Tonight: Open Mike Eagle at Chop Suey, Baby Dee at the Triple Door

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Open Mike Eagle, with Nocando, Dumbfounded, Intuition, DJ WD4D. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 8 p.m. $10. Rapper Open Mike Eagle has a slow, conversational flow that's all about making itself comfortable. Many of the songs on his debut Unapologetic Art Rap question the pretensions and motives of underground hip-hop while offering up another slice of it in the process. Open Mike Eagle's wry presence goes a long way, and the album's production is similarly laid back. Making for exciting contrast, Busdriver slots his frazzled flow into "Original Butterscotch Confection," while Nocando spices up "Unapologetic" without hijacking it. Going a bit left-field in his influences, Open Mike Eagle samples a Stephen Malkmus live recording on "Pissy Transmissions." Tucked into a record that plays by its own rules, it's not even jarring. DOUG WALLEN

Baby Dee. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7:30 p.m. $12. With a knack for balancing theatricality and real emotion, Cleveland singer/songwriter/pianist Baby Dee never succumbs to flash over substance. Dee proves that it's possible to be a cabaret/performance artist and still have a heart - not to mention dignity and grace to boot. Her resumé namedrops collaborations with Will Oldham, Antony and the Johnsons, Andrew WK, and the Dresden Dolls. But once you're in the room with her achingly barebones presentation, you won't care less about the company Dee keeps. Her latest release, A Book of Songs For Ann Marie, actually first reared its lovely head in a very limited run back in 2004. It epitomizes just how honest and powerful a simple voice and piano can be. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

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