cADULT., TUSSLE Perhaps the truest line in the verbose manifesto that accompanies Adult.'s fourth album, Why Bother? (Thrill Jockey), is the relatively concise "We lack a casualness." With the urgent restlessness and monomaniacal focus of speed freaks, husband-and-wife duo Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus cut away the bullshit of new-wave revivalism to produce graceful, darkwavey interludes and ferocious Suicide-esque eruptions that feel downright vital. Even their most singsongy moments have a sort of surreal quality, disorienting and reorienting, as though they came about through some sort of automatic-writing session. --Monica Kendrick
There's never been any doubt that Tussle were following the lead of minimalist funk bands like Liquid Liquid and ESG. But even by their own previous standards they sound surprisingly stripped-down on last year's superb Telescope Mind (Smalltown Supersound): nothing but lean percussion, heavy bass, and taut keyboards. The record feels a little eggheady at points--Tussle aren't as concerned with rocking the house as their forebears--but the songs are still infectious and funky as all get-out. --Peter Margasak
Adult. headlines; Parts & Labor and Tussle open. a 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $12.
KENT BURNSIDE Kent Burnside, grandson of the late R.L. Burnside, who helped popularize the single-chord "trance blues" of northern Mississippi, plays a rock-based version of that style on his recent debut, Cotton Field Disco. His voice is coarse and on guitar his tone is astringent and uncertain, which adds an edge-of-collapse tension to his playing. But he drives his rough, rattling music at full speed, threatening to plow through everything in his path, from chord changes to sidemen--despite his fondness for modern sounds, he'd fit right in at the sweaty backwoods jukes where R.L. and his friends used to hold forth. Burnside is touring with his regular band, the New Generation. a 9:30 PM, Rosa's Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage, 773-342-0452, $10. (If you're reading this on Thursday, May 3, you may also be able to catch them on the House of Blues Back Porch Stage, where they play at 9:30 PM.) --David Whiteis
GORE GORE GIRLS Protectors of maidenly virtue were certain that the teen Runaways were cruelly exploited by Svengali Kim Fowley, but when he cowrites a song with Detroit's Gore Gore Girls ("Pleasure Unit," on the forthcoming Get the Gore) there's no question who's in the driver's seat. In the past ten years these hard-playing reclaimers of all things girly and garage have released only two full-length albums, but the live show's the point--especially if you're the type that can appreciate a swift go-go boot to the head. Farewell Captain and Panther Style open. a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10, 21+. --Monica Kendrick
Steven isserlis & kirill gerstein British cellist Steven Isserlis is known for championing neglected works and composers, but he also brings a sense of spontaneity and discovery to the familiar repertoire. His use of gut strings and reduced vibrato give him a small but intensely expressive sound best suited to a chamber format. Here he's joined by rising 27-year-old Russian pianist Kirill Gerstein for a program of Russian music that includes Shostakovich's Cello Sonata, a youthful work that foreshadows the agitation and melancholy to come, and Anton Rubinstein's irresistibly romantic First Sonata. Also on the program are shorter works by Glazunov, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, and Julius Isserlis, the cellist's grandfather. a 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th, 773-702-8068, $30, $11 for students. --Steve Langendorf
cCAPTAIN YONDER I've been championing this Minnesota band ever since they first crept onto the folk-rock scene--back when front man Ryan Pfeiffer claimed his songs were actually written by a mythical Captain Jack Yonder--and they've only gotten better since. Their new fourth album, Good-Bye, Woland! (Strange Midge), was recorded in Tucson with Craig Schumacher, whose resume--Calexico, Robyn Hitchcock, Iron & Wine, Neko Case--also happens to make for a good recommended-if-you-like list. Good-Bye is another collection of sleek, delicate, string-laden songs with grim and ghostly imagery that at times is laid on a bit thick: "Ode to a Trucker 9" feels like "Ghost Riders in the Sky" played by a stoned Handsome Family. Also included is a version of the trad murder ballad "Banks of the Ohio," a song every band like this has to try its hand at eventually. a 8:30 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $5. --Monica Kendrick
cBA CISSOKO No, this Guinean kora player and vocalist can't clear the bar for sonic innovation set by Jimi Hendrix. That understood, the title Electric Griot Land (Totolo) gives you a pretty good idea about the contents of his bold second album. Cissoko's sound is grounded in the hypnotic, circular structures of ancient Mande songs, but the interlocking lines played on traditional instruments like kora, balafon, ngoni, calabash, and djembe are often run through guitar effects like wah-wah. Cissoko strays from tradition in other ways too: "Africa" takes on a reggae feel, and Toronto-based Somalian MC K'naan drops some rhymes on "Silani." Really, though, this music wouldn't sound terribly different minus those flourishes: it gets its ebullient snap from the heavy insinuation of the grooves and the tight ensemble work of the four-piece band, and Cissoko's strong, soulful singing and natural charisma give it its broad appeal. This is the group's Chicago debut. a 10 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $15. --Peter Margasak
cCOMPLICATED HORSE EMERGENCY Complicated Horse Emergency, aka sometimes-local artists Drew Ziegler and Randall Christopher Bailey, have created an elaborate set for their nonsense musical Time Never Stops (Mr. Most Smartest) that looks like a shantytown built by magpies, elves, and perverts. From one end or the other of this hand-painted 270-degree panorama of cobbled-together alley detritus, moronic psychopaths emerge--a dictator made of tin foil, a wiggly brain-eater, vampires who suck blood out of a giant ass--and commit purposeless acts of consumption, vandalism, or time travel. The plot, such as it is, involves a glamorously pointless pageant, but everything's so disorienting you won't have a clue what you're looking at--and Beau Wanzer's splooshy, demented, possibly evil analog soundtrack, clearly intended to incite a dance riot, won't help you sort things out at all. Don't wear clothes you'd be too uptight to ruin--last time these guys did something like this, the crowd ended up covered in whipped cream, gummy worms, and shredded paper, humping and falling all over one another in a celebratory orgy. Brilliant Pebbles, This Is My Condition, Sewn Leather, Tirra Lirra, and Fake Lake open; Erin Weber (formerly of Crack: We Are Rock) and Rotten Milk spin between sets. This show is part of the final weekend of Version>07; see Fairs & Festivals for more. a 8 PM, Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan, 773-837-0145, $10 suggested donation. A --Liz Armstrong
JAMES FALZONE'S ALLOS MUSICA As heard on the terrific new The Sign and the Thing Signified, this group led by clarinetist James Falzone is distinguished both by its mix of classically inspired, through-composed, and improvised material and by its instrumentation: the current lineup includes cellist Kevin Davis, violist Amy Cimini, bassoonist Katherine Young, bassist Krzysztof Pabian, percussionist Eric Platz, and Todd Carter on electronics. Through impressive use of counterpoint and a knack for encouraging discrete interaction among the players, Falzone keeps the group's unusual assemblage of dry timbres from blending into a single astringent wash. Whether on an adaptation of a Purcell aria or a solo clarinet vignette, the music maintains a bracing clarity and sense of focus. See also Sunday. On Monday Falzone, Cimini, Davis, and Young perform as part of Jorrit Dijkstra's Game Pieces Septet at Gallery 37. a 8 PM, Ossia Fine Arts Space, Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan #537. 773-220-2356, $15 or $25 with a copy of the CD. A -Peter Margasak
ILLINOIS You'd figure the fuzzy slacker indie-rock well would've run dry back in the 90s, when a thousand Pavement clones drank their fill. But somehow there's still something in there, and the proof is on this Pennsylvania band's new Ace Fu EP, What the Hell Do I Know? Sure, they aren't doing anything someone wasn't doing ten years ago, but that doesn't make the low-key pleasure they provide any less pleasurable. The Kooks headline. a 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, sold out. A --Miles Raymer
AMON TOBIN As Amon Tobin has moved from jazzy drum 'n' bass to percussion-driven epics of classical density and sweep, his music has developed a distinct Russian-steppe flavor. Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Khachaturian gallop across the soundscapes of his recent albums, and his rhythms have the same somewhat Middle Eastern lilt those composers all share. On the new Foley Room (Ninja Tune) it's as though Tobin has steered the troika northward, to plunder an avant-garde conservatory in Saint Petersburg. He's made a career of transforming samples, but his sources here--motorbikes, insects, half-submerged cymbals, the Kronos Quartet--are often nonmusical and largely recorded by his own hand, which gives the sound a Neubauten-meets-Matmos immediacy. The results are more focused, less symphonic, and "artier" than before--but still packed with tricky hooks, hammering beats, and oh-my-God explosive peaks. DJs Chris Widman and Luke Stokes of WLUW's Abstract Science show open. a 11:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16, 18+. --Brian Nemtusak
JAMES FALZONE'S ALLOS MUSICA See Saturday. The Jorrit Dijkstra/Tony Malaby Quintet headlines. a 10 PM, Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, 773-935-2118, donation requested.
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM On YouTube right now, there's a pitch-perfect parody campaign ad smearing James Murphy as a hypocrite: a maker of dance music who hates dance music. It encapsulates his transformation from DIY rocker to club auteur, which paralleled a change in the boundaries of hipster discourse, i.e., the moment it became OK to like disco again. Sound of Silver (DFA/Capitol), the major-label follow-up to LCD's 2005 debut, arrives as those boundaries have shifted again to make radio pop OK too, and accordingly Murphy has announced himself as a Top 40 hopeful. The album is tighter and more streamlined than the bag-o'-singles debut, but the emphasis is still on visceral pleasure and sharp wit. Yacht opens. This show is sold out, but for five bucks you can see Murphy DJ downstairs at Smart Bar afterward, along with two members of his live band, drummer Pat Mahoney and guitarist Al Doyle (also of Hot Chip); Tim Heit and James Lauer spin first. a 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203, sold out, 18+. --J. Niimi
cornelius On Sensuous (Everloving), his first album in five years, Japanese pop polymath Cornelius (aka Keigo Oyamada) continues to push his cut-and-paste aesthetic: the ping-pong melody on the title track, for instance, is actually a meticulous channel-shifting collage of one- and two-note acoustic-guitar samples. It's an impressive technique, and what's more, he usually makes it sound fun. A live Cornelius show is a top-shelf multimedia event: he projects abstract animations and found footage that's painstakingly synced to every note, requiring precision work by his band. It'll be a special kick to see how he adapts that approach to the crazily detailed bricolage on the new album. Holy Fuck opens. a 7:30 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212, $18. A --Peter Margasak
RTX Just as I was about to write off Western Xterminator (Drag City), the second album from Jennifer Herrema's post-Royal Trux band, as cliched, tongue-in-cheek, half-assed hair metal, it took a turn. Suddenly it started to seem actually scary, like half-human, half-animal growls coming from the woods at night--or like meeting a sexy, dissolute stranger on a train platform who looks like she'd just as soon toss you onto the rails as jump your bones. Totimoshi 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. --Monica Kendrick
cEL-P I would imagine that having the sort of life where you can call up Trent Reznor just to chat or get Chan Marshall to record backup vocals for your album would be pretty fucking rad. But if El-P derives any joy from it, he's not letting on. The rapper, producer, and Def Jux honcho has always been one of the tweakiest dudes in the rap underground, which loves charismatic MCs who can convince you they're mentally unstable, and his new I'll Sleep When You're Dead (Definitive Jux) sounds like a straight-up nervous breakdown. The beats are like classic hip-hop run through a suitcase of distortion pedals and an acid bath, and when El-P and his gang of indie-famous guest MCs (Cage, Aesop Rock, Slug, Mr. Lif) tell us how they really feel, it's usually somewhere north of "totally freaking out, man" but just shy of psychosis. In less capable hands this might take a wrong turn into unintentional comedy, but like Reznor--who contributes production work and vocals to one track here--El-P has the forceful persona and daredevil musical imagination to make his downward spiral a compelling ride. Hangar 18, Yak Ballz, and Slow Suicide Stimulus open. a 10 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $20, $18 in advance, 18+. --Miles Raymer
cTOMAS KORBER In solo recordings, this Swiss guitarist and sound artist often forces his long-form abstractions into overly familiar quiet-loud-quiet structures. The 19-minute "Thermo," from 2005's Effacement, starts out as a slow-growing collage of electronic glitches, like a petri dish seeded with squiggling static. Then, at the six-minute mark, Korber finds the overdrive switch, transforming these sounds into lacerating white noise, like an overmatched old TV pulling in a UHF channel that's signed off for the night; finally the level drops and everything just fades away. I much prefer his collaborative work, where the shapes of the pieces seem driven by decisions the players make on the fly. On the recent Zurcher Aufnahmen (released by the local Longbox label), Korber, Jason Kahn (synthesizer, percussion), and Christian Weber (upright bass) draw from a narrow palette of sounds--electronic hums, subtly resonant clanging, the occasional bowed bass note--and allow them to swell and recede in response to unpredictable details that arise from their improvisations. Tonight Korber headlines in a trio with Chicagoans Olivia Block and Adam Sonderberg; Guillermo Gregorio, Brian Labycz, and Jason Roebke play second and Salvatore Dellaria opens with a solo set. a 8 PM, Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee, 773-772-3616, donation requested. A --Peter Margasak
PETER BJORN AND JOHN It's easy to hate Peter Bjorn and John for their music-media omnipresence, their poor punctuation skills, and their annoyingly affable Scandinavian-ness--and I do. But after months of bombardment, their precision-engineered pop single "Young Folks" finally got to me. On one level I know I don't like my music this well-scrubbed and presentable, but something way back in my lizard brain is apparently quite vulnerable to a great whistle line. Au Revoir Simone opens the early show, Fujiya & Miyagi the late one. a 7 and 10:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, both shows sold out. --Miles Raymer
cGIANNI GEBBIA This astounding Sicilian reedist, whose main instruments are the alto and sopranino saxophones as well as the flute, can play in almost any style and sometimes several at once. On Arcana Maior, a series of solos played in response to a tarot deck, he merges hurtling sound columns a la Evan Parker with the chill lyricism of Jackie McLean. On the trio date People in Motion, with bassist Damon Smith and percussionist Garth Powell, he combines coarse drones and Zorn-like duck-call mayhem. And in his ongoing duo with bassist and electronicist Daniele Camarda, Dell'incertezza (which translates as "about uncertainty"), Gebbia manages an oil-and-water mix of breathy lyricism and pungent percussive pops. Tonight both he and Camarda will play solo, and then Gebbia will join the Valentine Trio (cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, bassist Jason Roebke, and drummer Frank Rosaly) for an improvised set. On Thursday Dell'incertezza plays as a duo and with other locals; see separate item. a 9:30 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $7. --Bill Meyer
ANGELCORPSE Scrolling through the long-neglected "official site" for this Florida death-metal band is, fittingly enough, like wandering arounda tomb--the entries documenting their 2000 breakup (keywords: van wreck, disappointing tour, fiancee, stab wound) might as well be blanketed with dust. Meanwhile, over at MySpace, a clawlike hand reaches from the grave. Angelcorpse's forthcoming comeback effort, Of Lucifer and Lightning (The End), is pure distilled brutality, uncluttered by a single original thought and all the more effective for it. Watain, Nachtmystium, Cianide, and Kommandant open. a 8 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $20. --Monica Kendrick
cGIANNI GEBBIA See Wednesday. Gebbia plays in the duo Dell'incertezza, which will then be joined by keyboardist Jim Baker and drummer Tim Daisy. a 10 PM, Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee, 773-772-3616, donation requested.