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DEAD MOON 9/20, EMPTY BOTTLE Fred Cole's four-decade CV brings to mind This Is Spinal Tap, specifically the "historical footage" that places the band Gump-like in every rock trend that ever was--embarrassing Merseybeat phase, fey hippy-dippy phase, overreaching progressive phase. But what seems lampoonable on screen can be pretty impressive in real life. Cole, front man for Dead Moon since 1987, was in an R & B group called Deep Soul Cole in the early 60s, a psychedelic band called the Lollipop Shoppe in the late 60s (around the time he married his bassist, Toody), a hard-rock band called Zipper in the early 70s, a punk band called the Rats in '79...well, you get the idea. But Dead Moon has soldiered on, their bony, hungry brand of garage rock jammed somewhere between protopunk and postpunk--kind of like a Creedence gone feral fronted by Bon Scott's squeakier cousin. So much for the notion that rockin' baby boomers inevitably get all mellow and overproduced and shit. Maybe that only happens when they actually make money. JAGUARES 9/20, ARAGON Saul Hernandez, front man and main songwriter for the mystic Mexican rock trio Jaguares, insists on crossing over on his own terms--for instance, he won't sing in English because "I don't think in English." Convenient, partly because crunchy stadium blooze rock sounds fresher to Anglophone ears when sung in another language, but mostly because those who blather about the universal language of rock need to poop or get off the pot. One big reason U.S. cultural exports are as much resented as admired is that the "cultural exchange" looks to the rest of the world like a one-sided information dump. The fact that the phrase "rock en espanol" exists pegs it as an anomaly--shouldn't we be used to polyglot rock by now? Currently touring to support the release of their third album, Cuando la sangre galopa (BMG), the band has opened a few shows for, of all people, Morrissey. The product of a scrap-and-redo a couple years ago, Cuando proudly rocks and rolls, swinging a decade's worth of classic-rock guitar heroics and vocal histrionics over shifting Mexican rhythms. Call it populist-operatic. HIDEOUT BLOCK PARTY 9/20 & 9/21 The better rock clubs--if they last--become nocturnal community centers of a sort, offering unofficial services social, professional, and therapeutic to regulars. But even among these, the Hideout is exceptional; the folks who have operated the deceptively humble space for the past six years have done so with an almost missionary zeal. Their anniversary parties are benefits, this year supporting P.L.A.Y. (which provides arts training for children who have suffered violence and abuse) and Tuesday's Child (a nonprofit family-counseling group). On Friday the stage is mostly given over to the talented members of the bar's staff: performers include Kelly Hogan, Lawrence Peters, Clyde Federal (featuring soundman Mike Sturgis), Leroy Bach, Kim, the Drapes, and the Hoyle Brothers. The most compelling star is bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin, Bill Monroe's longtime vocalist. Saturday features local talent like Devil in a Woodpile, Mr. Rudy Day, and Tallulah as well as World Music Fest offerings such as David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness! (warming up for their later show at the Empty Bottle) and Afro-Cuban stylistic tricksters Yerba Buena. All this and Guided by Voices too. The party will be outdoors; children are welcome. MUDHONEY 9/21, ABBEY PUB Can I discuss Mudhoney's new Since We've Become Translucent (Sub Pop) without using the g word? Probably, since it never meant anything anyway--except to early-90s press flaks flapping around for a way to describe real, unprofessional rock made by people who didn't get enough sun or wash their hair every day. Mudhoney's membership has hardly changed (Guy Maddison replaced bassist Matt Lukin in 1999), and despite some surprisingly effective horn arrangements on "Where the Flavor Is" and "Take It Like a Man," their sound remains a stable landmark by which to point out to fad watchers that, in fact, the sun does not move, the earth does. Call it g***** retro if you like, or haul out a more current g word--"garage," that is. HER FLYAWAY MANNER 9/22, EMPTY BOTTLE Maybe it's because of the dour, straightedge origins of Fugazi. Maybe it's the adolescent-boy pouting that lingers in emo. In any case, so much of the tuneless pop punk making waves these days sounds so unappealingly anhedonic to me that I've got to listen extra hard to records like this Lincoln, Nebraska, quartet's new EP, A Rotation of Thoughts and Themes (Caulfield), to find a moment when they don't sound suspiciously like they're straining to reach a level of intensity they never quite feel. The sweetly building intro on "To the Last 23" is a welcome moment of restraint. APES 9/23, EMPTY BOTTLE Loopy and huge, this D.C. quartet's debut, The Fugue in the Fog (Frenchkiss), is more hangar than garage. Amanda Kleinman's glorious surging and shrieking organ slithers between a slew of great big oogy knuckle-dragger riffs and great fat dumb drums--the whole mess gives me the occasional Fuzztones flashback. Songs like "Into the Woods" and "Smile Program" lurch like they're just too drunk to navigate a straight line. This sound succeeds in being wry and real at once: "Apessounds" is such excellent drone-and-grind

it almost hurts. As it should. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND 9/25, UNITED CENTER First off: yes, it's sold-out. Duh. Second, The Rising (Columbia) is not the definitive rock commentary on September 11 any more than Broooce was ever really "the future of rock 'n' roll." I don't think Springsteen thinks it is either, or that he intends it to be. The problem is that every little statement he makes, especially when underlined by the E Street Band, is so anthemic, so thick in showboating conviction, that people tend to take it that way. Even when Springsteen tries to be intimate, you can't get past his hugeness--the fantastic Nebraska remains his only successful full-length attempt at wriggling out from under his own mythology. The best tracks on The Rising don't even try to evade the Boss Factor--on "The Rising" and "Into the Fire," his classic-rock-meets-Broadway-style gospel testifyin' is allowed to swell to its full heights, and on bits of apocalyptic catharsis like "Empty Sky" and "Worlds Apart" he achieves biblical proportions. I'm not too disillusioned to admit parts of it worked on me, or that Springsteen still succeeds where his scads of imitators fail. My question, though: Is he still gonna play "American Skin (41 Shots)"? ROD ARGENT & COLIN BLUNSTONE 9/26, ABBEY PUB These two are veterans of the Zombies, and hence created some of the most luminous and eerie singles to emerge from the British Invasion. Separating in 1969, both went on to play prog lite, with Argent and the Alan Parsons Project respectively. Reunited, they've taken at least one serious step beyond nostalgia-act convention: they released a new album in the UK last year, Out of the Shadows, and it included a couple of genuinely catchy singles. They now play with friends and family. They have also been experimenting with simpler, stripped-down piano/vox performances that show off Argent's impressive keyboard skills and Blunstone's still-ghostly voice. THE GOOD LIFE 9/26, SCHUBAS With their second release, Black Out (Saddle Creek), the Good Life threaten to creatively eclipse front man Tim Kasher's other band, Cursive. The proclaimed intimacy of their promising debut, Novena on a Nocturn, occasionally seemed a euphemism for tentativeness. This time out the Nebraska band has embraced its own good-natured melancholy, as if deciding that it really is OK to sound alternately like a bubbly Smog and a fidgety Cure. The electronic jitters and jiggers bob amidst melody lines like sugary carbonation. Black Out is a warm if misty late-night coming-down record or perhaps a morning-after listen: a hangover treatment that's refreshingly unashamed of the emotional excesses of the night before. Denali open.

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


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