The latest release by Long Island ladies Northern State features a smart mélange of old-school hip-hop (think Public Enemy, whose Chuck D bestows props upon the trio), 1960s girl group harmonies, '80s synth-pop, and rock 'n' roll crunch. Listening to their third album Can I Keep This Pen? evokes both the Shangri-Las emerging from the New York boroughs now and Salt 'n' Pepa hanging with the Ramones in '82 — "Better Already" (heard on Grey's Anatomy) specifically fulfills the latter. If the groove-gal anthem "Iluvitwhenya" hits the airwaves ... look out, world. Northern State gets down Friday, May 9, at Café du Nord at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com.