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PALOALTO 11/24, PARK WEST Don't be fooled by the cover of Paloalto, the American Recordings debut of the Los Angeles quintet of the same name. Though it not so subtly apes the look of various releases on Jade Tree and Thrill Jockey, it's actually a big commercial-sounding rock record, produced explicitly for radio by Rick Rubin himself. But for what it is it's not bad: the catchy passion pop of "Throw the Brick" and "Monolith" would keep my tuner on Q101 for a few seconds longer than normal. Nina Gordon headlines. HAR MAR SUPERSTAR 11/25, EMPTY BOTTLE Har Mar Superstar is Sean Tillman, of Sean Na Na and Calvin Krime, claiming to be Harold Martin Tillman, who claims to be the younger brother of Sean Tillman. His smirking take on slick R & B on Har Mar Superstar, his debut full-length on Kill Rock Stars, is so bumpy, homegrown, and smart-assed it makes Beck sound like the real deal. But he's adorably clumsy in his wickedness (crooning into a lover's ear "Baby if you want to stay with me / you've got to change your wardrobe") and occasionally downright sly ("There's a feeling I get when I look to the wet / Spot on your bedspread"), and at times a genuine charm emerges from the smarminess. DORO 11/28 & 29, HOUSE OF BLUES Riff-metal Valkyrie Doro Pesch, who fronted the wildly popular (in Germany, anyway) Warlock in the 80s, is touring the U.S. for the first time in a decade in support of her new album, Calling the Wild (Koch). Featuring guest appearances by Lemmy, Slash, and Al Pitrelli, it runs on deep, mean, chugging grooves vaguely reminiscent of Accept or vintage Priest. Pesch, a solid songwriter but a devastating vocalist, lends trashy class to Motorhead's "Alone Again" as well as a killer cover of (of all things) Billy Idol's "White Wedding." She opens for Yngwie Malmsteen and Dio. ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE 11/30, FIRESIDE BOWL; 12/1, 6ODUM This psychedelic rock collective from Osaka, begun as one of many side projects involving Mainliner and Musica Transonic guitarist Makoto Kawabata, belongs near the forefront of the Japanese psych scene in its own right--it links the soar, drone, and ramble of old-school freak parades like Gong and Hawkwind to high-powered electronic mayhem. At the Fireside the Acid Mothers share the bill with local kindred spirits the Unshown and the heavy but not as heady Alabama Thunderpussy; at 6Odum, they'll commingle with the Unshown and "many Chicago guests" to "create a massive Theatre of Eternal Music-style drone orchestra" using cello, sitar, and other "organic" instruments. MISHA FEIGIN & TOSHI MAKIHARA 11/30, BRICK HOUSE Improv guitarist Misha Feigin is better known in his native Russia than he is here, even though he immigrated in 1990. At home he began recording improvised music in 1986 but also performed with pop star Janna Bichevskaya; he's opened for Leo Kottke but collaborates with folks like Elliott Sharp, Eugene Chadbourne, and LaDonna Smith and Davey Williams. At this new and very DIY improv venue, he'll duet with Philadelphia-based percussionist Toshi Makihara, who's recorded with William Parker and Thurston Moore, among others. DEIRDRE FLINT 11/30, UNCOMMON GROUND Philadelphia singer-songwriter Deirdre Flint, whose single "Cheerleader" has caught the ear of Dr. Demento, takes breezy, irreverent pokes at the pep squad and other easy targets--like seafoam green bridesmaids' dresses and insecurity about breast size ("The Boob Fairy," who "never came for me")--on her debut CD, The Shuffleboard Queens. I found it slightly less disturbing to hear these glib Judy Blume-isms coming from a woman in her 30s when I learned that she began writing songs as a means of communicating with her fifth-grade students...but only slightly.

--Monica Kendrick

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

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