Down with Liberty, Up with Chains. D.C. artiste and internet talk-show host Ian Svenonius’s Chain and the Gang will do time at Casbah tonight. Svenonius (Nation of Ulysses) is an interesting cat, and this is interesting stuff, like angsty (your angst, not his) beat poetry over loose grooves and cocktail jazz. If his far-left socio-politicking gives you pause, his tunes will goose your bum-bum. Austin’s rural garage-rockers Strange Boys and our own “dunk nasty” trio Heavy Hawaii weigh in first. Word: this is one of them don’t-miss-a-lick, smoke-only-between-sets shows.... The best of the rest: the “Hawaiian Hendrix,” Willie K, hits Belly Up with Joe Cano and Avi Ronen. “Willie K moves easily from screaming Stratocaster to sweet slack key.” Shaka, brah!... Barroom rockers Little Fowl and emergent trio Scales split a double bill at Bar Pink. Caught Scales at Tin Can last week and the buzz iz on. One word, though: fuckinearplugs.... Need some “Sex, Hugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll”? Ramonesian trio the Touchies will give it up at Soda Bar with Mexi glam-pop peeps the Deep Ones and El Paso punkies Ralpheene.... English guitarist-songsmith Dave Mason (“We Just Disagree”) checks into Anthology for two nights. Mason broke with Traffic in the late ‘60s. He’s 63 now and still working the world.... Emo poster boy Chris Carrabba and his Boca band Dashboard Confessional roll into House of Blues with NorCal piano-pop act Ives the Band.
Acrobatic bluesman Guitar Shorty brings his thing to Humphrey’s Backstage Friday night. The 70-year-old Texan’s the real deal. Get your hands on Shout! Factory catchall The Best of Guitar Shorty: The Long and Short of It for the proof and the puddin’. Shorty shuffles and wails and will throw in a stage flip or two for good measure. Great room to see a show, too.... Or go get punk’d at Casbah by the Adolescents. Culled from the remains of Social D. and Agent Orange, these Fullerton skate rats have been working it on and off since 1980, joining punk revivalists such as Black Flag and Minor Threat on the hardcore front. Unlike those two bands, though, the Adolescents got a record coming out this year. Youth Brigade and ex-Atoms act the Watusis will set the stage.... Whistle Stop has a fun-filled bill with odd-pop acts Rafter and Lion Cut and disco-pop diva Lizeth Santos’s Smile Now Cry Later.... Celebrate what would’ve been Johnny Cash’s 78th birthday bash at Belly Up with the best Cash trib act I’ve ever seen, Cash’d Out. Country skrunks Pushin Rope and Off the Wagon will set the Solana Beach stage.... Ché Café’s got some eclectic folkie poppy rocky players with Vision of a Dying World, Miss Erika Davies, Greg Page, and Logan Green.... And Red Tiger chases Wirepony at Bar Pink.
Pop-poet Brooklynite Pepi Ginsberg’s got multiple personalities that swing from Suzanne Vega to Tom Waits. She’s dubbed her new one, East Is East, “psychedelic deer piss.” Mmm...drink up, it’s out now on Park the Van Records. She’s sharing the Soda with Silverlake indie-pop duo Pepper Rabbit.... Billy Midnight will play Belly Up Saturday night. Finally caught this quartet a couple weeks back and kick myself for all the missed opportunities. So, playing catch-up with the Shaddox bros. and co., if you like the folk-rock of old REM and the ramshackle-pop of ‘60s throwbacks like Dr. Dog (speaking of Park the Van), do yourself a favor. They’ll set the stage for the equally easy Or, the Whale and headliners the Mother Hips.... Else: L.A. indies Moving Units join Dabbers and Beaters at Casbah...Soma stages several ska akts, with the Toasters, Los Kung Fu Monkeys, the Fabulous Rudies, Bucket of Fish, and them damn fine Mayors of SexyTown...while Hot Moon (ex Grand Ol’ Party), the Watusis, Reverse Cowboys, Dream Boat, and Space Nature fill a bill at the Ché.
Singer, drummer, guitarer Scout Niblett finds Bar Pink. The English indie hit signed to Drag City for this year’s Calcination of Scout Niblett, another yummy Albini-produced slow-dancer. With our own folksy experimentalists Manuok, these are the sets to get to, Sunday-nighters.... YouTube success story and jazzy throwback Zee Avi appears at the Loft at UCSD. Avi is a Malaysian national with a heart-of-America timbre in her voice, coming off like a ‘50s starlet or a Brill Building songstress. Get to her Space for a taste of “Bitter Heart” or “Honey Bee” or, hell, any of them. Ditty Bops fans should take note.... Across campus, underground goddesses Marcia Bassett (Zaimph) and Christelle Gualdi (Stellar OM Source) will drone the Ché Café with ex-Skaters Pacific City Nightlife Vision Band.... Around town real quick, there’s one of them 94/9 freebie taco shows at Casbah, featuring bar bands the Screamin YeeHaws, the Farmers, the Fooks, and Behind the Wagon...Door man Ray Manzarek keys up at Anthology...and ‘80s glam-metal band W.A.S.P. lands on 4th&B.
Jason Stollsteimer (he’s the Von Bondie who got his face pummeled by Jack White that time) has a new group called Hounds Below that hits Casbah’s Anti-Monday meet-up this week. Checking out their Space page (myspace.com/thehoundsbelow), sounds like Roy Orbison fronting Arcade Fire. Kinda cool, actually. L.A.-via-Oslo alt-rockers Bigbang go off first.
Denton, TX, quintet Midlake had a run behind ‘06 crit-hit The Trials of Van Occupanther for its ambitious psych-folk bent. This year, those same indie critics are Pitch-slapping the act for turning up the folk and turning down the psych. I’m opinionless on this one (I never “got” the jizz over Occupanther), so go get your own. They play Belly Up with their hometown tourmates Matthew and the Arrogant Sea, who sound interesting, if a bit whimsical. Measure your head against “Pretty Purple Top Hat” at myspace.com/matthewandthearrogantsea.... Doom-metal supergroup Shrinebuilder (feat. members of Om, Neurosis, Melvins, and Saint Vitus) and Storm of Light shine on Casbah Tuesday night.... Popular Southern rockers the Zac Brown Band will kick off their U.S. tour at the Sports Arena. The “Chicken Fried” Atlanta band just got a Grammy for Best New Artist in the country cat. They have, like, a bazillion hits, and I swear I have never heard of these dudes.