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Neil Young, Arthur Lee, Coughs, White Mice, and Fountains of Wayne. Did you get all that?

Wednesday, Jun 22 2005
As America's answer to Syd Barrett, Arthur Lee commands the attention of generations of rock music geeks. Though maintaining a sporadic solo career, he's (in)famous as the singer/songwriter/prime mover of 1960s L.A. legends Love, name-checked by the Ramones (who covered Love's "7 and 7 Is"), Robert Plant, and the Doors (said organist Ray Manzarek, "We signed with Elektra because Love did"). Historians postulate that with its amalgam of lysergic whimsy, Byrds jangle, and punk surliness, Love coulda been big, but the group didn't tour (allegedly because Lee couldn't be far from his local drug connection), and Lee declined to perform at the epochal 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Though drugs, borderline schizophrenia, and three prison sentences make Lee the poster child for the "He's His Own Worst Enemy" fate, talent and tenacity prevailed. In 2003, Lee "deputized" the fine neo-psych outfit Baby Lemonade, assembled an orchestra, and hit the road once again as Love, performing the band's baroque masterpiece Forever Changes in its entirety, to the delight of fans old and new. On Wednesday, June 22, he brings a scaled-down version of the show to Café Du Nord; call 861-5016 or go to for more info. -- Mark Keresman

I desperately need to know if any of the bands performing at this upcoming "Neil Young Tribute Night" will be playing tunes off Neil's synth-laced, disco country-rock landmark from '83 titled Trans, because it's honestly my fave Neil jam. So first I call the manager of the headlining act, the Mother Hips, who will be performing all of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, but his voice mail is full; then I e-mail the group demanding it perform Trans instead. Afterward, I leave the same demand on the voice mail belonging to the booking agent for Dave Gleason's Wasted Days. Local blues-rockers Ride the Blinds are also tough to reach via phone, but the act's label, Klepto Records, maintains an online discussion board. So I post my message: "RTB MUST PLAY TRANS AT THE NEIL YOUNG TRIBUTE!!!" And what about the band Virgil Cane? Well, Virgil Cane is totally impossible to locate on the Internet because it stole its name from the song "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." Oh, well. Hopefully, you and I both will hear some Trans when all four bands play the "Neil Young Tribute Night" on Friday, June 24, at Slim's; call 255-0333 or visit for more info. -- Justin F. Farrar

Over the last decade, the Rhode Islandbased imprint Load Records has been releasing the freakiest/heaviest groups in all of America, which means the following: The label's signings aren't the all-out craziest, and they definitely are not the loudest, but they are the bands exhibiting the most concentrated mixture of both the "freak" and the "heavy" in their music. For example, White Mice is a gratuitously aggressive power trio dishing out effects-laden, metallized grooves. Each "mouse" performs in a bloodstained lab coat and a gigantic white mouse mask over his stinky head -- novel touches sure to appeal to the S.F. underground's endless love for cheesy costume-rock. Chicago's Coughs , on the other hand, resemble your average group of fresh-faced, Midwest indie-pop kids -- a sly image totally incongruous with their screaming, percussion-fueled, Polish-marching-band noise-wave constructed from horns, accordions, guitars, banjos, and this throat-shredding voice. In another, more flexible, dimension, Coughs is both an early-'80s industrial outfit and the house band at the local Polish-American social club! To get a taste of some genuine Load Records freakery you'll just have to check out both these groups when they play on Monday, June 27, at 12 Galaxies; call 970-9777 or visit for more info. -- Justin F. Farrar

Depending on how offended or annoyed you are by the all-too-ubiquitous term "MILF," you may or may not be stoked for Fountains of Wayne 's all-acoustic set at Café Du Nord this week. Thanks to a bikini-clad Rachel Hunter in the video for the Top 40 smash "Stacy's Mom," FOW -- along with American Pie and Judge Reinhold -- is now virtually synonymous with teenage horniness. Swiping their more-than-a-little-dirty-sounding band name from a lawn and garden store in Wayne, N.J., songwriters Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger tapped into the mainstream with some of history's most foot-tappin'est pop songs. With lyrics about mundane things like the corporate life of salesmen, the diner waitress who can't be bothered to fetch coffee, and, of course, MILFs, the Fountains' last studio album, Welcome Interstate Managers, went all the way to the No. 3 spot on the Village Voice's influential "Pazz & Jop" poll in 2003. The group's show is a must for power-pop fans, so unless you're too hip for MILFs and shamelessly hooky choruses, catch Fountains of Wayne on Tuesday, June 28; call 861-5016 or visit for more info. -- Maya Kroth


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