CIV 8/26, HORIZON PARKING LOT On their debut, Set Your Goals (Lava/Atlantic), CIV try to revive the bloody carcass of NYC hardcore circa 1984, coming off as a polished mix of Minor Threat and Kraut, whose “All Twisted” they cover. With pasts in bands like Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, and Bold, the band members possess genuine NYHC pedigrees, but their current mainstream meltdown–“Can’t Wait One Minute More” is an MTV buzz clip–finds them operating without a lick of the fury that characterized the vibe back in the day. CIV perform as part of the Warped Tour, the skateboard-magazine-sponsored confab pairing new-breed punky bands like L7, Seaweed, Fluf, Quicksand, and Orange 9mm with pros who will skate on a monster half pipe, a street course, and a giant climbing wall. SUNGOD 8/26, ELBO ROOM I’m not sure what this local combo intended by sending me a bottle of Jack Daniel’s along with its debut CD, but I might have been considerably more amenable to their mediocre sounds had they chosen Oban, or at least Glenlivet. GROVER 8/26, DOUBLE DOOR Beneath the raw production and the aggressive, noisy attack on Grover’s debut, My Wild Life (Zero Hour), vocalist-guitarist Angie Carlson delivers the sort of hook-crammed melodies that emanated from her first band, Let’s Active. Carlson, whose ex-husband, former Let’s Active leader Mitch Easter, produced the few cuts on the album not guided by Kevin Salem, is a pop natural, but the old jangle is gone, replaced by muscle and uncontained, almost sloppy energy. It ain’t life changing, but it sure is a tuneful diversion. JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION 8/26, METRO Clearing up any remaining doubt about the addled but ever-inclusive approach of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the recent Experimental Remixes (Matador) hands the knob-twirling reins over to Moby, the Wu-Tang Clan’s Killah Priest, Calvin Johnson’s Dub Narcotic, U.N.K.L.E. of Mo’ Wax fame, and Beck & Mike D., who radically retool already wiggy raw material. Spencer’s pomo roots mentality dissolves genre boundaries like the Ebola virus liquifies human insides. All the while the music provides the sound track to one long fuck. Until that point when he starts believing he’s Iggy Pop he also puts on a killer live show, a skewed mix of Vegas glitz and unabashed dry humping. Shitkickin’ Delta bluesman R.L. Burnside opens, and don’t be surprised if he joins Spencer for an encore as well. SIDESHOW 8/27, EMPTY BOTTLE On its recent Lip Read Confusion (Flydaddy) this Lincoln, Nebraska, trio demonstrates one stripe of middle-American indie rock. Fiercely rhythmic, Sideshow’s music delivers a maelstrom of relentless drum shuffles and aggressive guitar splatter capped by the strained vocals of bassist Bernie McGinn, who also happens to run Caulfield Records, a label that’s released music by Mercy Rule and Molly McGuire in addition to Sideshow. Unfortunately there isn’t much beneath the band’s churning intensity. They open for Nothing Painted Blue leader Franklin Bruno and locals Number One Cup, who’ll be playing songs from their just-released Possum Trot Plan. TEA PARTY 8/28, DOUBLE DOOR Ponderous arena rock with gratuitous flourishes of folk rock, prog rock, and pan-ethnic additives. While their 1993 debut may have gone platinum in their native Canada, Tea Party’s biggest problem–among many, believe me–is that no arena will have them. GEEZER LAKE 8/30, METRO While the music of this Greensboro foursome belies the notion that all North Carolina bands draw inspiration from Superchunk, the open-ended weave of metal, prog rock, and wan melodicism heard on its Feet in Mud Again (D-Tox) doesn’t offer much of an antidote to the ruling Tarheel sound. LEROY JONES 8/30, SONY GALLERY Here’s quite a billing to live up to: in the liner notes to Mo’ Cream From the Crop (NOPTEE/Columbia), the debut album by New Orleans trumpeter Leroy Jones, his former employer Harry Connick Jr. writes that knowing Jones is akin to hanging with both Louis Armstrong and Socrates. Unlucky folks who don’t know the man can only judge him by his music, a tourist-pleasing redux of early Crescent City jazz styles. Between blustery horn chops and rambunctious vocalizing it’s obvious that Jones is modeling himself after Armstrong at the expense of creating anything interesting. But hey, if Harry’s your Sinatra, then my opinion won’t stop Leroy from being your Louis. BUFFALO TOM 8/31, NEW WORLD MUSIC THEATRE The new Sleepy Eyed (Beggars Banquet/East-West) is Buffalo Tom’s fifth album, and like its four predecessors it has some modest melodic charms and earnestly attempts to please the fickle tastes of collegiate alternative youth; it’s also their fifth wholly indistinctive outing. These perpetual openers do the job for Live, PJ Harvey, and Veruca Salt. STEEL POLE BATH TUB 8/31, LOUNGE AX While Scars From Falling Down (Slash/London), the most recent album from Bay-area combo Steel Pole Bath Tub, demonstrates that they’re tighter and more focused than ever before, they still come off as a westcoast version of Austin’s rather stagnant Ed Hall, reinforcing the fact that it doesn’t matter how well you say something if you have nothing to say.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Tim Geaney.