Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Soundgarden would have wanted it that way.

| August 11, 2010

We know. You don’t want to go out. We can’t make you. You just saw 147 bands forcryingoutloud, and excuse you if you’ll just lie there and sort out what happened. Screw that. More rock!

We’ve long wondered what happened to Bill Ricchini and maybe Jeremy Messersmith has a clue. The eccentric, Beatles-obsessed songwriter has a similar taste for stately, piano-based pomp on The Reluctant Graveyard, which closes a trilogy of albums. On the others, The Silver City and The Alcatraz Kid, he seemed to garner Elliott Smith and Sufjan Stevens comparisons at every turn, neither of which give any hint as to his power-pop core, which occasionally comes to full That Thing You Do Technicolor. (Thursday@Schubas with Judson Claiborne and Conrad Plymouth.)

The English Beat are called so in America because unheralded L.A.-based power-poppers called The Beat already existed here. It makes you wonder how often it happens both here and overseas. Off the top of my head, I can think of The Charlatans U.K., Band Of Bees, and The Mission U.K., with little knowledge of American bands meeting similar obstacles. Of course The English Beat’s bigger problems were clashes of personality, because when they were together they challenged The Specials as the top ska revivalists in punk-era Britain. People over here know them best for “Mirror In The Bathroom” and the instrumental version of a song that played over the closing chase sequence in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. When they broke up, it wasn’t as if they shattered into a thousand pieces. Two major chunks of members wound up founding General Public and Fine Young Cannibals. (Friday@Double Door with Bad Manners and Chris Murray.)

Seemingly opening-band cannon fodder on this bill of local heavyweights, Suns can actually boast major-label pedigree. Frontman Mikey Russell led Wax On Radio from 2005 ’til 2008, when it broke up to get out from under its contract with Downtown Records (Gnarls Barkley, Santigold, Scissor Sisters). Though WOR had been promising new material in the interim, what we’ve gotten now is Suns and two free EPs (The Howls And The Many, Close Calls In The U.S. Space Program) available from the band’s Myspace. Moody, densely arranged . . . sounds like the same band? Hardly. There’s some spunk and verve packed in the former set that was probably stirred by the label chaos. (Friday@Durty Nellie’s with The Tossers and Scott Lucas & The Married Men.)

The surge in supergroups and collaborations, specifically in indie rock, has rekindled images of the collaborative heyday of the mid-’70s, when Eric Clapton wasn’t so much for-hire as lost in the Byzantine hallways of a recording studio and haplessly dropping in on the wrong session. Admiral Radley don’t quite fit that description, though the relative ubiquity of Grandaddy and Earlimart members of late (out in California, no less) has a few cainine units waiting for their luggage just to be sure. The 10-years-in-the-making debut, I Heart California, won’t surprise fans of either band, and that’s too be expected. Both record at the midtempo halfline, and the changing from song to song is almost like setting a CD player on A/B shuffle. (Friday@Lincoln Hall with Hooray For Earth.)

— Steve Forstneger

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