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EUGENIUS 3/11, LOUNGE AX The pedigree of this Glaswegian four-piece traces back to the Vaselines, a semilegendary band with a posthumous reputation that rests largely on Nirvana's cover of its song "Molly's Lips." Eugenius also possesses musical ties to both fellow Scots the Pastels and the Olympia, Washington, trio Beat Happening, combos that crafted killer hooks with naive, punky simplicity. Lisped, lilting, lethargically delivered bubblegum melodies spill from leader Eugene Kelly's lips and cascade across a bed of chunky guitars and breezy rhythms to form irresistible, disposable summertime pop. This year's installment is the brand-new Mary Queen of Scots (the band's second album, on Atlantic), made up of one would-be hit after another. 13 ENGINES 3/11, CUBBY BEAR Speaking of easygoing music: Toronto's 13 Engines take the classicist approach to power pop, twisting the formula with lush, swirling layers of sharp-edged guitar and John Critchley's breathy, soulful, elastic vocals. On their fourth album, Perpetual Motion Machine (Atlantic), they present 14 dense, tightly arranged tunes in which texture-thick guitar extrapolations complement their catchiness. JAWBOX 3/11, METRO To the best of my knowledge Jawbox are the first band to leave the D.C.-based label Dischord (home of Fugazi, and the most adamant practitioner of the DIY aesthetic) for a major label, a move that may bring accusations of selling out from longtime fans. Their recently released Atlantic debut, For Your Own Special Sweetheart, grinds out evidence that their churning, angular postpunk has lost none of its edge; Ted Nicely's production makes them sound sharper but not shinier. Of course, that also means that the music remains fairly tedious and that the band's beginning to repeat itself, but hey, you can't have it all. ALLGOOD 3/12, CUBBY BEAR Perhaps testifying to the amazing staying power of the Grateful Dead, the last few years have witnessed an incomprehensible profusion of retro-hippie jamming bands earning sizable, sometimes even huge--as in the case of the insufferable Blind Melon--followings. The ongoing H.O.R.D.E. tours have proffered bands like Phish, Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler, Chicago's own Freddy Jones Band, and last year Allgood to middle-class white audiences in search of clean hippie thrills. Allgood plays a boogie-based bluesy hard rock rife with endless guitar soloing reminiscent of the Allman Brothers but lacking verve; the tunes are merely shells for noodling wah-wah guitar. I'm not sure if Allgood are Christian rockers, but five songs on their new album summon the Lord, and if the title of "Time Is Gonna Bring Us a Change" doesn't gag you, you'll choke on the stale and dim-witted peace-and-love environmentalism espoused by the lyrics. PARIAH 3/12, GOTHAM With all of this "alternative" junk taking over the clubs and airwaves it's easy to forget the place of LA-style hard rock--the screechy vocals full of lines like "Do you know how to rock / Do you know how to roll," the compressed-sounding guitars peeling off whiny leads full of hammer-ons, and the flowing manes with their well-maintained sheens. The reminder: Pariah. TRIPPING DAISY 3/15, METRO What separates this Dallas combo from the ranks of other faceless regional college bands? Record sales.

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