A day-by-day guide to our Critic's Choices and other previews
cBOBBY BARE JR. The eclectic Nashville roots rocker Bobby Bare Jr. took care to make his fine new album, The Longest Meow (Bloodshot), sound as unpolished as possible. He and a ragtag bunch of players (moonlighting from bands like My Morning Jacket, Lambchop, Clem Snide, and ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead) worked up the material over a few weeks, then banged out the recordings in about 11 hours. It's a winning approach: the arrangements are packed with detail--the honking saxophone commentary on "The Heart Bionic," the weedy harmony vocals on "Gun Show"--but never lose their endearingly scruffy feel. Stylistically, Bare's songs are all over the map, from the mariachi-fried honky-tonk of "Back to Blue" to the besotted shuffle of "Demon Valley," where he locates the precise midpoint between Jeff Tweedy and Paul Westerberg. It's clear that Bare is wildly talented, and this album, like his others, is a blast. But now that he's proven he can make sprawl work as a strategy, I'd love to hear him take his time and try his hand at something cohesive. Centro-Matic and David Vandervelde open. a 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $12. --Peter Margasak
ccarol bui Carol Bui's full-length debut, This Is How I Recover (released on her Drunken Butterfly label), stands up to and often surpasses the work of her avowed influences--Jeff Buckley, Throwing Muses, Mary Timony--and its angular guitars call to mind Bellini and Victory at Sea, two more of her favorites. The 25-year-old D.C. native plays introspective songs that are leavened by her wide-ranging and tuneful voice; on the title track her singing and her roiling guitar work make for a contrast as piquant as wasabi ice cream. I'm looking forward to her follow-up, which she recorded last summer with T.J. Lipple of Aloha and Chad Clark of Beauty Pill. Though she hasn't settled on a label, Bui is shooting for an early-2007 release, and if the rest of the album's songs are as good as the ones on her three-song demo, I'll release the damn thing myself: "Quan Am" boasts soaring vocals reminiscent of Corin Tucker, sublime guitar-vox interplay like Polly Jean Harvey's, and Lipple's rock-solid drumming. Decibully headlines and Elanors play second.
a 9 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011 or 866-468-3401, $8 in advance, $10 on the day of the show. --J. Niimi
LLOYD COLE Cynical musicians who try to avoid the music biz as much as possible are a dime a dozen, but Lloyd Cole has always been a bit more valuable than that. He's not as high profile or productive as he once was--his latest album, Antidepressant (One Little Indian), is only his third studio album as a singer-songwriter in a decade--but he sounds determined to make his reemergence count. Instead of erecting a too-cool-for-school facade and playing the earnest Tom Verlaine wannabe as he did in the 80s, Cole now wraps his bitter pills in posh, adult-contemporary indie-pop arrangements, which sometimes come close to making his music sound downright uplifting. Dick Prall opens. a 7:30 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212, $22.50. A --Monica Kendrick
evangelicals Remember back when you could see that word and not think of crystal meth and male prostitutes? Anyway, the full-length debut from this three-piece, So Gone (Misra), is a pretty good example of what preacherly fervor sounds like without any particular dogma to sell: mainly enthusiastic and confused. As wide-eyed weirdos from Oklahoma, the Evangelicals get compared to the Flaming Lips a lot, but their vision of dancing sugarplums isn't nearly so ambitious, and their enchantingly, determinedly unfocused songs cross the self-parody line well before the end of the record--it took the Lips years to get to that point. Annuals headline, the Evangelicals play third, Dodo Bird goes second, and the Twilight Sad opens. a 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8 in advance, $10 day of show. --Monica Kendrick
chot chip On The Warning, released stateside in June by DFA, this English combo sounds like the Beta Band with a better ear: the melodies are hooky, the beats are mesmerizing, the vocals soar or coddle, and all the elements conspire to create sweeping rushes of romance spiked with subtle levity. The album leads off with a kinetic breakcore blast ("Careful"), a slickery dance-floor anthem ("And I Was a Boy From School"), and a languid pop gem worthy of Stereolab or the Junior Boys ("Colours"). There's nary a bum tune here, and the title track is a real standout, with its tickling synth play and an absurd chorus ("Hot Chip will break your legs, snap off your head / Hot Chip will put you down, under the ground") that's a bit like having Al Stewart threaten to tear you a new one. Shy Child and Born Ruffians open. Hot Chip also spins at an afterparty downstairs at Smart Bar, which starts at 10 PM with a set by Nick Nice; it's free with admission to the show, $10 without, and you must be 21. a 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16, 18+. --J. Niimi
cTHURSTON MOORE, JIM BAKER, ROLLO RADFORD, AND AVREEAYL RA On Saturday and Sunday the Hyde Park Art Center will host a symposium connected to its exhibit of ephemera from Sun Ra's sojourn in Chicago, where panelists will consider the cultural import of his work, but the odd hybrid lineup of the quartet put together to kick off the weekend says as much as any lecturer could about his influence on the world of music. Bassist Rollo Radford and drummer Avreeayl Ra, veterans of Sun Ra's Arkestra in one or more of its many incarnations, have worked in innumerable jazz ensembles both straight-ahead and avant-garde; keyboardist Jim Baker has played hundreds of free-improv gigs, as well as with acts as diverse as Freakwater, Nicholas Tremulis, and Ken Vandermark's Territory Band; and of course guitarist Thurston Moore is in Sonic Youth. This concert will be totally improvised, so don't expect to hear any tunes you recognize, not from Space Is the Place or Daydream Nation. But the rhythm section knows the Arkestra's peculiarly clunky big-band swing and blistering free-jazz broadsides, Baker's ARP synth echoes the grainy ray-gun tonalities of Ra's more interstellar moments, and Moore's harsh and hallucinatory feedback guitar, also heard in noise outfits like the Diskaholics, is sure to scatter sparks--the sounds of outer space are definitely within this group's grasp. My Barbarian opens and the Intergalactic Myth-Science DJs spin throughout, including during a screening of rarely seen silent footage of the Arkestra shot in France in 1970. a 9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $20. --Bill Meyer
cROBERT POLLARD You might expect the title of Robert Pollard's second post-GBV studio album, Normal Happiness (Merge), to be at least a little ironic. But he actually plays its 16 songs completely straight, sounding giddy as a teenager hopped up on Red Bull and hormones, spazzing out to the Raspberries in front of a mirror. There's no middle-aged, been-around-the-block self-consciousness to the songs, even when he's plumbing piano-driven country blues on "Serious Bird Woman (You Turn Me On)" or darkly pouting on "Give Up the Grape." I've often wondered if he considers the depth of his songbook and gets overwhelmed when he puts a set list together, but now I wonder if he's worried about what that task will be like in ten years. Judging by the freshness and energy of the record, it seems like retirement, or even winding down, is a long way off. Nassau opens. a 10 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $20. --Monica Kendrick
tom brosseau, alela diane TOM BROSSEAU, a North Dakota native now living in LA, sings with a striking intimacy--he has a hushed, breathy voice, and makes sure that you can hear when he so much as moistens his lips. On Empty Houses Are Lonely (FatCat), a collection of early recordings released this year, he accompanies himself on just on acoustic guitar, and he comes off like Jeff Buckley daydreaming while singing Leonard Cohen songs. It's pleasant enough at first, but he sings with such a heavy vibrato that after three or four songs I want to kick him in the balls.
ALELA DIANE also sings with a thick vibrato, but her weary-sounding voice and the simple shapes of her melodies are so appealing and naturalistic that it's not distracting. Her new album, The Pirate's Gospel (Holocene Music), has enough out-there elements to put her in the freak-folk bin--the chorus of one song goes, "Click clack / Clickety click click click / Clickety clack / Clickety clack"--but she's just starting out and her tunefulness is impressive, so I'm hoping it's just a phase.
Brosseau headlines and Alela Diane opens.
a 7 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508,
$8. --Peter Margasak
cubarican charanga all-stars The HotHouse's third annual Jazz en Clave festival might be the best yet, and among the organizers' biggest coups is this show, the world premiere of a killer crew of New York salsa vets. Four of its members--Sonny Bravo (piano), Mario Rivera (reeds, flute), Alfredo de la Fe (violin), and Johnny Rodriguez (percussion)--worked together with percussionist Tito Puente as well as in Tipica 73, a groundbreaking, skintight unit that mixed fierce percussion and big brass at a time when most salsa horn sections were restricted to trombones and flutes. This group hasn't recorded anything yet, but the name suggests that the music will put a progressive spin on Cuban charanga, a la the 1980 album Charangueando con la Tipica 73, reissued earlier this year on the resurrected Fania label. Vocalist Jimmy Sabater and bassist Ruben Rodriguez round out the lineup. See page 28 for a complete schedule for Jazz en Clave. a 8 and 11:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $35 in advance, $40 at the door. --Peter Margasak
cDEAD CHILD As a hotbed of incestuous rock collaboration Louisville is second only to Chicago: the new metal band Dead Child has a pedigree so complicated that the chart on their Web site explaining it resembles a benzene molecule. Guitarist David Pajo, of course, practically constitutes a one-man genre, having played in Slint, Zwan, Tortoise, Palace, and his solo joint M/Aerial M/Papa M, among many others. Drummer Tony Bailey was in M as well as the Anomoanon, Lords, and Crain--the last featuring Dead Child bassist Todd Cook, another sometime M member and a touring member of Slint for their 2005 reunion. That '05 reunion lineup also included Dead Child guitarist Michael McMahan, formerly of the For Carnation (his brother Brian's post-Slint band, which Cook played in too) and currently of Phantom Family Halo, whose vocalist, Dahm, sings in Dead Child. Oh, and Bailey and Dahm were also in Brothers of Conquest together. So what does a group assembled from half the bands in Kentucky sound like? Judas Priest, pretty much. A promised five-song EP isn't out yet, but clips are up on the band's site. Arriver and Dirty Faces open. a 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10. --J. Niimi
cDECEMBERISTS, ALASDAIR ROBERTS The DECEMBERISTS have always been almost too good to be true: fusing folk and rock into a smooth and (miraculously) rarely boring blend, they've drawn a sizable audience with songs full of history-flavored narratives that demand close attention. (Their recent Capitol debut, The Crane Wife, was inspired by a Japanese folktale about greed, control, and the pitfalls of spying on a spouse.) Their work has none of the anyone-can-do-it attitude that defines true folk music; their songs are too intricately crafted for that. But like folkies, they hook you by working with the very old idea that a storyteller has a magnetic, almost occult power. --Monica Kendrick
On his most recent CD, last year's No Earthly Man (Drag City), Glaswegian singer-guitarist ALASDAIR ROBERTS dug deep into traditional British folk, putting his own spin on eight darkly gorgeous murder ballads. He's back to playing originals on his forthcoming The Amber Gatherers (out in January on Drag City), but the songs have the crystalline beauty of age-old music. On most of the songs he's joined by a nimble electric trio that includes Teenage Fanclub bassist Gerard Love, but the band doesn't diminish the lovely, delicate quality of Roberts's delivery. Loads of contemporary hippies like to blather about their favorite private-press folk records from the early 70s, but Roberts is more than just talk--he demonstrates his knowledge of and connection to tradition and makes it his own. --Peter Margasak
The Decemberists headline and Roberts opens. a 7:30 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, sold out. A
hawthorne heights Would you believe that the guys in Hawthorne Heights are actually groundbreakers? Not so much because of their music, or because their 2004 debut, The Silence in Black and White, became one of power-emo's first platinum records. It's more because the suit they filed against Victory Records earlier this year (which in turn led to Victory suing Virgin Records and EMI) gave us big-money emo's first real legal battle. Relient K, Emery, Plain White T's, and Sleeping open. a 5:30 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 312-752-6601 or 312-559-1212, $20 in advance, $22 at the door. A --Jessica Hopper
UNCLE WOODY SULLENDER & KEVIN DAVIS On The Tempest Is Over (Dead CEO), his new improvised duo record with cellist Kevin Davis, former Chicagoan Woody Sullender continues to find unexplored terrain for the banjo, weeding out any reference to bluegrass or old-timey music. In his hands the instrument sometimes evokes those of other cultures--the oud on "Strata Collide," the pipa on "Knocking Dust"--but his MO is singular: wonderfully strangulated tangles of notes arrive in brief bursts, then recede into gentle arpeggios or ominous single-note runs. Davis is a wonderful accompanist, cushioning Sullender's brittle sound in mahogany chords and spectral harmonics. This is Sullender's first local gig since moving to New York in fall 2005, where he's worked with electronic composer Maryanne Amacher. Fred Lonberg-Holm, Toby Summerfield, and Jaimie Branch open with a trio set.
a 9:30 PM, Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee, second floor, 773-342-4597, donation requested. A --Peter Margasak
appleseed cast The Appleseed Cast's most recent album, Peregrine (Militia Group), seemed to divide their fans: some thought it was too much of a left turn (more electronics, murkier vocals), others thought it was too familiar (another concept album of proggy, midtempo instrumentals). I'm afraid I side with the latter camp--the Appleseed Cast have proved themselves capable of taking on elaborate ideas and making coherent albums full of dramatic peaks, but for all their supposed experimentation they're not doing much that lots of atmospheric mopes haven't done before. Even their most memorable moments just sound like the Cure circa Pornography. Copeland headlines; Acute and Owen open. a 6 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $14 in advance, $16 day of show. A --Monica Kendrick
cELECTRICS See Wednesday. Tonight's lineup includes a quartet featuring Axel Dorner, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Raymond Strid, and Michael Zerang; a duo of Strid and Zerang; and a quartet featuring Sture Ericson, Kevin Davis (see Saturday for more on his show with Woody Sullender), Lonberg-Holm, and Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten. a 10 PM, Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, 773-935-2118, donation requested.
great sea serpents This local quartet, which features members of Small Brown Bike, When Something Fails, and Keleton DMD, among others, kept a pretty steady gig schedule up until a few months ago, when they retreated to the studio to finish a self-titled EP--this show is a release party for that disc. They play their slow mood pieces, built on clean and spiky guitar parts, so that every note sounds hard-won and suspenseful. Scouts Honor, Low Red Land, and Birds & Batteries open. a 8 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011 or 866-468-3401, $6 in advance, $8 day of show. --Monica Kendrick
cDAFNIS PRIETO QUINTET Since moving to New York in 1999 Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto has worked with Latin jazz heavyweights like Eddie Palmieri and Bebo Valdes as well as vanguard modernists like Henry Threadgill and Steve Coleman. It's easy to hear why: he's a prodigiously gifted technician who's distilled a world of rhythms into a signature style that throbs with Cuba's clave heartbeat. More frenetic than flashy, he's nearly always spooling out two or three distinct lines at a time, and as a composer Prieto covers just as much turf. Lately he's focused on leading his own bands. The recent Absolute Quintet (Zoho) features an oddly configured group--drums, saxophone, keyboards, cello, and violin--playing original work that ranges from postfusion liquidity to taut polyrhythmic rigor. Sometimes the electric tones of keyboardist Jason Lindner and the zigzagging unison arrangements have the hollow ring of fusion proper, but more often the group finds a fiery emotional core in Prieto's difficult compositions. For his local debut as a leader Prieto brings along saxophonist Yosvany Terry Cabrera and bassist Hans Glawischnig--who both appeared on his first album, About the Monks--as well as Peter Apfelbaum on tenor and Manuel Valera on piano. a 8 and 10 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $20 in advance, $25 at the door. --Peter Margasak
cST. LAWRENCE STRING QUARTET AND ANTON KUERTI The St. Lawrence Quartet, a Canadian group founded in 1989, has earned a reputation for spontaneity and informal persuasiveness. Their latest CD, of three Shostakovich quartets, stresses the music's humanity; it's less menacing than some recordings, and the playing--anchored by cellist Christopher Costanza, a former member of the Chicago String Quartet and the Chicago Chamber Musicians--is vibrant and never top-heavy. This concert was supposed to consist of Franck and Beethoven quartets, but the first violinist is bowing out to attend the birth of his child. The remaining members will become a trio, playing Dohnanyi's Serenade in C Major, op. 10, an early-20th-century piece that looks backward rather than forward. They'll be joined by pianist Anton Kuerti, who's given to eccentric but compelling interpretations, in a performance of Mozart's Piano Quartet in G Minor, K. 478--a real joy--and Schumann's lyrical Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, op. 47. Musicologist Stephanie Ettelson will give a free lecture at 2 PM. a 3 PM, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, 847-482-1714, $30, $20 for ages 40 and under, $12 for students. --Steve Langendorf
cMC TRACHIOTOMY When this New Orleans lifer takes the stage, for the first few minutes you might think you're in for a sort of ODB-meets-Lawrence Welk thing--some white dude in a fusty golfer getup saying crazy shit over cream-puff funk. But that's just the bait in his bait-and-switch routine: Right when you start to get a little comfy, maybe even bored, he starts sounding like drugs. I'm not even sure which drugs. He constricts his vocal cords until he sounds like a cartoon anus, rapping about sucking on "boobie sacks," and the music takes a sharp left turn--soon he's growling nonsense over whacked bursts of Drum Buddy, downstairs-neighbor bass bumps, whooshing static, shattered-glass synth ramblings, and what sounds like a snake charmer playing a car horn, while incomprehensible vocals with a tone like some psychedelic brass instrument natter in the background. His songs dilate and contract, so it's hard to tell if they're hectic or lazy--some sections feel interminable, others snap shut before you have a chance to really hear them, and the total effect is to destroy your sense of how much time has passed. It's best not to struggle when you fall into his quicksand traps--what I want to know is how the hell he navigates these tracks himself. He Not In and Microshards open this show, the last in Reversible Eye's "Public Image Enemy" series. See also Tuesday. a 7 PM, Reversible Eye Gallery, 1103 N. California, 773-862-1232, $10. A --Liz Armstrong
cMC TRACHIOTOMY See Monday. Gypsy Feelings and DJ Brian Klein open. a 10 PM, Red-I, 2201 S. Wentworth, 312-927-7334, $3.
WITCHCRAFT, DANAVA One thing I like about the current revival of simple, straightforward 70s-style metal is its faithfulness--it even replicates the hierarchy of the original scene. Every band still wants to be Black Sabbath, but just like in the olden days, there's a whole stable of second and third stringers, the groups some headbangers dig and others throw toilet paper at. Sweden's Witchcraft are a prime example--their newest, Firewood (Rise Above), is a raw and spirited reconstruction of Pentagram that somehow isn't actually all
that exciting. Now that they appear to have their visa problems figured out, we'll see what good sports they
can be if double-quilted projectiles should start to
fly. --Monica Kendrick
I used to think Danava were serious about their heathen dirt rock--right up until I saw the picture of the band in the booklet to their self-titled debut (Kemado). The lead singer's standing there with his long hair and bangs, his shirt wide open, clutching a chalice in his right hand. Sorry, but the only way you can hold a chalice and not look ironic is if you're also holding a human skull--and we're talking one you skinned and boiled yourself. But if you can handle that silliness and consider yourself a connoisseur of Mountain, Cactus, or any other purveyor of 12-minute intergalactic boogie jams, you should definitely hitch a ride on Danava's steed. --Jessica Hopper
Witchcraft headline, Danava play second, and Velcro Lewis & His 100 Proof Band open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10.
DAT POLITICS See Thursday. Kevin Blechdom opens. a 9 PM, Hallowed Grounds, Reynolds Club, University of Chicago, 5706 S. University, second floor, 773-702-8289. F A
cELECTRICS Derek Bailey and Evan Parker pioneered free improvisation in the 60s by doing away with idiomatic trappings, but since then the free-improv vocabulary has become just as restrictive as the conventions of mainstream jazz. The members of north European quartet the Electrics represent an emerging international community of musicians who reject all fixed notions of genre. Recorded in Stockholm last year, the group's excellent new Live at Glenn Miller Cafe (Ayler) was improvised on the spot, but the players aren't afraid to swing, deliver straight-ahead melodies, or bump up against one another to explore extreme harmonies. Driven by explosive Swedish drummer Raymond Strid--best known as a member of Gush with reedist Mats Gustafsson and pianist Sten Standell--the Electrics can play free jazz with the fiery intensity of 60s icons like Albert Ayler and Peter Brotzmann, but they're not all about blowing down the house. German trumpeter Axel Dorner, one of the instrument's most versatile practitioners, can veer from postbop phrasing to splashes of unpitched breath; on the disc he employs one of his trademark tricks, making his horn sound like a car engine turning over. He and Swedish reedist Sture Ericson shadow each other like seasoned beboppers, while Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten (now based in Chicago) both grounds and propels the music. This is the quartet's first Chicago appearance; Ken Vandermark spins between sets. Members also play in small groups with local musicians earlier in the week at the Hungry Brain; see Sunday for more info. And for those reading this on Thursday, November 9, Electrics members perform at 9 PM at Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee; call 773-772-3616. a 9:30 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $10. --Peter Margasak
Norfolk & Western Listening to this Portland band's fifth album, The Unsung Colony (Hush), you could easily imagine you've heard it before. It's melancholy and lush, haunted by strings, and a burst of guitar occasionally shoots adrenaline into the funereal heart of one of its literary story-songs. (Any band named after a railroad line has to sound sad, right?) But considering that the need to repeatedly dredge up old sorrows is practically a part of our national psyche, you could do a lot worse. For All the Sweet Children, Corrina Repp, and Darling open.
a 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $7. --Monica Kendrick
cTYFT This muscular trio, led by Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson and including drummer Jim Black and reedist Andrew D'Angelo, has always been up to its ears in rock and noise music. But the group goes for broke on the superb new Meg Nem Sa (Skirl), delivering concise, abrasive melodies behind Black's Bonham-esque wallop. (The opening track isn't called "Led Tyftelin" for nothing.) Jensson keeps busy tracing chord patterns, playing extended lines, and unleashing acidic torrents of noise, so it's up to D'Angelo to play the tricky melodies, which he does with precision and a biting tone. Jensson wrote most of the tunes with composing software, and though there's a schematic quality to some of the music, the hot-blooded performances bristle with tension and contrast: on "Hilsner," for instance, D'Angelo's hooky, sour sax rubs up against Black's stuttering, behind-the-beat clatter and Jensson's pointillistic groove. There are a few atmospheric interludes, but mostly Tyft sounds like a seasoned rock band, taking music that would sound like dull prog in the wrong hands and infusing it with punkish energy. a 8:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8 in advance, $10 day of show. --Peter Margasak
dat politics As video games become more like virtual action movies, electronic music is moving into the territory they've abandoned--not just by swiping the tinny, mechanical sound of vintage games, but by simulating the obliteration of consciousness that comes from playing Atari 2600 for 16 hours stoned on ditch weed. The French trio DAT Politics perfectly capture that hands-eye-ear-minus-brain spasticity on Wow Twist (Chicks on Speed), their sixth album. "Turn My Brain Off" channels Plastic Bertrand; "Viper Eyes" transforms a shrill mantra into digital irritainment. Kevin Blechdom and Crippled Insectual open. See also Wednesday.
a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. --J. Niimi
small sins This Toronto band was called the Ladies and Gentlemen until early this year, when the inconvenient number of groups with similar names prompted a change. So now they're named after their recent debut, Small Sins (Astralwerks), an unassuming electronic pop record that's full of loopy, pleasantly insidious hooks. Front man Thomas D'Arcy, who played most of the instruments on the disc, sings with a whisper-in-your-ear intimacy that's perfect for his lyrics, which document myriad aspects of that long, deflating moment when youthful romanticism drifts into young-adult aimlessness. The Little Ones and the Big Sleep open.
a 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8 in advance, $10 at the door, 18+. --Monica Kendrick
under the influence of giants These LA-based fashion victims were recently singled out for special attention as part of Clear Channel's Discover Music program, which as far as I can tell is just a way to slap a corporate kiss of death on unsuspecting artists who happen to be radio friendly. The pop-rock tunes on their self-titled debut on Island, filled with slick, Gibb-worthy falsettos, sound expansive enough to merit all the A and R attention, but these guys might've done better back when labels threw signing parties on yachts. As Fast As and Brother Man Dude open. a 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $8 in advance, $10 at the door, 18+. --Monica Kendrick