Metal boys and their Lesbian lovers

Christened with a deliberately deceptive moniker, the hirsute lads in Seattle's Lesbian marry psychedelic metal with prog rock for stylistically succinct results. Like King Crimson ordered to deconstruct Metallica's Ride the Lightning, guitarists Arran McInnis and Daniel LaRochelle, bassist/cryptic vocalist Peter Hodous, and drummer Benjamin Kennedy erect ornately constructed dirges and drive them mercilessly through unpredictable time changes. The group's adventurous, occasionally cerebral approach caught the attention of Holy Mountain, which releases Lesbian's full-length debut this month. Lesbian performs on Wednesday, March 21, at Annie's Social Club at 9 p.m. Call 974-1585 or visit for more info. Hannah Levin

After some prodigy-laced hype and three records of renovated Bacharach pop, Sondre Lerche has been relegated to the "Don't hate him because he's natty" category. The indeed natty Norwegian's half-arsed attempt at Sinatra lounging on 2006's Duper Sessions didn't help. But for anyone who cares about crafty songwriting, the new Phantom Punch is the salvo you've been hoping for. It's a turn Bacharach, then a leap forward with the devilish know-how we expect from our "next Costello." Transcendent choruses are cut with cranky guitar breaks, exotica atmosphere, or bubblegum disco riffs. For the most part Lerche is in the most rockin' mood of his career, while retaining that charming demeanor. He may yet turn out to be "the next Roddy Frame," but for the moment he's at least Chris Isaak. Sondre Lerche performs on Friday, March 23, at the Fillmore at 9 p.m. Admission is $22.50; call 346-6000 or visit for more info. Eric Davidson

Sondre Lerche.
Timothy Saccenti
Sondre Lerche.

Montreal's Besnard Lakes' sophomore release, The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horses, finds this engaging band fine-tuning its slow-burning orchestral pop. Like the Beach Boys covering Low, this sextet fills out its spacious washes of sound with strings, male-female vocal harmonies, walls of distorted guitar, and, always, an ominous tension. The Lakes also employ a healthy amount of reverb in their fecund amalgamation of '60s pop and slow-core intensity, while keeping the tempo just below a snail's pace. Members of the Dears, Stars, and Godspeed, You Black Emperor helped out on the new album, and it should be interesting to hear how it all comes together live. Find out on Friday, March 23, at Rickshaw Stop at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10; call 861-2011 or visit for more info. Jonah Flicker

On the one hand, Elvis Perkins got to grow up as the guy whose dad played Norman Bates. But then he lost his mother when her plane was hi-jacked in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 just a day before the nine-year anniversary of his father's AIDs-related death. So if the world-weary chamber folk that dominates Perkins' Ash Wednesday feels more honest than your average sad-old-bastard-music, it could be because his pain is real. But you don't have to know the whole back story to appreciate the melancholy beauty of this songwriter. Perkins brings his band, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, to Café Du Nord on Sunday, March 25, at 8 p.m. Admission is $10-12; call 861-5016 or visit for more info. Ed Masley

Norway's mammoth noise-rock trio Noxagt — originally bass, drums, and viola — changed gears for its third, self-titled album (on Load Records), replacing Nils Erga's screaming viola with Anders Hana's equally zonked baritone guitar. Drummer Kjetil Brandsdal and bassist Jan Christian Lauritzen still hammer away with Viking ruthlessness on the bracing, Sonny Sharrock-like "Wall's End," and conjure Motörhead on the appropriately titled math-rock meltdown "Coefficient Ascender." The inscrutable 12-minute closer, "The Impious One," is a real sonic conundrum, at once lurching, spastic, and utterly hypnotizing. Check Noxagt out live on Tuesday, March 27, at the Hemlock at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $8; call 923-0923 or visit for more info. — J. Niimi

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