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Lukewarm Lidell; Rademacher shows shades of Pavement 

Wednesday, Apr 19 2006
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Although I hitched a ride for the night last week, I couldn't stop fidgeting on the Jamie Lidell bandwagon. Frankly, I just don't get the hype. Sure, the guy displays a certain experimental flair, with a live show that's unusual enough to be captivating at first. Appearing at the Great American with only a laptop and a small laboratory of assorted electronics at his disposal, the one-man-in-a-trenchcoat-band approach was far more complex than simply hitting "play" on an MP3 device. Lidell crooned, canned the sound, and looped it back multiple times, arranging the songs live and creating spontaneous remixes of glitch and techno tracks. For those wanting to get their grind on, though, this was not the soundtrack to a lover's lounge, but rather satiny soul crawling out of battered electronica. It's a cool concept, but one more attuned to the right brain then a bouncing backside. The lanky little Brit occasionally let his buttery voice melt into a pool of blue-eyed soul — which best reflects his recorded output — but for me those songs conjured bad flashes of Jamiroquai. Sure, he's got the pipes, but it seems Lidell would do best settling somewhere between the extremes of white boy doing the smooth groove and mad laptop scientist operating haphazardly on himself.

The ghosts in Rademacher 's machine come not from gadget wizardry but from the group's Fresno forefathers, Pavement. There are hints of Stephen Malkmus brightening the corners of frontman Malcolm Sosa's quirky delivery — although Sosa's a bit more of an earnest soul. "Everything that you've touched in my house/ Everything that you've touched is on my front lawn/ But still I've got this feeling in my heart," he admits on the curdled-love ballad "I've Rearranged." The band's second EP, Ice Age, contrasts its title by glowing with breezy, playful indie pop. Here even conflicted emotions are expressed with ebullience, lifted by sunny melodies and carnival cabaret waltzes/barroom singalongs (as on "Playing for Fun"). The act's pastoral aesthetic adds a slight Americana texture to these four tracks, each of which threatens to linger long after the last notes fade away. Check out this "loose band of haircuts" on Sunday, April 23, at the Make-Out Room at 9 p.m.

A couple nights later, San Francisco's Huts sink you into a state of deep dub introspection at the Rickshaw Stop (Tuesday, April 26). For those who can't get enough Tussle, members Jonathan Holland and Nathan Burazer mix and mash sedated beats with synthesizer flybys and robotic squelches and belches. Here the analog and the digital coexist in harmony, as Huts absorbs its surroundings and brings found objects into an interesting electronic fold.

Across town that same night, prepare for a rock invasion, as the national release parties for the mammoth Kemado Records comp Invaders kicks off. Nearly a quarter of the New York label's ode to the new crop of heavy rockers comes from the Bay Area, and that's reason alone to celebrate. The disc showcases a diverse array of awesome talent — from underground faves Big Business and Diamond Nights (here on Friday, April 21, at Cafe Du Nord) to giants Dungen , Wolfmother , Black Mountain , and the Sword , as well as up-and-comers Danava and J. Mascis' Witch -craft — all of whom contributed rare or unreleased material. The lineup on the 26th features Saviours , Parchman Farm , and Night After Night , eagerly destroying eardrums at Annie's Social Club.

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Jennifer Maerz

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