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friday7

LINDSAY ANDERSON With her solo debut, If (unrelated to the 1968 Malcolm McDowell movie by the late director who shares her name), L'altra veteran Lindsay Anderson has made a record that could easily be a lost gem from the 90s heyday of Chicago art-rock--maybe a 1998 Edith Frost album with a couple Sea and Cake guys on it. Anderson has a beautiful voice with just a hint of torchy sexiness, and her skill at creating luminous space in her arrangements is the sort of thing it takes years to develop. Her band includes cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, still redefining ubiquity, and Pat Samson, a former U.S. Maple drummer exploring his sensitive side. For this release party, Anderson will perform If in its entirety. The Uglysuit opens and John Londay spins. a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8. --Monica Kendrick

c david Bazan David Bazan has put the Pedro the Lion moniker to bed after years of hard use and is now a "solo dude"--not that big a change for him, really, since PTL was always just Bazan and whoever else wasn't busy for the next few weeks. He's lightened up musically, but his tongue just keeps getting sharper by the song. His solo debut, last year's Fewer Moving Parts (Barsuk), sounds like the ol' boy lashing out after a decade of Christian decorum. Hardly anyone is spared--Bazan has choice words for aspiring bands, record labels, rock critics, the current administration, Christ and his followers, and of course for himself. "Backwoods Nation," which has been a live staple since Bush came to office, grows more poignant by the day: "Calling all frat boys / To trade in their hazing / Their keggers and cocaine / And casual date raping / For Cabinet appointments / And Rose Garden tapings." Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and Gaberdine open. a 9:30 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $12, 18+. --Jessica Hopper

BLOC PARTY These Brits are kicking off a North American tour in Chicago, thanks to the ineffable charm of Hideout co-owner Tim Tuten: "How about Bloc Party for our block party, wouldn't that be funny?" he asked the band's agent, and here they are headlining the first night. They're just two albums in (this winter Vice released A Weekend in the City), but Bloc Party have already turned a lot of heads with their graceful collision of sweeping, heroic guitar rock and cosmopolitan, pan-English dance music--not to mention how they respond to every chill in Britain's political climate with an appropriate shiver. "Hunting for Witches," their latest single, is a hard look at the blurry line between vigilantism and paranoia, with a hint of Clash noir. Drummer Matt Tong DJs at Sonotheque after the show. a 8:30 PM, Hideout Block Party (complete schedule, page 34), South Stage, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $25, $20 in advance, $35 in advance for a two-day pass. A --Monica Kendrick

Harvey sid fisher YouTube and MySpace have given Harvey Sid Fisher a new lease on schmooze: he recorded his trademark "Astrology Songs" back in the mid-80s, but people like them so much they still invite him out and probably buy him drinks to boot. For his midwest Zodiac Tour, he'll be backed by Iowa-based quasi-punk folkies the Miracles of God, whose droll school-of-hard-knocks approach should help ground his lyrics ("First I must see what you have for a brain / For me to be reached on a physical plane /. . . I am an Aquarian"). Fisher will also have two female backup singers for his "Battle of the Sexes" song cycle, which was tooth-grindingly dated right out of the box--think Meat Loaf and Ellen Foley sparring as stand-ups in a Holiday Inn Lounge. Mr. Fisher, if you're wondering, is a Sagittarius. The Miracles of God also play a short set; Roommate opens. a 9 PM, Ronny's, 2101 N. California, myspace.com/ronnysbar, $7. --Monica Kendrick

cSPOKANE If you were among the hypotensive minority who thought Low's first album could've been a little slower and sadder, a little more sedate and diffuse, this is just the band for your attention span. Little Hours (Jagjaguwar), Spokane's fifth album, seems to unfold according to Zeno's Paradox, which postulates a distance divided in half infinitely--it's always approaching zero but never quite reaches it. Rick Alverson (formerly of Drunk, a fellow Virginia slowcore act) writes tunes that divide time into ever more fleeting moments and feelings into tinier and tinier sensations, pursuing a telescoping search inward. It takes skill bordering on magic to manipulate a trajectory like this; in lesser hands the attempt almost always results in plodding tedium. Instead each subsequent Spokane album edges a little closer to the impossible--the rendering of nothingness as music, crossing over into the space beyond songs and sound that Philip Glass and Brian Eno aspired to in their own ways. Liza Kate, Scale Model, the Astronomer, and On We open. a 9 PM, South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union, southunionarts.com, $10 suggested donation. A --J. Niimi

saturday8

cART BRUT Countless bands have ripped off the Fall, and countless singers have ripped off Mark E. Smith's distinctive de-liv-e-ry-uh. But it's the rare front man who goes further and latches onto Smith's less obvious traits: humor, spontaneity, and the aura of danger that comes from being unafraid to make an utter ass of yourself. It's just these qualities that make Art Brut great, and so separate the band from the parade of Peel Show and Rough Trade revivalists. On It's a Bit Complicated (Downtown), vocalist Eddie Argos ("singer" isn't really the word) maintains a John Cooper Clarke-style street--philosopher persona balanced carefully between goofiness and wryness, demonstrating the same fine-tuned sense of absurdity that 30 years ago helped a blandly dressed, speed-addled shipping clerk become the spokesman for a generation (if only a generation he invented). But this is where the Fall comparisons end, or at least ought to--come on, you lazy hacks, if anything Art Brut sounds like Thin Lizzy. a 5:30 PM, Hideout Block Party (complete schedule, page 34), South Stage, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $25, $20 in advance, $35 in advance for a two-day pass. A --J. Niimi

cCASS McCOMBS Singer-songwriter Cass McCombs, who recently moved to Chicago, makes music so ethereal it seems to build in slow motion out of nowhere, like frost. On his third full-length, Dropping the Writ, due next month on Domino, he's in much the same mode as on his previous releases: his airy ballads channel the high romance of vintage Neil Young and other California folk rockers of the 60s and 70s, and his unusual voice, hollow and tapering like Elliott Smith's, drifts through the songs like a cold autumn wind through an abandoned motel. But Dropping the Writ benefits from a newfound directness: the production is relatively clean (he can get a bit zealous with the reverb), allowing for more sharpness and clarity of feeling on the elegiac songs, and he experiments with straightforward pop numbers like "That's That," which could pass for a Tommy James tune. a 12:30 PM, Hideout Block Party (complete schedule, page 34), South Stage, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $25, $20 in advance, $35 in advance for a two-day pass. A --J. Niimi

O'DEATH Say what you will about Brooklyn art-school hillbillies (it'll likely be deserved): occasionally they'll mix up some real chemistry in their faux stills. This quintet's Head Home (City Slang), for example, can raise a whole mess of small hairs--we're talking full beard erection--with its cheesy but earnest Appalachian snake-oil show. Why do they succeed where others have managed only to offend? Probably it's the driving drone-rock undercurrent that keeps my lizard brain so reliably entertained. Also, if you're going to pull this shtick off, your banjoist and fiddler had better be able to fucking shred. After their gig at the Hideout Block Party, O'Death head to the AV-aerie to play on a bill that goes (top to bottom) Dan Deacon, O'Death, Lord of the Yum-Yum, Thank You. a 3:15 PM, Hideout Block Party (complete schedule, page 34), North Stage, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $25, $20 in advance, $35 in advance for a two-day pass. A 8 PM, AV-aerie, 2000 W. Fulton #310, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. A --Monica Kendrick

signing choir M's bassist Joey King has stepped out on his own with Signing Choir (Brilliante), a decidedly raw record made over a five-year stretch going back to his Arkansas days. If Ray Davies recorded in Lou Barlow's bedroom it might sound a little like this--unlike the crisp 60s-style pop-rock of King's main band, the music is defined by a lo-fi hiss that obscures just about everything but his (rather wan) singing. Hope King can work in a real studio next time. Rock Plaza Central and Casey Dienel open; DJ LA Jesus spins throughout. a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8. --Peter Margasak

cSILVER APPLES I have to admit I did a double take when I first saw this listing: they're tempting fate again? The history of Silver Apples, the New York ur-electronica duo famed (by indie-psych standards, at least) for two almost painfully great late-60s albums, is so riddled with bad luck that even their triumphs seem almost cruel in retrospect. Two and a half decades after they imploded due to label trouble, synth genius Simeon Coxe helped fix the Apples' place in history with an exhilarating mid-90s resurgence; when original drummer Danny Taylor reappeared in '98, bearing long-lost tapes of their never-released third LP, they got in a few remarkable reunion shows before a van accident broke Coxe's neck, leaving him partially paralyzed. Over several years of physical therapy, Coxe relearned how to play his notoriously crotchety homemade gear--but in 2005 Taylor suffered a fatal heart attack. You could forgive Coxe for taking that as a hint, but here he is, out on a rather taxing 12-date tour. Even if he never makes another record, he deserves a hero's welcome tonight. Warhammer 48K, the Moon Upstairs, and Skarekrau Radio open. a 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $12, $10 in advance. --Monica Kendrick

SMALL BROWN BIKE Like all good midwestern punk bands, Small Brown Bike reacted to reaching near-breakout levels of popularity by breaking up--these shows are part of a brief reunion tour to raise money for a friend with leukemia. But the Michigan-based combo left behind a small discography packed with genuine anthems that ride a melodic hardcore sound to the soaring heights of pubescent punk catharsis. It's tempting to say they'd be the objects of worship of the new generation of TRLers if they were just coming out now, but this shit is a little too raw to compete in the emo-lite market. Holy Fire, A Love Dog, Millions, and VDB open the early all-ages show; Keleton DMD, LaSalle, and the Great Sea Serpents open the sold-out late show. a 5:15 and 10:15 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 866-468-3401, $12. --Miles Raymer

sunday9

c carolina Chocolate Drops Even though the banjo originated in Africa, there aren't many contemporary African-American musicians taking cues from the black string bands whose work is preserved on old 78s and recent compilations like Old Hat's splendid Folks, He Sure Do Pull Some Blow! But the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a trio from North Carolina ranging in age from 25 to 30, have stepped in to fill the breach, demonstrating in workshops, onstage, and in classrooms what they've learned from octogenarian fiddler Joe Thompson. On Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind (Music Maker), Justin Robinson and Rhiannon Gibbons, who both play fiddle and banjo, and multi-instrumentalist Don Flemons share their take on the Piedmont tradition. They emphasize a vibrant ensemble sound over individual virtuosity, and all three take turns on lead vocals. Gibbons's a cappella renditions of the betrayal ballad "Little Margaret" and the chain-gang chant "Another Man Done Gone" provide a nice change of pace from galloping full-band versions of "Georgie Buck" and "Sourwood Mountain." a 7 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, 773-728-6000 or 866-468-3401, $20, $16 kids and seniors. A --Bill Meyer

LORD RHABURN Belizean drummer and vocalist Gerald "Lord" Rhaburn led a succession of funky Caribbean-style R & B combos in the late 60s and early 70s, enjoying local stardom in Belize and playing sold-out shows for crowds of Belizean immigrants in U.S. cities like New York and Chicago. His early recordings, a few of which appear on the 2005 compilation Belize City Boil Up (part of the Numero Group's Cult Cargo series), are a raw, exciting mishmash of funk, reggae, and calypso--it's mystifying that they didn't find an audience outside the Belizean diaspora. In recent years Rhaburn has incorporated hip-hop and dancehall into his sound, and he's become a sort of father figure in Belizean music; in 2004 he began sponsoring an annual music-awards show in his homeland. a 7 PM, Caribbean Festival (complete schedule, page 36), Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, 312-427-0266 or 312-559-1212, $10, $5 kids and seniors, free for kids under six. A --Renaldo Migaldi

cSretensky Monastery choiR Moscow's Sretensky Monastery was founded in 1395, in celebration of victory over Tartar invaders. In 1917, following the Bolshevik revolution, its monks were exiled to Soviet prison camps. Returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1994, it formed its choir not only for worship services but also to revive early Russian music banned by the Soviet regime and to champion new music that had protested that repression. Now the 42-voice male choir, conducted by artistic director Nikon Zhila, is coming to America for the first time, bringing a program of chants, folk songs, and romances. Even more striking than the singers' power and precision is the music itself--with titles like "Down the Mother Volga" and "Spring Shall Come but Not for Me"--which reveals Russia's history and soul. This is potent, aggressively ethnic music--safe only in the hands of a group like Sretensky--that should deeply stir its new audience. a 7 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $15-$45. --Steve Langendorf

monday10

c Animal Collective I'm probably alone in this, but I think inconsistency is more compelling than the ability to drop an amazing record every year. Two albums ago Animal Collective put out Sung Tongs, an instant touchstone that made the band both the Beatles and the Stones for art school kiddies (note the recent landslide of bands copying their strums and meowing through the choruses). Then came Feels, which was, like, hippie, please!--all wild trash and sloppy, hookless New Age drudgery. But the recently leaked Strawberry Jam (due on Domino later this month) is a return to form, capturing the band at its invigorated and invigorating best. It's shambling, looping, zipping, and zooming, with Animal Collective's familiar broken-up Brooklyn bong-a-loid bleat, but they've also switched things up, adding a little forest disco (kinda organic, like they've made instruments out of whatever's handy) and some much needed breathing room. It's not a singular steez, but at least the boys are masters of their own weirdo adventure. Eric Copeland opens. a 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $23.50. A --Jessica Hopper

tuesday11

THE JACK & JIM SHOW Immediately prior to this short tour, guitarist Eugene Chadbourne was cocurating a month of programming at the Stone, John Zorn's rigorous art-music space in the East Village, with fellow southerner Duck Baker, giving its urban bookings a refreshingly rural feel. While Chadbourne also flavors his own compositions and improvisations with a dash of country, to me they mostly just sound like he thinks of human and animal modes of communication as equally fair game for playful rejiggering. Percussion master Jimmy Carl Black, a veteran of Zappa's Mothers and the Magic Band, has the limber woodsmanship to keep up. The duo has been active off and on since the early 90s and has released several albums; tonight it's fleshed out by multi-instrumentalist Joee Conroy and clarinetist Steve Good of Ut Gret. a 8 PM, Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494 or 800-594-8499, $10. --Monica Kendrick

wednesday12

c wilco I was astonished by how tastemakers turned on Wilco after the release of Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch) last spring. The band abandoned the meticulous "experimental" production approach ushered in by Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and went for a more straightforward sound--at least on the surface. On his first studio effort with the group, guitarist Nels Cline---the album's not-so-secret weapon--brilliantly subverts 70s-style rock solos with weird harmonies and counterintuitive patterns and demonstrates a melodic sensibility most rock guitarists could only dream of. Jeff Tweedy, who's always embraced the songwriting verities of classic rock, sounds a little more hopeful, if not exactly chipper, and since he quit smoking his range has expanded dramatically, allowing for greater expressiveness. The album does rely on some well-worn tropes--the mix of twang and drift borrows plenty from the Band--but these subtleties make it sound as fresh as anything I've heard all year. Dr. Dog opens. a 6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan & Randolph, 312-742-1168, sold out. A --Peter Margasak

thursday13

c Aesop Rock Aesop Rock is a man of ideas. So many, in fact, that it's hard to keep track of them all. He hasn't released a lot of records in the ten years he's been around, but unpacking his dense lyrics could keep a dedicated fan busy for a lifetime--and with the addition of his latest, None Shall Pass (Definitive Jux), that study's gonna take at least a few more years. With a style somewhere between the precision flow of Kool G Rap and the verbal diarrhea of a schizophrenic on the bus, Rock delivers far-out rhymes thick with cryptic imagery: "They grew 'em in the royal dirt of Suffolk County's flooring / With the blood of an alcoholic clergyman in his forearms," for instance. Though his words definitely overshadow the music, the dark, blunted beats are far from filler, alternating mostly between hazy boom-bap and Rock's ongoing attempts to rescue hip-house from its own shitty legacy. None Shall Pass contributors Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz join Rock onstage; the Octopus Project and Blockhead with DJ Signify open. a 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $18.50. A --Miles Raymer

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