hawkhacksaw3.jpg
Adam Faraday
A Hawk and a Hacksaw
A Hawk And A Hacksaw, Damon & Naomi at Tractor Tavern, 9 p.m. $13

The man behind the

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Tonight: A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Satyricon, Stefon Harris and Blackout

hawkhacksaw3.jpg
Adam Faraday
A Hawk and a Hacksaw
A Hawk And A Hacksaw, Damon & Naomi at Tractor Tavern, 9 p.m. $13

The man behind the drum kit on Neutral Milk Hotel's famed In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Jeremy Barnes is now half of the core duo behind New Mexico's idiosyncratic A Hawk And A Hacksaw. True to the longtime Eastern European fascinations of Barnes and co-conspirator Heather Trost, the band's new fourth album, Délivrance [sic], was recorded in Budapest with various Hungarian musicians. For their part, Barnes sings and wields accordion and drums while Trost locates the violin's more exciting possibilities. It's to their immense credit that it's so tough telling the album's traditional numbers apart from the originals. While not entirely authentic, the music isn't simply fawning over multicultural offerings or, worse, spiking it with indie-rock earmarks. Rather, it's a kind of blanket osmosis, soaking up the distinct sounds of so many countries and styles in a way that makes the results fresh, ductile, and worthy of a hearty jig around the room. DOUG WALLEN

Stefon Harris and Blackout at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m., $22.50, all ages

In the realm of smooth jazz, you have people like George Benson and Herbie Hancock, phenomenal musicians who at some point decided to play way below their level. Then you've got the masses of smooth jazz stars who sound like they couldn't play anything more interesting even if given the opportunity. And then you have guys like Stefon Harris and Blackout--great players who've chosen to bring smooth jazz up to their level. Gone are the brain-dead melodies and soporific stick-tracks. In are sophisticated jazz-infused soloing, creative voicings, virtuosic grooves, and instrumental funk that--like the best fusion music of the '70s--wakes your body and soul. Harris, on vibraphone and marimba, is a perfect example of how to be a smart populist in jazz. His playing is technically amazing, cliché-free, and terrifically fun. Another Blackout standout is drummer Terreon Gully, a master of snare thwacks and jagged fills who probably could have swept the recent Animal drumming competition at EMP. With their new disc Urbanus on Concord, this band proves that reaching out to the masses doesn't mean losing your dignity. MARK D. FEFER

Satyricon, Bleeding Through, Cthonic at El Corazon, 7 p.m., $20, all ages

Black metal is a good example of the "you'll never know unless you try it" routine so favored by moms of picky children. It's an easy genre for the uninitiated to dismiss. Like lima beans, or tofu, it simply has an unappetizing name, and people who are fanatical about it always come off as a bit strange. Who wouldn't rather listen to (or eat) something with a nice, normal sounding name like rock (or pizza)? Of course, your mom also likely knew that if she swathed an offending foodstuff in something easily recognizable and sufficiently cheesy, you were likely to eat anything. That's where bands like Satyricon fit in. While they started off as about a darkly pure black metal outfit as you're likely to find, the group has chosen a somewhat controversial path over their last few releases. Along with blast beats and Dark-Lord-with-laryngitis vocals, Satyricon also makes room for some fairly straightforward rock structures and plenty of melodic passages, creating an energetic push and pull in their music that acts sometimes as a lure to draw in unsuspecting listeners with its relative accessibility, then reverses direction, using its eclecticism as a method of focusing in on the more extreme elements of the band's delivery, which stands in often stark contrast to the genre crossing elements. You didn't think a black metal band would ever be more inviting than that, did you? NICHOLAS HAL

 
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