Smash your head on the noise rock; Another! Big! Buzz! Band!

Drum 'n' bass means something different in the noise-rock world than in the electronic world. This disparity is especially true when discussing San Francisco's boulder-weight Burmese, a double-drum, two-bass quartet delivering riffs that hit like concrete blocks and erratic drumbeats that impose spasmodic episodes on the nervous system. Theirs is a gooey swamp of dirge, distortion, and demonic deconstruction, a swirling cesspool of squirrelly white noise and blackened, funeral-procession rhythms. On Burmese's 2004 release, Men, feedback morphs into sirens, bass lines blow wide open, and the human voice is just another instrument to torture. Prepare for the aural pillage on Thursday, March 9, at 9 p.m. at 12 Galaxies. Admission is $8; call 970-9777 or go to -- Jennifer Maerz

Voxtrot's eponymous EP may be the best indie-rock debut since, oh, the Pixies' Come On Pilgrim. Each of the five songs on Voxtrot is nigh on perfect -- a crystalline distillation of the band's love of '80s British pop. That's not to say that the Austin quintet's disc is a dull re-creation of the past. Besides the occasional signposts -- a Morrissey vocal tremble here, Sarah Records' serrated jangle there, Cure-like post-punk punch over there -- these tracks feel vibrant and new, chock-full of wicked hooks and leader Ramesh Srivastava's literate lyrics. The latter might be what keeps Voxtrot in the game for the "Long Haul," as Srivastava proves equally adept at detailing bitter resignation and heady poetics. One can only hope the band follows the Pixies' lead and fashions a full-length as stunning as its debut. Get a sneak peek when Voxtrot plays Friday, March 10, at 9:30 p.m. at the Hemlock Tavern. Admission is $10; call 923-0923 or go to The group also appears Saturday, March 11, at the Bottom of the Hill. Admission is $10-12; call 621-4455 or go to -- Dan Strachota

Say it with me, in your best Jerry Seinfeld: Could there be more buzz bands coming out of the U.K. right now? England's almost as much of a next-big-thing factory as Brooklyn was last year, what with the Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, the Magic Numbers, the Subways, the Cribs, and the Go! Team seducing critics and fans with those sexy accents. One of the more hyped exports is Manchester's Nine Black Alps, a baby-faced quartet of kids who might be a little too young to rip off the Cure and Joy Division but who found inspiration in a later genre: grunge. If Kurt Cobain could hear their just-released-in-the-States album, Everything Is, he'd be rolling in his grave -- if it wasn't so good. It's not mind-blowingly original -- some riffs could've been lifted right off Nevermind -- but musically these Mancs are tight and, more important, high-energy. Live, in-person, and flannel-clad is the best way to experience the Coachella-bound boys, who play Saturday, March 11, at 9 p.m. at Café Du Nord. Admission is $10; call 861-5016 or visit for more info.-- Maya Kroth

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