In the past decade or so, too many one-dimensional contemporary combos are Magnet cover bait one month and obsolete six months hence. This could be why the cultural zeitgeist hasn't fully embraced Northern California's fab veterans The Mother Hips they offer too many contradictions. The M'Hips play "professional" and "creative" without laborious jizz; they have country/Americana leanings but don't bend over backward being earnestly, salt-of-the-earth "authentic," and they rock without coming off like dudes who want to be 22 forever. The Hips upped the ante on last year's Red Tandy EP, augmenting their guilelessly melodious approach with some blistering psychedelic guitar and punchy power-pop imagine hot-wiring Neil Young & Crazy Horse to the Electric Prunes. They're currently working on their next full-length, and Friday, July 14, is the release party for their new live DVD, Beauty Rock: Live at the Catalyst at Bimbo's at 9 p.m. Admission is $20; call 474.0365 or visit bimbos365club.com for more info. Mark Keresman
Recent Kemado Records signee Danava is one of the New York label's current highlights, as well as one of my personal favorites. The Portland band doesn't curtail its glam metal and heavy prog influences, instead allowing the complementary genres to cohabitate in songs that can only be described as psychedelic. Coarse spirals of sci-fi effects and deep stoner riffage dominate its music, which for now is available on MySpace and a limited-edition tour-only 12-inch before the debut full-length lands in the fall. Danava performs on Friday, July 14, at Bottom of the Hill at 10 p.m. Admission is $8; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com for more info. J.M.
Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin has gone old-time folky on his new solo album Cold as Clay but he hasn't strayed far from his DIY roots. Sure, the easygoing melodies and banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and finger-picked geetar are a far cry from L.A.-style punk rawk. And yeah, there's a blasphemous evocation ("Let's keep a followin' Je-sus") on the traditional ballad "Talk About Suffering," where the singer woefully harmonizes with Jolie Holland. Graffin's heritage runs deep in the rich loam of rural U.S.A., where his earliest music schooling came from bonafide family hoedowns. And his work with this new project fundamentally shares with Bad Religion an earnestness that longtime punks will both recognize and respect when he brings his old-time vision to town on Monday, July 17, at the Great American Music Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is $13-$15; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more info. Sam Prestianni
His Tenacious D partner Jack Black may be hogging most of the silver-screen glory, but thespian/acoustic-guitar wizard Kyle Gass has a side project of his own to keep his time occupied. Transformed into mullet-sporting alter-ego Klip Calhoun, Gass and lead singer Daryl Donald aka fellow Actor's Gang member Jason Reed, better known as the D's No. 1 fan and Webmaster Lee form the core of the six-man trailer-trash hit squad, Trainwreck . Channeling southern-fried rawk that nods to Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, and the Charlie Daniels Band while indulging in the kind of preposterous onstage theatrics to be expected when dealing with a crew of moonlighting actors and screenwriters, Trainwreck delivers swampy, comedic anthems like "Rock (Responsibly)" and "Permanent Wood" with deadpan, two-fisted enthusiasm. Witness the group in all its fringe leather-vested glory when Trainwreck plows into town on Tuesday, July 18, at Café du Nord at 9 p.m. Admission is $12; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com for more info. Dave Pehling