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Noise Pop Tip Sheet 

Dump the Dandy Warhols for Dead Meadow

Wednesday, Feb 21 2007
If it seems that indie kids' wallets are slimmer than usual this week, it's because the annual Noise Pop fest is upon us. Now in its 15th year, the event — which includes art openings and film screenings along with all the live performances — kicks things off with a free show (Tapes 'n' Tapes, David Cross, Har Mar Superstar, and more; RSVP details at for those who can squeeze into the Mezzanine on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Otherwise, here are a couple SF Weekly NP picks (more to follow in next week's issue and in Night & Day).

Sebadoh (Feb. 28, Great American Music Hall)

Nostalgia, hatchet-buryin', money makin' ... whatever the motivation, Lou Barlow's got the fever for the flavor of a reunion. Last year it was Dinosaur Jr.'s unlikely reformation, and now he's kickin' it with the old-school Sebadoh lineup of Jason Loewenstein and Eric Gaffney, who actually co-founded the band but quit, acrimoniously, in the early '90s. Barlow and Gaffney might be indie rock's weirdo, slacker McCartney and Lennon — as (half-true) conventional wisdom goes, Barlow wrote songs that sounded like kittens softly weeping, while Gaffney wrote songs that sounded like the neighbors being chain-sawed. — Michael Alan Goldberg

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (March 2, Great American Music Hall)

James Brown died and it was sad. Now the mantle of Hardest Working Man in Show Business must pass to someone else: Ted Leo has spent the last 10 years playing a righteous, clamorous, beautiful hybrid of dub, DC punk, soul, Celtic pop, and mod. He used to perform solo in basements and living rooms; now he and his Pharmacists can play a VW commercial for all I care (but they never will, because Ted's actually that punk). Think Billy Bragg times Thin Lizzy times the Jam times Marvin Gaye times George Orwell. Ted rules, and any smart person 15-45 is entitled to get down. — Frances Reade

Jolie Holland (March 2, the Fillmore)

Aside from being a songstress of unsparing detail, Texas-to-SF homegirl Jolie Holland has the comprehensive scope of iconic singers Big Crosby and Dinah Washington. Like them, her pallet encompasses small-group swing, country, acoustic blues, early 20th-century pop, and folk, blending them in the funhouse-mirrors manner of Be Good Tanyas (of which she was a founding member) and Tom Waits (who was an early advocate). Worldly and sultry, full of nuance and ambiguity, Holland's songs are narratives without Hollywood endings. — Mark Keresman

Dead Meadow (March 3, Cafe du Nord)

Tempering bong-hazed riff prowess with equal quantities of dreamy guitar drones and transporting melodies, Washington, D.C-based power trio Dead Meadow appeals to both Sabbath-worshipping Hessians and shoe-gazing indie kids. Traditional metal fans might get turned off by the lack of testosterone howl in singer-guitarist Jason Simon's vocal delivery, but the band's 2005 effort Feathers stands out as a triumph in forward-thinking modern psych heaviness. — Dave Pehling

The Ponys (March 3, Bottom of the Hill)

The Ponys' wonderfully visceral sound comes from playing amps as much as songs, which means recording values are particularly make-or-break for this Chicago foursome. Jim Diamond, erstwhile producer of the White Stripes, captured the band's tube-rattling garagey glory on 2003's Laced With Romance; strangely enough, Steve Albini flopped with Celebration Castle, having rendered its proportions with crippling clarity. On the Pony's latest, Turn the Lights Out, John Agnello's knob-twiddling is spot-fucking-on: the guitars quiver and quake on the hook-laden "Double Vision" and "Everyday Weapon." — J. Niimi

Comedians of Comedy (March 4, the Independent)

Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, and Brian Posehn are a genre unto themselves. As Comedy Central's quirky "Comedians of Comedy," they're as idiosyncratic and self-deprecating as their name might imply. "Weird ... but funny" is a common reaction to little-girl-voiced Bamford, whose peculiar take on relationships results in punchlines like, "Sometimes I worry that I don't wanna get married as much as I want to get dipped in a vat of warm, rising bread dough. That might feel pretty good, too." — Maya Kroth


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