Upcoming Concert reviews of Dirty On Purpose, Birds of Avalon and More...

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Gregory Wilson


Dirty on Purpose



Dirty on Purpose with Say Hi To Your Mom

Wednesday · Southgate House

The children of Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine are a squalling pack of yard monkeys, a good many of them having learned how to make sheets of noise without mastering any of the melodic subtleties of their forebears (or anyone else for that matter).

Brooklyn-based quartet Dirty on Purpose has avoided that scenario by blending their love of reverb and distortion with healthy doses of melancholy Pop melodicism, swirling Rock psychedelia and jangly, lo-fi Indie Pop humility. The resulting sound, introduced on last year's Sleep Late For A Better Tomorrow EP and accentuated on this year's full-length debut Hallelujah Sirens, offers an exquisite tension between noisy shoegaze chaos and Indie quietude, riding to the mopey depths of amplified distortion and the joyful heights of harmonic convergence.

Perhaps Dirty on Purpose's greatest talent lies in their innate ability to sound both epic and intimate at the same time. Combining Yo La Tengo's blustery majesty with Pavement's subdued simplicity, the fuzzy bliss of MBV and Ride with the cool, crisp precision of Sigur Ros, the shambling Pop wonder of Teenage Fanclub and the structural Pop beauty of Catherine Wheel, DOP finds their comfort zone in the hazy area between their myriad influences and their own sonic identity. As a result, DOP transcends their many reference points as they concoct a sound that is the sum of its parts without ever sounding amateurishly stitched together or overly reverential.

Perhaps most importantly, Dirty on Purpose has managed to create their amalgamated sound in the studio and then seamlessly translate that hybrid into a compelling and energetic stage presentation. Dirty on Purpose doesn't wear their influences on the surface like a trendy suit but exudes them like the effects of a recently ingested hallucinogenic.

Prior to their Southgate show, Dirty on Purpose performs live on woxy.com's "Lounge Act" at 3 p.m. (Brian Baker)

Jens Lekman with Frida Hyvönen

Tuesday · Southgate House

On his various singles, EPs and lone full-length album, Swedish singer/songwriter Jens Lekman shifts musical direction the way Cher changes costumes in a three-hour concert.

Physically, Lekman has the same scrawny prep geek appeal as Jonathan Richman and he's not above hauling out the odd humor-laced novelty tune in an obvious homage to the former Modern Lover frontman. More often than not, though, Lekman plays his hand straight, like an earnest Indie Pop gene splice of Stephin Merritt's wry wordplay and heart-wrenching melodic melancholy, Morrissey's dark balladeering and Tim Buckley's tremulously romantic Pop serenading.

Lekman began self-releasing his home recorded material on CDRs six years ago in his native Sweden. A pseudo-pseudonym was born when a Swedish disc jockey inadvertently referred to Lekman as Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz's character from the film Mask), because one of Lekman's demos at the time featured a song with the character's name in the title. In 2003, Lekman released the EP Maple Leaves, which generated a significant impact on Internet file-sharing sites and ultimately translated to heavy rotation on Swedish radio. The following year, Lekman finally put the Rocky Dennis controversy to rest and re-established his own identity with the Rocky Dennis EP, featuring the tracks "Rocky Dennis' Farewell Song to the Blind Girl" and "Jens Lekman's Farewell Song to Rocky Dennis." Lekman also signed an American contract with underground cult label Secretly Canadian, laying the groundwork for his domestic full-length debut, When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog (the label also reissued the EPs).

Dog hit the Top 10 in his homeland and earned Lekman an incredible amount of critical acclaim as well as a handful of Swedish Grammy nominations and other accolades. As Lekman continued work on his second full-length album (the initial sessions for which he reportedly scrapped and started over), he put together Oh You're So Silent, Jens, a compilation of his first three EPs and several bonus tracks, all long out of print.

Lekman's heartfelt delivery and elegantly sparse soundtrack has made him a sensation in Sweden; with the right exposure, he could — and should — easily inspire a widespread cult following here. (BB)

Birds of Avalon

Tuesday · The Comet

I hate to write about what a band looks like, because generally I could care less. If good music is coming out of a giraffe's ass, I'll pull up a chair.

But since all I have to go on for this Raleigh, N.C., fivesome are photos and demos, I can't really resist. See, singer/keyboardist Craig Tilley can't seem to have a picture taken without resembling one famous Classic Rock icon or another. Either Robert Plant or Roger Daltrey, when his blond curls are flying, or sometimes even an exhausted Jim Morrison; it's really uncanny. Vocally, he's a lot closer to Shannon Hoon's beleaguered intensity, and while the rest of the band draw inspiration from '70s Rock, they take it in fresh directions.

Birds of Avalon formed in 2004 around the synchronized shredding of rockin' couple Paul Siler and Cheetie Kumar (a stunning gal of Indian descent whose beauty is surpassed only by her soloing) after they exited The Cherry Valence. Along with Tilley, drummer Scott Nurkin and bassist David Mueller, the band bounces from relentless, raw Blues Rock to moody atmospherics. They can tear it up in a three-minute barnburner or lure you into an extended psychedelic journey, wandering schizophrenically like a Brian May guitar solo. Some songs sound almost freeform, but the rhythm section's uncluttered syncopation balances the perpetual guitarmonies that owe more to The Allmans than Metal, giving the band a Southern-fried Mars Volta kind of appeal.

BoA won a Volcom Entertainment contest that was supposed to land them a slot at their hometown's Warped Tour stop. But due to schedule conflicts, they had to play the Cincy Warped date (July 26 at Riverbend) instead, and are turning lemons into lemonade by booking this previous-night engagement at Northside's Comet. So check them out for free Tuesday night, or pay to see them amongst a sea of faux Punks the next day. Or both. (Ezra Waller)

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