ERIC LUGOSCH 10/28, NO EXIT Like admitted influences John Prine and David Bromberg, this local singer-songwriter places his tunes within pleasant, folkish guitar settings. While Lugosch’s voice isn’t particularly strong, he masterfully exploits his prodigious finger-picking skills, embellishing his simple, flowing songs with appealing baroque flourishes that sound homey rather than flashy. This performance comes on the heels of last night’s record-release party for Making Models (Whitehouse), which provides ample proof of his piquant playing and effectively straightforward writing. RUN ON, BOYRACER 10/29, EMPTY BOTTLE Run On is a new band led by drummer Rick Brown of Timber and singer-bassist Sue Garner of the Shams, who together formed the core of New York’s criminally ignored Fish & Roses. Their debut single on Chicago’s Ajax Records finds them covering much of the same musical territory as their old band, mixing Brown’s witty, idiosyncratic drumming with Garner’s angular, chunky bass lines and heavenly voice, which blends brassy country belting and off-kilter torch singing. Crafting languid, gorgeous, snakelike melodies, Run On could be a pop band if they weren’t so interested in such strange (albeit seductive) rhythms and textures. Fleshing the band out are explosive guitarist Alan Licht, formerly of Love Child and Rudolph Grey’s Blue Humans, and keyboardist David Newgarden. Britain’s Boyracer forge a familiar marriage of pop tunes and noise and come off as sneaky pipsqueaks who won’t sit still for analysis. Like Run On they tend to obfuscate their hooky melodies, but rather than building them into elaborate, functional structures they soil them with piercing feedback and grumbling grime. Their recent sprawling collection is More Songs About Frustration and Self-Hate (Slumberland/A Turntable Friend). Loud Family headline (see Critic’s Choice) and the Ropers open. WEEN 10/30, METRO These bong-sucking Zappa wannabes are touring in support of yet another album of weirdo college-boy claptrap–this one’s called Chocolate and Cheese (Elektra) and prominently features an abundant set of barely concealed breasts on the cover. SAMIAM 10/31, METRO A significant contingent of D.C.’s mid-80s hardcore scene revolved around an approach called “emocore,” which plied hardcore with over-the-top, highly emotional singing that continually verged on screaming. Traces of emocore still exist in scene vets Fugazi and Bay Area yahoos Samiam. But where Fugazi’s emotionalism is set within the context of musical chance taking, Samiam play arena-rock emocore, the melodramatic vocals of Jason Beebout delivering one cliche-riddled tale of disaffection after another while the band churns out a bland, vaguely punkish hard rock. Why these empty expositions of anguish elicit notice is beyond me, but I guess pain sells. LOREENA McKENNITT 11/3, PARK WEST Although the new album by Canadian singer Loreena McKennitt, The Mask and Mirror (Warner Brothers), supposedly incorporates music from around the world, all I hear is new-agey, ethereal treatments of Celtic folk. There are indeed traces of percussion from India, Morocco, and Latin America, but airy washes of synthesizers and strings dominate, and as strong as McKennitt’s voice is, it just serves as another layer in the lush mound of nothingness. Lyrically McKennitt is hung up on some bad mystical shit. If Sarah McLachlan rocks too hard for you, this woman will bliss you out but good. WEDDING PRESENT 11/3, METRO Wedding Present have fought against their distinctly British streak of pervasive eccentricity with nearly a decade’s worth of restless pop ambition. Through it all vocalist David Gedge’s overenunciated, excited singing has remained a constant, suggesting an alternately squirming, brutish, and dissipated Morrissey. Over the course of five albums the band have pushed their guitars further and further, becoming one of the first nonpunk outfits to employ Steve Albini’s engineering services (on 1991’s Seamonsters, recently reissued by Bizarre/Planet). On their new Steve Fisk-produced Watusi (Island), they’ve perfected the balance between fetching melodies, a bracing guitar attack, hyperactive rhythms, Gedge’s foppishness, and a penchant for sideways structures. But beware: their unbelievable gawkishness live has been awfully hard to take in the past. They share the bill with Superchunk and Butterglory.

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