(Touch & Go)
Enon are afflicted with a uniquely aggravating rock and roll multiple personality disorder: The recently reconfigured Brooklyn-based trio not only>"/>
(Touch & Go)
Enon are afflicted with a uniquely aggravating rock and roll multiple personality disorder: The recently reconfigured Brooklyn-based trio not only rotates two polar opposite vocalists almost without fail over the entirety of Hocus-Pocus, but meticulously assigns each singer their own specific compositional template. Founder John Schmersal gets/gives himself the short end of the stick, administering unremarkable, straight-arrow guitar pop like "The Power of Yawning" and "Storm the Gates," a curiosity that begins with a Jack White-trademarked, fuzzed-out blues riff before nestling into a tepid, midtempo campfire groove. It's only when bassist Toko Yasudaa relative newcomer to Schmersal's projecthas the conch, or the rare moments when she shares it with him, that Enon blossom into the best kind of haunting, minimalist electro-pop. "Daughter in the House of Fools" is a thundering percussion sample platter, a belching beat orgy propelled by Yasuda's hopscotch meowing. Her icy coos (think Japanese Beth Gibbons) are perfect for the pleasantly incoherent East-beds-West music box of "Mikazuki" and the vaguely alluring leadoff track, "Shave," neither of which is saddled with anything resembling live power trio instrumentation. Only on single "Starcastic" do Enon strive to mash their dueling personae into a compelling hybrid, and the experiment is a frustrating success; Schmersal croons over the tense bass- and synth-fueled verses, Yasuda tears into the buoyant, distorted chorus, both vocalists take major risks, and you wonder why it took 11 tracks to slip the chocolate in the goddamn peanut butter. ANDREW BONAZELLI
Enon play Chop Suey with Irving at 5 p.m. (all ages) and with Irving and Anna Oxygen at 9 p.m. (21 and over) Tues., Oct. 7. $10 adv.
LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III
So Damn Happy
The third (and a half) live album from Rufus' dad suffers from the same problem his live shows dohis fans. Wainwright dissects matters of the heart with an acute bittersweetness (sometimes just bitterness) that only an asshole would laugh at, yet punch lines like "I've always known true love's just a scam" meet with such yowls from the faithful, it's enough to make you as cranky as Loudon himself. He's funniest when he's offhand (putting on a harmonica holder: "My orthodontist says I have to wear this a few hours every night"), most awkward when he hams it up because he doesn't trust his jokes (he spends a minute and a half justifying a dated song about Tonya Harding). But whether coming in his cummerbund on the growing-up-comfortable tale "Westchester County" or explaining on "A Year" why he stayed away from his daughter Marthaand then inviting her out to upstage himhe's always self-consciously self-serving, revealing the ugliness encoded in the structure of the nuclear family by embodying it. Sure he sounds crochety when he comes out (sorta) against file sharing ("You can pull my songs out of midair") and bemoans the unnecessary use of "like" in conversation. But if he makes it as hard to ignore him as it is to like him, he also makes it as hard to hate him as it is to agree with him. And anyone who thinks Eminem invented that ironic-multiple-persona approach to fucked-up masculinity should browse my Soulseek files for Loudon's Grown Manmy ID is, like, kharris1128. KEITH HARRIS
Loudon Wainwright III plays the Triple Door with Karla Bonoff at 7 and 10 p.m. Fri., Oct. 3. $34.
Down in the Basement: Joe Bussard's Treasure Trove of Vintage 78s 1926-1937
History lessons can be a real bore, on the playback device of your choice no less than in the classroom, especially when it comes to pre-World War II music, where too many record-collector-driven compilations have turned "You have to hear this" from imperative to chore. Which is why it's a double boon when the maddest record collector around turns in a compilation that amounts to a playground. Joe Bussard is the unofficial 78 king; his collection of old records is universally respected for its breadth, depth, and uniform quality. He's been selling homemade mix cassettes for years on his Web site (www.vintage78.com), but Down in the Basement is Bussard's first officially released compilation, and it shares the strengths of his collection. There's no through-line theme here; it jumps from jazz to blues to gospel to hillbilly numbers, so you won't learn about the history of anything in particular. But like any good mixtape, its maker's sensibility comes through strongly. Bussard favors songs that evoke the everyday life of a bygone era, meaning that Basement doesn't startle as frequently as, say, one of the Harry Smith anthologies. But the songs sneak up on you, and you walk away from the disc humming different ones every time: the raw-throated gospel blues of Blind Gary's "You Got to Go Down" this listen, the hambone rhythm and gliding violin lines of "Runnin' Wild," by James Cole's Washboard Four, the next. Which is an education of its own. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Hope Is a Thing With Feathers
If 20 years after the events described in To Kill a Mockingbird Scout Finch decided to bag the whole "narrating the classics" gig and become a rock singer, chances are she would sound a lot like Melissa Swingle. Sharing Scout's canniness, her pluck, and her penchant for wiseacre observations, Swingle has spent the last six years raising Chapel Hill's Trailer Bride beyond the realm of competent alt-country into beautiful, broke-down blues that sputter and buck like a pickup with sugar in the tank. The novelty and spunk of the group's four previous efforts have evaporated some on Feathers. The mix is swampier, and Swingle has to work a bit more to mop up the greasy arrangements with her down-home cornbread narratives. She nails it on "Silk Hope Road," using sparse prose to tell the story of a local hobo. It's grim and beautifully realized and builds to a shattering conclusion. Contrast that with "Skinny White Girl," which finds Swingle sharing her body with a bluesman, and the latter can't help but seem jokey and false. But Trailer Bride channel the same kind of devil-in-the-woods danger as, say, PJ Harvey or even the godfather himself, Blind Willie Johnson, at a time when most gossamer nu-country is about as rousing as drive time on NPR. They don't pin that devil down as easily here as they have in the past, but the shadow of his pitchfork and horns haunts every twangy turn of phrase. J. EDWARD KEYES
Trailer Bride play the Tractor Tavern with Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter at 9 p.m. Fri., Oct. 3. $8 adv/$10.
Another One Lost
As weird as fantasy-league baseball types may be, they're onto something: Who doesn't want to see an alternate version of our own stubborn reality? Music folks do it, too: In the September issue of Esquire, critic Andy Langer wrote that Another One Lost, the third studio album by the Baltimore band Lake Trout, "sounds like DJ Shadow producing Sonic Youth," a very high entry in my list of fantasy-league listens, right below Urge Overkill being produced by Timbaland and Dwight Yoakam hooking up with Youssou N'Dour. It's easy to see what Langer's getting at, since Lake Trout underpin their noisy, spidery guitar lines with block-rocking beats you won't hear on PJ Harvey's Rid of Me. But in truth, Another One Lost sounds more like DJ Shadow producing Bush. Which isn't a disI always sort of dug Bush, and singer Woody Ranere's got Gavin Rossdale's razor-blade-suitcase vocals down. And Lake Trout seem more about open-ended recombinant glee than any specific reference or three: They're an improvising jam band who dabble in cleanly concussed electronica and moody indie-rock melancholy, a quintet of song lovers addicted to bass, music-schooled guitar heroes for whom Amon Tobin shreds as deftly as Robert Fripp. In short, they're nerds dressed as hipsters, whose common thread is adoring college kids. Another One Lost isn't an organic beauty, like a waterfall or cherry tomato. It's decisively man-made, its seams exposed and ripe for a redo. MIKAEL WOOD
Lake Trout play Crocodile Cafe with Mellowdrone and Black Nite Crash at 9 p.m. Sun., Oct. 5. $8 adv./$10.
MICHAEL FRANTI AND SPEARHEAD
Everyone Deserves Music
(Boo Boo Wax/iMusic)
The evolution of this onetime Disposable Hero of Hiphoprisyfrom prophet of rage to acolyte of agapeis now all but complete: The title track, an updated Philly-soul number, is openhearted enough to include "our worst enemies" among "everyone," while "Never Too Late" gently sermonizes against fear. After years of being pegged (somewhat validly) and dismissed (always unfairly) as an ideologue, Franti seems to have concluded he may as well uplift the congregation already gathered rather than struggle vainly to expand it. (Of course, challenging the faithful is another option, but I've given up hope he'll ever integrate his readings in Fanon and Gramsci into his hippie spiritualism, and apparently, so has Franti.) His hip-hop leanings have mostly gone the way of his righteous anger except for the occasional Gil Scott-Heron rumination, he generally croaks in his warm, weathered baritone, and, when it's time to spit a verse, he delegates the duties to Gift of Gab. But since Spearhead approach '70s soul as a musical style to be developed rather than a historical artifact to be re-created, Franti's groove remains rooted in the present even when his lyrical wisdom dissipates into generalities. After all, if we can excuse 50 Cent's pimp commonplaces on account of his tracks' vitality, we can surely coexist with "Bomb the World"trust me, "We can bomb the world to pieces/But we can't bomb it into peace" really does sound a lot less stupid with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare committing rhythmic mayhem down below. K.H.