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The Apes, a D.C. band famous for their energetic, uninhibited, and completely unhinged live performances, really do defy description. It's contemporary hippie music for people who hate hippies. Layers and layers of organ merge Birthday Party sensibilities with the symphonic aspirations of bands like Rush and Blue Cheer. Elements of goth fuse with 1960s psych-pop with nary a guitar in sight. It's pretty incredible stuff, and it's happening at the Young Avenue Deli on Friday, March 18th. Vending Machine and The Klopeks share the bill.

Pittsburgh isn't just Steeler country; it's also the land of the living dead. Zombie film innovator George Romero started a gruesome trend when he shot his classic horror tale Night of the Living Dead there in 1968. Throughout the 1970s, half-rotten corpses shuffled mindlessly through the subdivisions and shopping malls of suburban Pennsylvania, looking for human brains to eat. Inspired by their hometown's long and illustrious legacy of undead cinema, a Pennsylvania duo called, appropriately enough, Zombi play guitar and synth soundtracks for epic monster movies that have yet to be written. Since horror soundtracks are designed to build tension to a fever pitch and release it with a scream, Zombi's formula makes for an exciting post-rock experiment. Zombi plays the Hi-Tone on Friday, March 18th with The Sonsabitches and El Dorado & the Ruckus.

Speaking of the Ruckus After Memphis rockers the Porch Ghouls imploded, P.G. frontman El Dorado Del Rey contacted his old blues buddies from Florida, The Immortal Lee County Killers, and asked them to come to Memphis to record some tunes with titles such as "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things" and "Blood on Satan's Claw." Though the Immortal Lee County Killers had to move on down the line and do their own thing, that recording session was the birth of El Dorado & the Ruckus. Now the Immortal Lee County Killers, a nasty guitar, organ, and drum combo, are bringing their raunchy, speed-freak blues back to town for a show at the Young Avenue Deli on Wednesday, March 23rd.

Okay. Usually I wouldn't be able to take a guy who sounds like Carole King too seriously, but let's face the facts. Anders Parker -- originally of the undersung alt-country band Varnaline -- is one helluva great songwriter. And to be fair, he only sounds like King on the rare occasion when his piano and string arrangements take him a little too deep into the realm of introspective gobbledygook. At the top of his game Parker has the rare ability to tell literate, detailed hard-luck stories without straying from a tight pop format.

Parker opens for Jay Farrar of Uncle Tupelo fame who is playing Newby's on Thursday, March 18th, with a new version of his old band Son Volt. After Uncle Tupelo split, Farrar created Son Volt to carry along the jammy, alt-country torch.

Grifter/Bastard Soul Dave Shouse will bring the most recent lineup of his ever-changing band The Bloodthirsty Lovers (see Local Beat, p. 44) to the Young Avenue Deli on Sunday, March 20th. No matter who's playing these days (and frankly, I can't keep up), you can always count on Shouse to deliver with his Memphisized glitter rocking Glamtronica.


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