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AFGHAN WHIGS, 12/3, METRO Greg Dulli's unsavory portraits of men with insatiable libidos have the critics slobbering. On a few tunes from the Afghan Whigs' new album, Gentlemen, the narrator cops to his rotten attitude toward women, but more often it's presented uncritically and without excuses--on "Be Sweet" he sings "I got a dick for a brain / And my brain is gonna sell my ass to you." I suppose you could argue that some criticism of this mentality is inherent in the mere depiction of it, but this sort of "commentary" doesn't curb or condemn what boils down to loutish behavior. It's endorsement by default. Also, Dulli refers to women almost exclusively as "baby." As for the music, Dulli's overwrought faux-soul vocal excesses (maybe The Commitments served as his primer) and the band's loud and plodding pop attempts don't add up to much. APOLLO 9, 12/4, LOUNGE AX A quick listen to the brand-new CD Nothing Matters, by this group from East Lansing, Michigan, reveals them to be folkies in indie rockers' clothing. Reminscent of Seattle's blustery Walkabouts, Apollo 9 is distinguished by a male-female lead vocal weave and a bittersweet violin that laces its structurally dramatic songs, but too often the male singer's unrestrained exuberance upsets the balance. Apollo 9 appears on a bill of artists affiliated with the local label Trixie: Sabalon Glitz, Frances Gumm, and Drag King. J.D. PARRAN, 12/4, HOTHOUSE; 12/5, SHERWOOD CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC Parran has pushed the envelopes of both improvisation and composition for the jazz avant-garde. Early experience in Saint Louis's Black Artist Group (an organization akin to Chicago's AACM) and myriad recordings with artists as diverse as Derek Bailey, Hamiet Bluiett, Don Byron, and George Lewis complement his startling work with the all-woodwind trio New Winds (with Ned Rothenberg and Robert Dick). Among Parran's concerns is extending and blurring the lines between classical-leaning notated compositions and free improv. In New Winds, for example, the two diverge and commingle so rapidly that differentiating between them becomes nearly impossible. His Saturday performances will be with a medium-sized group that will include percussionist Hamid Drake, instrument inventor and reedman Douglas Ewart, and several vocalists, while Sunday is billed as a solo flute recital and lecture (it's presented by the Chicago Flute Club). TINY TIM WITH THE NEW DUNCAN IMPERIALS, 12/8-9, QUICKSILVER Fresh from a month-long tour of Australia with a heavy metal band, never-say-die one-hit-wonder Tiny Tim comes to town for another round of career rejuvenation (never mind that he has yet to pull one off). These two gigs will be recorded for a live album on Pravda subsidiary Bughouse, and NDI, the trio Bill Wyman once called "Chicago's best live band," will lend musical support. One cringes at the possibilities, but beer-swilling fratboys won't want to miss out. JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION, 12/9, LOUNGE AX After years of calculated irritation as leader of Pussy Galore, and with a couple albums under his belt with this new trio, Jon Spencer has a revisionist rock-n-roll groove nailed down mighty hard. Nearly parodic swagger and a loose, loud, and stripped-down musical attack (drums and a pair of guitars, no bass) energize skeletal tunes with postmodern elan, but the music connects on a purely primal level. A caveman for all seasons.

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