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BOB LOG III, LONESOME ORGANIST 4/11, SUBTERRANEAN Neoblues wild man Bob Log III, a bundle of lascivious stage energy, can do more by his lonesome than most full bands--and with a woman on his lap. On his new Log Bomb (Fat Possum) he sticks to what he's best at--maniacal slide-driven R & B so lewd it's probably illegal in several southern states. Standout titles include "Wag Your Tail Like a Dog in the Back of a Truck," "Boob Scotch," and of course "One Man Band Boom." Firmly in the forefront of said boom is local opener the Lonesome Organist, who'll release Form and Follies (Thrill Jockey), his first new album in two years, come June. VEXERS 4/11, FIRESIDE BOWL You know something's wrong with LA when a band has to move to Philadelphia to find a drummer. Recorded with producer Mike Musmanno, the zesty neo-new-wave eruptions on their eponymous debut (on New York's Ace Fu label) are cheerfully tainted in places by a dash of nearly metallish technique; by all accounts their live show is sterling. And drummer Jesse Van Anglen was well worth the trip. STACEY EARLE & MARK STUART 4/12, FITZGERALD'S Though they've worked together on each other's solo discs for years (and have both appeared on records by Stacey's brother Steve), this married couple didn't release anything as a duo until last year's Must Be Live, a double album that documented a year's worth of performances together (that means 272 shows for these workaholics). Never Gonna Let You Go (Gearle/Evolver), their first studio album, out in June, is dominated by Earle's husky voice, which is part Dolly Parton, part Stevie Nicks; these 13 songs are like cabins in the thick country-folk forest, comfortably secluded but with a clear view across the pond to where the Thompsons used to live. ANNIVERSARY 4/14, ABBEY PUB These cute flower-power pushers are headlining a few dates on a tour otherwise spent opening for Cheap Trick and Guided by Voices. The sweeping pseudo-Britpop on last year's Your Majesty (Vagrant) scores high on clean-guitar trill, on build and swell, on melting harmonies, on magnetic-poetry lyrics that sound good in snippets. Not quite so high on liveliness or fluidity though--this prefab museum piece doesn't quite breathe on its own yet. BLACKOUTS 4/14, EMPTY BOTTLE Half the problem with so many young urban professional garage bands nowadays is that they seem so grimly career focused--their party hearty-ness all sounds part of a finely honed business plan. But while as much great rock has been made that way as any other, the calculation isn't supposed to show. What sets this Champaign quartet apart on its debut, Everyday Is a Sunday Evening (Lucid Records), is a real sense of freshness and a wider-than-average sonic vocabulary. Each of the ten songs has its own identity, and the band's sound ranges from early-R.E.M. jangle to a scary, hairy acid-rock squeal. MCLUSKY 4/15, SCHUBAS This UK buzz band's "Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues" (from last year's Too Pure album Mclusky Do Dallas) already has its own lip-synching kitten video on rathergood.com, alongside Led Zep's "Immigrant Song" and the White Stripes "Fell In Love With a Girl." Can a cease and desist letter from Lucasfilm be far behind? Their lyrics, delivered in a vintage Rotten sneerl, take ribald meaninglessness to new and ecstatic levels, and the jagged rush of their sound is devoted to little more than the idea that straightforward roaring, clanking, buzzing, and squealing feels very, very good. BLOOD GROUP 4/16, SCHUBAS This Staten Island band, which just released its first full-length, Volunteers (Le Grand Magistery), revolves around the core duo of Miss Jessica B and James Jackson Toth, who work with producer Doug Seidel and a group of collaborators (called the Family Blood) that includes a few producers and DJs and sometime Mercury Rev keyboardist Justin Russo. They use their collective experience to great advantage on this album, which features some of the loveliest, eeriest, and richest make-out music for lotus-eaters since early Portishead. MINUS 5 4/16 & 17, ABBEY PUB Young Fresh Fellow Scott McCaughey does this side project a disservice by keeping it a side project--plenty of full-time bands would kill to generate a lush, overgrown, generous record like the new Down With Wilco (Yep Roc). Then again, it is a full-time band, namely Wilco, that provides the main body of the backing and does some of the cowriting here. McCaughey's a glib and gifted lyricist--songs like "The Days of Wine and Booze," "Dear Employer (The Reason I Quit)," and "The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply" are resigned yet cheerful, touching on their nominal subject matter lightly, then running away, as if playing duck-duck-goose. Regular Minus 5ers Pete Buck, Ken Stringfellow, and Christy McWilson contributed in the studio along with Rebecca Gates; the tray-card poem is by Chicago's own Thax Douglas. BLOODTHIRSTY LOVERS 4/17, SCHUBAS Back in 2000 Grifters veteran David Shouse set out to make a new Those Bastard Souls record, the first in several years. But he became preoccupied with a newly acquired vintage analog synth, and figured it was easier to start a new band than to force his new spacey sounds into the old mold. The band's debut album, on Frenchkiss, is a merry piece of synth pop with all the good cheer of a bright helium balloon--and all the weight as well. The North Mississippi Allstars' Paul Taylor drums and Thom Krupski is the latest in a succession of keyboardists.

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