This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Tres Chicas/ Monologue Bombs, Blag'ard/ Hate Prose, The Tourist/ Dylan Gilbert, Neil Hamburger, Susan Cowsill
VS.: Mike Gordon vs. Your Phish Bootlegs
INTRODUCING: Swan Quarter
SONG OF THE WEEK: Alina Simone's "Half My Kingdom"
08.01 TRES CHICAS/ MONOLOGUE BOMBS @ THE POUR HOUSE
Tres Chicas—recently returned from a three-piece performance at the Winnipeg Folk Festival—promises to start its part of the evening with an acoustic set resurrecting songs Pour House patrons haven't heard in a long while. When not entertaining Canadians, the Chicas continue to work on a live DVD, an effort Caitlin Cary describes as a "labor of love, emphasis on labor," and one that might morph into a live record with a visual component. (Cary can offer no time frame for its release but promises, "It won't go into Axl Rose territory.") In the meantime, those in need of a Chicas-recording fix should seek out the Musicians for Minneapolis benefit, which features the glorious and previously unreleased "Lloyd's Mom." Oh, and contrary to the poster for this show, opener Monologue Bombs is Goner's Scott Phillips in late-night singer/ songwriter mode, not a cloud of methane gas. $8-$10/ 9 p.m. —Rick Cornell
08.01 BLAG'ARD/ HATE PROSE @ VOLUME 11 TAVERN
This one comes with heavy bookends: The headlining Hate Prose spews hyperbolic evil over tempered death metal groan, imprecations about matri-lust and religious-loathing raging through scabrous groans. The opening Soul Trigger is a young Randolph County quartet that mixes Metallica and Mudhoney menace with mellow, metal-romance persuasions. Watch out for Blag'ard in the middle, though: Bobcat, the first LP from the Chapel Hill duo, cuts a tight rope between Mission of Burma and 764-HERO. —Grayson Currin
08.01 THE TOURIST/ DYLAN GILBERT @ NIGHTLIGHT
A bill divided: Tonight's triumvirate exemplifies the beauty/ beast dualism that comes from men with guitars and hearts-on-fire narratives. On the beauty side stands Cary's The Tourist, with frontman Hunter MacDermut teasing guitar strings and sweet vocal harmonies into a melodic cocoon of stringed love stories. Charlotte's Dylan Gilbert joins him, staking out a fuzzier beat with an electric guitar and slightly raspy vocals channeled with '70s AM flair. Virginia's Invisible Hand stands on the darker side, its punk guitars giving flight to sarcasm and satire. 9:30 p.m. —Kathy Justice
08.02 NEIL HAMBURGER @ LOCAL 506
Why is Neil Hamburger singing? From the title of his new record,Sings Country Winners, you might deduce he's only cashing in on what he sees as a ripe market. The Hamburger shtick—usually the downtrodden stand-up comic who lives in a bizarre world of comedy dreams not unlike Deniro's character Rupert Pupkin in the film King of Comedy—works when applied to country music. It's the Nashville-gone-fallow style of drinking and depression, aptly mined. The live show should blend the uncomfortable feeling of someone bombing onstage with the dementia honky-tonk of outsider singer Legendary Stardust Cowboy. With Daiquiri and Brian Vicini. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Toenes
08.03 SUSAN COWSILL @ BERKELEY CAFE
As you ponder a list of those who started in the entertainment business as children in the '60s and '70s, you'll be forgiven for generalizing that one of two outcomes awaited them down the road: One is a path through wild behavior and addiction that ultimately led to reality television or a case of what didn't kill them could only make them stronger. The gutsy, strong-willed music of Susan Cowsill—who, courtesy of the song "Indian Lake" by the family band The Cowsills, is the youngest artist ever to have a Top 10 record—makes clear she epitomizes the latter category. It's pumped-up folk rock with veteran wisdom and survivor courage. $10/ 7 p.m. —Rick Cornell
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6
FROM: Burlington, Vt.
CLAIM TO FAME: Used to be in Phish; invented the Yoctoplate
Since launching a solo career via a lighter-than-air collaboration with Leo Kottke in 2002, once (future?) Phish bassist Mike Gordon has long been the member whose own projects most faithfully channeled the Vermont quartet's beloved absurdity. Though his new Green Sparrow is less artful than usual, plodding a bit under the weight of its own perfunctory bubblefunk, Gordon & co. are still a good bet for audience participation, a Beatles cover, a Phish tune, some jams and a chance to hang with the 'heads, reminisce and spread flagrantly erroneous rumors about the inevitable Phish reunion that you heard about from the band's road manager's ex-girlfriend. The Bridge opens at THE LINCOLN THEATRE. $17-$20/ 9 p.m.
YOUR PHISH BOOTLEGS
FROM: Your bros down the hall
CLAIM TO FAME: You spent 10 years labeling them, right?
On the other hand, a bong-optional evening at home with your dust-covered Phish bootlegs could be pretty heady, too. Certainly, the highlights might be higher, especially if you get some friends over and start rifling through Maxell cases for that Dallas '94 soundboard with the filler of Fishman singing "Freebird" into some dude's answering machine. (Man, that was sweet.) You can also skip over any uninspired covers you want to—peace out, "My Soul"—and beeline directly to the segue-fests. But you might not have a working tape machine anymore. Going to see Gordon's new joint could just be less hassle. —Jesse Jarnow
08.06 SWAN QUARTER @ LOCAL 506
"I like to joke that we try to play pop songs, but they just go on for twice as long as they should," says Daniel Lawrence, singer for Chapel Hill quartet Swan Quarter. Swan Quarter makes dream-like, carefree pop with occasional melancholic undertones. Through extended explorations of musical motifs, Swan Quarter mixes '60s handclaps and '90s guitar jangle. It's all part of Lawrence's plan: "I like incorporating all sorts of styles of pop music with more adventurous structures or tones."
Lyrically, the songs employ similar juxtaposition, so a shambling hopefulness comes backed by a gut-punch reality check. "Every Night I Dream of Phil Spector," for instance, pays homage to the Brill builder by slowly constructing a wall of sound but shows Phil Spector "brandishing a Colt 45 at this girl" before suggesting "every 45 is a house with vinyl sides." Baiting and switching expectations like this allows Swan Quarter to paint emotional landscapes open to reflection and interpretation but packing a topical kick, too. With languid and more earthy openers, The International Grapevine. Free/ 9:30 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey