bald eagle Chances are you've heard Bald Eagle spin, even if you don't know his name: as the founder of the ubiquitous Life During Wartime DJ collective, dude gets around. And no black hoodies for him: he wore a giant eagle costume at his 30th birthday bash last summer, and he dons full yachting regalia for Stay Smooth, his "yacht rock" night at Schubas. Current selections on his MySpace jukebox: Shalamar, La Toya Jackson, funk trombonist Fred Wesley, and Meco's disco version of the Star Wars theme. Diplo headlines and Flosstradamus spins second. a 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140 or 312-559-1212, $15. --J. Niimi
black keys On Magic Potion (Nonesuch), Akron's Black Keys are still playing blues-rock that packs a mighty wallop, especially considering they're a duo. Problem is, guitarist Dan Auerbach keeps opening his mouth. Their chooglin' instrumental attack is grungy and raw, but whenever he strays from his usual Jack White-ish whine and plays soul man I'd rather be listening to Humble Pie. It's no coincidence that my favorite song on the album is "You're the One," a near ballad with a Lennon-esque melody and restrained vocals. The Patrick Sweany Band opens. See also Saturday. a 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $21. A --Peter Margasak
J-LIVE, iomos marad On his latest album, The Hear After (Penalty), New York MC and producer J-LIVE embraces old-school hip-hop values without sounding retro. Instead of trying to imitate busy, layered chart-topping tracks--his preference is for spare, loping funk beats--he concentrates on making sure you hear what he's saying, and his words are worth the attention. Whether he's boasting about his prowess as an MC ("I was new school late, I be old school early / My classics kicked the head of the class's ass") or ruminating about his days as a public-school teacher, he consistently brings a rare thoughtfulness and rigor to his work.
Local MC IOMOS MARAD is a kindred spirit; his 2003 debut, Deep Rooted, featured J-Live on one track. His new EP, Go Head, documents his growth as a blunt-talking truth seeker in the tradition of his cohorts on Chicago's All Natural label.
The lineup for this show, headliner first: J-Live, Iomos Marad, Eulorhythmics, Blended Babies, and Pathfinders.
a 9:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $13. --Peter Margasak
clovely feathers These Canadian indie rockers are the latest to follow the Stephen Malkmus method for putting a college degree to good use musically. On their debut, Hind Hind Legs (Equator), they make pop tradition sound like a perversion; between the full-band harmonies, the multilayered melodies, and the one dude who won't stop going "la la la," the record climbs to the shiniest of extremes. But the core of this light and fluffy music is actually dense and gratifying. And even if the clever lyrics are ever so absurd and ironic, they're never too obviously trying to sound cool. The band might be too straightforward to catch a ride on the post-Arcade Fire wave out of Montreal--and it may be too late anyway--but that's no reason to count them out. Probably Vampires and Fast Falls the Even Tide open. a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8, 18+. --Jessica Hopper
my morning jacket Following a venerable southern-rock tradition, My Morning Jacket has put out the inevitable double live album--this one's called Okonokos (ATO). But unlike the Allman Brothers, MMJ has plenty of studio material that translates naturally to the stage--its characteristically expansive and reverberant sound, along with Jim James's big, mournful melodies, obviate the need for extended dueling guitar leads or other indulgences. The album (and the DVD of the same title) features career-spanning high-water marks like "Lowdown," "At Dawn," and "Mahgeetah," as well as most of the 2005 disc Z. The Slip and Catfish Haven open. a 7:30 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, $25. A --J. Niimi
cplanes mistaken for stars There's so much about this Denver hipster-metal band that ought to be off-putting: artsy name, too-clever song titles, wrist-slitter lyrics, repetitive staccato punches. Oh--did I mention beards? It's like Planes Mistaken for Stars is trying to find some new level of profundity for testosterone. But these elements, rather than making for the most aggravating and flavorless Victory Records reject of all time, actually jell into something compelling--Mercy (Abacus), the band's newest, is far more sublime than it is absurd. I'll be damned if I can figure out how they did it--it sounds like they've boiled their influences down to just the gleaming bones. I keep listening to the record over and over, much to the annoyance of the city workers going at the sidewalk in front of my apartment with their jackhammers. Haymarket Riot, North Atlantic, and Viva La Foxx open. a 9 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011 or 866-468-3401, $8, $6 in advance. --Monica Kendrick
ctenacious d Tenacious D seems hell-bent on redressing the entirety of self-serious pop rock: on the sound track to their movie, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (Sony), Jack Black and Kyle Gass try so spasmodically hard to win you over that they sound like they're about to bust hernias. But that only adds to the charm. The joke about Tenacious D being the "world's greatest rock band," of course, is that they suck--they're like the pothead lunatics in your dorm who burst into people's rooms at 3 AM, bashing out profane, made-up "songs" on barely tuned guitars. Except Tenacious D are the ultimate expression of that ethos: they're the rock stars of sucking, and at times they're as entertaining as entertainment gets. On "The Government Totally Sucks," Black sings "They're takin' all the fuckin' beautiful animals / And makin' 'em fuckin' exti-i-i-inct!"--delivering that last word in a bombastic vibrato a la Ronnie James Dio, who cameos on the mini rock opera "Kickapoo." How long can these jokes retain their punch? Their 2001 debut hasn't left my iPod, and its tracks always seem to pop up whenever my peerless good taste starts to feel a tad oppressive. Neil Hamburger opens. a 8 PM, UIC Pavilion, 1150 W. Harrison, 312-413-5740 or 312-559-1212, $40. A --J. Niimi
black keys See Friday. Dr. Dog opens. a 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $21. A
cbrazilian girls The fun part of this deceptively named New York band--only one member is female, and none are Brazilian--is centerpiece Sabina Sciubba, who plays up her femme fatale image by dressing like a runway model and singing with a Euro-toned sangfroid that's particularly hard and frosty. On its second album, Talk to La Bomb (Verve Forecast), the group downplays its easy way with hooks by adding new-wave rhythmic jitters and anxious synths, offsetting moments of dreamy ethereality and soft dub by yanking the songs into more tense environments. Sciubba's lyrics flutter with a romanticism that for the most part her voice hardly indicates--her delivery is usually devoid of sweetness, no matter which of her five languages she's using--but when the band gives in and gets pretty she mutters along quite torchily. The Prairie Cartel opens. a Midnight, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16, 18+. --Jessica Hopper
holy roman empire This local quintet is still working last year's Lost in Landscapes EP (Hewhocorrupts Inc.), a wickedly strident assault of angular posthardcore. Front woman Emily Schambra, late of Long Distance Runner, injects a welcome shot of estrogen into the reedy arms of the band's Guyvillian nerd metal with her full-throated shriek. But it remains to be seen if they can write music as distinctive as the vocals. Sybris headlines; the Record Low and Dogme 95 open. a 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $10. --Monica Kendrick
ORANGES BAND, JOHN LENNOX The gleaming but brittle songs on the ORANGES BAND's 2005 breakthrough album, The World & Everything in It (Lookout), established front man (and former Spoon bassist) Roman Kuebler as a formidable songwriter of the too-clever-by-half-and-slightly-diffident-about-it school. He makes his winking pop allusions amid a seductive framework of rattling, spacious guitar pop, though he has a chilly reluctance to commit to any emotion more definitive than bittersweet. --Monica Kendrick
Singer-songwriter JOHN LENNOX has earned praise in Chicago and Montreal, the two cities he calls home, for 2005's self-released Into the Bull's Shoulder. The disc follows a 500-copy debut he recorded while studying contemporary poetry theory in Canada, before he quit school and headed south in his VW camper van. It's a fine collection of tuneful, countrified rock in the vein of Uncle Tupelo and Steve Earle, and features guest vocals from Thrill Jockey artist Angela Desveaux. --J. Niimi
The Oranges Band headlines, Red Eyed Legends play second, and John Lennox opens. Lennox also plays Thursday at Betty's Blue Star Lounge; see separate Treatment item for more. a 9 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011 or 866-468-3401, $8, $6 in advance.
cpere ubu Confronted with Pere Ubu, rock-encyclopedia-style career narrative proves insufficient--as do the nerves of most mortals. Oh, it may be possible to face David Thomas alone, at least when he's doing something relatively mundane--say, singing "Drunken Sailor" with all the authentic grotesquerie of a Melville hallucination on the latest Hal Willner theme anthology, Rogue's Gallery. But with the entire Ubu apparatus behind him, he's as ominous and paranoia-inspiring as the Red menace circa 1952. The band's new album--the 15th in its epic, shape-shifting journey--is Why I Hate Women (Smog Veil), allegedly conceived as "the Jim Thompson novel that Jim Thompson never wrote." Me, I can't imagine Thompson producing anything like this--maybe if, as a young man, he'd been assaulted in an alley by H.P. Lovecraft and Jack Kerouac on a laudanum bender, then set off to look for romance at a blurred-together sequence of midwestern bus stations. Carried on a burbling tide of bone-dry guitars and drums, a sad yowl like "But the rails have turned to rust and I see you laughing at the sea / E pluribus unum, honey, the dust will set us free" acquires the impact of your tomb slamming shut. A remix album, Why I Remix Women, is available only at shows and via mail order. Mahjongg opens. a 10 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $15. --Monica Kendrick
c+/- The +/- set I caught at CMJ a few weeks ago tore my asshole a new asshole. I was never a big fan of Versus (singer-guitarists James Baluyut and Patrick Ramos's old group), and I mainly thought earlier +/- albums were mildly clever revisions of Unrest's eclectic postpop. But the band's songwriting and chemistry have--and I know this term is thrown around loosely--matured dramatically. They opened their set with "Fadeout," a slow-burning fuse of a song from the new Let's Build a Fire (Absolutely Kosher) that showcases their greatest strengths: complementary riffs that interlock so tightly the guitarists could be joined at the hip, deliberate and tasteful deployment of neato pedal noises, and the ingenious drumming of Chris Deaner, who not only wallops a standard kit but uses laptop-connected pads to trigger a variety of vivid punches and sequences. I had no choice but to spray Yuengling all over the stage--and next to me, former Unrest front man Mark Robinson broke into berserker mode, geometrically jerking his camcorder around like a short-circuiting boom crane. The Changes headline both shows. a 7 PM (18+) and 10:30 PM (21+), Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $12. --J. Niimi
7000 dying rats This band's status as a Chicago institution means it's no big deal that they haven't played out in about three years--by now it's easy to assume they're never gonna go away for good. Considering they acquired that status by smirking in the self-serious face of death metal via slaphappy dick jokes and general half-assery, it's entirely appropriate that tonight's record-release gig, supposedly their only show anywhere to promote the new Season in Hell (Hewhocorrupts), is happening two months before the album actually comes out. Fortunately, you can count on metal geeks to leak like giant pissing cupid statues--someone's put an advance copy up online, and it's a monster. That's always been 7KDR's MO: letting you suspect they're only in it for laughs, then blowing you the fuck away. Hewhocorrupts and Plague Bringer open. a 8:30 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $7. A --Monica Kendrick
brenmar someday It's nice to finally hear Brenmar Someday's electro-pop cut loose from the powerfully generic voice of his regular collaborator Elissa P, who always comes across like Amy Lee of Evanescence running wild in a disco. His self-released A 16-Bit Theatre EP is a surprisingly assertive and eclectic offering, filled with big beats; it sounds like Someday's somehow been huffing old Tortoise and drum 'n' bass records. He opens for Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and Serengeti & Polyphonic the Verbose; DJ Tony Trimm spins throughout. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $7. --Jessica Hopper
cheetah chrome You can say this much for Cheetah Chrome: he's persistent. This weekend the ex-Dead Boy passes within hailing distance of some Rocket From the Tombs buddies, in town with Pere Ubu. Though the re-formed RFTT--which includes Chrome and two other original members, David Thomas and Craig Bell, as well as Television guitarist Richard Lloyd--is working on new material for an upcoming album, on his own Chrome seems happy to hawk the same old same old. The 7 Shot Screamers and the Black Beauties open. a 8 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011 or 866-468-3401, $12, $10 in advance. --Monica Kendrick
cslits There have been three major reasons why punk bands have re-formed over the past decade or so: the chance to cash in, the chance for a Big Chill-style reunion, or the chance to finally reap some long-overdue accolades. You could say that all of the above apply to the legendary Slits, who recently reemerged after a quarter century of deep freeze with only two original members--vocalist Ari Up and bassist Tessa Pollitt. The new five-piece lineup, which includes old scenemates Paul Cook and Steve Beresford, made its debut last year with a three-song EP, Revenge of the Killer Slits (S.A.F.), that felt a bit like a glorified jam session, even if you could still sense some of the old life force. Going by reviews of the current tour, it sounds like they're determined to claim a legacy--not necessarily as a groundbreaking feminist band, but for having the prescience to fuse punk and dub before the Clash thought to do it. (Apparently Ari has even been pointing out the "punk" and "dub" parts of each song as they play them.) Coughs play second, in what they're saying really is their last show this time, and the Drastics open; DJ Chuck Wren spins throughout. a 8:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $17, $15 in advance. A --Monica Kendrick
SOUNDS A few summers back these Swedes were the hot newbies of the Warped Tour--imagine Dale Bozzio fronting a captivating street-punk band. But on their latest album, Dying to Say This to You (New Line), they drink at the syrupy spring from which all Swedish pop flows: ABBA. The disc is like a new-wave cocaine hell presided over by Carlos D: flashy, vapid, familiar, punishing, glammy, and easy to dance to. The Shiny Toy Guns and Assassins open. a 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $17.50. A --Jessica Hopper
boyskout On the just-released Another Life (Three Ring), Boyskout sound tougher and tighter than on their 2004 debut--except for the moments when they're being coquettish. At their sweetest they could pass for a savvier Au Pairs. They're also no longer coy about their 80s-goth tendencies--but then again, who is? More compelling are the sullen sighs and queer-girl malaise of front woman Leslie Satterfield: whoever this lady is she loved and lost, it sure sounds like Satterfield's will to live left with her. Fortunately bassist Piper Lewine, a bit like Peter Hook, can put together lines that propel these dark tunes from the realm of the morose to a place where you might feel like partying. The Roman Numerals and Red Swan open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Jessica Hopper
ctokyo police club It's hard to find any flaws on Tokyo Police Club's debut, A Lesson in Crime (Paper Bag): clocking in at 16 and a half minutes, the EP's seven songs spring into action, say their piece, and clear out as quickly as they came, like a NASCAR pit crew. The Toronto quartet has been together only since last year; after a show at the 2005 Pop Montreal fest landed a demo in the hands of the Paper Bag folks, word quickly spread about the band's tight-wire, up-tempo postpunk hooks and lean melodies. Sure, their tunes often sound like those of a hundred contemporaries--the Strokes, Bloc Party, Radio 4, Interpol--but they've excised all the fuck-around. The EP has been picked up by top-shelf British indie Memphis Industries for a February release overseas (the "Nature of the Experiment" single came out this week), and the boys have quit school to hit the tour circuit with all cylinders firing. Good on 'em. The Modern Temper and the Idle Hands open. a 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10, 18+. --J. Niimi
cchicago symphony Orchestra When The Miraculous Mandarin premiered in Cologne in 1926 the audience walked out and the production was banned. Bela Bartok's jarring score became inseparable from the pantomime's sordid tale of deception, seduction, and brutality, and he responded by condensing the music into an orchestral suite. The complete score will be performed here, and the music is gripping--the instrumental timbre and phrasing perfectly matched to the characters, the events propelled by the rhythms. The program also includes Gyorgy Ligeti's Piano Concerto, with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. Treacherous for the performer and elusive for the listener, it reminds us that the piano is a percussion instrument. Ligeti's music, best known from the films of Stanley Kubrick, especially 2001: A Space Odyssey, has been called layered chaos, but the concerto is more fragmented, with notes and melodic scraps sliding past each other and occasionally colliding. The program opens with Maurice Ravel's orchestral version of his impressionistic homage to Schubert and the Viennese waltz, Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, which is impressively arranged but lacks the hypnotic simplicity of the original version for solo piano. Pierre Boulez conducts; musicologist Gerard McBurney will give a lecture at 7 PM in the Grainger Ballroom. The concert repeats December 1, 2, and 5; see cso.org for details. a 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $19-$119. --Steve Langendorf
john lennox See Saturday. Devin & the Straights headline. a 9:30 PM, Betty's Blue Star Lounge, 1600 W. Grand, 312-243-1699, $5.
BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND Jukebox staple Bob Seger belongs to a genre I call Stinky Feet Rock--you can tell just by his phlegm-clogged rasp that he's got odor issues. I don't know why this Michigan-bred white-collar biker is singing about breaking his back working on the Delta on the title tune of his long-delayed new studio album, Face the Promise (Capitol), but boy, does he ever sound like he's feelin' it. He's so chummy with the state of Alabama he calls it "Alley Bam," and the guitars burn rubber all over the ass-kissing chorus of overprocessed gospel singers that echoes the last words of his lines. "Everything I do is just a little wrong," he sings on "Wreck This Heart." Knowing is half the battle, Bob. Eric Church opens. a 7:30 PM, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont, 847-635-6601 or 312-559-1212, $65, sold out. A --Liz Armstrong