Gimmie indie rock: The Glands' eponymous sophomore record from 2000 still sounds like one of the genre's decade highlights, though I'm not sure why the Athens, Georgia, band still hasn't followed it up. On the lead track, "Livin' Was Easy," drums clatter; sweet, distorted guitars chime in unison; a whiny, disaffected singer wails cryptically; and suddenly you're awash in perfect sound forever. It might have been the most glorious guitar-bass-drums white-boy rock since Pavement was screaming about summer babes and haircuts. And the album made audacious leaps, uniting no-wave and arena rock here, incorporating undertones of '70s soul there. Four years later, can frontman Ross Shapiro & Co. still muster that record's dual-guitar clamor and urgent mystery? Who knows? But you can find out at Proud Larry's in Oxford Saturday, June 5th.
Also at Proud Larry's this week (isn't school out?) is a more recognizable indie lifer, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, which is the new moniker of alt-folk stalwart Will Oldham, who got his start with the wobbly, left-of-center would-be field recordings he cut in the mid-'90s as the Palace Brothers. Oldham's never been my cup of tea, really (I'd rather watch him in John Sayles' Matewan, which he appeared in as a teen), but he certainly has his cult. He'll play Proud Larry's Wednesday, June 9th.
Finishing up this week's best alt-rock bets (other than, of course, the great Yo La Tengo, whom you can read about in the music feature on page 29) is Auf Der Maur, the new solo project from onetime Hole and Smashing Pumpkins bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur. I haven't heard Auf Der Maur's recently released debut album, so I can't say whether the band is closer to the Smashing Pumpkins' proggy pretensions or Hole's punky directness. I hope for the latter and don't expect much either way. But seeing the band in a last-minute booking at the Hi-Tone Café Sunday, June 6th, should be interesting.
Those looking for music that's a little rootsier or that skews toward the older have plenty to choose from this week as well. Blues fans can catch New Orleans bluesman Mem Shannon at Huey's Midtown Sunday, June 6th. Shannon recorded his most recent album, Memphis in the Morning, locally at Ardent Studios, with the Memphis Horns in tow, and the change of scenery seemed to agree with him: With its funky rhythm section, jumping piano, and the Horns' trademark punch, "Drowning on My Feet" was one of the best approximations of the classic Memphis soul sound to come along in years. Another locally focused highlight was a jazzy cover of one of B.B. King's signature tunes, "Why I Sing the Blues." Blues fans can also catch British blues-rock band Savoy Brown -- who came out of the same '60s scene that produced bands as disparate as Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin --at Neil's Saturday, June 5th.
Country fans will have to head south: Bluegrass chanteuse Alison Krauss, who owns one of the finest voices in all of popular music, hands down, will headline The Great High Mountain Tour when it stops off at the DeSoto Civic Center Wednesday, June 9th. Krauss will be joined by a handful of other contemporary bluegrass artists. Country fans can head to Horseshoe Casino to see one of mainstream Nashville's better male singers, Brad Paisley, whose recent smash, "Little Moments," I found both incredibly effective and unbearably condescending.
Or if you just want to catch some locals, there's Mouse Rocket, who will throw a release party for their fine new record Friday, June 4th, at the Hi-Tone Café. The same night, over at Young Avenue Deli, two of the city's most popular and most accomplished bands, The Gamble Brothers Band and Free Sol, will join forces. Then, Saturday, June 5th, also at the Deli, locals Lucero make what seems to be a monthly Memphis appearance, with Southern Bitch. n --