Dave Douglas soundtracks Fatty Arbuckle, Jen Leckman impersonates Stephin Merritt.

The second release from acclaimed trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas on his recently launched Greenleaf Music label is Keystone, a fascinating double-disc CD/DVD tribute to the silent-film actor/director Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, whose high-flying Hollywood star was snuffed out in 1921 when he was falsely accused of murder. In an attempt to bring Arbuckle much-deserved posthumous dignity (he was, after all, a master of physical comedy on a par with his renowned pal Buster Keaton), Douglas has created a fresh batch of lyrical, groove-deep soundtracks to accompany the films, one of which, the 1916 classic Fatty & Mabel Adrift, appears on the DVD. Pairing a standard instrumental quartet (horns, bass, and drums) with Wurlitzer maestro Jamie Swift and visionary turntablist DJ Olive, the trumpeter mines the fertile electro-acoustic matrix that marks the cutting edge of today's crossover jazz. The music is rich with uncommon overlays: languid melodies on top of funky, driving beats; familiar timbres subverted by flashy electronic squiggles. It's a contemporary sound that curiously complements the old-school celluloid. Which means that young people will listen. And Arbuckle's original rep may at long last be restored. See for yourself when Dave Douglas & Keystone perform to the silent films of Fatty Arbuckle on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre; call 776-1999 or go to www.sfjazz.org for more info. -- Sam Prestianni


Touring buddies Broadcast (from Birmingham) and Gravenhurst (from Bristol) are the "cool rock kids" amongst their labelmates at Warp Records, where the roster is heavy with techno terrorists like Aphex Twin and Autechre and electro-soul oddities like Jamie Liddell and Nightmares on Wax. Whether the two U.K. acts are unfamiliar listening or not, they're both just now releasing new albums, each of which signals a fresh direction for their sounds. (In other words, even if you know 'em, they might not be the bands you remember.) Broadcast's Tender Buttons finds a slimmed-down lineup (the group started with five and currently consists of singer Trish Keenan and partner James Cargill) drifting away from the lighter electro-pop of its first two albums, embracing digitally screwed guitars and bass that lay down a grittier thrum for Keenan to let loose over. Meanwhile, Gravenhurst's Fires in Distant Buildings eschews that band's folk-rock past for layers of blistering noise. Witness the continued evolution of two sophisticated bands when Broadcast and Gravenhurst perform on Friday, Oct. 28, at the Great American Music Hall; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more info. -- Tamara Palmer


Jens Leckman is Sweden's answer to Stephin Merritt, a wry, love-obsessed crooner whose lyrics are packed with high- and low-culture references delivered with understated wit. On Leckman's 2004 full-length debut, When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog, the ESL singer rhymes "preacher" with "Nietzsche," cites Lou Reed's thoughts on the creepiness of Sweden, and manages to use Fall frontman Mark E. Smith as a plot device in a tale of romantic misunderstanding. Leckman's inspired, off-kilter lyrics float atop a Magnetic Fieldsesque blend of lo-fi strings and cathedral mandolins, the simple drumming occasionally thickened with sampled loops and beats. On Saturday, Oct. 29, the twentysomething Leckman will be coming to the Rickshaw Stop in anticipation of the Secretly Canadian rerelease of his first three EPs, allowing a growing legion of Leckmanheads to stock up on the back pages of their pasty young maestro from the Northland; call 861-2011 or visit www.rickshawstop.com for more info.-- Chris Baty

 
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