so smooth and sweet and his guitar playing so hypnotically pretty that you might think the songs on his new Tunesmith Retrofit (Rounder) are meant to be romantic and soothing. He'd sometimes do better to telegraph more of the sorrow and fear in his lyrics--if you really hear what he's saying on "Handful of Arrows" (a tribute to Chris Whitley, who died of lung cancer last year at 45), every note gives a bit of a chill. 7:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $15 in advance, $18 at the door. --Monica Kendrick

Sunday 20

LARRY CORDLE, BRUCE ROBISON Kentucky-bred singer-songwriter Larry Cordle was the highlight of Touch My Heart, a 2004 Johnny Paycheck tribute album produced by Robbie Fulks, closing the disc with a chilling rendition of "Old Violin." He's best known, though, as a songwriter, providing material for the likes of Garth Brooks, Ricky Skaggs, George Jones, and Loretta Lynn. Fellow tunesmith Bruce Robison, an Austin staple, has enjoyed a string of chart successes, including cuts by his wife, Kelly Willis; the Dixie Chicks (featuring his sister-in-law, Emily Robison); Tim McGraw; and George Strait. At this show, part of Fulks's "Secret Country" series, Cordle and Robison will talk shop and play material from their respective catalogs. 7 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, 773-728-6000 or 866-468-3401, $20, $16 seniors and kids. All ages. --Bob Mehr

MATTHEW HERBERT One of dance music's most inventive producers, Matthew Herbert is a master at making something out of nothing; at Smart Bar in 2001 I saw him build a propulsive track from a sample of himself tapping his fingers on a jewel case. A while back he drafted his "Personal Contract for the Composition of Music," a manifesto whose core points include no sampling other people's stuff, no factory keyboard presets, and no simulated acoustic sounds when it's feasible to record the real thing. According to the liner notes, his new Scale (released under the name Herbert on K7/Accidental) is in nearly full compliance: it's a lush set of songs with horn arrangements (reminiscent of his twisted 2003 big-band album, Goodbye Swingtime) and sweet vocals over complex, chattery electronic beats. For this week's gigs he's DJing, but I'd expect some spontaneous sampling along the way. DJs Common Factor & Jerome Derradji spin first. Herbert also discusses and signs copies of Scale at 4 PM at Borders, 4718 N. Broadway; call 773-334-7338. See also Monday. 10 PM, Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-7600 or 866-468-3401, $12 in advance, $15 at the door. --Peter Margasak

Monday 21

MATTHEW HERBERT See Sunday. Herbert also discusses and signs copies of his new CD, Scale, at 12:30 PM at Borders, 150 N. State; call 312-606-0750. Brad Owen opens. 6 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203. Free. All ages.

KILLER WHALES Killer Whales guitarist John Williams says the band's forthcoming seven-inch for Ghost Arcade (also home to the Chandeliers, with whom the Whales share one of their drummers) was influenced by War, Dr. John, Fela Kuti, and Bo Diddley. But a friend provided an equally germane description after seeing these locals live: "Like four guys trying to reconstruct Remain in Light from crap they found in the garage." They're going on hiatus after this show--Williams is moving to Indiana for grad school--but during their downtime they hope to reestablish themselves on MySpace, which booted them for improperly posting pictures of an 80s band by the same name. Michael Columbia headlines, the Chandeliers play second, and the Killer Whales open; DJ Mike Broers spins throughout. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600. Free. --J. Niimi

PAN.AMERICAN Pan.American's first local gig in years is also the second in Kranky Records' new monthly series of Monday-evening events combining live music and DJs. Their latest album, For Waiting, For Chasing, came out on the Viennese label Mosz, and though this show suggests the label switch was a momentary dalliance, the disc does differ from Pan.American's other records. Multi-instrumentalist Mark Nelson has often conjured womblike ambience from pulsing beats, shimmering electronics, and echo-bathed brass and percussion, but here he dispenses with melodies and vocals, instead focusing on richly textured pure-sound explorations. Every track includes processed in vitro recordings of the heartbeat of his son, Lincoln, but the subtle clashes between his pillowy keyboards and Steven Hess's heavily processed cymbals and bowls generate a welcome complexity that keeps any cloying new-parent bliss at bay. Rob Lowe spins. 10 PM, Danny's, 1951 W. Dickens, 773-489-6457. Free. --Bill Meyer

Tuesday 22

RED SPAROWES This west-coast instrumental quintet--which includes Isis electronicist Cliff Meyer and Neurosis video wrangler Josh Graham, both on guitar--is about to release its second full-length, Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun (Neurot), a concept album inspired by the catastrophic famine that followed China's Great Leap Forward. As the one-sheet has it, the people were instructed to slaughter sparrows, one of the country's "four greatest evils," and the birds' absence precipitated an explosion in the locust population. There's of course an obvious problem with an instrumental band doing a concept album--these guys do their explaining in ponderously long song titles--but personally I'm grateful for the option to pass on the allegory and just bliss out. The intricate, churchy, angular rush-and-swoop of this atmospheric music--like Mono by way of Daydream Nation--tells plenty of stories all on its own. At this show Pelican guitarist Trevor de Brauw will fill in for Meyer--Isis is on the road with Tool. Daughters and Versoma open. 9:30 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $10 in advance, $12 at the door, 18+. --Monica Kendrick

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE A 23-year-old conga-playing Puerto Rican evangelist I know summed up Justin Timberlake's 2002 solo debut in a word she loaded with as much admiration as admonishment: "flirty." Almost every track on Justified is as soft as it is sleazy, with jazz-chord bridges cooling off the hot beats--it's like a version of Off the Wall with its feet on the ground, similarly laying claim to manhood while hanging on to breezy, boyish charm. But "SexyBack," the lead single from Timberlake's upcoming album, does away with that coyness and restraint--now he sounds more like Britney than Michael, straining clumsily to be taken seriously, flaunting stark sex and stark electro beats that promise about as much as the disc's clunky title, FutureSex/LoveSounds. This show is still enticing--it's bound to be more intimate than the imminent megatour--but I know one Pentecostal Puerto Rican who won't be there. 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, sold out. --Franklin Soults

Wednesday 23

BABY LOVES JAZZ I don't have kids, so I'm no expert at teaching children to appreciate music--but this sure beats Raffi. Baby Loves Jazz is part of a series of albums and concerts that hijacks sandbox warhorses like "Happy and You Know It" and "Old MacDonald" to introduce tiny tots to different musical genres--disco, salsa, and hip-hop discs are on the way. Baby Loves Jazz's Go Baby Go! (Verve) made me want to yank my hair out--the disc clearly isn't meant for adult ears. But with a band that includes excellent players like soul belter Sharon Jones, trumpeter Steven Bernstein, and bassist Brad Jones, it's less stultifying than most other ways to drill kids on their ABCs, even if it's unlikely to foster an appreciation of Charlie Parker. 2 and 6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-1168. Free. All ages. --Peter Margasak

DKV TRIO Of Ken Vandermark's countless projects in the 90s and early 00s, this hard-hitting group, with bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Hamid Drake, provided the best showcase for his straight-up blowing. Trigonometry (Okka Disk, 2002), the trio's most recent recording, captures it at its peak: tearing apart riffs and licks from a set of classic free-jazz themes (by the likes of Don Cherry, Joe McPhee, and Albert Ayler), the players constantly anticipate one another's moves, navigating suddenly and spontaneously as a unit while maintaining a relentless, thrilling tension. Live, I don't recall ever hearing them reach stasis--the music was always swerving, swinging, and screaming. Thanks largely to the conflicting schedules of its members, the DKV Trio hasn't performed in Chicago in almost four years. Playing first is a promising new trio with tenor titan Fred Anderson, young Norwegian bassist (and current Chicago resident) Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten, and brilliant British free drummer Paul Lytton; another drummer, Paal Nilssen-Love, DJs throughout. Vandermark, Kessler, Lytton, and Nilssen-Love also perform with the Territory Band on Thursday (see Critic's Choice). 9:30 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $10. --Peter Margasak

LUASA RAELON Ohioan David Reed is Luasa Raelon; he's also Envenomist, Brittle Foundries, and the owner of Snip-Snip Records, which specializes in limited-edition CD-R releases of industrial, electronic, abstract, and noise music of nearly every flavor. Snip-Snip's stable is full of constantly twiddling, droning, and grinding thinkers who are so prolific they seem to be inviting us to treat their releases as ephemera, but nothing that Luasa Raelon has put out sounds disposable to me. The oppressive quality of last year's The Poison City (Eibon) feels meticulously constructed--the music crystallizes haunting shapes out of its swirling electronic mist, hinting at something unseen banging around in the gritty air. Bloodyminded, Panicsville, Is, Climax Denial, and NC open. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Monica Kendrick

Thursday 24

KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND Long before designer drugs and Chicago house paved the way for modern techno, engineered with the precise economy of all things German, KC & the Sunshine Band stripped dance music to the core ergonomics essential to helping honkies get down. The groove of "That's the Way (I Like It)" is unstoppable, like a big-block Chevy barreling down the freeway on cheater slicks--lie on the couch and listen to it like art music and it's heavier than Can. Gloria Gaynor, Sister Sledge, and Tavares open. 8 PM, Charter One Pavilion, Northerly Island at Burnham Harbor, 1300 S. Linn White Dr., 312-540-2000 or 312-559-1212, $15.75-$45.50. All ages. --J. Niimi

OUTLAW FAMILY BAND This seven-piece local Americana band spent part of the spring hitching a ride with NBC reporter Mike Leonard as he toured behind his new book, a picaresque family RV saga called The Ride of Our Lives. They recorded a sound track for the book's accompanying DVD, and their new CD, Lyceum (Slackjaw), includes a few tunes from that project; the music is a brawling congress of fiddle, banjo, and harmony vocals, all stuck together with old-timey earnestness. The Waco Brothers headline. 9 PM, Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494 or 800-594-8499, $10. --Monica Kendrick

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