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All Februaries must end

| February 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

This is it, folks: one week left of February 2011 and you’ll never have it again. That’s probably devastating news for those of you who cry on your birthdays — a pathetic tendency picked up when you turned 7. Shameful, really.

Just be happy you’re still alive, we say. If you stayed in this past month, you’d be subjected to an eternity of news coverage on Middle Eastern riots, vulnerable to the ceaseless harping of Eminem fans, and unable to read a single, well-thought review of the new Radiohead WHICH IS CLEARLY GREAT OTHERWISE YOU JUST HAVEN’T HAD TIME TO LISTEN TO IT ENOUGH.

You would, however, have an unsuspecting week of quality live music at your disposal, if you haven’t already pitched your dollars for Kesha and Lady Gaga. Gaga’s such a phenomenon that it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that people headed to United Center next Monday might also be seeing Porcelain Raft in a day. The Italian A/V hero releases his Gone Blind EP, a delicate collection of tender heartbreak with radioactive dust sprinkled atop. Whether harmonizing with himself or arranging clinking reverb, Mauro Remiddi intersects where Sebadoh, Sparklehorse, and I Am Kloot only do on paper. (Tuesday@Lincoln Hall with Tennis and Holiday Shores.)

Ten years ago, Pete Yorn made one of those Lenny Kravitz videos, where some unnamed club is filled with scores of skimpily dressed models absolutely giving themselves up to the music. It was for the debut single off his debut album, which itself featured the unshaven, chiseled chin of Yorn on the cover. He had a talent for energetic, adult-alternative rock but began reading his own press clippings — and promptly fell asleep. Since, his parade of albums have earned him the sobriquet “Pete Yawn” and the ballads have gotten bigger and more lush. At the end of March, Legacy will re-release Musicforthemorningafter, and hopefully give him, at worst, a Kravitz-like rebirth. (Wednesday@Vic Theatre with Ben Kweller and The Wellspring.)

When Dum Dum Girls arrived, the world seemed primed to be stuck (musically) in 2008, when Vivian Girls released their debut. And while the existence of Best Coast hasn’t alleviated the sensation, the He Gets Me High EP (Sub Pop) shows value in Dum Dum Girls yet. The impetus for a frenzied tribute to The Vaselines hasn’t dissipated, but it’s certainly been suppressed by founder Dee Dee’s newfound attention to her own identity as a songwriter. Still dripping with lo-fi Phil Spectorisms, the whole EP sounds like an older band, and jumps majestically from the mournful “Take Care Of My Baby” to a worthy cover of The Smiths’ “There Is A Light That Goes Out.” (Thursday@Empty Bottle with Minks and Dirty Beaches.)

In the past, folk music adhered to its heritage, even after that Dylan fella arrived with his wrecking ball. It was passed through generations via folks; importing folk traditions should be paradoxical. Don’t tell Boston’s David Wax Museum. A Harvard grad who spent some time on charitable missions in Mexico, Wax and his band meld south-of-the-border idioms with Midwestern folk simplicity and a slight art-school edge on Everything Is Saved. The result clearly holds to clearly American styles, mildly passing territory that Los Lobos still steadfastly mine. But if you disregard accusations of cultural tourism, the album stands on its own for its windswept, Southwestern textures that sits comfortably among vintage Son Volt, Giant Sand, and Calexico. (Friday@Space with Jon Drake & The Shakes. This is a later, separate-ticket event than Ben Rector at the Evanston club.)

You can’t manufacture age, but even as the years skip past Eric Elbogen has had trouble gaining (or at least learning from) experience. In his mid-30s with about a decade of Say Hi albums behind him, Um, Uh Oh (Barsuk) finds him stuck in the same intimate meltdowns. The difference musically, however, is exceptional. Where Elbogen formerly fell in a netherworld between boilerplate indie pop and shy-guy emo, he’s cultivated a learned Midwesternism to offset his romantic pratfalls. Opener “Dots On Maps” exhibits tasteful restraint, and on “All The Pretty Ones” he sounds downright manly. He probably can’t wait for February to end. (Friday@Lincoln Hall with Blair.)

— Steve Forstneger

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