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Friday 24

EULORHYTHMICS Kenny Keys emerged last year as one of the most promising producers on All Natural's terrific album Vintage. Since then he's been active with this project, a duo with MC Adad; on their U.S. debut, Extended Play (due April 11 on All Natural Records), his jazz- and soul-inflected tracks provide a lush but unobtrusive setting for Adad's rhymes. An important element in Keys's production style is his keyboard playing, which helps create a more organic feel than you'll find on a typical sample-based record. The instrumental "Listen" even features a synth solo (though, given the rather annoying sound used, this isn't entirely a plus). Working against Eulorhythmics, if only slightly, is Adad's excessive similarity to Mos Def, both in his lyrics (largely empathetic narratives about poverty and the struggle to escape its grip on the mind) and in his musicality. But if you were picking an MC to copy you could do a lot worse. Top to bottom the lineup for this big local hip-hop show is Iomos Marad, Primeridian, Eulorhythmics, Verbal Kent, Rusty Chains, and Matlock, with 5th Element and Sean Doe spinning throughout. Eulorhythmics also perform Thursday at the Morseland; see separate item. 10 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, 18+, $7 in advance, $10 at the door. --Peter Margasak

ALECIA NUGENT On her second album, the new A Little Girl . . . A Big Four-Lane (Rounder), singer Alecia Nugent follows the model for middle-of-the-road bluegrass success that Alison Krauss established--her country-driven repertoire deftly mixes hot picking and sweet harmony vocals. Producer Carl Jackson, a Nashville vet, gives the songs a soft-focus sheen, but his efforts to make the tunes radio-ready don't undercut the fiery instrumental interplay of Nugent's crack band. Though treacly sentimentality hampers a few ballads, by and large the album's a winner. Nugent plays on the opening night of the Indoor Bluegrass Music Festival along with Gerald Evans & Paradise, Special Consensus, the Lovell Sisters, and the Chicago Bluegrass Band. See Fairs & Festivals for a complete schedule. 7 PM, Holiday Inn Select, 1801 Naper, Naperville, 217-243-3159, $20, $40 for a three-day pass, half-price for teens, free for kids. All ages. --Peter Margasak

MEGAN REILLY For her second album, the new Let Your Ghost Go (Carrot Top), Memphis-raised singer Megan Reilly is backed again by a band filled with heavyweights like drummer Steve Goulding (Mekons), bassist Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu), and guitarist Tim Foljahn (Two Dollar Guitar). But the players don't draw attention to themselves, showing an admirable restraint around Reilly's breathy, delicate voice and letting the songs reveal their charms softly. Mostly the mildly twangy arrangements percolate gently as Reilly whisper-sings through the bittersweet melodies. When she does lean into a song, her voice cuts through like a scythe, but even on a more aggressive number like "Tropic of Cancer" she judiciously uses her firepower, which makes her most emphatic gestures that much more effective. Reilly has credited producer Sue Garner for the disc's spartan approach; Garner, also a terrific singer, guitarist, and bassist, will accompany her here. Low Skies headline; Jacob Ross and Mike Bulington spin. 10 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $8. --Peter Margasak

VITALIC Last year French electro polymath Pascal Arbez released OK Cowboy (Play It Again Sam), a full-length compilation of 12-inch singles and EP tracks he'd released under the name Vitalic. His love of Daft Punk and Giorgio Moroder come through in the aggro techno and edgy Italo-disco that flavor much of his material, especially on early tracks such as "La Rock 01" and "Poney Part 2" (both from the 2001 Poney EP). But he ventures into other territory as well: "My Friend Dario" is omnivorous Euro house, and "Wooo" is like Kraftwerk on krack. Vitalic headlines, Sleeparchive plays third, Dave Siska plays second, and Chris Widman opens. 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140 or 312-559-1212, $10. --J. Niimi

WALTER MEEGO Back from a recent DJ date in London, this local trio is celebrating the release of its new 12-inch, Hollywood (Brilliante), which, if you buy it on the band's site, comes with a free mix tape. The four tracks (two new songs, each remixed) have an irresistible fizziness: the bouncing-puppy glee in their dance music embraces shiny pop but never gets so slick it slides down the boring chute. I'm a little afraid that a full-length might be too much, like downing a box of chocolate-covered cherries in one sitting. LMNOP opens and the Life During Wartime DJs spin. 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $6. --Monica Kendrick

Saturday 25

MARISSA NADLER Yet another face in the psych-folk stampede, New York's Marissa Nadler can be distinguished by her relatively restrained, traditionalist MO: she gilds her narrative tunes with delicate fingerpicked guitar and bathes them in waves of milky reverb. Her mannered elocution recalls Chicago's Josephine Foster, but her voice is sweeter and her phrasing more mellifluous; at times she sounds even more heavily sedated than Hope Sandoval, if that's possible. On her second album, The Saga of Mayflower May (Eclipse, 2005), Nadler works reasonably fantastical variations on ancient British folk themes, but without the imagination of a genuine weirdo like Joanna Newsom. And as pretty as her languorous plaints are, they'd benefit from greater dynamic range. Kathleen Baird of Spires That in the Sunset Rise opens. 7 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Peter Margasak

Monday 27

ELECTRIC SIX, THE FEVER It's hard to pull off jokes as obvious as "Gay Bar" and "Naked Pictures (of Your Mother)" once your audience knows what to expect. So on Senor Smoke (finally released in the U.S. on Metropolis Records this winter, a year after it came out in Europe), Detroit cheese rockers the ELECTRIC SIX juice up their tunes with ludicrously overblown invocations of the apocalypse: on "Rock and Roll Evacuation" front man Dick Valentine intones a warning about today's "evil generation" ("Evil boys eating evil hamburgers / Evil boys eating evil fries"), and on the cold war power ballad "Jimmy Carter" he quotes from Yeats's "The Second Coming." But if you prefer your jokes obvious, there's still "Vibrator," about how Valentine's gal doesn't need one. --Keith Harris

I can't seem to write about THE FEVER without using the words "the Faint" and "not quite as good as." But that's like saying Maker's Mark isn't quite as good as Laphroaig--they'll both get you glowing. Despite the amicable departure of original guitarist Chris Sanchez last year, the Fever's new album, In the City of Sleep (Kemado), has the same skeleton of jerky, punky new wave that 2004's Red Bedroom did--but now it's draped with layers of druggy Beatlesque whimsy. Where the Faint sound like vinyl and chrome, these guys are more unpainted wood and rusty iron--on top of the electronic keyboards you get pump organ, xylophone, piano, and accordion, and the drums are heaped with sheet metal, brake pads, and chains. Goes down smooth. --Ann Sterzinger

The Electric Six headline, the Fever plays second, and Rock Kills Kid opens. 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $12.

MARITIME On their second album, the forthcoming We, the Vehicles (Flameshovel), the indie all-stars in Maritime--Davey von Bohlen and Dan Didier from the Promise Ring with Eric Axelson from the Dismemberment Plan--do what they've always done best, and do it pretty gosh-darn well. Their streamlined pop songs have a formidable hookiness and economy that betray the handiwork of veterans, and while every song's worth a listen, a few, like "German Engineering" and "Tearing Up the Oxygen," hit the highest mark you can hope for from genteel indie songcraft. Axelson left the band after recording the album, replaced on bass by Justin Krug; as on past tours, they'll likely be joined by guitarist Mike Kinsella. Brighton, MA (a new band led by Matthew Kerstein, formerly of Scotland Yard Gospel Choir) and the Race open. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401. Free. --J. Niimi

Thursday 30

CHICAGO SOUND I like the idea of some local hipster talking to a friend from out of town about the Chicago Sound in a loud, crowded bar, so that the friend only half follows along and gets the impression there's some sort of coherent, citywide musical movement involving a dozen drunk assholes bashing out classic-rock covers on hopelessly out-of-tune gear. This inspirationally atrocious supergroup was originally convened in 1998 by Flying Luttenbachers drummer Weasel Walter and U.S. Maple guitarist Todd Rittman (now of Cheer-Accident)--Rittman played drums and Weasel was usually one of several front men. Out of commission since Weasel's move to the Bay Area in early 2003, the Chicago Sound is regrouping (sans Rittman) for a one-night-only reunion, and many of the usual suspects will participate, including current and former members of Lair of the Minotaur, 7000 Dying Rats, and Behold! the Living Corpse. The band's MO is to play a mix CD through the monitors and try to follow it, and past sets have had loose themes, like "na na" songs ("Hey Jude," "Centerfold," "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'") and cowbell songs ("Don't Fear the Reaper," "Mississippi Queen," "Working for the Weekend"). For this special occasion they'll be playing their "greatest hits." Gays in the Military and the Black Bear Combo open. 10 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $5 in advance, $7 at the door, 18+. --J. Niimi

COPS The Cops have been around less than two years, but they're one of those rare bands that just has it from the get-go. Featuring a drummer from drone rockers Kinski and two members of the jangly, 60s-pop-inspired Hello to Waveland, this Seattle four-piece makes the most of its members' varied resumes. Like Les Savy Fav or the Walkmen before them, they sound like a smush of influences you can only half peg--in this case, maybe the Misfits, the Laughing Hyenas, and post-Sandinista! Clash--rolled into one killer party band. Their colossal debut album, Get Good or Stay Bad (Mt. Fuji), is urgent, fractured punk, with one guitarist kicking mod rage and the other slinging jagged dissonance. The Cops headline, the Grackles play second, and the Mersey Buckets open. a 8 PM, South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union, 312-850-1049, $6. All ages. --Jessica Hopper

EULORHYTHMICS See Friday. Masta Ace headlines and Profound opens; DJs Tone B. Nimble, Copperpot, Teebot, and AA spin. 10 PM, Morseland, 1218 W. Morse, 773-764-8900, $15.

FROG HOLLER This Pennsylvania sextet is another sleeves-rolled-up Americana-rock band trying to set itself apart, though it doesn't get very far: its fifth full-length, Haywire (ZoBird), is mostly a collection of slow and mid-tempo songs that hit all the obligatory notes and don't leave much of an impression. But "One Last Time" has a boiling, Drive-By Truckers-ish breakdown, "Hades" is a bit of romantic Green on Red nostalgia, and the occasional rootsy bluegrass turn adds some flavor to the chain-restaurant servings. Cracklin Moth opens. 9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $8. --Monica Kendrick

EDDIE PALMIERI & THE AFRO CARIBBEAN ALL-STARS Having spent the last few years playing salsa with an updated version of his brassy 1960s unit La Perfecta, this boundary-defying pianist and bandleader returns to Chicago with a new project designed as a showcase for rigorous jazz improvisation. Trumpeter Brian Lynch, trombonist Conrad Herwig, and bassist John Benitez, all first-rate jazz players, have anchored other Palmieri bands; also on board is the fine New Orleans saxophonist Donald Harrison. But the real attraction here should be the interplay between conguero Giovanni Hidalgo and drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, two of the most explosive and versatile percussionists in all of Latin music. Palmieri and the All-Stars will be back on Friday night (3/31) with shows at 8 and 11:30. 7 and 10:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $35 in advance, $40 at the door. --Peter Margasak

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