Frank on promises: "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That'll teach you to keep your mouth shut."
Frank on nature: "Fresh air makes me throw up."
Frank on reincarnation: "You only live once, and the way I live, once is enough."
Frank on rock 'n' roll: "It is the most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear."
Frank on abstinence: "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."
The swing scene may be swinging from the gallows tree, but if you like to drink and sport nice hats, Frank Sinatra is still the man. To celebrate his birthday, the cool cats at "Thrillville" are showing The Manchurian Candidate. Easily Ol' Blue Eyes' finest film, its themes of thought control, political assassinations, and government conspiracy are as timely now as during the Cold War when it was made, and to put you in the mood for martinis and tie clips, the Atomic Lounge Show -- a big-band duo from Santa Rosa, à la Louis Prima and Keely Smith at a garage sale -- will preen and croon while you settle in to imbibe. As for fending off the resulting hangover, I suggest rising at dusk and heading over to Club Deluxe, where Sinatra tunes will be played from the opening shot to last call, with live musical interludes by the Jay Johnson Band and drink specials that would have made the Rat Pack proud. The Manchurian Candidate and the Atomic Lounge Show play Thursday, Dec. 11, at Oakland's Parkway Theater (1834 Park at Lake Merritt) at 9:15 p.m. Admission is $8; call (510) 814-2400 or go to www.picturepubpizza.com. Sinatra's birthday celebration continues on Friday, Dec. 12, at Club Deluxe at 9 p.m. Admission is free; call 552-6949.
How many government agents does it take to close down a 100-watt pirate radio station? About 25, give or take a suit and a battering ram. As most of its fans know, San Francisco Liberation Radio (93.7 FM), a community-based Web radio station that has been the salvation of listeners from South of Market, the Inner Mission, the Castro, the Tenderloin, North Beach, Chinatown, the Financial District, and parts of the East Bay since 1993, was raided and shut down on Oct. 15. Pending what will no doubt be a lengthy and pivotal court battle challenging the domination of the airwaves by companies such as Viacom and Clear Channel, SFLR is available on the Web only. Support can be shown through tax-deductible donations to the station's legal defense fund and by attending every benefit it throws. The next benefit features F-space, Cookie Mongoloid, Tom Jonesing, and Transcender with DJs the F*cker Magnet, Tom Thump, Laird, Adam Ohana, ALIBI, Seven, OOAH, the Brass Tax/Boombox DJs, Space Cowboys, Halon Crew, Chihiro, Jim Yu, Drei, Daisy Crave, the Fuxedos, and Danny Shorago on Thursday, Dec. 11, at Ten 15 Folsom at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 431-1200 or go to www.1015.com.
Mark Lanegan lured me in with 1994's Whiskey for the Holy Ghost but won me with 1999's I'll Take Care of You, on which he transmogrified a collection of relatively obscure cover songs through his rich, heavy voice, minimal instrumentation, and opulent dejection. "Come down to the willow garden with me," he sang, curling around the words of Jeffrey Lee Pierce like an overfed boa constrictor, forcing "Carry Home" back to the dark, warm, lonely place where it had been born. That Gun Club rendering left me immobilized long enough for Lanegan to sidle into Bobby "Blue" Bland's soul patch, imbuing the title song's smooth, cool promise with an air of seductive hopelessness. Just a little painkiller before Tim Hardin's melancholy "Shiloh Town," on which Lanegan's voice, echoed by a violin, suddenly surrendered its sinuous power in favor of a delicate vulnerability that proved even more powerful still. The follow-up album, Field Songs, hardly felt necessary, just a fine-tuning of the heart strings, but what does the former frontman of the Screaming Trees do once he's proved his maturity, profundity, and restraint beyond the shade of suspicion? He gets dirty again. Opening with an industrial clang, an ill-meaning laugh, and a heavily manipulated snarl, Here Comes That Weird Chill (Methamphetamine Blues, Extras & Oddities) is a sample of the gritty arteries opened by the Mark Lanegan Band on its upcoming LP. While so much of Lanegan's solo work has borne the spacious influence and innocence of country blues, Extras & Oddities is unmistakably urban, and, excepting the "Lexington Slow Down" -- a piano ballad on which Lanegan rumbles like a 67-year-old black man on a chain gang and croons like a redeeming angel with a cup of cool water and a pack of Lucky Strikes -- the music on this EP is as dense and apocalyptic as his previous material is sparse and delicate. Whores, addicts, and deviants dribble and die in the wake of stoner-rock pedal effects; multitracked vocals give the impression of teeming, oily throngs. It would be easy to ascribe this fresh tack to Lanegan's ever-deepening association with Queens of the Stone Age (he toured as a member last year, and both Nick Oliveri and Josh Homme are elemental to the sound of Extras & Oddities, as is Dean Ween and Masters of Reality's Chris Gross), but Lanegan is no stranger to dense, brooding, cathartic rock music. If not for inclement personalities among the Screaming Trees, he might have made a whole career of it with that band; there is no doubt, however, that Lanegan's current project has benefited greatly from his more reflective moments. The blues is still in effect, the literacy is prevalent, and Lanegan's voice is better than ever. The Mark Lanegan Band performs on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at the Great American Music Hall with Enemy opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 885-0750 or go to www.musichallsf.com.