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friday6

cCSS In America, where we've been overrun with white-tie bands and shit like Panic! at the Disco, dance punk's officially hit the brutal hangover stage. But in Brazil the music is still well freaky. Messy, sexy, carefree party band CSS is down there ponging loose funk up against favela bass to create sweet songs about fucking, loving music, and going to parties, all sung in accented ESL by a girl who calls herself Lovefoxxx. Their self-titled domestic debut on Sub Pop is great but doesn't hold a candle to their live performances. When they played the Pitchfork fest in July the entire six-piece group was commanding and confident--especially Ms. Foxxx, who concluded the set by ripping out her hairpiece between high kicks and stuffing it down her rainbow-print stretch pants to fashion an elegant merkin. They open for Ladytron. a 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $24. A --Jessica Hopper

cdfa dj tour I spent one of the worst nights I've ever had in a club waiting for James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy, aka the DFA, to DJ. It was about five years ago in some posh wine bar on the Lower East Side with no ins and outs, and for four hours people bailed on me one by one until my best friend and I were sitting alone in silence. I pissed $40 worth of Diet Coke before either guy laid a record on the tables, but it was worth the wait. This was back when DFA's steez was still in the making, just before they produced the Rapture's "House of Jealous Lovers" 12-inch and wound up wrecking the map for punk and dance music entirely. Hearing their stuff now, mired in the wreckage dance punk hath wrought, one might not think they're geniuses, but a night of DFA in DJ form is so often flawless you'll forget anything exists outside that minute, that song, that dance floor you're on. Murphy will be working without Goldsworthy; Marcus Lambkin (aka Shit Robot) and the ruthlessly unfadeable Tim Sweeney, who've both worked on DFA Records releases, open. a 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140 or 312-559-1212, $12 in advance, $15 at the door. --Jessica Hopper

ollabelle This folk-rock quintet came together in the East Village, which has a fine roots tradition; the group's taste in gospel and Appalachian tunes owes a debt not so much to rural musicians as to the McDougal Street jug bands and folksy belters of the 60s. Their second album, Riverside Battle Songs (Verve Forecast), was mixed by T-Bone Burnett and Mike Piersante (who worked together on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? sound track), and the disc has that bright, ready-for-NPR polish. But their music also has a twangy grandeur that you might associate with Civil War documentaries, and occasionally recalls Fairport Convention. a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $12. --Monica Kendrick

cFALGUNI PATHAK Of the estimated 125,000 Indian immigrants living in the Chicago area, approximately half hail from the western state of Gujarat. To celebrate the autumn Hindu festivals of Navratri and Dussehra, Gujaratis perform a dandiya raas, or "dance of swords," in which actors use wooden sticks to re-create the battle between goddess Durga and demon Mahishasura. The dance is generally performed to upbeat folk music dominated by traditional percussion instruments like the dhol, but Falguni Pathak has become India's "dandiya queen" by adding Western instruments. She and her band, Ta-Thaiya, perform both dandiya music and pop songs, a mix that has attracted massive crowds to her live shows in Mumbai. Pathak's sweet, lilting voice sometimes gets less attention than her short hair and masculine attire, a look that has made her an icon in India's growing gay community. But though her pop songs explore romantic themes, she tends to brush off direct questions about her sexuality. "I feel people are more intrigued because there is a vast contrast between my feminine voice and boyish dressing," she told one reporter. She'll perform with Ta-Thaiya at this show, which like all her dandiya events is part concert, part dance party. a 8 PM, Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center, 1551 Thoreau Dr., Schaumburg, 773-338-0292, $20 in advance, $25 at the door. A --Cara Jepsen

PIT ER PAT This Chicago trio takes a big step forward on Pyramids (Thrill Jockey), its second full-length. The arrangements are looser and less rock oriented, and the bouncing, bustling rhythms are less spazzy and overbearing--they're more of a subdued throb, in keeping with the album's gently floating textures. The sweet, delicate singing of keyboardist Fay Davis-Jeffers is still the focal point, but beneath her soft voice all kinds of sounds go scurrying. On "Brain Monster," dublike whooshes slip through the stacked keyboard patterns like curls of smoke, and on "Time Monster"--whose melody sounds strikingly like Sun Ra's "Love in Outer Space"--bongo beats underline a seesawing electric piano, percolating through it in a slightly different tempo so that the two drift in and out of sync. But thanks to the good sense of coproducer John McEntire and the thick-toned lines of bassist Rob Doran, the songs never fall apart, no matter how whimsical they get. Chandeliers and Lark (a side project of Locks and A Tundra drummer Theo Katsaounis) open. For another take on Pyramids, see Section 1. a 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Peter Margasak

karl E.h. seigfried Criminal Mastermind (Imaginary Chicago), the first solo album by local bassist Karl E.H. Seigfried, has the worst album art I've seen in years: the cheap-looking parodies of gangsta-rap imagery in the booklet are weirdly disconnected from the actual music, a set of improvisations displaying some muscular plucking a la Charles Mingus alongside acidic pieces of extended bowing. Seigfried's a fine collaborator--he's played with saxophonist David Boykin for several years--but the solo record doesn't have the rigor or variety to justify its existence. Luckily, for this release party he'll be joined by superb alto saxophonist Greg Ward and drummer Andre Beasley. a 9 PM, Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak. 312-791-9050, $10. --Peter Margasak

UPPER CRUST Anyone who's seen Spinal Tap knows about the fine line between stupid and clever. The Upper Crust have been pirouetting down that line for 12 years now, posing as preening 18th-century aristocrats and playing AC/DC-style cock-rock songs about how much richer they are than their audience. At its best, the gimmick is a sublime parody of rock-star excess as well as a poke at the disengaged upper classes. Their new best-of collection, Cream of the Crust, makes a fine starting point for the uninitiated (sample titles: "We're Finished With Finishing School," "Once More Into the Breeches," "I've Got My Ascot 'n' My Dickie"), though their 1995 debut, Let Them Eat Rock, remains their strongest album. Don't forget to bring your brandy snifter to the "posh pit." Supagroup opens. a 11:30 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $10 in advance, $12 at the door, 18+. --J. Niimi

saturday7

awesome color, tall firs Both these Brooklyn trios are beneficiaries of the surprising distribution deal Thurston Moore's long-running Ecstatic Peace! label signed with Universal this spring. Awesome Color are neither awesome nor particularly colorful; their self-titled debut sticks to one Stoogey shade. Tall Firs' eponymous full-length, on the other hand, is entrancing. The intimate vocals on the opening track, "More to Come," have some of the same aw-shucks modesty James McNew radiates when he takes his turn at the mike in Yo La Tengo. The semiacoustic, British-folky songs are minimally adorned, leaving the focus on Dave Mies and Aaron Mullan's hushed harmonies and their plucked guitars, which flicker like kindling sparks in a hearth. White/Light headlines; Awesome Color plays second; Tall Firs open. a 9 PM, South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union, 312-850-1049, $10 suggested donation. A --J. Niimi

ccheer-accident "Careful," Thymme Jones told me when I asked about his band's new album, What Sequel? (Pravda). "It's pop music." Indeed it is, though I'm not sure why that calls for caution--of all the strange things these supreme prog weirdos do, making the occasional pop album is among the least perverse. (The new one's their first in that vein since The Why Album back in 1994.) What Sequel? is a fairly joyful record, for all the dark, painterly imagery of its lyrics--it's full of improbable falsetto vocals and playful instrumental flourishes (brass, strings, flute, "fancy guitar") and from time to time deliberately parts the curtains of its cleverness to let its heart shine through. Cheer-Accident has stubbornly outlasted more than two decades of comings and goings on Chicago's music scene, and something about the intimacy of this record makes it sound like the music they might play when no one's around. Onstage, of course, there are usually plenty of folks around: the core lineup now includes guitarist Todd Rittman (U.S. Maple) and bassist Alex Perkolup (Bobby Conn, Lovely Little Girls), and the number of guests occasionally climbs into the double digits. Jones says the band will play for at least two hours at this CD-release party, and when I asked him what material to expect, he replied, "Everything. Just everything." The Lord of the Yum-Yum opens. a 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10. --Monica Kendrick

detroit cobras Specializing in covers of obscure 50s and 60s R & B cuts, the Detroit Cobras are guided by a certain humility--other people have written so many songs that are better than anything you could ever come up with, the thinking goes, so why write your own? But onstage the core duo of singer Rachel Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez, backed by an ever-changing roster of sideboys, work a swaggering bad-girl strut that's anything but humble. The King Khan & BBQ Show and Taylor Hollingsworth & the Spidereaters open; DJ Mike Miller spins between sets. a 10 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $15. --Monica Kendrick

sunday8

kyle bruckmann's wrack Chicago expat Kyle Bruckmann conceived this quintet as a jazz band, but as he writes in the liner notes of Intents & Purposes (482 Music), Wrack's second album, "as an oboist I have little choice but to approach jazz tangentially." His classical training makes its presence more strongly felt on the new disc: the rhythms are more complex and less swinging, the counterpoint more rigorous. Trombonist Jeb Bishop has left the group since its self-titled debut, replaced by Jason Stein on bass clarinet, so that Wrack's front line now consists of Bruckmann, Stein, and violist Jen Clare Paulson--and though they all acquit themselves admirably, they're all crowded into the same narrow timbral range, making it harder to appreciate the details in Bruckmann's writing or the nuances in the solos. But the musicians' improvisational skill still comes through, and drummer Tim Daisy gives the dense, asymmetrical compositions a surprisingly springy feel. a 10 PM, Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, 773-935-2118, donation requested. --Peter Margasak

junior boys In the last two years practically every magazine on either side of the pond has lined up to palm a boner at the feet of Canadian duo the Junior Boys. It seemed like every critic thought their 2004 debut, Last Exit, was one of the best albums of the year, and some are saying the same about their newest, So This Is Goodbye (Domino). Whether you'll agree sorta depends on your appreciation for fey vocals and quiet synthesizers. I think of the JBs as an even-less-macho version of the Postal Service, with songs gingerly balanced between contemporary and retro, scrumptious and fluffy, Luomo and Talk Talk. Via Tania opens, Justin Sconza (of Walter Meego) plays second, and Nonformat spins between sets. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10 in advance, $12 at the door. --Jessica Hopper

ckayhan kalhor & erdal erzincan Cross-cultural musical mashups have caught on like wildfire in recent years--the thinking seems to be that two (or three) styles are better than one. Not every combination works like chocolate and peanut butter, but Kayhan Kalhor, a master of the Iranian kemence (spike fiddle), has an uncommonly sensitive understanding of such fusions. He's one of the finest, most committed practitioners of his homeland's classical tradition, but in Ghazal, his long-running group with Indian sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan, he's carefully studied the common ground between the music of Iran and India and preserved the essential qualities of both. He's just as attentive on The Wind (ECM), his recent collaboration with Erdal Erzincan, a Turkish player of the baglama (a long-necked lute). It's a uniquely challenging project: Iranian music emphasizes rigorous improvisation, using only the slightest compositional framework, while Turkish music is much more structured, with solo passages restricted to succinct bursts at designated moments. The mournful songs on The Wind are spontaneous elaborations on traditional material from both Iran and Turkey, and the interplay is astonishing. Kalhor sets long, beautifully vocal-like microtonal lines alongside Erzincan's alternately terse and liquid single-note runs, and their patient give-and-take flows as naturally as water. This is the duo's Chicago debut. a 7 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, 773-728-6000 or 866-468-3401, $20, $16 seniors and kids. A --Peter Margasak

SCISSOR SISTERS Plenty of bands have been straining to re-create 70s and 80s new-wave dance-party glam pop, but disappointingly few have pulled it off. Whipping up flawless confections stuffed with killer hooks is way harder than it looks, and a great wardrobe won't help. So while it was easy to hate the Scissor Sisters during their media blitz a couple of years back, it was also pretty damn difficult to take it out on their singles. Their second album, the new Ta-Dah (Universal), keeps up the pace they set on their debut--the singles are instantly memorable, threatening to make the group as indelible as the Village People. Small Sins and DJ Sammy Jo open. a 7 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, $30. A --Monica Kendrick

monday9

cDJ SHADOW DJ Shadow's brand-new disc, The Outsider (Universal Motown), might be the most incoherent album of the year, but it's also a huge paradigm shift for the pioneering turntablist. Instead of drawing from his massive record collection and constructing tracks exclusively from samples, he's brought in other musicians to flesh out his ideas. He sticks to his hip-hop roots for nearly half the album: "3 Freaks" (with MCs Keak Da Sneak and Turf Talk) and "Turf Dancin'" (with the Federation and Animaniaks) invoke the "hyphy" style of his Bay Area stomping grounds, matching hyperactive programmed beats with bleeping, rubbery synths, and on "Seein' Thangs" fierce Mississippi MC David Banner delivers a bitter riposte to the Bush administration's response to Katrina. But things get weird when Shadow changes gears: former Tom Waits guitarist Joe Gore plays a meditative post-Hendrix interlude on "Broken Levee Blues," the instrumental "Artifact" is a full-throttle quasi-hardcore track, and Charalambides singer Christina Carter offers some drifting spoken-word on the folk-flavored "What Have I Done." Not all of it works--the alt-rock tracks prove only that Shadow can make bland Britpop too--and overall The Outsider feels like a step back from the focused, perfectionist approach of his earlier work. But it also maps out an intriguing variety of routes he might take in the future. Lateef the Truth Speaker opens. a 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $30. A --Peter Margasak

ctv on the radio, grizzly bear When TV on the Radio emerged out of the New York art-rock scene three years ago, they seemed fully formed: a brilliant, gnomic, and mildly confounding group of experimenters. Their debut EP, Young Liars, was a bracing collection of hip-hop, trip-hop, free-jazz, and doo-wop sounds that was hard to describe without resorting to wild hand gestures and comparisons to things of great size. Even without the deconstructed Pixies cover at the end it would've been enough to turn TV on the Radio into the biggest indie-boner It Band around. But on their newest, Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope), the group digs deeper in every way. The vertiginous rhythms and off-kilter horn stabs on the opener, "I Was a Lover," are as straight-up weird as the melody is catchy, and as was evident on last year's Katrina-inspired download-only single, "Dry Drunk Emperor," singer Tunde Adebimpe's romanticized alienation has sharpened into a fiery, elegant outrage. Turns out the band's still growing into its strengths--and the more it does, the more everyone else in the world lags behind. --Miles Raymer

After a couple years as an almost secret, Grizzly Bear is blipping on the radar, thanks to consistent touring and some big-upping from TV on the Radio and Animal Collective. Their newest, Yellow House (Warp), often sounds like the kind of effervescent lite psych a precocious teenager might make in his bedroom on a broken boom box. (Edward Droste actually did record most of Grizzly Bear's debut, Horn of Plenty, at home, all by his lonesome; the new one was done in a studio with a four-player lineup.) Think "Baby Lemonade" and baby pianos, gravity bongs and xylophones--even the biggest eruptions are delicately twee. Live the band manages to bring it all together, enwombing you in a world of strum and delay. --Jessica Hopper

TV on the Radio headlines and Grizzly Bear opens. a 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, 18+, sold out.

wednesday11

cclaudia quintet This New York band led by drummer-composer John Hollenbeck creates gorgeous blends of melody and texture that blur the lines between jazz and contemporary classical. The back cover of its third album, the superb new Semi-Formal (Cuneiform), features a gridlike illustration that maps out the music's shifting instrumentation and brief windows of improvisation, but the songs never sound coldly schematic. The band--reedist Chris Speed, vibist Matt Moran, bassist Drew Gress, and accordionist-guitarist Ted Reichman--sketches out Hollenbeck's tunes with a light touch, embroidering the rich harmonies and lovely melodies in empathic, imaginative ways. The music sometimes harks back to 70s-style minimalism a la Steve Reich, where discrete melodic patterns are run through countless permutations, but the group also has an earthy sense of groove that recalls Tortoise's best work. This show is part of the Umbrella Music Festival; see page TK for a complete schedule. a 7 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. F A --Peter Margasak

flaming fire This New York collective started out in 2000 dressing up like a traditional Greek chorus--perhaps to play up the comedy and tragedy of hipster club life. They've also created zines, comics, and video games and launched an ambitious online project where artists are invited to illustrate every single verse of the Bible, one at a time. Their two full-lengths, Grow Old and Die With Flaming Fire and Songs From the Shining Temple, merge pagan pastoralism with urban dystopianism using a mix of primitive rock, singsongy tribal chanting, and sexy-creepy kitsch--think of the cast of Caligula jamming between those orgies and executions. On their latest release, a split EP with Aleph Nought on Perhaps Transparent Records, they explicitly pay homage to the golden age of heavy psychedelic rock--as if that isn't what they've been doing all along. Jackseven headlines and Star opens. a 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $6. --Monica Kendrick

cOrpheus chamber orchestra In most chamber orchestras that claim to do without a leader the first violinists are in effect conductors. Not the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, which doesn't even have permanent section leaders, democratically selecting the concertmasters and principal players for each work. Founded in 1972, this superb ensemble has remained a modern chamber orchestra, bucking the trend toward period instruments and performance style as it plays everything from Bach and Handel to Charles Wuorinen and Elliott Carter. It has also commissioned many new works and made almost 70 recordings, including a couple Grammy winners. For this concert the orchestra is continuing the Mozart birthday festivities with the overture to Cosi Fan Tutte and two wonderful piano concerti, the majestic 25th and the deliciously sweet 17th. The pianist will be Emanuel Ax. His recent solo playing of romantic music has been disappointing, but then he's always best when collaborating and when playing classical-era works--his Haydn sonata recordings are outstanding. The program ends with Mozart's Symphony no. 35, the Haffner, a youthful work that's gripping from the first notes. a 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $21-$50. --Barbara Yaross

tilly & the wall This Omaha quintet includes some of Conor Oberst's old bandmates and was nurtured in the bubble of love that surrounds Bright Eyes. On their second full-length, Bottoms of Barrels (Team Love), the shiny, sugary, happy tone of the music, with its layered vocal harmonies and touches of horns and accordion, is sometimes at odds with the breakups they sing about. But overall their slick, oddball folk rock finds a comfy place somewhere between the Roches and the Danielson Famile. Devin Davis and the High Strung open. a 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $12 in advance, $14 at the door, 18+. --Monica Kendrick

thursday12

INDIA.ARIE If you think India.Arie's third album, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship (Motown), couldn't possibly get more self-absorbed than its title, just play the opening track, "Intro: Loving (Interlude)," where she recites the serenity prayer before calling on God with the sound that always gets His sympathy: turbocharged R & B melisma. Things get better, though: the album's first single, "I Am Not My Hair," is a slinky affirmation of womanly identity that thematically recalls her 2001 breakout single, "Video." Robin Thicke opens. a 7:30 PM, Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 312-462-6363 or 312-902-1500, $32.50-$42.50. A --J. Niimi

cland of talk Montreal's Land of Talk showcases the fine songwriting of singer-guitarist Elizabeth Powell, a former violinist from the small town of Moonstone, Ontario. She studied music for a while at Concordia University in Quebec but dropped out to play in bands, culminating in her current trio, which has opened for Montreal nabobs like the Stills and the Dears. Land of Talk's recent debut, the seven-song EP Applause Cheer Boo Hiss (Dependent Music), is one of the most solid indie releases I've heard all year: Powell's voice is rough-edged but nimble and chirpy, suggesting a more naif Polly Jean Harvey, and fantastically catchy songs like "All My Friends" and "Sea Foam" are a bit reminiscent of Scrawl, with gritty guitar riffs and go-for-the-throat pop hooks. The EP hasn't left the CD player in my kitchen for weeks--now I find myself humming along with their songs while I'm doing the dishes, even when the player isn't on. The Stills headline. a 9:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $15. A --J. Niimi

cevan parker You might be able to find saxophonists who play louder, prettier, or stranger, but when it comes to imaginative range and technical virtuosity, no one can touch Evan Parker. His vocabulary on tenor and soprano horns includes sere whispers, gruff barks, absurdly distorted cries, and exquisitely articulated tones as polished as anything Paul Desmond ever played for Dave Brubeck. A master manipulator of the acoustics of horns and performance spaces, he's also been exploring the potential of electronic processing for more than 15 years. By using circular breathing he can abandon the wind player's customary unit of time, sustaining an unbroken flow of swirling, jostling notes and overtones for half an hour at a stretch; at the other end of that scale, he plays atomized improvisations with bassist Barry Guy and percussionist Paul Lytton, two of his longtime collaborators, where it sounds like everyone's renegotiating the content and direction of the music many times each second. Parker has long argued that composition and improvisation are part of the same process, and his new Time Lapse (Tzadik) approaches that proposition from both sides. Half its pieces are soprano solos, some of which turn the unruly instrument's tendency to squeak into a blessing--he plays two independent sound streams simultaneously, one of conventional notes, the other a controlled whistle. The other half are extensively overdubbed composites of improvised tracks that complement each other as though they were rigorously scored. Tonight Parker will duet with fellow reedist Ned Rothenberg, then play in a quartet with electronic musician Kevin Drumm, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, and bassist Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten (see the Meter). This show is part of the Umbrella Music Festival; for a complete schedule see page TK. a 10 PM, Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee, 773-772-3616, $10 suggested donation. A --Bill Meyer

Tigersmilk This trio of cornetist Rob Mazurek, bassist Jason Roebke, and Vancouver-based drummer Dylan van der Schyff specializes in explosions of hard-charging free improvisation but still leaves room for passages of serene introspection or postbop lyricism. On their most recent recording, last year's From the Bottle (Family Vineyard), they're unusually fluid, riding a sea of rising and falling tension. The group's sound is defined by Mazurek's full-bodied blowing and van der Schyff's punishing, jagged rhythms, but judiciously employed electronic treatments work as a kind of sonic solvent, helping otherwise disparate sections flow together. Tigersmilk also opens for another Mazurek project, Mandarin Movie, on Friday, October 13, at the Hideout. a 8 PM, Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, 5811 S. Ellis, 773-702-8670. F A --Peter Margasak

we are scientists This all-dude New York trio isn't as ceaselessly witty on record as they are on their Web site, which includes features like "Guess the Animal" and "Musician's English: A Phrasebook for Bands Touring the United States." Most of their songs are just plainspoken ditties about drinking, getting laid, or not getting any. Swift and strangely hooky, the band sounds like Shudder to Think dropped in the post-Interpol era. Art Brut headlines, We Are Scientists play second, and the Spinto Band opens. a 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, 18+, $18. --Jessica Hopper

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