Previews

MARKUS NIKOLAI

Baltic Room at 9 p.m.

Sat., May 29. $10 before 11 p.m./$12.

In 1997, after a lengthy career in the dance world and some dabbling in Hollywood (most notably as soundtrack overseer for the 1993 Sharon Stone vehicle, Sliver), Markus Nikolai released "Rood"/"Say One"/"Just Wanna," the first 12-inch on Frankfurt's (now Berlin's) Perlon Records. Co-founded by DJ Zip and Sammy Dee (who record together under the name Pantytec), the label is, after Cologne's Kompakt, the most important to traffic in the minimal-techno/clubby-house/ laptop-texturology hybrid most often referred to as "microhouse." While Kompakt is the more famous of the two labels, I usually prefer Perlon's version of the sound—it's friskier, less glacial, and way more libidinous. That has a lot to do with Nikolai's input; he's created some of the label's best music. Much of it is on his 2000 album, Back, and on his five standout cuts for Perlon's 2001 brilliant mixed double–CD compilation Superlongevity (read: "suPERLONgevity"), four under his own name and one, "Manejando Un Carrito Rapidito Santiaguito," credited to Hombre Ojo. "Manejando" and the horn-heavy "Chitchat on Sunset Cliff" demonstrate Nikolai's strengths: nod-and-nudge keyboards, gargling white-noise slurs, beat programming equal parts texture and propulsion; the latter also throws in a teasing little guitar line and offhandedly sexy female giggles. Nikolai's contribution to last year's Superlongevity Three compilation, "Mr. Big Star (Time Short to Finish the Mix Mix)," is more straight­forwardly pop, with the co-billed Nina applying a light torch vocal to a relatively subdued track—sort of Morcheeba gone microhouse, only to combust when Nikolai starts muttering under the vocal and slides in a squelching Clavinet line. Most of Nikolai's peers DJ, but he'll be performing live on Saturday. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

HINT HINT

Neumo's at 8 p.m.

Wed., May 26, with the Detachment Kit. $8 adv./$10.

This local dance-punk outfit gets the sound of its little plot of stylistic turf almost exactly right: frozen keyboard ooze, menacing guitar lines, a singer with an audible sneer, drums that tick like machines but come coated in a room tone that evokes sweaty basement revelry. "I'm so automatic," Peter Quirk sings in opener "Natural Collegiate," his voice a spasmodic C-3PO quaver. Quirk's bandmates build a danceable tension behind him by contradicting him—they attack the groove with a real-time hunger that sounds neither considered nor pre­meditated. It's a good trick, one that makes you realize how brainless most of the bands in Hint Hint's heartless peer group are. Unfortunately, beyond that kind of formal fiddling, there's not much in Young Days (Suicide Squeeze), the band's first album, to latch onto. No songs, certainly; these are just riffs, licks, and beats, desultorily assembled into tidy packages for easy mix–CD inclusion. Melodies are scarce, which is fine since, in the future, hooks will be a capitalist construct used to sell space on the mainframe—sure, we get it. But fellow dance-punks the Rapture and Franz Ferdinand have managed Hint Hint's textural prowess and have still told us something about themselves. "Automatic, I don't know why," Quirk continues in "Collegiate." He means it. MIKAEL WOOD

POST STARDOM DEPRESSION

Crocodile Cafe at 8 p.m.

Fri., May 28, with the Black Panties and Red Tyger Church. $8.

It'll probably end in rehab, an arrest, or a riot-spawning day-of cancellation, but the maiden voyage of Velvet Revolver— ex–STP vocalist Scott Weiland defibrillating with the Axl-free G'n'R—will draw, 'cause America adores supersized smut-rock. With the exceptions of (now relocated) Loudermilk and Post Stardom Depression, the Pacific Northwest sneers at such hard-thrusting, Motley affectations; big surprise, since one of our own single-handedly dismantled the entire goddamn genre of glam-metal. This leaves PSD in the worst kind of limbo—where nobody stops to gawk at their flexibility slithering under the bar. Their debut, 2003's Ordinary Miracles (Control Group), was too posturing and randy for modest Seattle, much less their native Tacoma. Hell, the quartet played its first gig in a backyard wrestling ring; lest images of Kid Rock warp your fragile little mind, know that there is sophistication afoot here. Frontman Jeff Angell has a smoked-out swagger that oozes all over his lyrics and riffs. For all his authentically lurid pitching about having no luck "When It Comes to Cars," that song would be David Lee cheesecake if not for bassist Brent Saunders' impossibly deep (throat) bass grind; PSD rely on one another's contributions to maintain danger and avert self-parody, and so far, they've succeeded. A little Southern stomp creeps into "Let's Destroy," yet somehow the all-id chorus—"You're a girl, I'm a boy/Let's make love, let's destroy"—comes off more Romeo than Rambo. It's one of the many flourishes that make PSD's tractor/groin pulls well worth the cover. ANDREW BONAZELLI

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