BOTTLETONES 7/23, SCHUBAS This is a CD-release party for the Carbondale quintet’s Sheriff of Bottletone Co. (Relay), a dense packet of fuzzed-up, tricked-out, and thoroughly Albinied southern boogiebilly, influenced at least as much by the Cramps and the Flat Duo Jets as by any 40s swing band or 50s rockabilly outfit I can think of. All the tunes are originals except a slightly flattened version of “Jockey Full of Bourbon,” from Tom Waits’s Rain Dogs–a vast, barely tapped source of material for this sort of band, as Waits was writing vaguely retro poetic odes to lowlifes and lounge lizards long before…everyone else was. Overall, these guys could do with a little less doodle and a little more choogle, but perhaps they’ll find the right ratio live. DEBBIE DAVIES 7/23, BUDDY GUY’S LEGENDS In 1997 Debbie Davies became the first guitarist to win the blues’ W.C. Handy Award for Contemporary Female Artist of the Year. For her fifth solo album, Tales From the Austin Motel (Shanachie), this 45-year-old veteran of Albert Collins’s Icebreakers (and before that Maggie Mayall’s Cadillacs, the band led by Bluesbreaker John Mayall’s wife) traveled to Texas and recorded with bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton–Stevie Ray Vaughan’s old rhythm section. Davies isn’t as flashy a player as Vaughan, but she’s got it where it counts–fluid, twisting solos with some nice electric turns of phrase and that sassy Stratocaster tone. Her singing’s a little smarmy, particularly on the Willie Dixon warhorse “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” but there’s an appealingly subversive quirkiness to originals like “Just Stepped in the Blues.” CASH MONEY 7/24, EMPTY BOTTLE The local duo of guitarist John Humphrey and drummer Scott Giampino just released a playful, all-instrumental double seven-inch, which they’re celebrating here. “Letter to Stax” is a tribute to Memphis soul that aims a little high and falls a little short and “Hide Away” is the Freddy King hit; thankfully “Space Is the Place” is a Cash Money original that has nothing to do with Sun Ra. And “Rumble,” from which the band plays a few bars as a teaser intro to its own “Pie and Gas” live, is all there for once. These guys put on a good, if entirely too loud, show: the last time I saw them, they drowned all the nuances in a sea of gratuitously distorted trebly ouch better suited to Keiji Haino than Link Wray. Poor Andrew Bird headlines. NERVES 7/24, TRUCKSTOP I don’t know if I’d say they’ve improved, exactly–this high-octane old-school punk trio always had the spark. But the Nerves’ second full-length, New Animal, produced by Seattle mainstay Jack Endino, does a better job than their first of bottling that spark for repeated enjoyment. The Nerves are the hot rock ‘n’ roll foil to the cool intelligence of the rest of Thrill Jockey’s current roster, and their careening energy really makes the most sense live, with singer Rob Datum leaning lustily into the mike stand, bassist Seth Skundrick spitting insults at no one in particular, and drummer Elliot Dicks whaling away on the snare with both feet in the air. At their last Empty Bottle show, they incited a largely female mosh pit, and I even saw the occasional nail-polished hand grabbing at their skinny-legged pants. At this record-release gig, they’ll reportedly play some new material and a bunch of covers–other people’s songs they’ve possessed in the past include the Seeds’ “Try to Understand” and DMZ’s “Bad Attitude.” The party’s at the band’s South Loop loft practice space, and it’s free. OUT HUD 7/24, FIRESIDE BOWL This band from Sacramento sent me a promising tape (dubbed over a talking book by Jungian analyst Marion Woodman) of its single on Berkeley indie GSL. Over the course of two instrumentals, they move from an angular riff and sparse, circling bass a la Gang of Four into some evocative low-key changles–variations on themes from Daydream Nation as interpreted by Labradford–then briefly threaten to get funky with a final whiff of dub. They’ll be playing an early show, at 5 PM. MASTERMIX TOUR 7/28, CROBAR Not to be left in the dust as the many fast-growing children of house and techno scatter all over the world and into the record collections of people who would never set foot in a dance club, Wax Trax! has stepped up to the velvet rope with its new Mastermix compilation, which includes tracks from Detroit techno star Juan Atkins, Supa DJ Dmitry (who honed his skills with Deee-Lite and now works sometimes with wispy Twin Peaks diva Julee Cruise), DJ Hurricane (probably still best known for his work with the Beasties), Autechre, Nightmares on Wax, Juno Reactor, and Pills, authors of last summer’s UK club hit “Rock Me.” The supporting tour features Dmitry, Pills, Brooklyn’s Adam X, the Melbourne duo Frontside, and New York’s Expansion Union. “Intelligent techno?” Yeah, but brain engagement notwithstanding, this is dance music and proud of it. MR. BUNGLE 7/28, METRO Mike Patton’s name is indelibly associated with the briefly huge Faith No More, but in fact he’s a veteran Zornitista and an experimental composer in his own right. Mr. Bungle, his slaphappy art-skronk band, was formed in northern California in 1985–which means it’s not only aged better than Faith No More but actually predates it. Often shunted behind all the members’ numerous other projects (which also include Dieselhed, Faxed Head, the Zip Code Rapists, and Neil Hamburger), Mr. Bungle has just released its first album in four years, California (Warner Brothers)–which a friend has described as “Naked City does the Beach Boys.” The group tours even less frequently than it records, so if you were ever curious, strike now. JOSH ROUSE 7/28, PARK WEST Perpetual opening act Rouse is from Nebraska, and like the prairie his debut, Dressed Up Like Nebraska (Slow River/Ryko), is uneventful but full of life. Unfortunately those pretty production touches–waves of vibrato, smears of Wurlitzer, streaks of cello–blend into the tall grass, so they don’t look like much when you’re speeding through it. He opens for cult heroine Aimee Mann. KAHIL EL’ZABAR, HAMIET BLUIETT & BILLY BANG 7/29, HOTHOUSE It doesn’t matter where you first hear violinist Billy Bang’s tone–for me it was on a Marilyn Crispell record–it’ll never quite leave you. Famous for his ability to keep the blue notes in the avant-garde, this former student of the AACM’s Leroy Jenkins has also played with Roy Campbell, William Parker, Andrew Cyrille, and Sun Ra in probably his last recording session, a tribute to seminal jazz bowman Stuff Smith. Here he’ll join reedist Hamiet Bluiett–a former Saint Louis resident who’s played with Lester Bowie, Charles Mingus’s quartet in the early 70s, Olu Dara, and the Art Ensemble’s Famoudou Don Moye and cofounded the World Saxophone Quartet–and Chicago powerhouse percussionist Kahil El’Zabar. –Monica Kendrick
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Crump.