THE TWILIGHT SINGERS
The Twilight Singers Play Blackberry Belle
(One Little Indian)
As frontman of Cincinnati's defunct Afghan Whigs, Greg Dulli broke with college-rock tradition by airing an entire dormitory's worth of dirty sexual laundry over his band's soul-stoked bar-band rumble. With a sneer in his voice and grease in his hair, he made no promises to treat you better than the emotionally barren dickheads littering Huey Lewis shows. On Blackberry Belle, the second album by Dulli's loosely configured Twilight Singers, the man proves he's still got plenty of bad love left to dispense: "There's a riot goin' on inside of me," he warns a potential paramour in "St. Gregory," a queasy rush of acoustic guitar and twinkling piano. "Won't you come inside, see what I see?" Since Dulli knows that dirty deeds come dirt cheap, what makes the trip worth it is how sympathetically he and his enablers wrap their playing around his singing. A current of mewing electric guitars snakes through opener "Martin Eden," whose chorus blasts off when drummer Brian Young lays into his crash cymbal as Dulli describes a river "as dark as night." "Esta Noche" is underpinned by a sample of a ringing telephone that gives Dulli's guarantee of "neverlasting love" a ripple of real-time tension. And in "Teenage Wristband," the latest in a long line of invitations to "stay up all night" and "go for a ride," Dulli gets dramatic counterpoint out of backing vocals by former That Dog violinist Petra Haden. A compelling case for romantic recidivism. MIKAEL WOOD
The Twilight Singers play Chop Suey at 9 p.m. Mon., Dec. 1. $11 adv.
Death Cult Armageddon
Your typical black-metal guitar sound is like beer that's half flat and half foam. Riff and rhythm, too tightly corseted by the tonal constraints of shred and crunch to offer any real blood or muscle, do little more than embellish the smoldering ruins of nightscapes like embroidered bats on homemade pillowcases. Solos, often barely audible, are scrawnier still. Clearly, the prince of darkness is a huge lover of keyboards. (Insert Ben Folds and/or epic trance jokes hereplease.) Why else would his most devoted acolytes make so much room for them in the mix? And what other power could possibly have elevated keyboard-centric Dimmu Borgir to the very highest pinnacle of black-metal success? How high is that? Well, Death Cult Armageddon, their 15th album, finds these sincere Satanists mackin' hard enough to engage the Prague Philharmonic's services on a few tracks, notably "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse." The results resemble nothing less than a concise, slightly more diabolical retake of Edvard Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King (a big album track for ELO), with singer Shagraththe dude who put the "dim" in "Dimmu"rasping admirably over demoniac virtuoso keyboardist Mustis' loony pyrotechnics, ex-Cradle of Filth drummer Nick Baker's muscular double-kick blasts, swirling torrents of Technicolor strings, and the usual anemic other stuff. The sextet graze themselves in the collective hoof when they leave the infernal regions for a (thankfully) brief heroic interlude that finds them wandering dangerously close to Night Ranger realm. Fortunately, the song's sap recedes well before the point where it might potentially drive fans to consider turning their crosses right side up. ROD SMITH
Dimmu Borgir play the Showbox with Nevermore, Children of Bodom, and Hypocrisy at 7 p.m. Sun., Nov. 30.
BEBOP AND DESTRUCTION
Live at the Owl 'n Thistle Volume 1
B&D were one of the bands that helped knock Seattle jazz off its pricey club pedestal, drag it out of the avant-garde basement, and bring it to the loud, sticky-floored bars where kids who've never heard of Sonny Stitt or Wolfgang Fuchs can get a taste of swinging improvised music. That was nearly a decade ago. The band has since lost one of its critical ingredientsdrummer John Wicksbut has retained alto saxophonist Marc Fendel and bassist Geoff Harper, while adding the excellent keyboardist Ryan Burns and another inventive young drummer, Jose Martinez. Over many weeks, producer Tim Swetonic recorded the band at its regular Tuesday night jam session, culling five tracks for release. The centerpiece of the disc is two extra-long tracks: McCoy's "Blues on the Corner" done in straight-ahead style (with an especially inventive solo from Martinez), and the classic "You Don't Know What Love Is," which offers very nice work from fill-in pianist Kacey Evans. The musicians skillfully traverse a lot of ground, and they know how to bring some pitchers-and-wings energy to sometimes stuffy jazz. But the seams always showinstead of integrating its various sounds, the band tends to shift from one to the next: We're always in the straight swing tune or the jam-band tune but never both at once. As the soloists build, they "kick in" to different sections (Latin, double time, free), in a manner that's crowd pleasing but less interesting than groups that ride the boundaries (a skill that John Wicks has in spades). B&D may have honed their bebop chops over a decade together, but the destruction part has gotten a little lost. MARK D. FEFER
Bebop and Destruction play the Owl 'n Thistle every Tuesday at 10 p.m.
Results May Vary
I'm sure that in reality Fred Durst taps out lyrics on the latest, greatest PowerBooks, which, as an Interscope VP, he can afford as easily as No. 2 pencils. Or maybe in the spirit of Kurt Cobain, the idol he recently had tattooed on his chest, Fred scribbles furiously in old notebooks. Regardless, Limp Bizkit's fourth album does nothing to disprove the notion that he's smearing his own feces on his chest, then enlisting some poor intern to transcribe the results. In the video for single "Eat You Alive," he verbally sodomizes Thora Birch ("I'm a man and I can think what the hell I want! You got that straight? I'd love to sniff on them panties"), but to hear it on the rest of the album, he's the one taking it in the ass, day in and day out. In "Let Me Down," he's a "window made of broken glass"; no one can hear him when he cries "inside a lonely world"; and motherfuck Pete Townshend, whose "Behind Blue Eyes" receives a grotesque karaoke interpretation (what do you knowno one knows what it's like to be "the sad man," Freddy D). You know, I never thought I'd say this, but what the FUCK happened to the goon who broke stuff and did it all for the nookie?! Psych 101 "singer/songwriter" Durst will not sell, ex-Snot guitarist Mike Smith isn't even getting license to blurt out the Tom Morello-lite air-raid sirens that made old Limp so excruciatingly bad-in-a-good-way, macho nü-metal breakdowns are few, Puddle of Muddy power ballads are many, and the title is indeed lived down to. Results may vary, all rightbetween crap and shit. ANDREW BONAZELLI
More than just another genre tag to help critics bide their time, "microhouse" is a designation that doubles as a directive. The term isn't especially murkyimagine 4/4 house music wriggling on a microscope slidebut just as notable as the sounds it gathers are the ways that microhouse helps re-dress those sounds in its own exacting image. A two-disc primer sure to split a skeptic's time between gawking and smirking, Microfunk Klickhouse traces so-called "clicks + cuts" minimalism rubbing up against something too groove-minded to warrant such a prosaic mantle. Extra Produktionen's "The Mothership" follows a typical house glide over caramelized vocals, but you'd need 4-D graph paper to chart cymbal sounds that tilt every axis they touch. The same goes for Glowing Glisses' "On the Bridge (Justus Koehnke Remix)," which strips old-school Chicago house down to a quantum gallop. Nuance never strays from microhouse's purview, but the best tracks herealmost all by Germans, of courseshow how shrunken scale intensifies focus. Wesseling & Schrom distill a textbook trance build down to a tidy riff, trading languorous excess for immediate effect. Farben goes the other way with "Love to Love You Baby," a yawning lullaby draped over an anxious mix of glitch and grime. Disc two wanders through some listless terrain that reaffirms funk's importance, and too few tracks signal microhouse's comely flirtation with vocals. But as a working guide to some of the genre's primary and secondary moversSwayzak, Tomas Jirku, MRI, and Metope among themMicrofunk Klickhouse helps map a void filled with a flood of possibility. ANDY BATTAGLIA
Hot Women: Women Singers From the Torrid Regions of the World
(Kein and Aber, U.K.)
Collectors of 78s are the Indiana Joneses of record geekdom. These intrepid archaeologist/ adventurers think nothing of braving the dampest basements, the grimiest garages, or, scarier still, the infamous record-convention ordeal (complete with undulating wall-to-wall plumber's cracks), all in the hope of charming some long-forgotten holy grail of shellac out of the 20th century's accumulated detritus and giving it new life. It's a messy effort, and too often one that cries out for a far greater cause. After all, the damn things are heavier than vinyl and as fragile as china, and they don't sound all that greatplus you need a special needle to play them properly. Fortunately, we've got Robert Crumb to do the dirty work for us. The 24 tracks handpicked by the cartoonist/musicologist from his personal collection for Hot Women offer the kind of fascinating glimpse into 20th-century third world music that any number of labels (Putumayo, anyone?) have unsuccessfully been attempting since they opened for business. Much of Hot Women's power is period-based; most of its selections were recorded between world warsa great time for cultural cross-pollination minus full-on globalization's muck- making factor. The opening track, Cleoma Falcon's "Blues Negres," captures the compilation's spirit perfectly. Recorded in 1934, just as the racial barriers separating Cajun and Creole cultures in Louisiana were starting to erode, the song exudes an air of rural minor-key mystery all but unknown to those of us who have come to think of zydeco as the style C.J. Chenier interprets Rolling Stones covers in. Until someone invents a working time machine so we can go back and fix this mess, Hot Women will just have to do. ROD SMITH