They've dropped the Sound System from their name; they also rely a bit less on sequencers and crunching 4/4 beats this time around, instead bringing acoustic instruments further to the fore. That might be change enough for one record, but on Seed, the Afro Celts have also broadened their musical horizons. In addition to the usual fare of Irish melodies and African rhythms, the menu now includes touches of flamenco, dub, and even R&B to bring new textures to the sound. Sometimes it can work beautifullythe way Jesse Cook's flying Spanish guitar on "Cyberia," heightens the song's tension before giving glorious release is one example. But occasionally the lack of focus can bring a bland, directionless drift, as on "Green," a pleasant instrumental that goes nowhere. Seed boasts an extensive guest list (22 in all) to supplement the band, but it proves to be a double-edged sword. They provide plenty of colorthe dual fiddles of Eileen Ivers and Martin Hayes on the epic "Rise Above It" are pure joy. But at the same time, they blur the focus. Put it all together and this feels like an album by a band in transition, moving away from dance music, but not sure what they want to do next. That doesn't mean the music's tentative, however. Both the title cut and "Deep Channel" have plenty to offer, and the string-laded "All Remains" has an almost icy beauty. As a holding action, Seed offers hints as to the future of Afro Celts. The interesting part will be hearing the flower. Afro Celts play the Showbox at 7 p.m. Tues., July 15, with Planet Earth. $25. CHRIS NICKSON
TEGAN & SARA, JETS OVERHEAD
PThere's a half-wall of gimmickry to scale before really embracing Tegan & Sara. They're adorable lesbian twin sisters from Canada; I mean, Christ, that sounds right in step with T.A.T.U. Fact is, the ladies' folksy inclinations have Hulked out into knockout-hook power-pop; their sophomore album If It Was You confidently occupies a broad realm between crush-cute and nails-tough. When the sisters sigh that "everything in my body tells me not tonight" or "I got so city girl on you," the sentiments pinch as hard as a soundtrack to your fucked-up love life as they would on a fucked-up top 40 station. Crocodile Cafe. $12. 8 p.m. Thu. July 10. A.B.
OZZFEST WITH OZZY OSBOURNE, KORN, DISTURBED, MARILYN MANSON, CHEVELLE
PWhen Marilyn Manson started talking about absinthe, Dadaism, and the Weimar Republic as key influences on his new album, my heart soared; Manson has turned more suburban kids on to thought-provoking cultural touchstones than any artist since David Bowie. Would he finally put his music where his mouth is? Alas, The Golden Age of the Grotesque is essentially by-the-numbers Manson (albeit in fine form), with the requisite scathing, funny lyrics and choruses so loud they could loosen a Motorhead fan's bowels. No heavy metal "Surabaya Johnny," no industrial stab at Satie's Trois Gymnop餩es. Regardless, Manson's showmanship is so captivating and scary, it makes you wonder why somebody hasn't built him a Las Vegas casino. White River Amphitheatre. $49.50/$79.50. 10 a.m. Sat. July 12. K.B.R.