Forget Cassettes tunes up their Instruments of Action

More Concerts of Note

Brian Auger

Rasputina with Death By Murder

Thursday · 20th Century Theater

If Rasputina's Melora Creager ever decided to throw off her allegiance to the cello and defect to the downtuned guitar and shredding wattage, she'd make Kittie look like Jessica Simpson by contrast. Luckily for them (and perhaps for all of us), Creager is committed to a bleak yet joyful gothic-tinged romanticism as filtered through her amplified two-cello-and-drum chamber group, Rasputina. Creager got her first notices backing up Nirvana on their last tour, subsequently putting together Rasputina with classified ads in New York papers. The original incarnation of Rasputina featured Creager and two other cellists, and the band's membership revolved through nearly every release that followed. On Cabin Fever, Rasputina's third full-length album, Creager actually toned down the gothic horror of the first two (1996's Thanks for the Ether and 1998's How We Quit the Forest) and approached from an almost Baroque Pop direction, utilizing the thunderous upright string sound that Roy Wood molded with the Move and Wizzard, the rumbling Rock majesty of Led Zeppelin and the gentle chamber Pop ethic of Jane Siberry's latter work. With the band's newest release, the dark and compelling Frustration Plantation, Creager continues in the vein of Cabin Fever's Rock bluster and gothic Folk antiquity and features an inevitable lineup change (adding second cellist Zoe Keating and drummer Jonathon TeBeest, who were also in place for last year's Lost and Found EP). Rasputina's dark beauty bridges genres with ease and finds fans across all gothic boundries. Wear a sweater and a frightened smile, and be prepared to be dazzled to your very core. (Brian Baker)

Forget Cassettes with Apollo Up, View-Finder and Chalk

Friday · Radio Down

Remember when radio stations played songs purely because the DJs or program directors thought they were awesome, and not because some squirrelly radio promotion company was paying them off or greasing their wheels? No time for good, new and different music when Hoobastank's got a new single ready!

It's another one of the great tragedies attached to the loss of Oxford's Modern Rock radio gem 97X (soon to be going online only), a bastion for fantastic independent music searching for a home on the overcorporatized radio dial. The X immediately jumped on Instruments of Action, the debut album from Nashville duo, Forget Cassettes on the small Theory 8 label, and promptly made the twosome something of a local sensation. Fans lit up phone lines and kept the group squarely at the top of the station's "People's Choice Countdown" for an extended period of time. (Do Clear Channel stations even take requests anymore?) And the group, who play a spine-tingling mix of Sonic Youth-y orchestrated noisiness and penetrating melodies, proceeded to over-pack Sudsy Malone's at the start of 2004. Joining the band at their stop at Radio Down this week is Apollo Up, a tightly-wound, quirky/jerky Power Post-Punk trio that also records for Theory 8 Records. The group's impressive new release, Light the End and Burn It Through, is a dynamic whirl of wiry guitar stabs, ropy whiplash rhythms, intense vocals and serpentine song arrangements — it's what The Police might sound like if they formed today in the American underground and were raised on a steady diet of Fugazi. Add to Friday's show a dose of the always stellar Chalk and the newly reconstituted View-Finder and you've got the makings of one of the week's best Rock shows in a week loaded with fantastic Rock shows. (Mike Breen)

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express

Sunday · Jack Quinn's

He's been hailed by the European press as the "Godfather of Acid Jazz," but keyboardist Brian Auger's rich, storied history encompasses an impossibly wide spectrum of musical styles. The London-bred Auger began as a straightforward Jazz pianist in the early '60s, but the notably restless pianist soon began implementing a more R&B-based sound with his band, Brian Auger's Trinity. After that group dissolved, Auger switched over to the Hammond B-3 organ, the instrument he is most closely linked to in the annals of Rock and Jazz history. (His first big Hammond album, the bluesy Don't Send Me No Flowers, featured Jimmy Page on guitar.) By the mid-'60s, Auger had formed the short-lived Steampacket, featuring vocalists Julie Driscoll, Rod Stewart and Long John Baldry. Driscoll stuck around for the next "Trinity" incarnation, which scored a hit with the first recorded version of "This Wheel's on Fire," written by Bob Dylan and The Band's Rick Danko and today perhaps best known as the theme to the Britcom Absolutely Fabulous. By the dawn of the '70s, Auger became interested in exploring Jazz/Fusion, so he launched Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, named for his low expectations of the band's longevity and commercial viability. Ironically, he's been touring and recording under that moniker ever since. From timeless Pop to trippy PsychRock to fusionary groove soundscapes, Brian Auger might not be a household name, but he's certainly earned the "legend" tag bestowed upon him overseas. The latest incarnation of the Oblivion Express is out touring in support of the amazing, gorgeously packaged career retrospective, Auger Rhythms, which features material from each stage of his astonishing career. Just one of his "phases" would be enough for most musicians, but Auger's noble uneasiness with sitting still too long has made him a chameleon capable of respectfully reinventing himself with every turn of the corner. Best of all, the last chapter appears far from being written, as Auger continues to build legions of new young fans on the touring circuit. (MB)

A Perfect Circle with Burning Brides

Tuesday · Taft Theater

It's a fairly rare occurrence for a side project to equal the impact and intensity of its parental unit, but A Perfect Circle is clearly one of those rarities. Formed in 1999 by Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan and former Tool guitar tech Billy Howerdel, A Perfect Circle very quickly began inspiring a Tool-like passion in fans. APC was conceived in the early '90s when Tool opened for Fishbone and Keenan met then-Fishbone guitar tech Howerdel. Keenan was impressed with Howerdel (who had shown Keenan some of the songs he'd been working on) and eventually hired him as Tool's tech. The familiar mutual promise to someday work together hung in the air until Tool was stalled by a two-year legal battle with a former label, the resolution of which left the band wrung out and in need of a break. APC was born in Tool's vacuum when Keenan and Howerdel finally made good on their vow to collaborate, inviting bassist Danny Lohner, former Failure guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and Primus drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander to join them. Lohner and Alexander didn't last long; they were quickly replaced by bassist Paz Lechantin and session drummer/producer Josh Freese. The outift rehearsed for months before unveiling at L.A.'s Viper Room in August of 1999, announcing then the official formation of A Perfect Circle. The following year saw the release of APC's stunning debut, Mer De Noms, but by the time of 2003's Thirteenth Step it was clear that the group's lineup was shifting, as bass duties were handled by both Lenchantin and Jeordie White (formerly Marilyn Manson's Twiggy Ramirez). White replaced Lenchantin who left to join Billy Corgan's Zwan and Van Leeuwen exited to work with Queens of the Stone Age. With the addition of former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, A Perfect Circle is beginning to take on the qualities of a supergroup, one that could even eclipse the very potent bands that spawned it. (BB)

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