Show Me Your Undies

Local Record Labels Strip Down to Just the Essentials

April 16
Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, 307-7171

Tom and Ed don't have the shock-of-the-new on their side like they did when they released 1995's Exit Planet Dust, so you'll forgive them if they seem like they're retracing earlier sounds on Come With Us, which features the same buzzed-out basslines, acidic-noise breakbeats, and more guest vocals from Beth Orton. (If it ain't broke, why fix it?) While their live show is not really all that live, the Chems know how to program their set to create huge crescendos for the crowd to grab hold of. Watch for their rock-star poses. (Romano)

April 17-18 and 20
Roseland Ballroom, 239 West 52nd Street, 777-6800

Mothers of Unconvention: Angels of Light's How I Loved you album cover
Mothers of Unconvention: Angels of Light's How I Loved you album cover

Gwen Stefani has always been the new Cyndi Lauper, we just weren't ready to admit it. But now that the '80s are cool again (case in point: opening synth-rockers the Faint are huge with college radio DJs too young to remember when new wave was actually new) and No Doubt have dropped pretty much all ska/punk pretensions, the future Mrs. Rossdale and Co. have started getting a bit of respect. And they deserve it: "Hey Baby" is just about the freshest song by white people on the radio right now. (Phillips)

May 2
Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway, 307-7171

Between appearances with the Corn Sisters, New Pornographers, and the Boyfriends, Neko is a near-ubiquitous NYC presence, which permits her to flip audience expectations as casually and often as she tosses her hair (during a recent Porno convention, they shot their "Letter From an Occupant" wad midset!). Case's Web-or-tour-only release, Canadian Amp, has been circulating awhile, so hopefully new songs will mingle with the always copious banter. (Winter)

May 5-6
Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, 307-7171

Bringing the sound of falling in love or the sound of slowly drowning in your vomit (depending on who you ask), the Wimpiest Band of All Time comes to town to rock you oh so gently to rapture or to sleep (also depending on who you ask). The eight-piece Scottish indie orchestra hasn't played here since '98, so the tears have been welling up. (Phillips)

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