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YOUR TICKET TO 'SHANGRI-LA'

OK, so there are so many great things about the Kinks tribute show tonight, Thursday, July 7, that I feel like, just to satisfy that compartmentalization instinct that lies within us all, I must number them. Here goes.

1) It's the muhfuggin' Kinks. If you've never had a friend who made you a mix tape of all the great Kinks songs that were never played on the radio (sure, "Lola" is cool and all, but have you ever listened to The Village Green Preservation Society three times in a row?), I offer my condolences. Especially given their lengthy career, the Kinks' ratio of good songs to bad is astounding.

2) There isn't a single band or artist on this bill that doesn't love the Kinks. It's hard to truly mess up a great song, I know, but the list of bands paying homage to the brothers Davies seems tailor-made for goodness. Clearly, each one worships at the Kinks altar, and will therefore see to it that justice is done. For the record, those bands are Al Perry and the Cattle, Sun Zoom Spark, Nowhere Man, LemonMan (from Galactic Federation of Love) and friends, Leila Lopez and Muddy Bug.

A preview of the show was broadcast on Cozmik Jon's--the event's host and organizer--Tempest Broog show on KXCI last week (catch it regularly from midnight to 2 a.m. every Sunday), in which several participants unveiled acoustic versions of songs they're set to perform at the event, and it only increased Soundbites' anticipation of the shindig (expect to hear a slew of relative obscurities as well as most of the hits).

3) It's a fundraiser for KXCI, right? Yes, it is. And KXCI needs your support now more than ever, if we're to believe the doomsayers.

4) It's a pretty safe bet we're not going to see a Kinks reunion anytime soon. The band members' health issues and legendary sibling rivalry seem to weigh heavily against being able to witness the real deal, so this show is the next-best thing.

We'll see you at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., at 9 p.m. tonight for Something Else by KXCI: A Kinks Tribute. Admission is $5, or $4 for KXCI members and students. For more information, call 798-1298.


HO HO HO!

The weirdoes you love to love at Bloat Records return to Club Congress this week for their monthly summer stint, whose theme (always with the themes!) this time around is Christmas in July. In addition to serving as a CD release party for Electroshockbox (see this week's Rhythm and Views), the event will see headliner Bob "Yule" Log III putting that monkey paw to good use in the service of his patented brand of speed-blues and the long-awaited (by those who regularly visit the methadone clinic, anyway) reunion of Satan's own version of Sonny and Cher, Bebe and Serge. Leave the pajamas at home for this one, but Xmas gifts will be welcomed.

Christmas in July begins at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 8. Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. Cover is a five-spot. Punch in the numbers 622-8848 on your telephone, and when the person on the other end says, "Hotel Congress," begin asking questions.


MOROSE IN A ZOOT SUIT?

San Diego's the Visible Men return to town this week in support of their second album, Love: 30 (2005, Leisure King). Ex-members of '90s swing revivalists Cherry Poppin' Daddies comprise two-thirds of the new trio, though you'd never suspect it from listening to Love: 30.

Instead, while certain elements of the album recall other performers, such as Joe Jackson ("Animal") or Aqueduct (the electro-minimalism of "Three"), the overarching influence here is that of Ben Folds--and not just because piano figures heavily in the arrangements. (To wit, album opener "The Toilet Show" sounds lifted straight from a Ben Folds Five album, minus the synth quirks.)

Singer/songwriter/keyboardist Dustin Lanker has adopted Folds' phrasing, delivery and deceptively simple sense of elaborate melody as his own, though he's a bit less of a classicist than the arched-eyebrowed one. And a little less lovable most of the time, too. Where Folds often errs on the side of self-awareness, well, so do the Visible Men, but in a different way. Folds is a master at merging irony and earnestness--no easy feat--while Lanker often settles for mere self-pity or moroseness (at times, you'll probably wish there was less "Brick" and more "Underground"). Listening to the Visible Men, it's tough to resist the urge to just throw on a Ben Folds album instead.

The Visible Men perform at Plush, 340 E Sixth St., on Friday, July 8. The show begins at 9:30 p.m. with opening sets from the Ten Percenters (who include both members of the Croutons) and Let's English. Cover is four greenbacks. Call 798-1298 for further details.


DORIS REDUX

Tour-openers for once and--if we're to buy into his recent nonsensical and probably too-well-thought-out/intentionally confusing full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune--possible future Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan on his current solo tour, Kansas City's Doris Henson return to town this week for the second time in four months, on a night off from their travels with The Bald One. (Admit it: you didn't catch 'em last time around, anyway, didja?)

My first response upon hearing their second album, Give Me All Your Money (2005, DeSoto), albeit in passing, was to remark that it was nice to again hear a band not afraid to openly flaunt their Pavement influence. But don't get me wrong: Doris Henson (five dudes, not one housewife) shouldn't be written off as one of those Pavement sound-alike bands that were ubiquitous a year or two after Slanted and Enchanted came out. Though they share Pavement's melodic sense and--for lack of a better word--slackness, they add Britpop elements and a touch of Velvets drone. Best of all, they write some damn good songs, and that's always tough to argue with.

Doris Henson will perform along with Bombs for the Bored and Crimea on Sunday, July 10, at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. The show will begin around 8 p.m., and running order of the bands hadn't yet been determined as we went to press. For more info, call 622-3535.


WIDE-EYED NIBLETT

It seems like you can't read an article about Scout Niblett that doesn't reference PJ Harvey and Cat Power, and I must say I don't really get the former comparison--at least where her new album, Kidnapped by Neptune (2005, Too Pure/Beggars) is concerned. Working with the same band--guitarist Chris Saligoe and drummer Jason Kourkounis--and the same producer (Steve Albini) as her previous album, 2003's I Am (Secret Canadian), the recent Oakland transplant is as restless and reckless as a wide-eyed American in her musical endeavors (as opposed to the sense of properness we often assign to Brits such as she). Yes, she shares a backwoods earthiness with Cat Power, and an idiosyncratic bravery with PJ Harvey, but Niblett has her own idiosyncrasies as well.

For one, she's long had a penchant for songs that utilized only drums as backdrop for her vocals (a tendency that's become more diminished on recent albums). And she follows her instincts no matter where they might lead--sort of like a more organic version of Solex's ADD-addled cut-and-paste technique of veering away from a melody just as it becomes apparent. (To be fair, Niblett sticks with a melody longer.) But there's much to love here, not least of which is her rather charming voice and demeanor.

Scout Niblett performs on Saturday, July 9, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Openers are Campo Bravo and The Rise and Fall of Amy Rude, who will be embarking on a tour over the next couple weeks, then return to release their debut album. The show begins at 9:30 p.m., and cover is $7. That number again is 798-1298.

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