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Radio Birdman: still tuned into the good shit 

Wednesday, Jun 13 2007
"Keeping it real" is overrated — better to keep it really retarded. The cryptic quartet No Doctors infiltrated the Bay Area in 2004 after a four-year stint in the Chicago area (where they befriended another subsequent Oakland transplant, Weasel Walter.) The Doctors also befriended Minneapolis noise provocateur Matthew St. Germain, whose Freedom From label released their self-titled 2002 debut — a queasy mélange of demented blues-rock and Trout MaskÐish skronk. On a new self-released album, Origin & Tectonics (which features cover art by Maakies' Tony Millionaire), the band is as tight as Foghat at its peak. And though No Doctors' clod-rock/nutmeg-metal stylings are still as cracked as ever, the record approaches something frighteningly close to sublime. No Doctors perform with Wooden Shjips, Fuckwolf, and Sic Alps on Friday, June 15, at Elbo Room at 9 p.m. Admission is $6; call 552-7788 or visit for more info. — J. Niimi

Australia's Architecture in Helsinki is like that borderline-ADD kid who just couldn't sit still. The band preaches impish indie rock charmingly scattered over multiple genres. Onstage, the sextet swaps instruments amid a tangle of cables, guitars, percussion, and horns, in the true spirit of a collective. Its last full-length, 2005's In Case We Die, was childish without being simple and playful without being trivial, the dancey twee anthems substituting joie de vivre for stoic rock-band solemnity. Architecture's forthcoming LP should be as delightfully focused and free-spirited as ever, evidenced by its latest single, the reggae-tinged "Heart in Pieces." Architecture in Helsinki performs on Saturday, June 16, at Bimbo's at 8 p.m. Admission is $16; call 474-0365 or visit for more info. — Jonah Flicker

Kate Jackson proves you don't always learn from your mistakes. Half the time, the 28-year-old frontwoman of Sheffield, U.K., quartet the Long Blondes yearns to offer her juniors guidance. In the hyper "Once and Never Again," we find her in consoling mode ("You're only 19, for God's sake/ you don't need a boyfriend."). The rest of the time, she's out making romantic missteps that are just as awful, seething with bitterness over domestic neglect in "Weekend Without Makeup" ("You should have been home an hour ago/ I've got your tea laid out like some kind of Fifties housewife."). For all the emotional wreckage set to sharp neo-glam rock, Jackson's lyrical persona can be alarming, funny, and comfortingly human. The Long Blondes appear with Nicole Atkins & the Sea and Minipop on Saturday, June 16, at Popscene at 9 p.m. Admission is $12 adv.; visit for more info. — John Vettese

Don't let the decades dissuade you from attending this Radio Birdman performance. Sure, it's been more than 30 years since Australia's underground ambassadors first issued their Stooges-inspired, proto-punk onslaught. But live, Birdman guitarist Deniz Tek and vocalist Rob Younger drink from Iggy Pop's youthful fountain, and touchstone tracks like "Murder City Nights" still crackle with all their original fury. Much like the Rocket From the Tombs reunion a few years back, Birdman's renaissance is brutal and vital, serving as a reminder of what sustains punk rock, rather than a watery revision of what it used to be. Radio Birdman perform on Tuesday, June 19, at Slim's at 8 p.m. Admission is $20; call 255-0333 or visit for more info. — Hannah Levin


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