Peter Gabriel's influence, if not his name, can be found in Anne Heaton's Black Notebook

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Carly Sioux

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Anne Heaton with The Kim Taylor Band

Wednesday · BarrelHouse Brewing Company

New York-based singer/songwriter Anne Heaton claims a huge influence from Peter Gabriel's textural approach to recording, but it's clear when listening to the layered soulfulness of her most recent release, Black Notebook, that she has also picked up on Gabriel's uncanny ability to write songs that go straight for the heart (and we're not talking "Big Time" or "Sledgehammer" here). Like Gabriel's music, you can peel back the layers of Heaton's songs one at a time to reveal passionate, memorable numbers that would stand alone without the additives (Heaton, in fact, plays regularly in solo, duo and full-band formations). The singer/pianist grew up in Chicago before moving to NYC, where she hit the open mic scene and also picked up some more tips on how to make music stirring from the Gospel Choir of Harlem, with whom she performed. That connection led her to legendary jazzman Max Roach, resulting in work on a tour of Europe with the drummer/composer's band. Heaton poignantly pulls all of those experiences (plus her other non-"on-the-job" influences like Sinead O'Connor, Natalie Merchant, Tori Amos and Tom Petty) into her own music, but she seems to take more abstract, spiritual cues from those teachers; instead of simply mimicking them. Heaton's sound has a distinct personality, resulting in a deceptively simple, moving approach that is all her own. Her personal, intimate lyrics match the visceral tone of her music perfectly, resonating with beguiling depth that captures your attention and never lets go. The growing acclaim Heaton is receiving from the industry and critics is wholly deserved. (Mike Breen)

Jackie-O Motherfucker with Hilltop Distillery, Burning Star Core and Forty-One Ninety-Two

Friday · Southgate House Ballroom

The membership of Portland, Ore., avant-sound collective Jackie-O Motherfucker is as unpredictable as the music itself. In the last decade, the number has increased tenfold, from the two founders, Tom Greenwood and Nester Bucket, to the 20-member ensemble cast they select from today.

Well, they certainly missed the duo trend of late, but it probably wouldn't have helped out much considering their core of guitar and saxophone peppered with random instrumentation is a far cry from the currently lauded drum-and-guitar combo. That and they don't really write "songs." JOMF's mesmerizing Space Rock compositions are probably better described as movements or pieces. The layers of instruments wafting in their Out-Jazz adventures give them a vibe not unlike Meisha mixed with Polyphonic Spree, only with the dissonance needle always hovering near peak. And while the quasi-improvised performances seem to favor live settings, they have a fairly extensive catalog as well. Despite a lack of consistent rhythm and melody, JOMF's recordings succeed because each disc has its own mood. They run the gamut from gentle cymbal washes to animated string interactions, from sprawling atmospherics to more succinct and choppy passages. The diverse experiments won't sit well with the average listener (their publicist even admitted people either love them or hate them), but those open to non-objective music will enjoy the meandering collages. (Ezra Waller)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs with The SSION and Entrance

Monday · Southgate House

It's amazing that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, one of the most potent examples of neo-No Wave/Garage Punk and merely one of the most recent to become a NYC genre poster child, were actually seeded here in Ohio. Charismatic trash brat Karen O met drummer Brian Chase when the pair were both enrolled at Oberlin College. O subsequently transferred to New York University where she met guitarist Nicholas Zinner and formed the original version of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2000, which ultimately included Chase after the departure of their original drummer. The Yeahs then made the most of opening slots for The White Stripes and The Strokes by accomplishing the near-impossible task of drawing attention away from the headliners with a brilliant blend of punkalicious sonic invention and an outrageously compelling stage presence anchored by O's pheromone-flooded antics. The press that's focused on O's sexually charged performances has been both blessing and curse, as the Yeahs have been hailed as the Next Big Punk Thing and denounced as little more than an over-hyped burlesque revue with a thrash soundtrack. The Yeahs went a long way toward dispelling the hype tag with last year's Fever to Tell, their debut full-length and an exciting studio translation of their frenzied live tumult. Are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs the saviors of Rock & Roll? Don't be silly; Rock doesn't need to be saved. Are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs one helluva fun Punk Rock sideshow? Bet your ass they are. Step right up. (Brian Baker)

The Sounds, Ima Robot and Kill Hannah

Monday · Bogart's

They've got to be getting sick of the comparison, but it's unavoidable. The Sounds certainly haven't gone out of their way to emulate Blondie, but this bombshell-fronted Swedish act's ratio of danceable Pop to gritty Punk posturing is strikingly similar to America's platinum icon. Blurring (OK, more creating, then blurring) the line between Garage and Bubblegum, they combine marzipan melodies and retro-synth action with pounding rhythms, yielding dynamic party music that bridges the gap between The Cardigans and The Hives. As readymade for success as the formula seems, The Sounds are actually pretty indie. Parts of their debut album, Living in America, were recorded in guitarist Felix Rodriguez's apartment. He and childhood friend Johan Bengtsson started the band fresh out of high school, adding the other acquaintances from their hometown of Helsingborg to fill the gaps. Next was drummer Fredrik Nilsson, who provides the Punk punch with his always-on-the-crash-cymbal backbeats. Rodriguez had taken music classes with Maja Ivarsson, and decided she had the perfect sweet-and-sour voice to front the band. Her clipped Scandinavian accent gives her a Björk-meets-Pat-Benatar style. Jesper Anderberg's out-front synth was the final puzzle piece, and they have been going nowhere but up. (Ezra Waller)

A special warning to all those preparing a time capsule to define today's popular culture: Do not include Ima Robot's self-titled debut. Materializing in Los Angeles in the late 1990s, the band has recently created a loud buzz for themselves by their blatant musical anachronisms that mix various elements of the '70s, '80s and '90s scenes. This sound can almost be easily described. Almost. Remove their keyboards, and you have found a mainly light Punk band. Remove their distortion pedals, and you have a New Wave quintet. Keep all of their components together and you find yourself listening to an album that slurs itself between dance-party tracks to anthems about anarchy, sex and drug liberation; it's like an upbeat mix tape where all the tracks are coincidentally by the same artist. This should not come as a surprise after perusing their bio. Their lineup includes two alums of many Beck recordings, Justin Meldal-Johnsen on bass and Joey Waronker, doing a standout job drumming. And this album shows that they've carried over a lot of the grooves they had in their minds and hands when helping to produce Beck's Midnite Vultures album. The lead singer, Alex Ebert, has a ridiculously strong British accent for being born and raised in L.A., but for some reason it works without fault and adds a subtle BritPop feel to the CD (as if their SynthPunk, half-Glam, futuristically raw sound needed another layer added to it). Based solely on the rabid energy the five of them pressed into this debut CD, it would be extremely safe to assume that their live show will be a romp that could provide anything from mosh-pit induced bloody lips to sincere petting with your current fling. (Jacob Richardson)

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