SEAWEED, INTO ANOTHER 10/13, METRO Six years ago Seaweed were pimply-faced geeks from Tacoma pretending to be a metal band. Three albums later they’ve moved to Seattle, their skin has cleared up, their bodies have, um, filled out, and they almost sound like a real metal band. On their recent Spanaway (Hollywood) they don’t much alter their clunky marriage of pop hooks and quasi-anthemic hard rock cliches. It’s a good thing, too, as the best by-product of Seaweed’s writhing quest to be tough rocker guys is their persistent goofiness and pervasive gawkiness. Into Another emerged from the New York hardcore scene, but their new album Seemless (Hollywood) finds these former punks enamored of a slick, schlocky strain of Pop-Tart metal that owes an arm and a leg–in particular Richie Birkenhead’s Robert Plant-meets-Chris Cornell shriek–to Soundgarden. I’m relatively sure they don’t mean to sound as funny as they do. 5IVE STYLE 10/13, VIC On its eponymous Sub Pop debut this local quartet updates the groovy instrumental funk of the Meters with spaced-out dub excursions, slow-burn introspective probes, and even some scrappy experiments with texture. Yet it’s the way Billy Dolan’s tasty countrified guitar licks play off the infectiously syncopated drumming of John Herndon that best defines 5ive Style. The band’s still finding itself, but the search frequently turns up some real gems. They open on a bill that includes Uptighty, Las Toallitas, and Ulele. JUNIOR M.A.F.I.A. 10/13, HORIZON On their debut album, Conspiracy (Undeas/Big Beat), Junior M.A.F.I.A., New York gangsta-rap proteges of the Notorious B.I.G., deliver the expected–lots of barefaced descriptions of desperation, heartless violence, and rough survival amid a spare array of ominous beats. There’s nothing here you can’t hear done much better by others. This big hip-hop/R & B bill also includes Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Naughty by Nature, Craig Mack, and Adina Howard. BIG SUGAR 10/13, PARK WEST This Canadian quartet plays big, rawboned blues rock with an almost admirable rhythmic looseness, but as heard on its recent debut album, 500 Pounds (Silvertone), Big Sugar is shackled by its attempts at stylistic purity. It’s not that they focus exclusively on any one sound–they’ll switch from the slow funk of “I’m a Ram” to an unfortunate cover of Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy”–but their labored Luddism makes you almost wish for a rainbow swirl of synthesizers. They open for Chris Duarte. JAWBREAKER 10/14, METRO The smart money sez San Francisco’s Jawbreaker will come out the big winners in the fast and furious post-Green Day pop-punk sweepstakes. Chockablock with catchy and peppy pop tunes, the trio’s major-label debut, Dear You (DGC), their fourth album over all, is solid if unspectacular, but there’s something about them, something less tangible than Blake Schwarzenbach’s fake English accent, that suggests an ability to hook the kids without betraying them on the way to the bank. Jawbox and Engine 88 open. F.M. EINHEIT & CASPAR BROTZMANN 10/15, LOUNGE AX Former Einsturzende Neubauten junk-heap percussionist F.M. Einheit and ominous guitar-feedback provocateur Caspar Brotzmann perform chilling, clanging, relentlessly loud duets. On the recent Merry Christmas (Thirsty Ear) the pair challenge aesthetic boundaries, mixing piercing, undulating waves of caustic feedback and the grinding postindustrial noise pioneered by Neubauten–the true sound of heavy metal. Whether they’re stumbling through strangely soothing scapes or creating gloriously harsh deluges of ear-shattering crashes, the duo’s impressive dramatic control distinguishes them from reckless noisemakers. DAR WILLIAMS 10/15, OLD TOWN SCHOOL A highly literate new folkie, Dar Williams explicates tomboyhood, weds nuclear families and nuclear waste into a single motif, and meditates on the commanding colors of a Mark Rothko painting with equal panache, humor, and sensitivity. Her album The Honesty Room (recently reissued by Razor & Tie), which sets her compelling, detailed stories amid a glossy folk-rock backing, ought to endear her to fans of Shawn Colvin and early Suzanne Vega, but Williams’s stories are a tangle of words more dense and witty than the efforts of most of her contempo predecessors.

ROBERT MIRABAL 10/17, SCHUBAS Commissioned by a pair of modern Japanese dancers, Land (Warner Western) finds Taos Pueblo composer Robert Mirabal giving classical structure to ancient, ritualistic Native American sounds. Using wooden and clay flutes, shakers, resonant hand drums, rattles, and spine-chilling chants, Mirabal creates spacious soundscapes and wordless narratives that initially seem open-ended, but are actually tightly structured segments incorporating Western organizational ideas like preludes, bridges, and reprises. His formalistic coup not only helps the work function as a dance score, but contains the music in an accessible form without sacrificing its power. LISA GERRARD 10/17, ATHENAEUM THEATRE On her own, Lisa Gerrard, literally the better half of Dead Can Dance, explores many of the same concerns as her main group but with a beauty and purity that’s often missing from her collaborations with partner Brendan Perry. Her recent solo debut, The Mirror Pool (4AD), surrounds her haunting vocals in spare but swelling orchestral accompaniment; it’s a striking assortment of mostly original compositions, highly evocative of medieval chants and Middle Eastern song and slightly reminiscent of Sheila Chandra’s recent vocal work. Live, her singing and yang chin (Chinese dulcimer) playing will be accompanied by several percussionists and keyboardists and a bouzouki and flute player.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Andrea Burns.