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Drive By Truckers deliver Southern-fried rock; get high on Leftover Crack

The Drive-By Truckers are the kind of band that makes big-city sissies wish they'd grown up in the South. And for those who did, the act's music is an authentic representation of the homeland -- full of conflicted charm, heartbreaking nostalgia, tall tales, wasted youth, and twangy rock tradition. All of that, combined with a musical prowess unmatched by most modern bands, explains why the very unpretentious group has become a critical darling since 2002's Southern Rock Opera. With their new album, The Dirty South, the DBTs are gaining even more fans with three-guitar assaults like "Lookout Mountain" and mournful ballads exemplified by the Band tribute "Danko/Manuel." The Drive-By Truckers' gritty, raucous, and very rewarding live repertoire graduates to the Great American Music Hall on Thursday, Oct. 21; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more information.
-- Nancy Einhart

Composed of Havana-born Jose Márquez and Tijuana-bred Ana Machado, Pepito initially sounds like a Spanglish version of Mûm. But while the S.F.-based duo does make floaty, skittering electronica with pretty, childlike vocals and occasional bursts of noise, Pepito is both artier and cheekier than its Icelandic peers. On its second LP, Everything Changes, the band alternates between Spanish and English, offering amusing fragments about dodgeball, big-balled bulls, and soldiers who act like lovers (or vice versa). Musically, Pepito fractures its pop structures, twisting them into odd shapes with mittened hands. On its press sheet, the group says it's "reinventing pop music as a vehicle for tender rebellion." Not since Momus has an act so rightly -- and delicately -- declared its intentions. Pepito provides musical accompaniment to the opening night of "Soy y Que: New Chicano/Latino Representations" at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Friday, Oct. 22; call 978-2787 or go to www.ybca.org.
-- Dan Strachota

Billing itself as "Anti-Racist, Anti-Sexist, Anti-Homophobic and Anti-Fascist," Leftöver Crack is arguably the ballsiest political punk band on the planet. It's no wonder the group's latest album, Fuck World Trade, appears on primo agitator Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles imprint. The disc explicitly targets the Bush-Cheney-Halliburton war machine and the "government sponsored crimes" of the transnational corporate agenda with characteristic candor, indignation, and an almost maniacal vehemence. While solid in its own right, the band's guitar-heavy stew of pumped-up ska tempos, mighty metal grooves, punk rock rants, and surprising moments of quiet ambience (via organ, accordion, and violins) takes a back seat to the arch propagandizing of the album's artwork and lyric-sheet poster. A couple of way-left mottoes to mull over at the e-voting booths this election season include "OUR LEADERS' ARE WAR CRIMINALS" and "THE U.S. ARMED FORCES ARE A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION." Of course, this isn't exactly news in the activist-fevered Bay Area. But angry kids who can't yet vote will no doubt revel in the band's caterwaul while bashing into each other at iMusicast in Oakland on Tuesday, Oct. 26; call (510) 601-1029 or go to www.imusicast.com.
-- Sam Prestianni

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