ARRIVALS This local quartet, which has left the Thick stable for Recess, drops its third album, Marvels of Industry, on June 5; tonight’s show is a release party. While it’s easy to level cynical critiques at this sort of politico-punk earnestness (“predatory loan institution” doesn’t scan so great on a lyric sheet), the skillfully tuneful and exuberant songs here blast right past them. Lines like “I was born in a basement blaze / That’s where I’ll die trying” come out sounding entirely real–crisp and tight and righteous. Mexican Cheerleader, the Brokedowns, and Millions open. a 9:30 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $8, 18+. –Monica Kendrick

c rob brown trio Alto saxophonist Rob Brown is a key figure on New York’s bustling free-jazz scene but there’s more to his game than just squawking. On his latest effort, Sounds (Clean Feed), recorded with cellist Daniel Levin and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, he demonstrates impressive restraint even during the trio’s most explosive moments. Like Cecil Taylor’s longtime sideman Jimmy Lyons, Brown has a deep understanding and love of bebop, and his work is often imbued with the magical rhythmic buoyancy that was the trademark of Charlie Parker’s sound. Notable for his melodic gifts, Brown meticulously structures his episodic compositions to provide plenty of opportunity for exploration. Never abandoning himself to glib patterns, he embroiders intricate, sometimes downright pretty motifs, playing each phrase with a tenderness that recalls Ornette Coleman. Brown’s in town this weekend with two regular collaborators–the fluid drummer Gerald Cleaver and the titanic bassist William Parker, whose own quartet benefits greatly from the saxophonist’s membership. See also Saturday. a 9 PM, Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak, 312-791-9050, $15. –Peter Margasak

MICHAEL MAYER & GUI BORATTO These two techno producers come from opposite ends of the world, but they belong on the same musical spectrum. Mayer, who runs the visionary and influential Kompakt label in Cologne, is the first and last name in minimal techno. His production work is austere but never shy–it’s dance music that’s actually made for dancing–and as a DJ he has a magic propulsive touch. Boratto, from Sao Paulo, nods to German minimalism and schaffel on his just-released Kompakt debut, Chromophobia, but his brand of tech-house unapologetically revels in Brazilian sensuality, warmth, and sweetness. Just on their own these two could easily turn this show into an all-nighter; Matthew Martin opens. a 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140 or 312-559-1212, $15. –Jessica Hopper

Bryan Scary & the Shredding Tears The Shredding Tears (Black & Greene), the debut album from 23-year-old auteur Bryan Scary, succeeds either because of its laser-accurate reproduction of old Beatles, Kinks, and Bowie or despite it, I’m not sure. It feels a little cheap to laud Scary, who did everything except play drums here, for being a great mimic–with its deft melodies, expert arrangements, and arch campiness, The Shredding Tears is a pleasurable ride even if the scenery is a little too familiar. Scary will be backed by his new band at this show; Death Mask, Neil Diamond Phillips, and Ultra Sonic Edukators open. a 8:30 PM, Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, 773-549-5549, $7. –Miles Raymer


c rob brown trio See Friday. a 9 PM, Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak, 312-791-9050, $15.

Chicago opera theater Berlioz’s Beatrice et Benedict is an even bigger piece of fluff than its source, Much Ado About Nothing. In Chicago Opera Theater’s bilingual version (spoken in English, sung in French), with a libretto adapted by director Nicola Raab, even the composer’s pointed parody of the musical establishment of his day is gone. The plot? With a little help from their friends, boy and girl take sexually charged sparring to its inevitable conclusion–but Sandra Piques Eddy and Joseph Kaiser as the lead couple are perfectly cast and gorgeous to the ear. Designer Johan Engels washes the scene in a luminous palette of khaki and peach, and Raab has made sure there’s plenty of bustling stage business, most of which works. With a single exception (an unheroic Hero), supporting roles are well executed, and the 40-piece orchestra gets the most out of a largely unmemorable score. This is the final performance of the run. a 7:30 PM, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 312-704-8414, $20-$120. –Deanna Isaacs

THE CLIENTELE In the proud British tradition of staring out a window over a cup of tea and sighing romantically comes God Save the Clientele (Merge), the latest from this London combo. As a three-piece, the Clientele crafted nearly flawless, sorta-retro sad pop records for nearly a decade without breaking a sweat. This is their first effort as a quartet, and it sounds like the addition of wistful violinist Mel Draisey made the job even easier. The sustained mellowness and overall smoothness can be a bit of a drag, depending on your mood, but I guarantee that somewhere in the world there are two people in clunky glasses making out to God Save the Clientele right this second. Beach House and the Singleman Affair open. a 9:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $14, $12 in advance, 18+. –Miles Raymer

LOS AMIGOS INVISIBLES This Caracas band has been hawking more or less the same stuff since it emerged on the U.S. scene in the late 90s–a slick Spanish-language mix of latinized disco, funk, and acid jazz meant only to keep the dance floor burning. On last year’s Super Pop Venezuela (Gozadera), they managed to alter their formula by tackling a slew of hits from their homeland, and while the beats don’t let up, for the first time in the group’s history there are honest-to-goodness melodies beneath the grooves. Cultura Profetica and Mexican Institute of Sound open. a 8:30 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $37.50-$50, 18+. –Peter Margasak

c GRAHAM PARKER When Graham Parker declares “I discovered America” on the opening track of his barn-burning new album, he does so with the fervor of a newly minted citizen who knows his adopted land better, and loves it more fiercely, than a lot of the natives. Clearly the 56-year-old English expat has been rejuvenated by his time on the anything-but-complacent Bloodshot roster: Don’t Tell Columbus is a little masterpiece of snarling intensity and wry reflection, and Parker’s singing displays a wide Dylan-esque streak that grounds his disappointed romanticism firmly in the pop-pundit tradition. My only complaint is that the album doesn’t include his wrenching Iraq protest e-single “2000 Funerals”–although I’m sure there’ll be plenty of fresh material for a sequel on the next record. On his Web site he swears this will be the last time he tours with a band; Jon Langford opens these shows. a 7 and 10 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, 773-728-6000 or 866-468-3401, $20, $16 kids and seniors. A –Monica Kendrick

cPOD BLOTZ, MILTON, CLINICAL CUNT, FASHION DICTATOR I’m suspicious of the rash of supergroup-style noise collaborations, but there are a couple promising candidates on this solid bill. At past performances the guys in MILTON–Milwaukee noise duo Mildew plus Mat Rademan, aka Newton, of Pennsylvania’s Breathmint Records–have dressed in thermal undies and rubbed blood all over one another or put on suits and pretended to do office work, and this one will allegedly have something to do with Abraham Lincoln. Named after a line of Freddy Krueger dialogue, Detroit trio CLINICAL CUNT (whose members include dance-noise spaz queen Viki and grumbly shuffler Mammal) reportedly messes with samples of the scarred slasher while abusing a blender, throwing in any ol’ thing–comestibles, beer, a shoe–and forcing audience members to drink the resulting cocktail. POD BLOTZ is photographer Suzy Poling, a former Chicagoan who creates a droning psychoscape from manipulated reel-to-reel tape, rumbly synths, melodic organ, and tortured-critter vocals, sometimes pushing the whole thing with a hot beat. This is her first show here since she moved a few years ago, and an exhibit of her ethereal and disturbing color-saturated photos opens at Zg Gallery on Friday. Panicsville despot Andy Ortmann rounds out the bill as FASHION DICTATOR, his electro alter-ego: “It’s the thing that’s going to make me famous in Europe,” he says, and I can’t see why it wouldn’t. Set order hadn’t been determined at press time. a 9:45 PM, Nihilist, 2255 S. Michigan, 4E, 312-567-9407, $5 suggested donation. A –Liz Armstrong


cMOTION TRIO For some folks the only thing worse than an accordion is two of them, but if anyone can convert squeezebox haters it’s these Poles, who specialize in three-accordion arrangements that never even flirt with the polka feel you might expect. On their most recent album, Play-Station (Asphalt Tango, 2005), they take obvious delight in tackling genres they’d seem to have no business messing with. “You Dance” is a dead-on techno track, its insistent four-on-the-floor pulse carved out by a hypnotically speedy low-end figure and trimmed with ravey squiggles and abstract splashes that mimic the scratching of a nimble turntablist; “Game Over,” meanwhile, is a surprisingly good collage of video-game sounds. Impressive as that gimmickry is, the rest of the album is even better: dazzling contrapuntal action that melts rock, jazz, classical, and all sorts of ethnic music into one uncategorizable and very entertaining blur. a 3 PM, Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. F A –Peter Margasak

JOHNETTE NAPOLITANO If it weren’t for Johnette Napolitano, Concrete Blonde would be just another forgotten pop-rock band of the late 80s and early 90s–her big, rich voice, smoky and intimate even when stadium size, is the reason for their enduring cult status. She’s released a few collaborative albums and done some soundtrack work since the band broke up, but her first proper solo record, Scarred (Hybrid), was just released last week, and it’s a mixed bag. The spoken word stuff doesn’t really fly, but some of the hard-rock numbers soar; on “Save Me” she revisits New Orleans, the setting for much of Concrete Blonde’s Bloodletting, for some hair-raising, flood-inspired terror, and then she covers Coldplay. Chris Connelly opens. See also Wednesday. a 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $18, $15 in advance. –Monica Kendrick


c dawn upshaw There’s not much about Osvaldo Golijov’s song cycle Ayre that sounds like “classical music.” Taking as his subject 15th-century Spain, where Sephardic Jews, Arabs, and Christians coexisted peaceably, the Argentine composer borrowed liberally from each culture’s sound, throwing in elements like electronic textures, contemporary klezmer clarinet by David Krakauer, and guitar by pop producer and Oscar-winning film composer Gustavo Santaolalla. It’s a thrilling collage that succeeds by virtue of its scale, emphasized by arrangements that juxtapose the extremes of rhythm, intensity, and density at play. Holding it all together is the stunning soprano Dawn Upshaw, who sings in six languages–from Arabic to Ladino, the endangered language of Spanish Jews–with uncanny precision and extraordinary range. Her manic wail on the Sardinian piece “Tancas Serradas a Muru,” for example, is out there but she nails it. For Ayre’s Chicago premiere Upshaw will be joined by members of the CSO as well as Jeremy Flower, who was behind the laptop for the Grammy-nominated 2005 Deutsche Grammophon recording. a 8 PM, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 312-334-7777, 312-294-3000, or 800-223-7114, $20. A –Peter Margasak


cMASERATI These post-rockers from Athens, Georgia, play instrumental epics for the thrilling life you wish you had: their latest disc, Inventions for the New Season (Temporary Residence), opens with the perfect soundtrack for a long shot of an actor with blow-dried bangs and a linen blazer broodingly smoking a cigarette palm-out on the roof of a Miami condo at sunset. And wouldn’t we all like to be that guy, at least for a little while, without the hassle of getting thrown into a wood chipper 45 minutes later? (By comparison, what does, say, the Shipping News conjure up? Working in the gift shop at a midwestern artists’ colony?) This album might also qualify as post-soft, a genre I just made up that combines post-rock and soft rock. The grooves are taut but lulling, and the band makes itself at home in them like profoundly stoned house guests settling into your sofa. After a while you almost stop hearing the music altogether. Del Rey and the Beauty Shop open. a 8:30 PM, Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10. A –J. Niimi


cSTEPHEN GAUCI You might expect profound hearing loss to rule out a career in music, but it had the opposite effect on Stephen Gauci. At nine he discovered that while he couldn’t always make out what his friends were saying, he could hear the saxophone just fine and embarked upon years of intensive practice and study on the instrument. Now 40, he’s only recently started releasing albums under his own name, and his latest, Wisps of an Unknown Face (CIMP), is his first as leader of a quartet. On “Did You Get the Secret,” his intricate and muscular tenor sax figures ride the rhythm section’s surge like a surfer on a wave, while trumpeter Nate Wooley adopts a pungent, bluesy voice more overtly expressive than anything on his own releases. Tonight’s performance with bassist Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten and drummer Mike Reed is Gauci’s Chicago debut. A quartet featuring Wooley, vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Josh Abrams, and drummer Nori Tanaka opens; Dave Rempis spins. See also Thursday. a 9:30 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $7. –Bill Meyer

JOHNETTE NAPOLITANO See Sunday. a 6:30 PM, Borders, 2817 N. Clark, 773-935-3909. A F


cSTEPHEN GAUCI See Wednesday. Gauci performs in a quartet with Nate Wooley, Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten, and Nori Tanaka. a 10 PM, Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee, 773-772-3616, donation requested. A

cPIPETTES Given the ongoing mania for retooling old pop genres (alt-country, disco punk, freak folk) it seems almost preordained that the 60s girl-group sound will get its day in the sun. At first glance, this act from Brighton, England–singers Becki, Rose, and Gwenno plus an all-boy backing band called the Cassettes–might seem like a silly joke. But the Pipettes (with a soft i, not like the chem-lab gear) are as authentically inauthentic as any Phil Spector creation. In 2003 guitarist and promoter Monster Bobby (aka Bobby Barry, now a Cassette) observed how much people liked the Shangri-Las and Ronettes songs he dropped into his DJ sets and began recruiting singers with the help of a friend who’d been reading the KLF’s infamous manual on how to have a hit single. The women’s matching polka-dot dresses and choreographed moves are picture-perfect, and the group’s full-length debut, We Are the Pipettes (Memphis Industries), has the tunes to match. “It Hurts to See You Dance So Well” nails the vintage Spector formula with chirpy harmonies and glorious pop hooks, and the handful of cloying moments can’t spoil the escapist fun. Smoosh and Monster Bobby open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, sold out. –J. Niimi

cMERCEDES SOSA Nueva cancion, a South American folk movement begun in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay in the early 60s, brought a fierce political consciousness and an international flavor to various indigenous musical forms. Arguably the greatest and most important living exponent of this tradition, Argentina’s Mercedes Sosa has long been able to make nearly any sort of song all her own. Giving voice to the sentiments of her people got her in trouble in the late 70s– she was arrested, then exiled for a few years by the ruling junta–but that didn’t keep her from continuing to challenge the regime. Though she helped popularize the work of great Chilean songwriter and nueva cancion pioneer Violeta Parra and introduced the songs of Brazil’s Milton Nascimento to the Spanish-speaking world, she’s always emphasized music from her homeland, both preserving marginalized folklore and working with contemporary songwriters. Sosa’s most recent album, Corazon Libre (Edge, 2005), sheds light on lesser-known Argentine styles like zamba, milonga, and chacarera in a elegant, stripped-down setting, and her still-sublime voice lets her soar through epic drama and tiptoe through delicate balladry with equal ease. Guadalupe Pineda opens. a 8:30 PM, UIC Pavilion, 1150 W. Harrison, 312-996-3095, 312-413-5740, or 312-559-1212, $25-$75. A –Peter Margasak