Sound Checks

Your Choices Guide to Four Nights of CMJ Music

THURSDAY 13

ADAM X+PHOENICIA+CRANES
Limelight, at 9

Brooklyn's Adam X was the first human on earth to put out two excellent albums in 2001: April's mix CD On the One and Two united Wax Trax industrial, Inner City Detroit austerity, and Central European goth beauty with Chicks on Speed and Malaria and Mr. Roboto; May's Creative Vandalism took electro back to the Phuture of acid house. Phoenicia are Miami experimenters who tinkle like Kid606 or Datach'i except not as funky. Cranes gaze at shoes. With Richard Devine, Otto Van Schirach, DJ Aura, and Gul. (Eddy)

ATERCIOPELADOS+LOS AMIGOS INVISIBLES+LOS SUPERLITO+ SI SE
Roxy, at 8

If you're still running the streets ignorant of Latin music puhleeze read my literary lips: You suck (and must attend). The Colombian velvets, Aterciopelados, return with Andrea's honey vocals snatching hold to hypnotize over bass-dripping, percussion- stimulated, salsa-founded, electronic lounge. LAI are quickly becoming the Ketchup of Latin condiments wheelin 'n' dealin their arse-tantalizing dancefloor-bound cuchi-cuchis all over NYC. Los Superlito guitarist Alejo's theatrics and stage presence alone are reason enough to witness these future Super Heroes. Their Colombian rockatronica fully loaded with DJ is scrumptiously newfangled and cutting all of our edges. Also on, the luscious Si Se. (Mañon)

CHOCOLATE GENIUS+MIRANDA LEE RICHARDS
The Cutting Room, at 8

Chocolate Genius is a cheeky performer, and doubtless his sharp wit will be on "burn" at this odd showcase. His latest, Godmusic, doesn't moan quite as much as his last one, Black Music, but it still hurts in all the right places. Sweet-voiced Miranda Lee Richards is fresh off her hard-earned debut, an indie-rock nugget helped along by Jon Brion and everyone else in Los Angeles (sort of). With John Carlin, Fire in the Boathouse, and Ill Lit. (Caramanica)

MF DOOM+SCIENZ OF LIFE+SOURCE OF LABOR
New York University, Thompson Center, at 7:30

Any chance to see the man behind the mask, MF Doom, is one that needs to be taken. He's a broken maestro of the art, and his perpetually reissued album Operation: Doomsday is one of the true classics of the last few years. On stage, he's surly. Hell, at one show, he even took a swipe at his partner Megalon. Featuring Scienz of Life and Seattle's conscious fiends Source of Labor, this is a Subverse showcase, but where's Bigg Jus? Also: Second 2 Last, Trifegod, Kingovpain. (Caramanica)

MARK EITZEL+REBECCA GATES+DANIELLE HOWLE+SHANNON WRIGHT+ERIK SANKO
Village Underground, at 7

Surliness and self-involvement usually make for a chart-friendly mix, but somehow the bedsit curmudgeons on this bill have managed to avoid the spotlight. Eitzel's inexorable trek towards Rufus Wainwright territory continues unabated, but both Howle and Wright seem willing to take up his spot on the downbeat, downtrodden end of the mope-folk spectrum. Former Spinane Rebecca Gates is as spunky as ever, while art-boy Sanko has been trying his hand at formful songwriting of late, with mostly positive results. (Sprague)

'THE ELEMENTS OF HIP HOP'
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, at 6:30

Right, so hip-hop has four elements (unless you've read KRS-ONE's book and buy into all that mess). This bill bats .750. The ubiquitous Rock Steady Crew rock the locks that pop, and the Arsonists, in between actual rap songs, dance so hard they could pass for O-Town members. Dirty white-boy rappers Smut Peddlers count Al Goldstein as a fan, while martial arts whiz Afu-Ra does not. Mix Master Mike and the X-Ecutioners will easily outshine everyone else on the bill with their finger histrionics. There's no graf, but DJ Swamp does set himself on fire sometimes. With Pep Love. (Caramanica)

BEN FOLDS+PHANTOM PLANET+MO SOLID GOLD
Irving Plaza, at 8

For those of us who are excited by the fact that pianoman Ben Folds has new material, do not miss this show. Rockin' the Suburbs is replete with song titles that call to mind J.D. Salinger stories and shows that Folds still has the chops. I know, Darren and Jesse were cute and added some rhythmic punch, and rounded out the trio-folds-five nomenclature. But I'm told that LA rock band Phantom Planet is cute too; their lead singer appeared in the recent spate of GAP ads. Come on, this is CMJ. Don't pretend you don't care if they're cute. (Havranek)

FOLK IMPLOSION+CLINIC
Knitting Factory, Main Space, at 9

Well, it's too bad that John Davis doesn't feel like hitting the stage anymore, but at least it hasn't stopped his partner, the amazing Lou Barlow, from taking their Folk Implosion on the road. Recent shows have found him surrounded by Russ from Sebadoh and Imaad Wasif from lowercase. This show should kick ass—even when Lou's off he's on. As for Clinic, their last album tops Radiohead's last two, and they're even better when they tap into that crazy rock energy from their earlier days. With Pilote and Four Tet. (Switzer)

GOGOL BORDELLO+SOMETHING LIKE ELVIS+HAPPY PILLS+ROBOTOBIBOK+PROGRAM
Warsaw, at 8

Excepting crazed Ukranian handlebar-mustache-accordion-punk expatriates Gogol Bordello, this aptly located bill showcases similarly twisted rock from Poland, courtesy of the hugely underappreciated Tamizdat Records. Give or take the Breeders-poppy Happy Pills, all these combos appear to really dig Pere Ubu, or at least Jesus Lizard and the Mothers of Invention. Though polkas may not be out of the question. (Eddy)

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