BRADY 2/26, SCHUBAS On his debut solo album, On My Own, the Schubas soundman who calls himself “brady” is anything but solo–in fact, his septet of supporting musicians includes Aluminum Group keyboardist Liz Conant, who supplies seductive 60s organ flourishes to his pretty, whispered tunes. But while all the music’s played, arranged, and recorded well enough, the album gives the overall impression of being extremely ordinary. I guess that’s to be expected from a guy who won’t capitalize his own name. MASCHINA 2/26, Elbo Room These Ann Arbor transplants bring to Chicago a sometimes exciting, sometimes extremely annoying theatrical glam prog. The key players seem to be Mark “Bubbles” Kirschenmann, whose heavily effected electric trumpet can sound like everything from Miles Davis circa ’74 to some of Jimmy Page’s more entertainingly tripped-out 60s session work to a whole kindergarten class on comb and tissue paper; and Freddie Mercury/Tim Curry School of Bombast graduate Seth “Queen Maschine” Hitsky, whose rants likewise get sent through various electronic torture chambers. This recommendation’s based solely on their self-released debut CD, Purple Finger Syndrome–I can’t imagine what they’ll be like live. I’d sure like to see ’em on a bill with Liquid Soul or Tortoise, though. SIX MILE BRIDGE 2/26, ABBEY PUB Even the terse press release had to make reference to the cuteness of this band–two svelte lasses (one blond, one brunet) and two strapping lads (one blond, one brunet) with hair like Harlequin cover boys. I mention their looks because they accurately predicted the flavor of the band’s Across the Water (Loose Goose), a cloying collection of pop-Irish wounded-knight songs, daddy’s-ship-sank songs, and poor-lonely-immigrant songs. They all sound equally stiff and shallow, as if the closest these Texans have gotten to Eire is the Guinness Fleadh. SOUL BRAINS 2/28, house of blues That’s the new “positive thinking” moniker of Bad Brains, whose front man, H.R., infamously attacked an audience member in Lawrence during another reunion gig, in 1995. But some folks suspect the name change may have as much to do with a contractual dispute as anything else, and H.R., Dr. Know, Darryl Jennifer, and Earl Hudson still constitute the best hardcore-reggae fusion band on the planet–so if you’re really concerned, do your moshing a mike stand’s length from the stage. ONE MINUTE SILENCE 3/2, HOUSE OF BLUES Pity this band’s name isn’t its interview policy–Irish front man Brian Barry spouted this manifesto in Metal Hammer: “Even in the future if we’re seen as a political band we still want to do gash-hunter articles.” For sheer power, though, their blend of metal and hip-hop makes Limp Bizkit look, uh, limp, and they do have a flair for titles (“Stuck Between a Rock and a White Face,” “Pig Until Proven Cop,” both from their V2 debut, Available in All Colors). And wow, those political lyrics: “I don’t give a fuck / I don’t give a fuck / Fuck fuck / Fuck fuck!” Brazil’s devastating Sepultura headlines. EVERLAST 3/3, RIVIERA The down-home front-porch photos in the booklet for the former House of Pain front man’s solo debut, Whitey Ford Sings the Blues (Tommy Boy), aren’t as misleading as you might think. He’s reaching for something like singer-songwriterhood here, albeit with hip-hop beats beneath, a sort of back-atcha for Rickie Lee Jones’s Ghostyhead. I like it: guitar-toting troubadours are most likely to lose it in lack of rhythmic momentum and a feel for language as sound as well as message, and anybody who’s earned fame as a rapper has a head start on both counts. It’s also a good way for Everlast, aka Erik Schrody, to come to terms with being a whitey: his hard-bitten working-class tales are well served by the real-time folk and country flourishes tucked in amid Wu-Tang and Gang Starr samples. LOVE and ROCKETS 3/3, HOUSE OF BLUES; 3/4, METRO Only in certain dimly lit circles of the electronic-pop strata have Tones on Tail, the immediately post-Bauhaus project of guitarist Daniel Ash and drummer Kevin Haskins, gotten the acclaim they really deserve for the moody, rhythm-driven proto-Portishead atmospherics they issued throughout the mid-80s. (Their work has recently been reissued on one CD, Everything!) Likewise Love and Rockets–Ash and Haskins reunited with Bauhaus bassist David J–have made a number of spacey drone-pop and chug-rock records that are better than many critics are willing to admit. That by no means excuses the tinny, enervating excess of their current Lift (Red Ant), where–the catchy club hit “Resurrection Hex” excepted–the bubbleheaded New Age-ism that always lurked in their work spreads like chicken pox through a second-grade classroom. But as these guys proved last summer when they backed Peter Murphy one more time, live they can still blow open even the most justified skepticism. VHS OR BETA 3/4, LOUNGE AX On their debut 12-inch EP, On & On, these Louisvillains shove the funk into math rock with a shoehorn, with plenty of electronic shrieking from square peg and round hole alike. On the first cut, “Easystreet,” they open with Vocodered howlings, hand claps, and a sustained groove that sounds like the Mothership landing on Big Black’s collective head, then collapse into a smattering of bluesy prog rock just because they can. Also on the bill are Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison, doing the jazz thing again with trombonist Jeb Bishop, and U.S. Maple guitarist Todd Rittman’s other band, Robert Johnson & the Browns. –Monica Kendrick
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Everlast photo by Keith Carter.