“Country western acid punk, if you need to put a label on it.” Like a lot of citizens of our galaxy, I came to Meat Puppets by way of Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged set, on which Kurt Cobain led three of the Phoenix-based band’s tunes in his diamond-dust croon, while brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood sat astool strumming and humming support to their “Oh, Me,” “Plateau,” and “Lake of Fire,” all from their crazy-good high-water mark Meat Puppets II. The Puppets record that followed the MTV exposure, 1994’s Too High to Die, went gold. Cliché rock-and-roll dalliances sidelined the Puppets for a couple stretches after that, but the muse couldn’t be refused, and they are back this year with the very strong, very recommendable Rat Farm, which the band describes as “real blown-out folk music,” if you need to put a label on it. Meat Puppets take the stage at Soda Bar after cowpunk-y trio the World Takes, featuring X drummer DJ Bonebrake.... Best of the rest Thursday night finds San Diego’s fuzz-pop Crocodiles slithering into Casbah after Wymand Miles (Fresh & Onlys) and Heavy Hawaii. The Crocs this year released their fourth for Frenchkiss, the well-received Crimes of Passion...Hard-rocking Runaway Lita Ford stacks ’em at Brick by Brick behind last year’s critical comeback Living Like a Runaway...L.A.’s alt-rock royalty Queen Caveat graces the stage at NoPark hot spot Bar Pink...and Grammy-winning soul sister Macy Gray will play her stellar 1999 debut On How Life Is up at the Belly Up in Solana Beach.
Like a cross between Barry White and Barry Gibb, young Brooklynite Smoota plays lusty pop labeled “urban R&B.” Spare Casio keys, white-boy soul, and a trombone (yes, he’s a trombonerist) are all the bedsit artist needed to lay down his Fetishes, an excellent example of how the libido sounds. Available online and pissing this very minute out of my laptop speakers, you got to check out this cat’s spare yet groovy, uncomfortably honest yet funny fare. He’ll be at Bar Pink with Portland hook-heavy (bait and tackle, too, with that screaming violin) indie-rock act Rare Monk. The quintet’s touring in support of their tasty little Death by Proxy EP.... Til-Two is hosting an “Out of Our Heads Garage Rock Weekender.” On Friday night you get Atlanta band the Woggles, which for more than 20 years has been “leveling nightclubs with their hip-shaking, windshield-steaming garage rock fusillade,” according to the Austin Chronicle. With like-minded locals the Loons and Shake Before Us opening the show, this one’s a hat-trick for fans of the brand.... Party-rock juggernaut Rubblebucket’s at Casbah behind this year’s Save Charlie, a seven-song teaser for a full-length to come from what the band says has been its most prolific year yet. If it’s anywhere near as energized/energizing as their Omega La La, I’m all in. With our own Heavy Guilt and Grampa Drew & the Gutstring Girls setting it up, this one’s going to be a sweaty lb.-burner.... Else: ILYA, Modern Rifles, and Machines Learning fill an all-local indie-eclectic bill at Soda Bar. (Be sure to check out Chad’s interview with ILYA in this week’s issue for more on that show)...country-fried roots crews Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants roll into the Griffin. (Dave Good picked this one for his weekly Of Note, so flip or click there for his take on them)...while the prog-informed heavy-rock trio Old Man Wizard celebrates its self-released CD Unfavorable at Tin Can Ale House after classic-rock burners Boy King (née Bunny Gang) and doom-pop duo Gloomsday.
Follow the Crawler into the weekend.