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Talking work and sex with Beep Beep's unhappy-hour dance party; Steve Earle reminds us that he's a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll

Wednesday, Feb 9 2005
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Unease runs deep in the waters of Saddle Creek Records, whether it's the diaryland fatalism of Bright Eyes, the booze-sodden heartache documented by the Good Life, or the skree-punk'd, unhappy-hour dance party propagated by Omaha foursome Beep Beep on its debut, Business Casual. With testicle-viced yelps and an exceptionally bleak worldview, vocalist Chris Hughes immerses himself in the twin beacons of American obsession: work and sex. A legal secretary fleeces betrayed wives and parasitic attorneys alike for kicks and cash; a fluorescent-bathed fax jockey hastens his own evolution from human to cubicle android. If Business Casual's workplace is Office Space as directed by Lars von Trier, its sexcapades are Todd Solondzian vignettes of suburban depravity: A drooling pedophile tries to seduce the pubescent cheerleader he craves; a college girl quietly seethes as the clicking shutter between her legs ensures she'll have tuition money that semester. Yeah, the shit's creepy, but Eric Bemberger's equally skewed, hypertensive guitaring, the wired high-hat spasms and bass thrusts, and the odd Liquid Sky synth fillip all guarantee you'll be able to dance at least some of the discomfort away when Beep Beep takes to the Bottom of the Hill on Saturday, Feb. 12; call 621-4455 or go to www.bottomofthehill.com for more info. -- Michael Alan Goldberg


A little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll, Steve Earle is an all-American troubadour 100 percent devoted to democracy in action. His weapon of choice: the song as political rallying cry. But the Bush-leaguers won't listen because he speaks the truth. And the Springsteen flag-wavers are not always comfortable with his punkish foul mouth and drug-addled past, not to mention his nonrock interests in bluegrass and rockabilly. Thus, the Virginia-born, Texas-bred singer/songwriter inhabits an outsider space -- part outlaw country, part roots rock with a Nashville heart. So while Earle has flirted with pop success for the past 20 years, chart-topping hits have rarely been his. But his so-called failure to break through has served to cement his cult status among a red-blooded contingent of left-leaning music fiends who might check out bluegrass king Del McCoury one night and brazen folkie Dan Bern the next. You can hear Earle wax passionately about Secretary of State Condi Rice and other hot-under-the-collar topics on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 15-16, at the Great American Music Hall; call 885-0750 or go to www.gamh.com for more info. -- Sam Prestianni

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Sam Prestianni

About The Author

Michael Alan Goldberg

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