Daring duos! Ladytronners Mira Aroyo and Reuben Wu! DJ AM and Travis Barker! GZA and DJ Muggs!

"Evolve or die!" Such was the edict handed down, writ large, to artists propping up the electroclash craze once the marketplace finally tired of the whole catwalk-and-coke-party-sex-robots atmosphere a couple of years ago. Not so sadly, the fad would be the final resting place for the likes of A.R.E. Weapons, Fischerspooner, and Peaches, but a few of the more substantive acts in the scene took heed of the quickly changing landscape and shifted their artistic focus accordingly. Detroit's Adult., for example, recently launched its already crazy train right off the rails with a descent into superalienating, no-wavish post-punk. The British/Bulgarian, two-boy/two-girl unit Ladytron, meanwhile, has gone in a somewhat more accessible direction on its just-released (and by far best) album, Witching Hour, ditching most (but not all) of the icy synth-pop pomp and filling in the vacated spaces with layers of shoegazer guitar splatter and allowing more emotion to seep into the vocals, all the while retaining a few mechanized beats and an innate ability to write damn good songs. The end result sounds like a cross between My Bloody Valentine and Lush, and, quite frankly, you can't go wrong with that combination. Sadly, you'll have to wait until early 2006 for the foursome to erect its full wall of sound around these parts, but you'll hear plenty of the new material during a special DJ set by Ladytronners Mira Aroyo and Reuben Wu this Friday, Nov. 18, at the Rx Gallery; call 474-7973 or visit w ww.rxgallery.com for more info. -- Michael Alan Goldberg


It was Tommy Lee who first hit on the DJ + drummer = party equation a few years back. Now DJ AM and Travis Barker have struck up the band, touring around the country with the same concept. AM (aka L.A.'s Adam Goldstein) is a seasoned party DJ who knows how to cut, scratch, and mix a variety of sounds from the rock and hip hop canons; he's a resident at famed celebrity fetes in venues like L.A.'s Concorde and Las Vegas' Body English. But his turntable skills are usually overshadowed by his status as the soon-to-beMr. Nicole Richie. Similarly, Barker is a versatile drummer who believe it or not once was a member of ska dorks the Aquabats; dude's played with both Blink-182 and the Transplants, but has recently gained wider recognition through MTV's incredibly boring Meet the Barkers reality show. Expect an odd mix of gimmicks and glamour at this unusual gig, going down Friday, Nov. 18, at Mezzanine; call 625-8880 or visit www.mezzaninesf.com for more info. -- Tamara Palmer


It takes strategy to rise to the top in the world of hip hop, hence the reason the movers and shakers reference their industry as "the game." Extending this metaphor, producer/DJ Muggs (from L.A.'s Cypress Hill) and rapper GZA (of NYC's Wu-Tang Clan), two kings in the hip hop fiefdom, have named their new collaboration Grandmasters, choosing chess as the overarching theme (see song titles such as "Exploitation of Mistakes," "Advance Pawns," "Queen's Gambit," and "Unprotected Pieces"). GZA's flows sound as at home over Muggs' beats as they do over those from the Wu-Tang's other genius, RZA, a significant accomplishment. Witness the strength of this East Coast/West Coast pairing as GZA and DJ Muggs bring their moves to Slim's on Saturday, Nov. 19; call 255-0333 or visit ww w.slims-sf.com for more info. -- Tamara Palmer

 
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