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18th! Don’t know what we want!

| February 15, 2012

Hugh Masakela, The Jealous Sound, Moe, Leni Stern: all here on the 18th. So we’ll kick of with something only (on the) 17(th!). It’s never too late (or early) for love, or movies about reggae in the ’70s.

The Story Of Lover’s Rock, a film encapsulating Caribbean culture in England during the dawn of the Thatcher era, opens this weekend, brings an expository eye to some of the themes that arose in 2006’s fictional This Is England. Stepping further into Afro-Caribbean immigrants and their culture, it examines how so-called Lover’s Rock — a smooth, gentle form of reggae that spawned UB40 and Sade — could evolve from a cauldron of racial tension. (FridaytoThursday@Facets Cinematheque.)

It wouldn’t be inappropriate to catch Lover’s Rock and then scrub on up to Northwestern for world-renowned trumpeter Hugh Masekela. The veteran South African is touring the States behind Jabulani, not to be confused with the derided Jabulani football used during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Jabulani revitalizes the celebration and wedding songs that permeated festivities in his youth, which carried capital in his mind when the rest of his days were fraught with the struggles of apartheid. (Saturday@Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston.)

The annals are filled with bands who dropped a great debut and then disappeared for too long. But after nine years, The Jealous Sound entered Boston territory. That the new A Gentle Reminder sounds not unlike its well-received predecessor, Kill Them With Kindness, makes the disappearance all the more curious. Frontman Blair Shehan — who originally came to life in Knapsack — contends that the band were burnt out on their sudden popularity, and eventually life got back in the way. Whatever that distraction was (turns out it was a marriage), has since been moved and sonically is treated as if no time has passed at all. Lyrically? Divorce can yield powerful art. (Saturday@Subterranean with Farewell Continental and Into It Over It.)

Those boys in Moe . . . Having taken a “whatever” approach to record deals and distribution throughout their career, the move to country-roots powerhouse might allude to a stylistic shift. But What Happened To The La Las boasts mostly the same approach as their previous albums: tuat rock arrangements, a mix of subtle and unpredictable hooks, and a fair amount of guitars. Every Moe album is a springboard for their more dynamic live shows, and they’ve had a headstart on most of these songs already. (Saturday@Riviera with Family Groove Company.)

“Sweet Home” columnist Rosalind Cummings-Yeates has written frequently on the African origins of the blues, a topic to which New Yorker Leni Stern is no stranger. On Sabani, the bluesy singer/ guitarist embraces the ngoni and a handful of Malian musicians, who give the album a genre-transcendant, yet still jazzy flair. As Western guitar-pop reaches another of its creative low-tides, Sabani could be a wondrous solution. (Saturday@Old Town School with The Masters Of African Percussion.)

— Steve Forstneger

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