FLOGGING MOLLY 10/20, THE VIC It’s heartening that almost a decade after the Pogues disintegrated, youngsters are still worshiping them. This California seven-piece band’s latest, Swagger (Side One Dummy), rips through 13 up-tempo rockers and pint-swinging ballads with hardcore energy. Front man (and actual Irishman) Dave King writes the lyrics, and he’s definitely got a way with a song about drinking, death, sailing, or poverty. (In “Far Away Boys” he deftly defines the relationship between working and drinking in a single line: “I hammered and I hammered.”) The band’s contagious energy should remind Mighty Mighty Bosstones fans that Jamaica isn’t the only green island with a native music ripe for turning into an amplified stimulant. FLACO JIMENEZ 10/20, CUBBY BEAR Sleepytown (Back Porch), the latest album by accordionist Flaco Jimenez, is at its weakest when the conjunto star covers his Tex-Mex roots in generic Texas guitar blues (on the opener, “A Little Drink, A Little Dance,” his accordion might as well be a harmonica) and at its strongest when he draws on them to bring tired rock ‘n’ roll back to life (his cover of the Beatles’ “Love Me Do,” with guest vocals by Buck Owens, is a highlight). Regular vocalist Nunie Rubio isn’t much of a presence until he lets loose in Spanish (finally!) on track ten, “Amor.” And the production makes everything sound as smooth and inoffensive as a baby’s ass–how do they get that glossy ethnic-pop sound that afflicts everyone from the Irish to the Iranians once the NPR crowd takes an interest in them? Even the yips and trills in the background on the old-school “Baila la Gente” sound canned. But most likely that won’t be an issue here. RACHEL’S & MATMOS 10/22, HOTHOUSE I wouldn’t have pegged San Francisco’s witty electronics duo Matmos (which includes former Louisvillian Drew Daniel) as a natural match for the straight-faced Louisville indie chamber orchestra the Rachel’s. But their collaborative EP, Full on Night (Quarterstick)–on which the duo remixes a rerecording of an old Rachel’s tune, “Full on Night”–is so seamless someone should’ve thought of it earlier. Daniel and his compadre Martin Schmidt uncover the larger band’s little-known potential for glorious noise and build a sound world that for once justifies their portentous neosymbolist poetry. Matmos–who’ve constructed earlier works entirely from sneezes, giggles, and Whoopee cushion farts–also can’t help but endow the whole affair with a sense of humor. For this show, Matmos and the Rachel’s will play separate sets, then end the evening onstage together. OH MY GOD 10/24, DOUBLE DOOR This local trio’s music sounds way slicker than the lineup–drums, organ, and bass–would hint. When I reviewed their demos a little over a year ago, I was most impressed by front man Billy O’Neill, who has an unusually expressive voice and wasn’t afraid to use it in a less than straightforward manner. Now that their first full-length is nearly finished and somebody at Sonicnet has pegged Oh My God as one of the nation’s top “emerging” bands, it’s clear where this sort of talent can go wrong: the three finished songs they sent me reprise the demos with buzz-bin-ready polish and punch, complete with metal-funk flourishes and hard-rock-white-soul flutters, over which O’Neill sounds less like a lively renegade than your average next big thing. ERIC ROTH TRIO 10/25, QUENCHERS Composer and drummer Eric Roth, who moved here from Ann Arbor a year ago, has already played with everyone from the J. Davis Trio to John Greenfield’s Rock Band in addition to gigging regularly around the improv scene. The first recording of his trio with saxist Dave Rempis and bassist Jacob Roebke, Program 16 (RosCo), is a canny melding of composition and improvisation that never strays too far from the expected but gives the players room to wiggle over Roth’s free-swinging rumble and patter. SATYRS 10/25, SCHUBAS Reports from hometown newspapers indicate that this Memphis trio has rocked in the past. But though there’s definitely power in the bottomy drumming of Angela Horton–whose setup includes a timpani–on their eponymously titled debut (on Blue Mountain’s Black Dog label), the Satyrs usually choose not to, favoring eerie southern-gothic balladry with a Floydian psychedelic tinge and the occasional Middle Eastern twinge. As Americana noir, it’s sexier than most, but round the fifth track I started longing for a little tempo variation–does melancholy always have to be slow? TIM BARNES & GLENN KOTCHE 10/26, THE HIDEOUT Two drummers–it’s not just a reason to scoff at the Grateful Dead anymore. New Yorker Tim Barnes, a member of the maverick free-psych ensemble Tower Recordings, also works as a sound designer; plays often with Dean Roberts, Alan Licht, and poet Ira Cohen; masterminded the recent historic Angus MacLise reissues; and appears on the forthcoming Pullman record. Chicagoan Glenn Kotche, a Boxhead Ensemble veteran, can play nearly anything. He has backed Jon Langford, Edith Frost, and Bobby Conn, and accompanied Fred Lonberg-Holm channeling Fred Katz at the last Empty Bottle jazz fest. Kotche and Barnes were last seen playing together as the hot double-skin action behind Jim O’Rourke, and the format inspired them to stretch out. Their forthcoming vinyl-only release, Domo Domo (on Barnes’s Quakebasket label), recorded live at the New York club Tonic last spring, is a partly scored, partly improvised workout for prepared percussion, chunks of metal, contact mikes, and signal processing. DAMAGE MANUAL 10/26, DOUBLE DOOR Invisible Records honcho Martin Atkins is the force that connects the members of this supergroup: he drummed behind bassist Jah Wobble in PIL, guitarist Geordie Walker in Killing Joke, and singer Chris Connelly in Ministry, and later recruited Walker and Connelly for the rotating cast of his industrial supergroup Pigface. But Wobble is the key to the twitchy, vaguely heroic grooves on their surprisingly good debut EP, 1 (Invisible), and their new full-length, The Damage Manual. His distinctive rubbery sound, coveted over the years by everyone from Can to Sinead O’Connor to Bill Laswell (one of several producers on the LP), lifts the recording well above your usual industrial-disco grind; alas, for this tour he’ll be replaced by My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult bassist Charles Levi. VERSUS 10/26, EMPTY BOTTLE These New Yorkers haven’t achieved anything extraordinary in their eight years, but they’ve never alienated their fans with crap either. Their by-the-book indie pop can float past harmlessly or strike you as utterly charming and well crafted. Their last effort, the Shangri-La EP, did the trick for me by applying the usual sweet-and-sour harmonies and chiming guitar to some well-chosen covers: the Shangri-Las’ “Out in the Streets” and the Ray Davies suburban-anomie masterpiece “Shangri-La.” And on their new full-length, Hurrah (Merge)–all originals–they don’t mess with the formula. Mark Robinson opens.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dan Ball.