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Psyched! Helios has some love for sale! 

Wednesday, Mar 22 2006
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No discussion of the New Zealand jangle-pop scene from the '80s and early '90s — a talk likely dominated by such Flying Nun Records institutions as the Clean and the Chills — would be complete without high praise for the Bats . They're the brilliant Christchurch-bred quartet founded by singer/guitarist Robert Scott (who played bass in the Clean) in 1982. The Bats' first two albums, 1987's Daddy's Highway and 1990's The Law of Things, are modest masterpieces, offering alternately jubilant and wistful songs showing a great love for traditional folk, Velvet Underground-style repetition and drone, and classic pop structures. Scott and guitarist Kaye Woodward's winsome vocal harmonies only enhance the sound. Although the group has been on hiatus most of its 24-year existence — Scott frequently spends time on Clean reunions — the Bats usually return from long slumbers with terrific albums. Last fall's At the National Grid is the band's first release in a decade and its best in 15 years. Be sure to catch the Bats (before they disappear again) on Wednesday, March 22, at the Rickshaw Stop at 8 p.m. Admission is $8; call 861-2011 or visit www.rickshawstop.com for more info. — Michael Alan Goldberg


"Motametrik Canopy Entry" is a nine-minute, high-decibel bong jammer found on Residual Echoes ' sophomore effort, Phoenician Flu and Ancient Ocean. And while the tune is a decent enough head trip, it sounds like a rewrite of "Crypto-Zoological Disaster," a stone-cold classic mind-fuck from Monoshock's 1995 masterwork, Walk to the Fire. But that's cool, because these young Santa Cruz rockers could do a whole hell of a lot worse than nicking a tune from one of the true titans of Bay Area rock. I just wish they hadn't declawed Monoshock's visceral lo-fi attack as much as they've done here. Echoes' predecessor possessed chaotic blasts of feedback, needle-sharp axe work, and screaming tape hiss — all of which has been polished into a stylized psych-rock sound that's laced with an array of gently percolating electronic effects. It's all just a bit too refined. Then again, maybe Residual Echoes will kick some real ass when they play Friday, March 24, at the Hemlock Tavern at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $7; call 923-0923 or go to www.hemlocktavern.com for more info.— Justin F. Farrar


According to Helios Creed's MySpace page, he's looking to meet a "ravaging fox." His turn-ons are "Hawaiian girls, Japanese girls, Philippino girls, Hispanic girls, white girls and ... black girls." Creed, a 52-year-old Catholic, digs toy trains, Sex and the City reruns, boogie boarding, Humphrey Bogart flicks, and most important, playing his guitar. You see, Creed and his former partner, the late Damon Edge, were the heart 'n' soul of Chrome, one of Frisco's most adventurous new wave outfits from the late '70s and early '80s. Crafting post-nuclear soundscapes that bled television static, Chrome was basically the first outfit to invent a hybrid of garage rock, sci-fi-inspired sonic freakery, and techno (before Cybotron even invented said dance music). Consequently, if you're a pretty little lady looking to bag a legendary underground rocker, you're so in luck, because on Friday, March 24, Helios Creed and (some version of) Chrome are making a very rare live appearance at Annie's Social Club at 9 p.m. Admission is $5; call 974-1585 or go to www.anniessocialclub.com for more info.— Justin F. Farrar


Some artisans project a sense of inscrutability, preferring their works rise or fall on their own merits rather than pimping a persona. Author J.D. Salinger denies interviews or permission for his books to be made into movies. There are no photographs of Jandek, the Residents, or guitar madman Buckethead displaying their real faces. Add to that list Ms. Jana Hunter — on her Web site's home page (www.janahunter.tk), she greets you in an autumnal photograph, playing guitar with a huge shock of hair obscuring her features completely. Hunter's personal exorcisms are the focus of much of her material. Her musical soulmates include Devendra Banhart (for whose Gnomonsong label she records) and folk mavericks Karen Dalton (whose husky voice Hunter's evokes) and the U.K.'s John Martyn. Their common thread is a fluid approach so pointedly personal it can feel like even just listening to the songs is an intrusion. Hunter may not make a habit of touring, so catch her Saturday, March 25, at the Hotel Utah at 9 p.m. Admission is $8; call 546-6300 or check out www.thehotelutahsaloon.com for more info.—Mark Keresman

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