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Agnostic Front The forerunners and purveyors of hardcore are still pounding bones, 20 years on, into submission. The new record is called Dead Yuppies (Epitaph), and no stone is left unturned in the working class ethos of punk and guitar mayhem. It's good to know "in yo face" dissent (not PC posturing or trendy patriotism) still lurks in these waters. Also on the bill: Kill Your Idols, Bane and F - Minus. All three outfits also have freshly released records and come prepared, teeth gritting and fists waving, for an evening of top hardcore. Friday, Tremont Music Hall. -- SS

Baleen These cats have been prowling the region for three years, and the upcoming record spreads a thick vibe of trip hop, ambient free form jazz, hip hopping percussion and guitars swaying from whispers to screams. Soundtrack to A Normal Life (Liquilab) is slated to hit in late November, and here's a chance to catch 'em on the way up. With The Hugh Mann Rhythm Dilemma. Saturday, Mojo's. -- SS

Dan Bern Dan Bern's new CD, New American Language, is pretty age-old, truth be told. Bern's songs in the past have referenced Marilyn Monroe, Mother Teresa, Tiger Woods and Charles Manson. Language contains nods to Eminem, Britney, Leo and Keith Richards. Bern, God help him, is commenting on the American Tradition through symbolic touchstones, those archetypal figures that have gained the public's everlasting embrace. He uses them much as a bluegrass songwriter might use a ringing hammer or a mountainside, as a way to corral a certain emotion in the listener, a songwriting device whose inherent power and relevance prevents it from becoming cliche. In lesser hands, this would be a train wreck; at the very minimum, Todd Snider. Language works, however, despite the above. Bern sees his America like John Dos Passos, paying attention to the man behind the curtain, glancing behind the facade of celebrity and pride to see the poles holding them up. Bern doesn't need the joke-y pop culture references and linguistic flash to succeed. He does it simply for effect, confident that the substance contained underneath is the gold standard to back up the checks his mouth writes. Wednesday, October 24, Neighborhood Theatre. -- TD

Bio Ritmo A sultry new singer and fresh touring spell a spicy night of dancing. Richmond's Bio Ritmo gets the toes tapping from the first note, with plenty of salsa, merengue and general Latin music naughtiness. The word is the new record, produced by Brian Paulson, is ready and waiting to pounce on the masses any day now. Friday, Visulite. -- SS

Family Values Tour A big honkin' angst fest here, though featuring some of the better bands of that genre. Stone Temple Pilots, once considered third-rate knockoffs of Pearl Jam and others, now fulfill the Founding Father role here on this tour. Of course, like Pearl Jam, album sales have dropped considerably as the band has found its own niche within post-grunge (or is that post-post-grunge?). STP frontman Scott Weiland still has star power, however, as does Staind frontman Aaron Lewis, a relatively thoughtful guy still plagued by all the Fred Durst questions after their hit "duet." Forget Durst -- though no John Lennon, Lewis as least has something to say, and he's comfortable in doing it in his songs, as opposed to press conferences and TRL. With Linkin Park, Static-X and Deadsy. Tuesday, Charlotte Coliseum. -- TD

Nelly Furtado "Goin' down down baby/your street in a Range Rover/Boom boom..." Oh, Nelly Furtado. If there's a polar opposite to the Christina Aguileras of the world, it's Miss Nelly, whose songs, while simple enough ("I'm like a bird/I'll only fly away"), manage to have a certain resonance to them. Unlike Aguilera, she sounds like she'd sing these songs with not a soul in sight, instead of carpet-bombing the public with maximum R&B for maximum profits. With LFO and Five for Fighting. Saturday, Dixie's Tavern Parking Lot. -- TD

David Gans Host of the Grateful Dead Radio Hour and Dead chronicler hits the road pushing his own solo acoustic CD. The Dead and Dylan influences are obvious, but Gans does a decent job of original storytelling and six-string plucking. Still, the result of David's clear vocals, spare playing and modern folk are hummable but not particularly memorable. With Bellyfull. Sunday, Fat City. -- SS

Jeff Coffin Mu'tet Best known as the saxophonist for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Jeff Coffin's playing brought new life to a band that was already interesting. His Mu'tet is a quartet or quintet, a "mutation" of his larger group, the Vibration Arts Ensemble. His new CD, Go-Round, resembles a traditional jazz record, but it also includes New Orleans second-line grooves, Middle Eastern scales, Eastern European influences, and some outside, avant-garde elements. If you've seen the Flecktones, you know Coffin gets fired up playing live, and the Mu'tet has been playing together for four years, so they should be plenty tight. This kind of band doesn't come through Charlotte very often, so it's a great coincidence that the Visulite is hosting them one night after Sex Mob. Saturday, Visulite Theatre. -- Brian Falk

Les Dirt Clods The Clods have pumped out a swingin' new demo which offers the taste of what's to come, and it sounds darn good. "Rainy Day" Lewis' vocals sound assured and the music, Velvety rock with a bluesy 70s psych twist, has the whole band on a stellar groove. Les Dirt Clods, along with pals/band member swappers The Goldenrods, hold promise of putting more Charlotte music on the map. Thursday, Double Door Inn. -- SS

Iggy Pop What can you say about Iggy that hasn't already been said? Leader of the Michigan-based Stooges, Iggy's place in rock history is assured, even if he's put out some middling records since 1980. The John Cale-produced The Stooges still resonates as one of the purest howls of a record since Chuck Berry, evidenced by the multitudes that still cover the song "I Wanna Be Your Dog." Raw Power and Metallic K.O. saw the band at their flesh-cutting, stage-diving peak, and the band soon split up not long after. Iggy continues to put out records (including his return-to-form new one, Beat 'Em Up, which certainly bests Elton John in the 2001 Comeback category), as well as act in a number of movies, including Tank Girl, Snow Day and The Rugrats Movie. Worth it if for no other reason than the man basically looks no different than he did 30 years ago, a real testament to the pickling qualities of hard drugs. Monday, Tremont Music Hall. -- TD

Poprocket / Babyshaker Great pairing here, featuring the inward freakishness of Poprocket and the more outward flag-flying of Babyshaker. No disrespect to either band, however -- Babyshaker do the whole ragged/glam/punk thing as good as anyone around, and Poprocket manage to get better all the time with their quirky-yet-melodic squall, even as they attract ever-larger audiences. That's not supposed to happen in the music industry, as we all know. Good stuff. Saturday, Evening Muse. -- TD

Red Lady 21 This Richmond band jangles along nicely in a Dave Matthews/Charlottesville kind of vein, albeit with a tad more muscle. They feature former Queen City jack-of-all-trades Kris Krull, best known around these parts for his remarkable percussive and vocal abilities with artists like Todd Busch and Come on Thunderchild. Friday, Mojo. -- TD

Wil Seabrook Seabrook plays a mixed bag of rock, dance tunes and R & B, and can probably make himself comfortable on just about any Top 40 radio station around the country. He does a believable job of stretching the chords while doing old soul covers and contemporary R & B. Hey, stick the palm pilot under the seat for a change and take the gal out for some non-intrusive serenading and dancing. Friday, Ri Ra. -- SS

Sex Mob The name sounds like a funk band, and sometimes the music does, too. Sex Mob is a jazz quartet, but much like jazz bands of old, they often play contemporary songs, so you're as likely to hear music written by Kurt Cobain or Prince as you are to hear something by Duke Ellington. Their latest CD is called Sex Mob Does Bond, so expect to hear something from Goldfinger, too. The group is made up of four of downtown Manhattan's more popular and accomplished musicians, and even when they're playing pop songs, you can hear their avant-garde leanings. They have a reputation for being a lot of fun live, so this should be a good show. They open for salsa band Bio Ritmo, so stick around and do some dancing. Friday, Visulite Theatre. -- Brian Falk

Unknown Hinson Hey, it's the Saturday before Halloween. Get your scare on early with the befanged one at his favorite local haunt. Hinson's star is rising fast in certain music circles, so appearances like this might not last forever. For those unfamiliar with his work, Unknown (Danny Baker) is sort of a vampirish, early rock demon with a foul mouth and a penchant for gunplay. And he hates drugs and hippies. And he like what he calls "womerns." They should get him to play at the next Republican National Convention, eh? Saturday, Double Door. -- TD *

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