Sound Checks

Your Choices Guide to Four Nights of CMJ Music

ELIZABETH HARPER+MOLDY PEACHES
Mercury Lounge, Fri at 6:30

One of the best folk-friendly females playing this silly "Corporate Music Jack-off" fest—by herself her stuff's a tad melancholy and delicate à la Chan Marshall or Elliot Smith, with her band the pop is more bubbly like a way less cheesy Edie Brickell but with slight spices of '80s Brit-pop (the Cure, the Smiths) thrown in. The Moldy Peaches have truckfuls of wackiness and cuteness, but they match the high jinks with talent and great songs. Plus they've spawned a great new genre—folk-porn! With Sound of Urchin, Kevin Tahista's Red Terror, Hopewell, Tyler Keith and the Preacher's Kids, and A.R.E. Weapons. (Bosler)

CACHAITO LOPEZ
B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, at 8 & 10:30

See the Short List.

DJ SPOOKY+DJ ASSAULT
Lunaterium, at 9

See the Club Crawl.

SKELETON KEY+FIREWATER
Village Underground, at 8

Skeleton Key have been around for awhile now, and although they got quite a bit of momentum going in the mid '90s, they still have never received as much credit as they truly deserve. They've been called experimental, and they are—they do bang on found junk and stuff—but mostly they just all around fucking rock! Think Jawbox meets Tom Waites. Firewater aren't nearly as interesting, and judging from their latest, Psychopharmacology, it would be easier to believe that Tod Ashley used to front the Soupdragons rather than Cop Shoot Cop. Think the Stone Roses meet Nirvana on an off day. Or don't think anything at all about them—I know I'm not going to. With (International) Noise Conspiracy, Zurdok, and the Detachment Kit. (Switzer)

STEREO TOTAL+EX-GIRL+MOONEY SUZUKI
Knitting Factory, Main Space, at 9

Stereo Total and Ex-Girl, from Germany (via France and everywhere else) and Japan respectively, both make their new wave as adorable and eccentric as can be. Stereo Total cover Serge Gainsbourg and Salt 'N Pepa and sing in more languages than anybody; Ex-Girl cover "Pop Muzik" and balance out their sometimes disconcerting fusion tendencies with toy frogs and ray guns. Mooney Suzuki are a decent if rather thin-sounding '60s revival band. Also: Ping Pong Bitches, Taylor Savvy. (Eddy)

THE STROKES+PEDRO THE LION+THE EXPLOSION+OWLS+STRIKE ANYWHERE+MILEMAKER+NEW END ORIGINAL
Irving Plaza, at 8

See the Short List.


SATURDAY 15

RYAN ADAMS+THE ANGEL+LAPTOP+BURNING BRIDES
Village Underground, at 8

Longtime whiskey-runner Adams (whose new Gold frequently has him thankfully abandoning alt-country for an urban-troubadour realm somewhere in the vicinity of Garland Jeffreys's Ghostwriteror very early Springsteen) is the main attraction. But distaff dub DJ the Angel, self-absorbed skinny-tie sadsack Laptop, and greasy garage gunkers Burning Brides should all have their moments, if nothing in common with each other. Also: Convoy. (Eddy)

APPLES IN STEREO+FOUR CORNERS+SUNSHINE FIX
Maxwell's, at 9:30

These three overlapping Elephant 6 bands are so ooey gooey sticky sweet you might get a cavity just from listening. Apples in Stereo's latest EP salutes the Beach Boys and the Powerpuff Girls, while the Four Corners wouldn't sound out of place at a sock hop. The Sunshine Fix's Bill Doss (formerly of Olivia Tremor Control) drags out as many instruments as he can find to play his happy hippie soul music. (Phillips)

MC PAUL BARMAN+PRINCESS SUPERSTAR+DOUBLE DONG & WYLD LIXX
Makor, at 8

Like a wedding ceremony of white dork rap, meshuggah MC Paul Barman and potty-mouthed Princess Superstar will let the uptown faithful at Makor know just how gully geeks can be. Of course, Princess Superstar offers a high sexability quotient too, something matched by Double Dong's jokey schlock rock about engorged shafts (which, to my disappointment, was not set to Isaac Hayes music). (Caramanica)

BEULAH+DAVID LOWERY+GEM+CHAMPALE
Mercury Lounge, at 6

My favorite on this bill is the California band Beulah, who sound like what a fizzy, fuzzy cocktail on an end-of-summer day tastes like. Their latest The Coast Is Never Clearis fantastic and one of the best indie-rock albums in years: Think early '90s. And that's the same David Lowery of Cracker, née Camper Van Beethoven, going solo with what he's billing as the travelling apothecary. Gem and Champale are fellow mates of Lowery's Pitch-a-Tent label. With Arlo, the Waxwings, and Viva. (Havranek)

BIG LAZY+THE FLESHTONES+HOLLY GOLIGHTY
CBGB, at 9

Big Lazy is a great twangy reverb-laced instrumental rockabilly trio that produces the real deal. A sound best described as audio mescaline. I'm not using the term lightly when I say Brooklyn-based quartet the Fleshtones have been around forever (maybe before you were born) playing Ramones/ Stones rock. And I do mean to take lightly Holly Golightly and her fun, year-2001, take on Nancy Sinatra. With the Go and the Swinging Neckbreakers. (Aber)

THE CLIENTELE+LADYBUG TRANSISTOR+THE CLEAN+SPOON
Bowery Ballroom, at 8

Don't feel too bad if you fall asleep during the Clientele's breathy, fragile lullabies or Ladybug Transistor's mellow Belle-and-Sebastian-with-American-accents chamber pop; the laid-back fuzz of pioneering New Zealand indie trio the Clean should gently bring you back to consciousness, just in time to be energized by the cynical post-punk of Spoon, who were supposed to save alternative rock in 1998 with A Series of Sneaks, but didn't. (Phillips)

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