chenry johnson’s organ express Chicago guitarist Henry Johnson’s Organ Express–a tight-as-Scrooge quartet that includes organist Chris Foreman, saxist Peter Roothaan, and drummer Greg Rockingham–is the perfect band for the first week of winter: nothing says heat (let alone sweat) like organ jazz, which took root in the chilly urban soil of Philadelphia, Buffalo, Detroit, and Chicago. For Sunday’s New Year’s Eve show the Express will be joined by indestructible saxophonist and flutist David “Fathead” Newman. He got his nickname in high school when a music teacher caught him playing from an upside-down page of sheet music, but there’s nothing dumb about his trademark blend of jazz and soul, which he perfected in Ray Charles’s early bands. Many players with a sound so richly humid and with such a strong command of blues syntax would content themselves to ride waves of pure emotion. But Newman has always delved into the nuts and bolts of jazz composition and improvisation, crafting small masterpieces along the way. The closing night of this run also marks the closing of the current location of the Jazz Showcase, which will move to an as-yet-undetermined new space in the spring. See also Saturday and Sunday. a 9 and 11 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand, 312-670-2473, $25. –Neil Tesser

redwalls The Deerfield wunderkinder will be taking some time off from mixing their next album to play this weekend of shows–they must be excited for New Year’s, since the whole band is finally old enough to drink. Their people say the follow-up to 2005’s De Nova–the melange of Stones/Beatles/Bowie pop perfection that was their major-label debut–is slated for a June release on Capitol. Probably Vampires and Ultra Sonic Edukators open tonight’s show; see also Saturday and Sunday. a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, sold out, 18+. –J. Niimi

cssm, muldoons In some ways Detroit trio SSM sound like they’re trying to be a nouveau disco band; they have the beat and hi-hat heat, but otherwise they miss the target entirely. Not that you can say exactly what it is these guys are up to: Their full name, Szymanski Shettler Morris, is a straight 70s-prog nod, and the artwork for their self-titled debut on Alive rips off the nude-girls-on-rocks thing from Houses of the Holy–only these ladies are buxom, have cockatiel heads, and are posed next to a spaceship against a nuclear sky. The band members all came up in Detroit’s garage scene–they’ve played in the Hentchmen, the Sights, and the Cyril Lords–but now they’re riffing on some fardled deep-space electro-rock. It’s like watching Brainiac prance around in Mick Jagger’s football pants and Capezios: oh so wrong, but somehow oh so right. –Jessica Hopper

The guitar-wielding terrors in the Muldoons are ages 9 and 13, and the drummer is their 47-year-old dad, but this trio is no novelty act. Shane and Hunter Muldoon learned guitar from Jack White, and they’ve absorbed not only some of his aptitude for big, loud riffs but also his unhinged stage persona (though maybe that’s just a side effect of giving loud guitars to hyperactive kids). That they’ve been accepted by virtually all the grown-ups in Detroit’s garage scene–and get better gigs than a lot of bands I know–is proof that they actually rock. It hurts to admit that these kids are so much cooler than you, but don’t try to outdo them. You’d probably sprain something. –Miles Raymer

SSM headlines, the Watchers play second, and the Muldoons open. a 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.


canasta The locals are due for a new album–it’s been more than a year since their first full-length, We Were Set Up (Broken Middle C). But they’ve let some new material trickle out on their Web site and they’ve kept busy on the road, opening for bands like Voxtrot and Devotchka. They’re sharpest onstage anyway, and their ability to turn on a dime gives them lots of room to experiment, blending various pop elements to create a spirit of controlled chaos. Robert Buscemi, Warm Ones, and Eric Ziegenhagen open. a 5 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $8, 18+. –Monica Kendrick

robbie fulks Though he’s known as one of the kings of country’s underground, smart-aleck bard Robbie Fulks is one of the biggest talents in the country, period. His songs get better with each record: more literate, more gorgeous, more sweet. He hasn’t put out anything since 2005’s Georgia Hard, but after shunning the idea for years, he’s agreed to do a live album for Yep Roc; tonight’s performance is the second and final taping for that release. Dolly Varden opens. a 9:30 PM, FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn, 708-788-2118 or 312-559-1212, $12. –Jessica Hopper

chenry johnson’s organ express See Friday. a 9 and 11 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand, 312-670-2473, $25.

mustache Bubba rock is like the cholesterol buildup from a steady diet of cheap beer and sausage gravy–it’s awful tough to get it out of your system. These locals, purveyors of such timeless statements of generational discontent as “Chevy Duty,” “Fat Broad Love,” and “It Ain’t Funky, Comin’ Down in Jail,” are reuniting for a sweaty holiday blowout. But the unspoken truth about these triple-bassed hefty hucksters–talk about big bottom–is that there’s some serious shredding behind their southern-rock shtick; bassist Ron Holzner has done stints in Trouble, Goatsnake, and Debris Inc. Roller, Redneck Exorcist, and Headspin open. a 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $8. –Monica Kendrick

craconteurs The Raconteurs have been tagged a Jack White side project, but there’s nothing that sounds second-rate to me on the quartet’s debut, Broken Boy Soldiers (V2/Third Man). White’s more annoying blues-rock proclivities are nicely softened by Brendan Benson’s power-pop urges, and Benson’s songwriting is toughened up by the rhythm section of bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler, both from the garage band the Greenhornes. The songs on Broken Boy Soldiers have a Stripes-like immediacy and rawness–particularly the splintered guitar breaks on “Hands” and White’s trademark faux-Robert Plant whine on “Broken Boy Soldier”–and those rough edges make the blatant pop touches hit all the harder. It sounds like a 70s record with more than a few 60s elements–I hear bits of Thin Lizzy, the Yardbirds, the Beatles, Joe Jackson, and even Elton John–but the band plays with such gusto it erases any retro residue. White’s shtick still bugs me, but he’s shut me up here. See also Sunday. The Features open. a 7:30 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, sold out. A –Peter Margasak

redwalls See Friday. The Firebird Band opens.

a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, sold out, 18+.


girl talk If you’re frustrated because the iPod doesn’t yet allow you to listen to your entire record collection simultaneously, then Girl Talk’s Night Ripper (Illegal Art) was made for you. The last word in mashups, it pits 30 years of pop music against itself, like a disco-ready version of John Oswald’s Plexure. It also confirms my suspicion that the only thing the Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song)” was missing was the Andrew Loog Oldham strings from the Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” Lando Mondo Versus Waterbabies (an ad hoc “battle of the bands” featuring members of Mahjongg, Lazer Crystal, and Chandeliers) and White Savage open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $25. –J. Niimi

chenry johnson’s organ express See Friday. a 9 and 11 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand, 312-670-2473, $40.

cSharon jones & the dap-kings It’s been a whirlwind couple years for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. Since releasing their second record, the joyfully soulful Naturally, in 2005, they’ve toured Europe, Australia, and the States, played about a dozen festivals, and appeared on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. But the road there has been a long one for Jones. Born in 1956 in James Brown’s childhood home of Augusta, Georgia, and raised in Brooklyn, she dreamed of a career as a singer but couldn’t get further than session work; eventually she took a job as a corrections officer at Rikers Island and sang only in her church. Then in 1996 she was discovered by the soul label Desco (which morphed into her current home, Daptone Records) and started working with the group that would become the eight-piece Dap-Kings. Her full-length debut, 2002’s Dap-Dippin’, sold only around 6,000 copies, but when the follow-up hit the street people started listening. Between the band’s fatback drums, jitterbugging horns, and tight funk guitar, Jones’s deep, soaring voice, and the album’s vintage production values, you’d swear Naturally was conjured from a dimension where it’s perpetually 1965. And the Dap-Kings can cook onstage too–at this February’s Plug awards they’ll be in the running for best live act. The Budos Band opens and the East of Eden’s Soul Express DJs spin.

a 9:30 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212, $30, 18+. –J. Niimi

legendary shack shakers, scott h. biram Nashville’s LEGENDARY SHACK SHAKERS might be the band that hundreds of post-Cramps hillbilly huckers have tried (and failed) to be. Their fourth full-length, Pandelerium (Yep Roc), is a white-knuckle ride through sin and salvation and back to sin again–rockabilly’s original promise updated for an age that likes to put lots of extra x’s in extreme. Austin one-man band SCOTT H. BIRAM stares down his demons at half the speed and twice the fearsomeness on his latest album, this year’s Graveyard Shift (Bloodshot). Carrying his guitar and harmonica into hell’s mouth, he’s going it alone in more ways than one, calling out to God but not terribly sure he’s going to get an answer. The Legendary Shack Shakers headline, Biram plays second, and the Saps open. a 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $70. –Monica Kendrick

craconteurs See Saturday. The Features open. a 10 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, $79.00, 18+. –Peter Margasak

redwalls See Friday. Catfish Haven opens. a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, sold out.


blood and time Massively influential, stubbornly posthuman Bay Area metal band Neurosis is in town recording an album, and founding guitarist and vocalist Scott Kelly is taking a night off to play with this stripped-down, nakedly grim side project. His solo album, Spirit Bound Flesh (2001), has been compared to Johnny Cash, and Blood and Time’s more droning and gothic At the Foot of the Garden (2003) to Earth, but for my money the most obvious point of reference is Michael Gira. The band’s current lineup consists of Kelly, Neurosis keyboardist Noah Landis, and Red Sparowes guitarist Josh Graham, who does visuals for Neurosis. They’ve got a bunch of new material ready to record, and they’ve worked up cover versions of tunes by Roky Erickson and Townes Van Zandt. Yakuza front man Bruce Lamont and Unlucky Atlas, an acoustic band that includes both members of Locrian, open the show. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10, $8 in advance. –Monica Kendrick


scale model Between its chipper music and its chipper online bio–which details each member’s college experience–this local pop quartet is so innocently exuberant you could take it home to mother. And then mom would say, “Back in my day, rock ‘n’ roll bands used to be surly and do drugs and break stuff. You kids today have no pride.” But Scale Model’s shiny, happy sound on their third EP, the self-released Humdrum, is interestingly brittle–the perkiness always seems to threaten to fall apart. And while everybody seems to be covering Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” lately, I’ll take Scale Model’s unpolished version over Lacuna Coil’s. Red Monroe and Avalanche Rescue Team open. a 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $7. –Monica Kendrick