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THE BUZZ 12/6, FITZGERALD'S This local roots quartet delivers driving funky blues with precision reflective of the music-performance degrees held by two of its members. But material like "All the Lovin' You Need" and "Keep On Lovin' You" never progresses beyond pedantry. DELTA 72 12/6, METRO The departure of bassist-singer Kim Thompson for grad school (she's been replaced by former Goat Bruce Reckahn) has altered this randy D.C. foursome's sound since the recording of The R & B of Membership (Touch and Go) earlier this year, but most of the elements that make the band a rump shaker's delight--warped tremolo slide guitar, frantic Farfisa organ and harmonica, and off-kilter drumming--remain intact. Surf-guitar fools Man or Astroman? headline. FLAVOR CHANNEL, NOT REBECCA 12/6, EMPTY BOTTLE Local quintet the Flavor Channel offers smooth, clever, jazzy pop not unlike that of Minneapolis's Legendary Jim Ruiz Group but with better vocal intonation and more of a 60s slant; its Plexicom (Mendacity; Steamboat) incorporates baroque surf 'n' ska ("Incident at Plexicom"), lush romanticism ("Little Thing"), and rollicking sax-charged R & B ("On the Highway"). A punchy rhythm section and meaty guitars help keep things coherent. On Rocketship to Canada (Johann's Face), Not Rebecca covers "Johnny's Gonna Die" from the Replacements' Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, and name checks three of those seminal Minneapolitans' albums in the lyrics to "Ten Best" (Husker Du's on the list too). But clean, spirited writing and execution makes this quartet a credit to its influences. MAGIC DIRT 12/6, LOUNGE AX Sprawling, simplistic space-rock jams, often shifting in tempo and intensity, provide the setting for singer-guitarist Adalita Srsen's alternately dreamy and punkish soliloquies on this Australian four piece's full-length debut, Friends in Danger (Warner Brothers). Bits of melody surface sporadically but memorably--especially on the chorus of the operatic, eight-minute-plus "Bodysnatcher." COSY SHERIDAN, JIM INFANTINO 12/7, UNITARIAN CHURCH OF HINSDALE A singer-guitarist from Utah, Sheridan carries on the time-honored folk tradition of comic topical songs. On "Losing Game," from Quietly Led (Waterbug), she twists phrases from popular media ("Be all you can be / Don't be more than an eight") to illustrate the futility of trying to look more attractive; it's pretty cute. Infantino, who hails from Beantown, begins a song on Jim's Big Ego (Tangible) with "At night they go out and paint the town," and proceeds to paint a pack of vandals as modern-day folk heroes. Even if you're not nodding in agreement, the funky beats (a la Beck) keep you from nodding off.

--Frank Youngwerth

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Brad Miller.

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