Lovers Lane
In The Flesh

Get what you came for.

| August 10, 2011

The problem with salad-bar festivals like Lollapalooza is you always overload your plate and can never be sure what was good under all the dressing. The Ettes, Mia LeBlon, and Totimoshi provide simple, a la carte entrées.

It’s easy to imagine what cubby hole The Ettes would tidily fit if it weren’t for the sixth track on Wicked Will (Krian), “You Never Say.” Surrounded by the black-leather-jacket and switchblade attitude of the neighboring tracks — a biker image perpetuated by cover art of the trio pointing pistols at one another — sits a rather credible ’62-to-’63 Beatles cover band. No, “You Never Say” is not a cover, but its sweet simplicity kills The Ettes’ and Coco Hames bristling punk with sweetness. (Wednesday@Schubas with Heavy Cream and Hans Condor.)

For Totimoshi, there are no tricks: just bludgeoning. The Avenger (At A Loss) bears all sorts of production credits from the Melvins, with guests also including employees of Mastodon and Neurosis. They’re merely the icing on a grooved cake that snaps at you before the first bite. Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos have fought tooth and nail to highlight elements that aren’t pure stoner-metal riffology (a sugared chorus in “The Fool,” and the dawdling “Snag” this time out), but never fool themselves into underplaying their strength. (Thursday@Ultra Lounge with Electric Hawk, Backs, Black Wyrm Seed, and Mystreater.)

Liner shots of Mia LeBlon hanging a red stiletto out of her car, standing in front of a mirror with her bra exposed, and generally looking nubile don’t intend to portray the local singer/songwriter as a Lolita, but completely vulnerable. The six-song Looking Glass first would like you to think its hero is strong and self-assured (“Woman,” “Sha Na Na”), but assuredly unravels its delicate mental state on a bed of pillowy folk-pop. (Thursday@Lincoln Hall with Lucy Woodward.)

— Steve Forstneger

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