A four-piece punk band from Minneapolis, The Soviettes released two acclaimed regional records before signing last year with venerable punk label Fat Wreck Chords, which released the band’s third album (III, natch) last week.
The Soviettes are a good fit for Fat Wreck, sharing their combination of lefty politics and unpretentious spirit with better-known labelmates NOFX and Against Me!. And, like the latter band, the Soviettes play every song like an anthem that could save the world and bolster their jitter-bugging guitars and head-spinning tempos with a commitment to egalitarian vocals, all four bandmates diving in and out of verses and colliding on choruses. At their best, they sound like a tour-bus accident between Bikini Kill and Katrina & the Waves or like the house band for a smokin’-in-the-girls-room pep rally. In other words, they sound like an awful lot of fun. And if they’re half as good live as Against Me!, the effect should translate to the stage just fine.
The Soviettes will be at the Young Avenue Deli Tuesday, July 12th, opening for Florida punks Grabass Charlestons, who are more jokey (song titles: “The Fucking Song,” “Beer Exile,” “Boner City Limits”), more jocky, and more generic by comparison.
Or, for something decidedly less energizing, you can catch Howie Day and Missy Higgins -- a couple of commercial-pop singer-songwriters -- at the New Daisy Theatre Thursday, July 7th. A 21-year-old Australian, Higgins is a big hit back home but just getting started here in the States. “All for Believing,” the lead track off her debut album The Sound of White (and, yes, it’s one of those priceless album titles that works as a review), was featured in the recent X-Files-for-fundamentalists NBC mini-series Revelations. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), there’s nothing on Higgins’ album (title aside) that has the unintentional comedy I saw on the half an episode of Revelations I caught. Rather, Higgins is earnest in the vein of Sarah McLachlan, but with less gauzy music and (credit a thick Aussie accent) more engaging vocals. In other words, an improvement on the Lilith Fair style. Day is apparently popular -- I’ve seen him on those VH-1 countdown shows -- but his recent album Stop All the World Now doesn’t give much evidence as to why, though the single “Collide” does have a way of creeping into your hum matrix.
Other musical possibilities about town this week: Cult country artist Dale Watson will be at the Hi-Tone Café Thursday, July 7th. Watson’s anti-Music-City honky-tonk (“Nashville Rash”) had some rhetorical power a decade ago, but now that Nashville is shaping up, it only seems relevant to the die-hards. And you can say goodbye to Beyoncé, Kelly, and Michelle -- Destiny’s Child in case you don’t know -- in what has become a farewell tour at FedExForum Sunday, July 10th. Though if you can locate a karaoke bar with “Say My Name,” “Jumpin’ Jumpin’,” or, especially, “Independent Women Pt. 1” on the song list, you’ll likely have a better (and cheaper) time. Mario and Amerie -- she of Single of the Year candidate “1 Thing” -- open.
-- Chris Herrington
Known for their elaborate horror-film-inspired costumes and crude stage antics, such as mock-masturbating into the audience or mock executions of media icons, GWAR is destined to win the award for the most entertaining show of the week when they play the New Daisy Theatre Monday, July 11th.
The novelty punk-metal outfit started in the ’80s, but they claim they’ve been around since the beginning of time. According to GWAR history, they were imprisoned in an iceberg on planet Earth as punishment for trying to battle the Master of the Universe. It wasn’t until the ’80s, when hairspray use was at an all-time high, that the ozone layer was depleted enough to melt the iceberg, freeing them to become the rock band they are today.
And then there’s the music, which on the surface is the standard metal fare of screaming unintelligible lyrics. But if you listen a little closer (or read the lyrics), GWAR’s music is poetic and, lately, political. Last year’s War Party contains numerous anti-Bush, anti-war sentiments. But if all that’s too deep for you, just go to the show and enjoy the fake blood and vulgarity. Virginia black-metal band Lamb of God co-headline, with Devil Driver and All That Remains opening.
For more indecency, check out Sweet Pussy Pauline at Backstreet on Saturday, July 9th. Dubbed the “X-Rated Goddess of House Music,” Sweet Pussy is a DJ and pioneer of the “bitch track” genre. Her songs praising female genitalia and putting men in their place will have you droppin’ like it’s hot all night. After hearing “Work That Pussy” and “Head, Tits, and Ass,” you’ll have obscene phrases replaying in your head for days. Just be sure not to sing them out loud around your mom.
-- Bianca Phillips