Valentine's Day comes early this year, when Carpark Records brings the touring trio of Greg Davis , Signer, and Ariel Pink to town. While the three artists map fairly varied territory, all of their work resonates with the sweet nothings of ambient pop and lo-fi preciousness. Chicago's Davis, a sentimental refugee of electronica's icy hinterlands, plucks filigreed lullabies on guitar against tracks of gentle, backscratching beats. New Zealand's Signer, given to synthesizers and acoustic guitar, is a bigger softie still; his murky production and moody vocals testify to a teenagehood spent locked inside with My Bloody Valentine on the stereo and a book of Rilke open on his lap. His latest album, The New Face of Smiling, is a shoegazing soundtrack to sweater weather. Finally, the lineup's oddball, Ariel Pink -- a Los Angeles-based home recorder discovered by the folkies in Animal Collective -- injects a little psychedelia into the evening with his candy-coated tales of heartbreak, beamed in over AM radio from an alternate pop universe. Catch the three of them on Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Hemlock Tavern; call 923-0923 or go to www.hemlocktavern.com.
-- Philip Sherburne
What's one to do at a bar when your friends have ditched you, leaving you alone to self-medicate? Well, if you're at Moby Dick's you can look skyward at one of the bar's TVs to see Stanley Frank seamlessly mix together music and images. In addition to playing an eye-catching array of videos, from Goldfrapp to Beyoncé, and spinning some stunning '80s throwbacks, French house, and hip hop, Frank cleverly re-scores some of his favorite films. For instance, spaced-out music can be set to 2001, and he often uses Fritz Lang's Metropolis as a blank canvas for a variety of musical genres. (Bar movies, by the way, are a genus unto themselves. Lawrence of Arabia and Fast Times at Ridgemont High hypnotize from a barstool, whereas To Kill a Mocking Bird? Not so much.) But don't think he uses only the auteurs du cinema; Frank's also been known to play Richard Simmons' surprisingly mesmerizing Sweatin' to the Oldies. The D/VJ goes on this (and every) Thursday and Friday, Oct. 11 and 12; call 861-1199 for more info.
-- Brock Keeling