Stephen Malkmus, "Phantasies"

Book of Black Earth, Black Dahlia Murder, Soilent Green, Misery Index at El Corazon, 7 p.m., $15, all ages

As the band's


Tonight's Show Suggestions

Stephen Malkmus, "Phantasies"

Book of Black Earth, Black Dahlia Murder, Soilent Green, Misery Index at El Corazon, 7 p.m., $15, all ages

As the band's name suggests, Book of Black Earth would rather read the Necronomicon than the Bible. But for the new disc Horoskopus,

the group's members spent significant time perusing religious reference

materials, if only to build a persuasive concept-album case for

Christianity being a fraudulent appropriation of pagan astrological

beliefs. Anti-religion stances are prevalent in the extreme-music

scene, but few groups study enough to give their heresy intellectual

weight. Book of Black Earth's diverse sound, which branches into

slow-churning doom, fuzzily symphonic black metal and crusty thrash,

also seems like the result of comprehensive research, as though these

alchemists poured luminous vials of each unstable element into a

bubbling cauldron. TJ Cowgill stretches words like they're on a torture

rack, dragging the single syllable "die" across vast, foreboding

musical terrain. The rhythm section plants a low-end anchor, which

carves a gash in the mire when the grinding guitars propel the ship

into motion. The other acts on this bill surpass Book of Black Earth's

speed, but none of them are as capable of setting a densely ominous

mood, or educating the moshing throng on the folly of sun-god worship. ANDREW MILLER

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks at Neumos, 8 p.m., $17

"The Jicks is funky music. They is a powerhouse." So it says in the

artwork that accompanies this third offering from Stephen Malkmus'

post-Pavement outfit. On first glance at said artwork, with its

nonsensical collages -- not to mention the beginning of opening number

"Dragonfly Pie," which drips with midtempo big-rock guitar fuzz -- you

might think MalkĀ­mus has aimed his time machine at 1994 for another

whirl through the vibe of Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. But

Malkmus, as it turns out, doesn't have nostalgia on his mind. It

might've been hard to imagine at the time of Pavement's tragic

fade-out, but life as a "solo" act has been good for Malkmus'

creativity. As far as this-bird-is-flown artists go, he's on a short

list of ones who've put their fan base through the least frustration.

That's because -- a-ha! -- he's only pretending to fly solo. Originally

conceived as a band until Matador pressured Malkmus into adding his

name to the marquee, the Jicks have perfectly preserved the spirit of

Pavement in spite of fundamental differences. Pavement was arguably

never about becoming a band, but about somehow forcing a bundle of

rough edges into raggedly glorious music instead. The Jicks, however,

can't disguise their elegance, no matter how much they rough it up for

aesthetic effect. And like a soup whose ingredients come together the

longer it sits, Malkmus' influences -- piano-driven blue-eyed soul,

touches of Santana, the Who, garage rock, etc. -- have jelled so well

that you don't even notice he's re-invented himself. SABY REYES-KULKAMI

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