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Soundbites

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WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' GUITARS!: You'd never know from listening to The Action Album! (NoVo Arts), arty Chicago trio Oh My God's second full-length, that not a single guitar is present in the mix. Like Quasi, the band employs the seemingly bizarre bare-bones combo of drums 'n' organ (with the occasional bass) to varying sonic effect. Opener "Action!" achieves a thin, distorto-guitar buzz complete with pseudo-feedback, interspersed with Kraftwerk-ian analog synth, while a robot-like voice creepily intones the title.

Elsewhere, melody--and far more organic organ work--rules the rumpus room, with Billy O'Neill's surprisingly soulful vocals soaking up the limelight even as he croons, "Who can remember what he ate? / Doesn't mean it wasn't nourishing" (from "The Weather!"--likely in reference to the album's title, all the songs end in an exclamation point). And the epic "Go Team!" features a gospel choir (actually only three voices multi-tracked to achieve the result, but it's no less effective). It's wholly unique stuff, at once bizarre and infectious.

The trio's anchor is the teaming of O'Neill and organist Iguana (uni-monikered, and it rhymes with Madonna!), who have largely disparate tastes in music. (The band's drum stool is a veritable revolving door).

Although he grew up on the likes of Television, the Minutemen and the Velvet Underground, Iguana started out as a blues organist, recording with Koko Taylor and Corey Bell, and touring with Junior Wells. On one particularly interesting night, an inebriated Van Morrison sat in with Wells and band, in between, as Iguana says, "yelling at everybody." Iguana later called Morrison a "drunken little troll."

O'Neill, meanwhile, cops to a love for Rage Against the Machine, Ani DiFranco, and Van Halen. The only common ground the two share is a devotion to Bon Scott-era AC/DC. Amazingly, this band sounds absolutely nothing like any of them.

Oh My God performs with The Beating at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 23, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. For information call 798-1298.


WOTTA DAHL: Trash rock guru Jeff Dahl will bring his band to town this week for a rare Old Pueblo appearance. Best known as the one-time singer for the Angry Samoans and a Poison Idea collaborator, Dahl, who now resides on his ranch in Cave Creek, has been keeping busy in the ensuing years by recording a slew of solo records, mostly limited to 500-copy runs, including two volumes of I Was a Teenage Glam-Fag, all-covers collections which round up Dahl's take on tunes by the likes of Bowie, T-Rex, the Runaways and the MC5. (His higher-profile releases, which emerge about once a year, carry the Triple X tag.) In addition, he's found time to do production work for likeminded bands, like Tucson's own The 440s, who will share the stage with Dahl this week.

The 440s, the Jeff Dahl Band, and The Sintillators perform at 9 p.m. on Saturday, February 23, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. For details call 670-9202.


MOD OR ROCKER?: A few years back Seth Gordon, singer and guitarist for Virginia-rooted The Mockers, had to make one of those intimidating, life-altering decisions.

After having played in the band with his childhood friend, bassist Tony Leventhal, since the mid-'80s, the pair took a sabbatical, Leventhal to work for his family's retail wine business, and Gordon to help his father build up a chain of legal clinics throughout Virginia, a business which, at its peak, boasted an annual revenue of a cool mil. When his father came to him in the mid-'90s and explained it was just about time for him to retire, the elder Gordon offered Seth the opportunity to take over the business, and the lifelong financial security it promised. But with his rock and roll dreams already on hold for five years, Gordon opted for the crapshoot life of an aspiring pop star, reuniting with Leventhal and pursuing The Mockers full-time.

With any luck, the music-buying public will catch up with critics, who have universally gushed over the band's 2001 release, Living in the Holland Tunnel (One Eye Open). The album, produced by veteran Mitch Easter (R.E.M., amongst loads of others) with help on a couple tracks from Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins, Hum, etc.) is a fine reminder that pop of the jangle- and power- variety can still sound amazingly fresh in the right hands. Beatles harmonies, Byrds guitars, and dBs hooks are all present and accounted for, and you can't help but root that The Mockers become the next R.E.M.--as opposed to, say, the next Shoes--and find a well-deserved larger audience in the process.

The Mockers perform at 9 p.m. on Sunday, February 24, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. Call 670-9202.


WHITHER NU-ROCK?: While most of the nu-rock outfits out there are either concerned with establishing white-boy hip-hop cred or proving that they're more aggro than the world's Creeds or Nicklebacks, Sevendust has always posited itself as the thinking man's band of the genre. Fusing memorable melodies--rarer than you might think--with a singer who can actually sing (and, yes, scream--a prerequisite for this sort of stuff), the group's latest release, last year's Animosity (TVT), somewhat belies its title by largely eschewing the vapid macho posturing that curses most bands of its ilk.

Sevendust, with openers Gravity Kills and Flaw, appears at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 23, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $20 at Zip's University and all Zia locations. Call 798-3333 for further info.


GROOVIN' ON GRASS: Those who arrived early at Leftover Salmon's Mardi Gras Halloween show at the Rialto in October likely got turned onto openers Shanti Groove, yet another bluegrass-rooted jam band from Colorado. (As of January 1, proof of membership in a slamgrass band is a prerequisite in obtaining residence in the state of Colorado). If you were in attendance you know what to expect; if you weren't, think String Cheese Revival, Yonder Mountain String band, and the Salmon itself, and you still know what to expect: lightning--speed banjo, mandolin, and guitar, and songs that push the ten-minute mark. Grab the Birks and go, brothers and sisters!

Shanti Groove, along with openers The Leisure Ride and the Dalias, perform at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is a mere four bucks, and you can call 622-8848 for more information.

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