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kk rampage Prolific for a bunch of twerpy young burnouts, KK Rampage seem to put out music constantly--on seven-inches, CD singles, even cassettes--and they claim to have a stack of releases still in the pipeline, including a one-sided 12-inch on Rococo Records, a split seven-inch with AIDS Wolf, and a full-length on Gold Standard Labs. They say they think of themselves as a recording band, not a live act, but they play plenty of shows--and their puke-crusted guitar, boingy bass, and wild-eyed, foamy-mouthed lyrics are even better onstage than they are in your speakers. Occasionally they'll bust out some butt-rock guitar grandstanding, just because they can, but for the most part they're lewd, obnoxious, stripped bare, and sometimes literally naked--the kind of people who'll attack you unprovoked. So watch out. Or, I guess, enjoy. Opening are Night of the Hunter, Rebound Babies, and Daily Void (featuring former members of the Functional Blackouts). a 10 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $7, 18+. --Liz Armstrong

pillars and tongues Mark Trecka's loose collective Static Films spent the better part of a decade creating dreamy, hazy music, occasionally stumbling into dark places that even a young Nick Cave or Jeffrey Lee Pierce might have shunned. Technically the band has only undergone a name change, but Pillars and Tongues sounds like a different entity to me: the demos on the quartet's MySpace page are spacey yet more focused, tinged with the perspective of a meditative avant-gardist who longs to break out of the black and into the wild blue yonder. Tim Kinsella opens, followed by a reading by Burn Collector's Al Burian; Nora Brank spins between acts. a 10 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $6. --Monica Kendrick

dick prall On his third and most recent full-length, 2005's Fizzlebuzzie (White Rose), local singer-songwriter Dick Prall mines Matthew Sweet and Pete Yorn territory in alt-country-tinged pop-rock tunes that showcase his smoky but supple pipes and keen melodic ear. His lyrics are merely serviceable at times, but that's forgivable in light of songs like "Grand Marquee," with its grand horn crescendo, and the FM radio-ready "Underdecided." Towncrier opens. a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10. --J. Niimi

cJohn Sharp, Ani kavafian, Jorge Federico Osorio, Desiree Ruhstrat, and Michael Strauss Georg Solti hired cellist John Sharp in 1986, when Sharp was only 27, making him one of the youngest musicians ever appointed to a Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal chair. As a soloist with the orchestra he's performed Dvorak's Cello Concerto and Beethoven's Triple Concerto, with Itzhak Perlman and Daniel Barenboim. He consistently plays his section's solos with elegant phrasing and a gorgeous tone, and he has a remarkable ability to pick up a musical line from an unrelated instrument such as the clarinet and match its sound--all qualities essential to great chamber music making. For this program he'll be joined by violinist Ani Kavafian, local pianist Jorge Federico Osorio, violinist Desiree Ruhstrat, and violist Michael Strauss. They'll play Brahms's monumental, searingly passionate Piano Quintet in F Minor, op. 34, Mozart's Sonata for Violin and Piano in B-flat, K. 378, and Mozart's magnificent Piano Quartet no. 2 in E-flat, K. 493, one of the composer's finest chamber works to include the piano. a 7:30 PM, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Dr., Evanston, 847-467-4000, $25, $23 for seniors, $12 for students. --Barbara Yaross


cGORAN ALACHKI, ADRIJANA ALACHKA, AND LJUPCHO MANEVSKI Borders have frequently shifted around the land now known as the Republic of Macedonia--over the past two millennia it's been a Christian and pagan nation, ruled by Byzantines and Communists, and neighboring Greece still disputes its right to call itself Macedonia. As you might imagine, a place with this much history has a rich folk tradition, sorting generations of cultural confusions into poignant and mesmerizing song and dance forms. Goran Alachki is a master of Macedonian folk and its tricky time signatures--an accordionist and composer, he's performed professionally since he was 15, run a studio devoted to folk music, documented festival performances, and operated a music school since 1999. (He also travels often to give seminars and offers lessons through his Web site, He appears here with folk singer Adrijana Alachka, who's making her U.S. debut, and Ljupcho Manevski, lead dancer of Macedonia's national folk ensemble, Tanec. The three will be making multiple appearances during their three-day stint, which is the only midwest stop on their U.S. tour; see also Sunday and Monday. a 7 PM, St. Sophia Church, 404 Oakton, Des Plaines, 847-331-7842, $10. A --Monica Kendrick

ants From William Burroughs's old stomping grounds, Lawrence, Kansas, come the Ants, a rickety, vaguely romantic indie-folk group specializing in chilling id journeys and eerie images. Led by songwriter Chad Bryan (he and bassist Brad Nichols are the only mainstays), they remind me not only of the Violent Femmes at their grimmest and half the Upland Records roster at their most lucid but also that guy who lived in a trailer down the road when I was a kid who liked to lie on the asphalt on warm days and sun himself like a snake. The Ants haven't put out anything since Chinese Democracy, a 2005 split with Ole Mossy Face, but on this tour they're previewing songs from Ideabreaker, due on Chicago's Sick Room Records this spring. Male opens. a 9 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Monica Kendrick

goldstars Most of this quartet's members come from two groups with higher profiles, Poi Dog Pondering and the New Duncan Imperials, but for a party band that knows how to leave a house satisfied it's hard to beat the Goldstars. Bassist-vocalist Matt Favazza brings some of the infectious pop energy of his previous outfit, the late, underrated Krinkles; the Goldstars' 2006 release, Purple Girlfriend (Pravda), is distinguished by a dogged devotion to an off-kilter sense of soul--not to mention some killer organ parts. The Teenage Imposters open; Peter Margasak spins after. a 9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Monica Kendrick


cGORAN ALACHKI, ADRIJANA ALACHKA, AND LJUPCHO MANEVSKI See Saturday. The three perform with the Macedonian band Legenda at an Orthodox Christmas celebration here; they'll also lead all-ages workshops on Macedonian music and dance at 2 and 5 PM today at the Hamlin Park field house, 3035 N. Hoyne; tickets are $15 per workshop or $25 for both. a 7 PM, Saints Peter & Paul Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral Hall, 9660 Broadway, Crown Point, Indiana, 847-331-7842, $15, $7 children. A


cGORAN ALACHKI, ADRIJANA ALACHKA, AND LJUPCHO MANEVSKI See Saturday. Manevski leads a Macedonian dance workshop featuring music by Alachki and Alachka. a 7:30 PM, Lake Street Church, 607 Lake, Evanston, 847-331-7842, $5. A

cococoma This not-quite-side project--Headache City front man Mike Fitzpatrick on keyboard, Headache City drummer Lisa Roe on guitar, and Lisa's husband Bill, formerly of the Latest, on drums and vocals--put out its excellent debut single this spring on the local Shit Sandwich label. It's three tracks of thick, springy garage rock, so lush with guitar fuzz and Farfisa swells you could call it "phat" without feeling too silly. Plus when Bill sings himself hoarse he sounds pleasantly like Mike Hudson from the Pagans. Subsequent singles on Covert Pop and Goner really have me itching to hear the band's first full-length, due later this year. Vee Dee headlines, Plastic Crimewave Sound plays second, and CoCoComa opens.

a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401. F --Monica Kendrick

tom vollman It's not a put-down to say you think you've heard Tom Vollman's songs before--he plays heartland rock, a form where tradition is more important than originality. As the front man of the Milwaukee-based band Moonshine Sway, he finds a few new twists and turns in the old paths that John Mellencamp and the Bottle Rockets have roamed. But his gravelly, passionate vocals and detailed lyrics are showcased to better advantage when he plays solo, as on his new self-released disc, Live in Chicago, which was recorded at Wise Fools Pub last October. He'll play solo material here, backed by his Moonshine Sway bandmates, as part of an evening billed as a birthday party for Elvis. Lucky Jackson & Friends and John Wasem open. a 9 PM, Wise Fools Pub, 2270 N. Lincoln, 773-929-1300, $5. --Monica Kendrick


cPONYTAIL Ponytail are so distinctive that any attempt to describe what they sound like winds up coming off like a half insult. For instance, you might want to say that singer Molly Siegel sounds like both a cat and a dog, or that Ken Seeno and Dustin Wong's guitar parts are like a hybrid of riffs from Yes's Fragile and Led Zeppelin II with extreme finger-tapping tossed in--except, you know, more punk. Ponytail are something special, a virtuosic, art-damaged, (and OK, one more) Deerhoof-ish four-piece, capable of biting the Simpsons theme and turning it into a squeaky, tempestuous supersolo. Their debut, Kamehameha (Creative Capitalism), was one of the best surprises of 2006 (not to mention one of the best packaged releases of the year), and further evidence--along with releases from fun, doin'-it-their-own-way bands like Lexie Mountain, Lo Moda, and Sand Cats--that Baltimore is weirdo central. The Great Sea Serpents headline and Tim Kinsella & Amy Cargill open. a 8 PM, Ronny's, 2101 N. California, 773-235-6591, $6. --Jessica Hopper


FRENCH KICKS French Kicks' 2002 debut, One Time Bells, initially inspired a lot of "next Strokes" talk from would-be tastemakers, but the lack of follow-up hype may have been a blessing. Two Thousand (Vagrant), released in July, is the type of record that might have been labeled a disappointment coming from an indie-pop It Band, but stripped of expectations its low-level thrum has a pretty, muted glimmer. And the sustained balance of tension and mellowness makes it an exceptional soundtrack for your next Zach Braff moment. This show is part of the Tomorrow Never Knows festival; see page 24 for a complete schedule. Headlights, Skybox, and Eagle Seagull open; Flosstradamus DJs upstairs. a 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, 18+, $15. --Miles Raymer


CURTAINS Last spring Chris Cohen quit the killer art-pop quartet Deerhoof to focus on this earlier project. He plays just about everything on the fourth Curtains album, the recent Calamity (Asthmatic Kitty), and those familiar with his Deerhoof work will recognize the aesthetic here--a post-McCartney pop sensibility seemingly shattered in a fall and haphazardly reassembled. Nimble bass lines try to make sense of a choppy mix of meandering melody, chintzy keyboards, brittle guitar, and the occasional horn part. Repeated listens suggest that Cohen has an ingenious sense of sideways structure; this record might have been a real accomplishment if not for his whiny, watery vocals, which perpetuate the worst excesses of indie-rock singing like they were virtues. The live band includes guitarist Nedelle Torrisi and keyboardist Annie Lewandowski. Sharks and Seals plays second; Death Ships open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Peter Margasak

Dr. Dog The difference between Dr. Dog and most bands that get called Beatlesque is that Dr. Dog isn't shooting for Sgt. Pepper's-style psychedelic grandeur. They're going more for a loose and jammy White Album vibe, and they do a surprisingly good job of sounding like a bunch of millionaire geniuses fucking around. Their 2004 album, Easy Beat, and 2006 EP, Takers and Leavers (both on Park the Van Records), are long on hazy grooves and short on stupid in-jokes and subliminal commands to ignite the final race war. A new full-length, We All Belong, is due in February. This show is part of the Tomorrow Never Knows festival; see page 24 for a complete schedule. Margot & the Nuclear So and So's headline, Dr. Dog plays third, the Bees (U.S.) play second, and Brooklyn Bridegrooms open; Bald Eagle & Friends and Popstatic spin upstairs. a 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $15, $50 for a five-show pass, 18+. --Miles Raymer

cDELFEAYO MARSALIS Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis seems content to stay in the shadow of his famous musical family; although he's an established producer who's guided sessions for Jeff "Tain" Watts, Terence Blanchard, and Harry Connick Jr., he's released only two albums as a leader since his 1992 debut. The recent Minions Dominion (Troubadour Jass), released in September but recorded in 2002, doesn't offer any real surprises--Marsalis sticks to the 60s postbop model his older brothers found fame with in the 80s. Still, it's a solid, deeply enjoyable outing delivered by a seasoned crew, including the great Elvin Jones (two years before he died), pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassists Eric Revis and Bob Hurst III, and saxophonists Donald Harrison and Branford Marsalis. Delfeayo's touring band isn't featured on the record but includes players like pianist Anthony Wonsey and saxophonist Mark Shim, who are fluent in a variety of jazz styles. Bassist David Pulphus and drummer Jeff Fajardo round out the group. a 7 and 9:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $35, $30 in advance. --Peter Margasak

son of gunnar, ton of shel While Aram Shelton has kept up his links to Chicago's jazz and improv scene since he moved to California a year and a half ago--in local performances with Dragons 1976, Fast Citizens, and Grey Ghost, for instance--the multi-instrumentalist has also formed some new partnerships. He and Icelandic guitarist Gudmundur Steinn Gunnarsson formed Son of Gunnar, Ton of Shel in the fall of 2005, when they both enrolled at Mills College; on their self-titled debut, which Edgetone will release later this year, they use signal processing to dissolve the boundaries between acoustic and electronic sounds. On one of the CD's six unnamed tracks, Shelton's bass clarinet snakes patiently through a maze of independently spinning percussion, reed, and guitar loops; elsewhere reed and string tones pixelate into fields of brittle chimes. The duo headlines this show; Architeuthis Walks on Land and the Labycz Sprikut Duo open. On Friday, January 12, Son of Gunnar, Ton of Shel opens for Never Enough Hope at the Empty Bottle. a 8:30 PM, Enemy, 1550 N. Milwaukee, third floor, 773-318-8685 or 312-493-3657, $5 suggested donation. A --Bill Meyer

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