Friday 17

AUF DER MAR Melissa Auf der Maur, former bassist for Hole and the latter-day Smashing Pumpkins, recently released a self-titled album on Capitol with her new band–also self-titled, in the grand tradition of Van Halen and Bon Jovi. While keeping her high-heeled boots planted firmly in the slightly gothic, slightly arty, slightly grungy alt-rock of the 90s, she achieves something that not even Hole managed to: making the emotional grandiosity of stadium rock accessible to women. The first few tracks burst with clever melodic zigzags and singsong digressions that suggest she might’ve learned something from Polly Jean Harvey, but the bulk of this loud and streamlined stuff plays out like Tomb Raider with Pat Benatar cast as Lara Croft. The Von Bondies headline and the Sun opens. 7 PM, Bottom Lounge, 3206 N. Wilton, 773-975-0505 or 800-594-8499, $13. All ages. –Monica Kendrick

DIVINE COMEDY, POLLY PAULUSMA Parenthood seems to have taken some of the edge off Neil Hannon’s lacerating wit. But while empathy rules the day on his new Divine Comedy album, Absent Friends (Nettwerk), he clearly hasn’t lost his way with words, or his respect for their power to wound: “I’ve been hung, drawn and quartered / Slowly slaughtered like a goat / By the tongue of a woman who just couldn’t let it go,” he sings on “Sticks & Stones.” Hannon’s sophisticated croon is surrounded by gorgeously somber orchestrations, the overall effect suggesting early Scott Walker on a steady diet of Paxil.

Fellow Brit Polly Paulusma tries to channel early Joni Mitchell on her debut, Scissors in My Pocket (One Little Indian), adopting Mitchell’s unpredictable phrasing and helium quaver. Unfortunately, her tunes aren’t as memorable or quirky, and her earnestness is less Joni than Ani. 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $15. –Peter Margasak

NINA SKY Not the solo act you might expect from the name but a sister act–the 18-year-old Nuyorican identical twins Nicole and Natalie Albino, who are responsible for one of this summer’s most infectious jams, “Move Ya Body,” a minimalist cocktail of sly entreaties over a tough dancehall groove. While it may well be their only hit, their self-titled album is surprisingly listenable, nicely conflating current tastes in electronic R & B, dancehall, and hip-hop. In well-matched, equally weightless voices, the twins harmonize and play off each other with all the assurance you’d expect from two women who’ve spent their whole lives together. Erykah Badu headlines. 8 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 877-259-5299 or 312-559-1212, $35, 18+. –Peter Margasak

Satuday 18

MORRIS DAY & THE TIME Back in June this former Prince collaborator, who recklessly stole scenes from His Royal Freakiness in Purple Rain, released It’s About Time (Hollywood), technically a “new” album but in truth a greatest-hits collection halfheartedly billed as a live disc. (Eight of the twelve tracks are marked with asterisks promising they were recorded in front of actual people, but there’s no word on when or where.) The new versions of “Jungle Love,” “Fishnet,” and “Get It Up” aren’t note for note, but they’re pretty close: same shiny Saran Wrap synths, same pinched chicken-scratch guitar, same boingy funk bass and brittle electronic drums. “The Bird” seems a little flat, though, as if Day were reluctant to embrace its deep silliness now that it’s not the 80s anymore–and if he gets squeamish about that, the game’s up. De La Soul opens. 8 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 877-259-5299 or 312-559-1212, $35, 18+. –Monica Kendrick

Sunday 19

FRENCH KICKS These New Yorkers started out as neopunks, comin’ at ya live and contrived from the most trendy-ass clubs of the gentrified Lower East Side. But I always suspected that their alignment with that scene was first and foremost about fashion, and this spring’s Trial of the Century (Star Time) proves it: they’ve wriggled out of the neopunk sound, and probably with considerably less effort than it took ’em to get out of those tight jeans. The new album is misty, brooding new wave: it swoops and pulses like Simple Minds by way of Oasis, with touches of distant, funereal piano and an Edge-y rattle and hum in the guitars. And surprise! It’s their best record yet. Keane headlines. 7 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212, $15. All ages. –Monica Kendrick

Tuesday 21

GIBBY HAYNES & HIS PROBLEM Maybe it’s because they had so far to fall, but when the Butthole Surfers succumbed to the suck vortex they hit bottom like a ton of bricks. The band began by channeling genuinely scary, wildly primal, maniacally inventive drug-crazed Texan mind-warp genius and ended up cranking out forced slapstick that made Ween sound like Pere Ubu. (If you must listen to the 2001 rehash Weird Revolution, don’t say you weren’t warned.) Now front man Gibby Haynes is back with His Problem (both a band and an album, on Surfdog). It’s fresher than latter-day Buttholes, but too rambling and unfocused to either scratch your trip itch or double as roommate repellent. The Fakers and Lot Six open. 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-777-8932, $12 in advance, $15 at the door. –Monica Kendrick

Wednesday 22

BOBBY CONN & THE GLASS GYPSIES Cover at this show, sponsored by WLUW and, is $3 with a valid voter-registration card and $8 without. I’m saying that up front because I know lots of people who’ve developed thoughtful-sounding rationales for not voting, as though sulking on the sidelines is some sort of principled anarchist stance–when in fact all it means is that you’re statistically indistinguishable from a mouth breather on his couch who can’t bear to walk away from Maury for half an hour. Bobby Conn & the Glass Gypsies are still working The Homeland (Thrill Jockey), a fantasia of deranged, detailed pop and angry, dead-on political satire that dissects the satanic hubris of the rich and powerful with righteous glee. Call Me Lightning, Lying in States, and Head of Femur open. 8 PM, Bottom Lounge, 3206 N. Wilton, 773-975-0505 or 800-594-8499, 18+. –Monica Kendrick

Thursday 23

BIG BUILDINGS A few weeks ago Bob Mehr weighed in on this local quartet’s first full-length, Hang Together for All Time (Stars/No Stars), noting its stylistic diversity and making the unavoidable Wilco comparison. Though the variety among these 18 short, feisty songs (19 if you count the hidden track) is indeed crucial to the album’s appeal, what really lifts it clear of banality is its unity of purpose, which shines through despite all the sloppy enthusiasm and sweaty overcrowding–in that regard it’s as much like Exile on Main Street as any of its alt-country precursors. Milk at Midnight, Puss Puss, and Adam Fits open. 9 PM, Subterranean Cafe & Cabaret, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $5. –Monica Kendrick

GIST OF GAB, SSION This is the hot dog of bills, with the weird parts of the animal all smushed together into one tight package. First you get over-the-top guitar psychedelia from the Davis Redford Triad (see Critic’s Choice), then glitchy noise from Norwegian boy wonder Lasse Marhaug (see below). But if the front half of the lineup is for folks who like to soak in their music, the back half is for the ones who like to dance: in the third slot is Ssion, a hysterical, push-play-and-flip-the-hell-out Kansas City performance art/rock group that’s recently turned to tormented mall punk for inspiration, and headlining is populist, anti-bling MC Gift of Gab, whose brutal indictment of MTV hip-hop is so moving it brings a hopeful tear to my eye. 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $15. –Liz Armstrong

HIGH WATER MARKS The front line of this new quartet is Hilarie Sidney of Apples in Stereo and Per Ole Bratset of Palermo, and on their so-new-it’s-still-warm debut, Songs About the Ocean (Eenie Meenie), they hang their ringing, fluttering guitars and breathy vocals on threads of melody as thin as spider silk. These 13 blown-glass beauties are as much alike as a handful of polished beads, and I find that it helps to think of how each of them would sound on a mix CD or in random rotation on an iPod. I mean, these days only stuffy old spoilsports insist on listening to albums all the way through, right? Danger Adventure and Shitake Maki open. 10 PM, Bottom Lounge, 3206 N. Wilton, 773-975-0505 or 800-594-8499, $8. –Monica Kendrick

LASSE MARHAUG His recent work with John Hegre in Jazzkammer has grown increasingly calm and spacious, but Norwegian electronic artist Lasse Marhaug makes up for it on a deluge of collaborative outings and a new solo album. On Music for Loving (Bottrop-Boy) he and Maja S.K. Ratkje of the noise duo Fe-Mail start with innocuous source audio–metal records, sheep bleats–then speed it up, slow it down, run it backward, and cut it with abrasive computer sounds and roaring white noise to create raw, chaotic collisions that are at once exhilarating, funny, and painful. The vinyl-only solo effort Bring Me the Head of Lasse Marhaug (Peer Pressure Zombie) contains two sustained pieces: one’s a grinding, shuddering blast that leaves a trail of high-frequency sparks; the other’s more contemplative, looping, and stuttery. With Gift of Gab and Ssion (see above); the Davis Redford Triad (see Critic’s Choice) plays first. 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $15. –Peter Margasak

SLUM VILLAGE Of Slum Village’s original late-90s lineup only rapper T3 remains, so it’s hardly surprising that on the new Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit) (Capitol) the Motor City hip-hop outfit sounds like a shadow of its former self. Though onetime leader Jay Dee (aka J Dilla) returns to produce a track and rap on another, for the bulk of the album young production team B.R. Gunna offers only a bland replica of his old style–the dry, jerky beats and rubbery low end are strictly by the numbers. Dirt McGirt (Ol’ Dirty Bastard) brings some charisma to “Dirty,” and guest producer Kanye West continues his winning streak on the quasi-slow-jam single “Selfish,” but neither of them will be onstage tonight. Chaka Khan headlines. 8 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 877-259-5299 or 312-559-1212, $35, 18+. –Peter Margasak