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Nomeansno means hardcore fury; OCS's ADD is B-A-D

And you thought life in the Mission was rough. After Marie Daulne's father was killed during a revolution in her native Congo, her family sought refuge with a forest tribe of Pygmies. Her kin then relocated to Belgium, where Daulne took to studying Pygmies' unique vocal harmonies and the urbane, soulful sounds of Roberta Flack and Stevie Wonder. Daulne had the idea of intermingling both styles, and Zap Mama was born. Comprising four female singers of Afro-Euro descent, the group sensuously sang original and traditional songs of African and Gallic origin a cappella. David Byrne's Luaka Bop imprint scooped up the act and a '94 Grammy tribunal bestowed a nomination. Restless, Daulne then sought changes, including a move to the United States and a re-outfitting of her band. Co-produced by the Roots' Richard Nichols, Ancestry in Progress is the culmination of Daulne's integration of what she calls "the American beat," in which hip hop and neo-soul are buoyed by African motifs and melodies. Live, the Zap Mama posse delivers a heady, ebullient mixture of funk and glistening Afropop, with Daulne's tart, impish vocals soaring skyward and dancing as a dervish does. See Daulne throw down Thursday, April 28, at the Fillmore; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com for more info. -- Mark Keresman


For the past quarter-century, avant-punk trio Nomeansno has doggedly followed its singular vision, twisting together elements of hardcore fury, complex time signatures, psychosexual angst, and black humor to create a compelling mutant strain of musical carnage. The Victoria, B.C.-based band got its start in 1979 when brothers Rob and John Wright first recorded their weird bass-and-drum experimentation in their parents' basement, but it wasn't until the addition of guitarist Andy Kerr four years later that the band's savage math-punk sound truly jelled. Efforts like The Day Everything Became Nothing and the 1989 landmark Wrong refined Nomeansno's brutal science of angular riffs and desperately existential lyrics. Though Kerr departed in the early '90s, his shoes have been ably filled by Tom Holliston, who also plays in the group's hockey-obsessed, Ramones-style side project, the Hanson Brothers. With a new greatest hits compilation, The People's Choice, recently released on Ipecac Records affiliate Ant Acid Audio, the trio brings its cathartic virtuoso bludgeoning to Slim's on Sunday, May 1, with like-minded local jazzcore outfit Victims Family along for the ride; call 255-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com for more info. -- Dave Pehling


Did you know that John Dwyer, the guitarist and screamer for the local Coachwhips, is still seen around town sporting skintight tees and trucker caps? Did you know Dwyer is a supremely talented guitarist even if the Coachwhips' insipid garage-punk doesn't reflect it? Track down some discs by his former bands, Landed and Pink & Brown, in order to hear a totally unique style of guitar that can only be described as screaming, fractalized white-noise funk. Unfortunately, little of that talent is to be heard in the lo-fi indie folk of OCS , which is Dwyer and percussionist Patrick Mullins. But at least OCS isn't drop-dead boring like the Coachwhips; the duo just sounds bored: bored with life, with parties, with friends, with sex, with making music. However, Dwyer is captured all too briefly doing some supernifty acoustic picking on the new OCS release, 3&4: Songs About Death and Dying and Get Stoved. It's just enough to make me scream, "STOP WASTING YOUR TALENT AND CHALLENGE YOURSELF!" Oh, well. Go see Dwyer and Mullins frustrate those expecting more when OCS plays on Sunday, May 1, at the Hemlock Tavern; call 923-0923 or visit www.hemlocktavern.com.-- Justin F. Farrar

 
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