Thursday, August 8
Darwin Zoo We really missed out when we lost Zoo to the Big Apple, but he's back for a spell with his baby face and city swagger. A flamboyant stage performer who, in his natural state, is never without a glass of vino and a cigarette, Zoo is a decadent fop who was clearly conceived for the sole purpose of singing pop songs. Graced by God with a voice as lush as his black velvet pants and a cadence that can melt ice cubes still in their trays, he is a little bit Bowie, a little bit Byrne, and a little bit drunken Lennon. The pristine compositions that adorn his debut, Debutant (moddada), slip between the glitter of glam and the dark shadows of Nick Cave. Says he, "I make music about guts and faith, but I want it to have great hair." Lovely. Ripp King opens. Cocodrie, 9 p.m., $3.
Friday, August 9
Dead Can Dance Straying from the incense-heavy atmosphere of their usual Baroque-styled musical diaspora, Spiritchaser (4AD) -- Dead Can Dance's first studio album since 1993 -- is flooded with heavy percussion. While past albums have evoked visions of hooded monks and cathedral spires, this is an organic experience suggesting running water, deep woods, green sunlight, and animal spirits. Expansive aural landscapes hewn by South American rhythms and Turkish clarinets are the dominant backdrop for Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard's haunting vocals and unique instrumentation, which, as always, blur lines of genre, time, and geography. It's still like going to church, just not one bound by European precepts. Hearst Greek Theater, Berkeley, 8 p.m., $25-42.50.
Saturday, August 10
"Swing Rumble" This is without a doubt the best swing show ever to be booked in modern-day San Francisco. No, I'm not kidding. I'm not even exaggerating. The lineup includes our very own New Morty Show (featuring the prestigious vocal talents of the lovely Connie Champagne and the formidable Vise Grip) and SoCal's hottest swing act, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (who have been playing a weekly slot at the infamous Derby since who knows when; vocalist Scotty Moore pictured). It will take all the talents of Work That Skirt and every other swing class in town to compete with the jump-swing dancers who follow BBVD up and down the coast like so many well-coifed Deadheads. It's up to us to show them who's boss. Put on your dance shoes; have a cocktail; show your support; treat yourself to the hottest vintage-style jazz this coast has to offer. Big Heart City, 9:30 p.m., $7.
Sunday, August 11
E.A.R. Experimental Audio Research is the spawn of Spacemen 3's culty, druggy pilot, Sonic Boom. Shunning technological tools like MIDI, sequencing, and sampling, Mr. Boom uses this vehicle to create music the, uh, old-fashioned way -- using voltage control synths and guitar effects. The resulting lo-fi, ambient head trips are more subtle than those of Spacemen 3, but equally trance-inducing. The possibilities are endless, the visions stupendous -- a chorus of foghorns responding to whale songs while UFOs whirl overhead. This couldn't possibly just be an excuse for Sonic Boom to play with his vintage sound equipment, could it? Bakamono and Juno open. Kilowatt, 8 p.m., $7.
Monday, August 12
John Zorn & Mike Patton Supercomposer Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Sepultura, Kronos Quartet) joins supercomposer John Zorn (everyone else) for a night of improvisational music in a sort of avant-jazz vein. This is a precursor to a Cobra show tomorrow night, which will involve 13 players acting as components of an interactive video game with Zorn (pictured) playing moderator. Slim's, 9 p.m., $15.
Tuesday, August 13
Stinky Puffs Beloved by all, the Stinky Puffs are a joyful jump into frolicsome punk rock led by a 12-year-old who has more stage presence in his right pinkie finger than most bands have in their collective baggy Bens. Already a veteran, Simon Fair Timony founded the Puffs at age 4, toured with Nirvana, and names the Residents as his favorite band. The group has boasted Timony's mother, Sheenah Fair, 10-year-old Cody Linn Ranaldo (son of Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo), Jad Fair (Half Japanese), Eric Eble, and Don Fleming (producer of Gumball); songs can run the gamut from the anthemic "I Am Gross" to the poignant "I'll Love You Anyway," which is an ode to Timony's dear friend Kurt Cobain. Jenny Toomey, Franklin Bruno, and Nerdy Girl open. Bottom of the Hill, 9:30 p.m., $6.
By Silke Tudor