The pulsing voice of Oakland soul singer Omega rises out of a delicate brume of Fender Rhodes and flugelhorn, offering hurt and hope in the form of supple, authoritative harmonies and rich, majestic arias. Building the proper climate for such a voice is no easy task, especially on a DIY budget in an area where rent costs 60 hours a week, but the self-titled debut Neomythic is crystalline evidence of passion overcoming straits. Under the musical direction of saxophonist Paul Scriver, guitarist and flugelhorn player Rich Armstrong, bassist Greg Kehret, drummer Eric Garland, and keyboard player Jacob Elijah Agnisky have created a jazzy base blanketed with layers of trip hop and smooth, lazy psychedelica. Neomythic halfheartedly calls its sound "psychedelic soul," but the phrase seems prosaic: Neomythic is definitely of its own time and town, something of which we can be very proud. The band is celebrating its CD with a live show on Friday, Jan. 21, at the 111 Minna Street Gallery with DJ Sep opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 974-1719. Also Tuesday, Jan. 25, at Cafe Du Nord opening for the Neo Trio at 10 p.m. Tickets are $3; call 861-5016.
For nearly 20 years, the Austin Lounge Lizards have blended bluegrass, country western, Cajun, and, occasionally, flamenco into frothy, irreverent songs like "Jesus Loves Me But He Can't Stand You," "Shallow End of the Gene Pool," "Put the Oak Ridge Boys in the Slammer," "The Car Hank Died In," "Hot Tubs of Tears," "Leonard Cohen's Day Job," and "Stupid Texas Song." For fans of Mojo Nixon and Weird Al, a funny song title might be enough to generate ticket sales, but Lizards fans are a more discerning bunch. Since 1985's Creatures From a Black Saloon, the Austin Lounge Lizards have proven time and time again that they possess enough musical genius and genuine heart to be taken seriously in the music business. The Austin Lounge Lizards perform on Sunday, Jan. 23, at the Great American Music Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 885-0750.
Spurred by the death of Jack Micheline, the street poet whom Kerouac deemed "Doctor Johnson Zen Master Magee of Innisfree," Alan Kaufman (founder of the literary journal Davka: Jewish Cultural Revolution) set about creating the 685-page compendium The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. The comprehensive sampler contains the usual suspects (Whitman, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Burroughs) as well as musicians (Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Gil Scott-Heron, Tupac Shakur), actors (Dean Martin, Peter Coyote), artists (Jackson Pollack), revolutionaries (Che Guevara, Abbie Hoffman), prisoners (Mumia Abu-Jamal, Hannah Aquaah), slam founders and winners (Marc Smith, Reg E. Gaines, Patricia Smith, Taylor Mali), comedians (Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor), a whole slew of San Franciscans (Hank Hyena, Bucky Sinister, Sini Anderson, Justin Chin, ruth weiss, to name just a few), and hundreds of others you may love, or may not love yet. This is a must-have. Kaufman reads from The Outlaw Bible on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books (601 Van Ness) at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free; call 441-6670.
Clearly influenced by Kickapoo medicine shows, Weimar cabaret, and Tom Waits' Frank's Wild Years, Lowbrow snakes through an oily conglomeration of brazen junkyard shuffles, unfettered gypsy laments, and rousing big-top klezmer with a ferocious yen for shenanigans. At home in Houston, where the band has occupied a European-style cafe for the last three months, Lowbrow is known to perform in diapers, pajamas, Hasidim locks, Navy uniforms, clown-face, demon masks, and pigtails, with a bevy of chorus girls, sideshow performers, and "baby birds" accompanying them. Led by the liquored growls of singer Doug Kosmo (with megaphone) and the ivory torments of pianist Brandy Collins (with full brass, Tejano bass, and a lot of kazoo), Lowbrow inspires the sort of fevered devotion one might expect from an upstanding tent show. Lowbrow performs at the Cocodrie on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $4; call 986-6678. And on Wednesday, Jan. 26, at the Tip Top with Lessick's Kid opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 824-6486.