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After the untimely death of gravelly voiced frontman/bassist Mark Sandman, Boston-based noir jazz trio Morphine, after 10 years of recording and touring, were permanently sidelined. Sandman's gritty, confessional lyrics--about hotel trysts, addictions, and life among the demimonde--gave Morphine an audience that reached far beyond the jazzbo crowd. Following Sandman's death, Dana Colley and Billy Conway, Morphine's two remaining members, put together Orchestra Morphine, a nine-piece touring unit celebrating the band's legacy, in which they hooked up with vocalist Laurie Sargent. Which brings us to The Twineman (pictured above), Colley and Conway's first original post-Morphine project. The trio features Sargent on vocal duties, although Colley rumbles through lead vocals on two tracks and Conway closes the album with a self-penned ditty he also delivers, "Who's Gonna Sing." It's a groove album, improvisational and eclectic, although Colley's sax playing and Conway's behind-the-beat syncopations are still unmistakably Morphine-esque. All in all, The Twineman is less tortured than Morphine, and ultimately a smidge more arty. Hear the band this Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Cat's Cradle. Call 967-9053 for details. --Angie CarlsonDiamondDiamondDiamond

The Hot Snakes are straight-up, kick-you-in-the-balls rock 'n' roll, the kind of music you blast to piss off your neighbors and make their ears bleed. The band consists of Rick Froberg (Drive Like Jehu), Rocket from the Crypt frontman John Reis (also formerly of Jehu), bassist Gar Wood and drummer Jason Kourkounis (of The Delta 72). Hot Snakes acts as a bridge between Froberg and Reis' bands, combining the ferocious intensity of Drive Like Jehu with a tinge of the catchy antics of Rocket From the Crypt. The result is a new sound--grimy, edgy and raucous. The band is touring in support of their new album, Suicide Invoice, which seems a tad more serious and morbid than its predecessor, Automatic Midnight--and that's not a bad thing. Expect a rowdy, entertaining show this Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro. Call 967-9053 for details. --Brendan Ferriter

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