Grrrl, Inturrupted

It’s Ladies First This Season

Madison Square Garden, 2 Penn Plaza, 307-7171

See the Short List.

Japanese trio Ex-Girl take over the Knitting Factory.
courtesy Fly PR
Japanese trio Ex-Girl take over the Knitting Factory.

September 11

Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, 219-3006

Under his many aliases, Matthew Herbert's created lilting house with a brainy edge. His latest disc, Bodily Functions, continues along the same path, with a more loungey feel, but the addition of a wispy singer, Dani Siciliano, and misguided jazzy touches somewhat detracts from the record's impact. While a live electronic performance is usually highly suspect (one wonders how much the artist will rely on a DAT), Herbert's live representation should restore the faith. (Romano)

September 12

S.O.B.'s, 204 Varick Street, 243-4940

He didn't invent Nigerian juju, just extended it out toward infinity, where its gentle ebb and flow and startling percussive highs are guaranteed to trip you out. Sometimes his overtures to the non-Nigerian market ring falser than other times, and his gentle voice has started creaking. But always he leads a band whose warp and weave shimmer and throb, undulating to the future amen. (Christgau)

September 13

Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, 219-3006

Having nodded off to Sigur Rós, no wonder you're suspicious of the NYC debut of Thom Yorke's other fave art band, especially given their tendency to hide behind the emperor's new surgical masks. But the wacky, squeaky energy of these Liverpudlians almost makes them the anti-Radiohead. Nearly every song runs under three minutes, including ones called "C.Q." and "T.K.": copydesk rock, at last! (Eddy)

September 14

Mercury Lounge, 217 East Houston Street, 260-4700

When last seen, titanic teen Adam Green was still wearing his sailor suit, older woman Kimya Dawson her white bunny-ear hat and makeup to complete the picture, although the stud in her chin was a distraction. Risking cute is part of the idea—cute people who'll fuck anybody with anything when that's their mood or stage of life, cute folkies who'll break without warning into punk noise. Funny, dirty, demented, and sweet, they lead New York's most promising and maybe even most accomplished young band. (Christgau)

September 14-15

B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, 237 West 42nd Street, 997-4144

The 68-year-old stalwart of the Buena Vista Social Club, who's manned the bass on every track of every spin-off that paradoxically profitable institution has released, was the last guy you'd thought would escape that institution's norm. But his solo album was as experimental as the others were traditional—jazzy, abstract, dubwise, even a little hip-hoppy. Here he'll bring his own non-BVSC sidemen. Expect some of the year's most original live music. (Christgau)

September 14

Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, 777-6800

Much to the chagrin of many rhythm-sectionless competitors around town whining about Unfair Hype, the album makes very clear that these kids have got their dumb sound down. Right, they are not the Velvets or Television; what a brilliant observation. But how many other junkmeisters lately drone half as good as Dream Syndicate in '81 or Psychedelic Furs in '82? Having returned from summering in the U.K., it's back to real business: soaking panties at home. (Eddy)

September 15

Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 533-2111

Back when most people thought the Kiwi was nothin' but a fruit, David Kilgour and company planted visions of the "other" land down under in the heads of a generation of indie-rock searchers. Between breakups, the trio has managed to tend to those sonic seedlings with a Johnny Appleseed-styled ardor, retaining the (in)tense minimalist underpinnings of their earliest recordings while buffing the surface to a decorous sheen. With a passel of new songs in tow, the band figures to be energized and ready to serve up some darn fine Dunedin! (Sprague)

September 16

Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, 307-7171

The Bob Marley of rai has been the Algerian sound's only real crossover success. A Don Was-produced album didn't hurt, and neither did a stylistic diffusion into Europop-rai, reggae-rai, and Vegas-rai. Khaled's a powerful singer, however, and his North African rhythms can be enthralling when not wrung through the international deflavorizer. (Gehr)

September 19-20

Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, 840-2824

She hasn't had a new CD released since Bright Red in 1994, and that's too long to go without her trenchant commentary on society's ongoing madness. The new disc she'll be promoting is just called Life on a String and is a return to personal issues after the mythic concerns of her Moby Dick show. I wouldn't predict much change in format or style but I bet her insights run even deeper these days, and I'm hoping for some surgically precise W. bashing. (Gann)

September 20-22

Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, 777-6800

Although the songs on their new album, Ancient Melodies of the Future, are sleepy, Built to Spill's shows hardly ever are. Doug Martsch is obviously empowered by the stage; his guitar and vocals ring raw, not ready-made. Even the inevitable (though, admittedly, occasional) extended solos are spliff-errific. (Catucci)

September 24

Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, 307-7171

Iceland's metabolism-slowing soundscapists can get inflated because they provide rock critics with such an endless well of masturbation material. So far this hasn't stopped them from mesmerizing the masses into silence with left-field ambient rock that's equal parts obtuse and accessible. Take it from Lars Ulrich, who reportedly wrote in his diary about the "sick, ugly new fucked-up jams" Metallica's been brewing since he saw the guitar-bowing youngsters live. (Zimmerman)

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