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Friday 6

KRISTIN SHOUT & SMOKING KITTEN Kristin Shout's a longtime Chicago fixture--she used to book bands at Czar Bar and was part of the team that won the 1991 National Poetry Slam--but she earned her musical chops busking around Europe, picking up the life experiences that give her jazzy country-hybrid songs their cinematic resonance. Her swooping, husky, mutable voice inhabits a creepy world of tornadoes, drugs, criminals, and ambivalent love, and Shout sings like she's been there a long time, familiar with all its dark alleys and hiding places. This show is a release party for the self-released Thorny Devil, her first full-length album with her band, Smoking Kitten. Thomas Pace and the Great Crusades open. 9 PM, Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494 or 800-594-8499, $8. --Monica Kendrick

POMES I don't know if this local band took some inspiration from Jack Kerouac's Pomes All Sizes, but that's what its name makes me think of--which sets the bar pretty high in my mind for its full-length debut, At the Adelphi (Black Dead Roses). I suspect ol' Jack would be bored shitless by the album's stretches of jam-band cruising and college-rock meandering, but the songs improve a great deal whenever Jessie Wehrle pitches in with a full-throated hippie-soul chant, and Paolo Urizar's ringing guitar leads are a fine foil for her--better than Michael Cummins's bored-sounding declamations. Kerouac wrote his fair share of filler too, but he always seemed to want to rise above mediocrity. 7 x 7 and the Brink Band open. 9:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $7. --Monica Kendrick

RAISE THE RED LANTERN Chicago's Raise the Red Lantern released their debut full-length, Breathe Fire (Seventh Rule), this past fall. It's an inventive fusion of up-tempo stoner rock, posthardcore, the avant-rock of Neurosis, and classic Brit metal. Tracks like "Daggers and Men's Smiles" and "Brethren We Built This" surprise with electronic manipulations: they appear without warning yet still sound strangely fitting, carrying things naturalistically beyond the limits of what a live loud rock band can normally do. Wolf & Cub, the Pines, and Raining Bricks open. a 9 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444, $7, 18+. --J. Niimi

MELVIN RHYNE TRIO WITH PETER BERNSTEIN Peter Bernstein backed into the jazz mainstream: like many guitarists of his generation (he's 38), he first discovered Jimi Hendrix, then B.B. King, and finally Wes Montgomery, the exemplar of the deceptively easygoing style that Bernstein has made his own. Bernstein's playing--like that of Montgomery (and Grant Green, who has become a stronger influence on him)--has a surface facility that masks the intensity of his technique and the ferocity of his thinking. He packs in lots of ideas but reduces them to clean, crisply defined summations; even when he's flying through quick-tempo tunes he doesn't waste many notes, which accounts for the measured, almost understated quality of his improvisations. Bernstein's tasteful but galvanic approach has made him a favorite in several modern jazz-organ groups, most notably those led by keyboardists Larry Goldings and Dr. Lonnie Smith and tenor man Javon Jackson--and this one, the product of a long partnership with Indianapolis's Melvin Rhyne, who in the late 50s played organ on the first Wes Montgomery recordings to feature the instrument. See also Saturday. 9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $10. --Neil Tesser

Saturday 7

I NEED SLEEP When the guys in this local racket-pop squad recorded their self-titled debut, they played an average of 5.5 instruments apiece, including steel pans, baritone ukulele, and something called a kazooka. Of course they're only competent on maybe 0.75 instruments apiece, but they manage to make a hilarious, clattering, Pogues-ish stomp with shards of late-60s Who and early They Might Be Giants winking through the clouds of dust. Their pile of half-broken gear looks like a garage sale strapped together with Day-Glo tape, and onstage they jump from one instrument to the next as quickly as they can break whatever they're playing. The Reptoids headline, I Need Sleep plays second, and 8 Inch Betsy opens. 9 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444, $8, 18+. --Miles Raymer

LOW SKIES On their second full-length, All the Love I Could Find (due in February on Flameshovel), these locals travel even further into the dusty gothic landscape of an imagined American west. On songs like "Levelling" and "Sweet Young Girls" (one of three tracks featuring guest vocals by Kelly Hogan), front man Chris Salveter sounds like Jack Kerouac's evil twin, recounting his night wanderings from barroom to flophouse to drug den in a bitter, weary voice that sometimes climbs into a broken howl. The brooding, bluesy instrumental backup sharpens the pangs of desolation in his singing with ribbons of keening organ and faraway squalls of laconic slide guitar. The Reputation headlines, Low Skies play second, and 8th Grade opens. 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8. --J. Niimi

MELVIN RHYNE TRIO WITH PETER BERNSTEIN See Friday. 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $10.

SPITS These Seattle punk terrors are notorious for their obnoxious costumes--cardboard robot suits, rubber Reagan masks, jock-hawks, Unabomber outfits, whatever--and their even more obnoxious sound, so stubbornly and brutally primitive it forces you to admit just how polished the Ramones really were. On their 2004 tour they started selling a limited-edition DVD (still available at www.thespits.com) that proves they used to be even rawer, something I wouldn't have believed possible if I hadn't seen the footage--you get a few episodes of their televised mid-90s puppet show, Chucky & the Spits, which went where even public access fears to tread, a couple music videos, and bits and pieces from a handful of shows, including their 2002 appearance at Horizontal Action's Chicago Blackout. Not a band to be shot with Vaseline on the lens--though you can be sure something's gonna get smeared on it. The Busy Signals, M.O.T.O., and Mandy & the Twins open. The Get Drunk DJs spin between sets. 10 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10. --Monica Kendrick

Sunday 8

MITTENS ON STRINGS British label Pickled Egg Records, which has put out albums by Need New Body, Daniel Johnston, and the Go! Team, among others, recently gave a boost to this band from the Indiana-Kentucky borderlands. (A fine match, if you ask me, since I strongly associate those delicious pickled eggs with Kentucky.) Pushing Buttons, a limited-edition seven-inch EP, repackages the strongest material from their homespun 2001 debut--dark-toned, deep-voiced, piano-laden multi-instrumental free-for-alls, illuminated by periodic eruptions of hair-raising accidental harmonies. The band's selling a new album, It Is Becomes Disaffect Toward the Present World, Look Up the Sky!, at shows and through its Web site. A Tundra Orchestra and Cellmates open. 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $7. --Monica Kendrick

Monday 9

MICHAEL COLUMBIA Not a bearded fat dude with an acoustic guitar like I imagined, but the local duo of keyboardist and saxophonist David McDonnell (Olivia Tremor Control, Need New Body) and drummer Dylan Ryan (Icy Demons, Orso). McDonnell combines space-prog synth, glowing organ, and horn sounds that range from a jaunty duck-call burr to a seductive croon, creating hypnotizing clouds of pulsating, repetitive rhythms that unfortunately all but swallow up Ryan's snappy drumming. It's a bit too smooth-jazz for me--but if you're in the mood for some gasbaggy experimental jams, you could do a lot worse. Chandeliers and Killer Whales open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401. Free. --Liz Armstrong

Thursday 12

THEM VS. THEM These locals recently put out a demo that reminds me a lot of another hometown band, Oh My God, which isn't too surprising considering they share two members: amazing adrenaline-electroshock organ player Ig, formerly of Junior Wells's band, and drummer Bish. Mr. Ig swings his enormous organ hard--the way Jimmy Smith, Ray Manzarek, and Booker T. used to--and the rest of the band's skintight rokk is fun and energetic enough to excuse the major dude-ishness of singer JAQ, aka Foul Mouth Poet (a former composer, actor, and writer for MTV's Scratch + Burn). The Cougars headline, Them vs. Them play third, Moth plays second, and the Stapletons open. 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $8. --J. Niimi

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