Against Me!: Successors to Green Day's Mainstream Punk Reign

When Autolux performed at last year's Noise Pop festival, the band was criticized for its stoic stage presence. But pandering to crowds with knock-knock jokes has never been this crew's MO. Propelled by throbbing bass and a dreamy shoegazer aesthetic, Autolux lays the mood on thick. Last year, James Lavelle of UNKLE released a remix of the trio's Future Perfect single, "Turnstile Blues," which promptly sold out. Autolux returned the favor by chopping and screwing an instrumental guitar riff for UNKLE's recent War Stories LP. The band is in the process of recording a new album, so expect some unreleased material to get tested on the tour stop this week. While finding beauty in dissonance isn't everyone's ticket, expect droves of serious Autolux diehards on Thursday, Jan. 31, when the band returns to The Independent at 8 p.m. Admission is $16; call 771-1422 or visit www.theindependentsf.com for more info. — David MacFadden

After ten years, just as success finally seemed to beckon, Mark Olson left the rootsy, rockin' Jayhawks. With then-wife Victoria Williams, he established another musical venture, the Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers. The creek was dammed, however, and the couple divorced in early '06. Last year Olson had his solo debut with The Salvation Blues. On one hand, the disc shows him coming full circle — two songs are written with Jayhawk Gary Louris, one with Williams — and on the other hand, beginning anew — Blues was produced by proto-Americana and power-pop musician Ben Vaughn. Blues may be the pinnacle of Olson's career, a heartfelt balancing act among folk-rock simplicity, country twang, workaday melancholy, and Dylanesque abstraction. His songs should nicely complement the goth-country noir of co-headliner Mary Gauthier when the pair performs on Friday, Feb. 1, at Great American Music Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is $20; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more info. — Mark Keresman

Whenever a band becomes successful, cries of "Sellout!" often fill the air. In no scene is that reaction more prevalent than the anarchist DIY world that birthed Against Me! After years of toiling in basements and releasing 7-inches on indie labels, the band's latest disc, New Wave (Sire), was produced by Butch Vig — and contrary to any backlash, it's Against Me!'s most stunning effort to date. From the infectious single "Thrash Unreal" to the Franz Ferdinand–aping "Stop!," New Wave makes the case for the band to inherit Green Day's global punk-rock throne. Against Me! opens for Foo Fighters on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Oracle Arena in Oakland at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $25-$45; visit www.livenation.com for more info. Jonah Bayer

Judging by the early reactions to Nada Surf's fifth album, Lucky, the band seems to have finally shaken the novelty act status it gained in the mid-'90s with its hit "Popular." Here the group gains a reputation as smart indie-pop songwriters. Instead of resting on the laurels of past successes, the trio created something fresh but still familiar to its fans. Lucky is a pastiche of '60s pop, Velvet Underground–inspired minimalism, and the jangle of '80s college rock that's a love letter to the pristine pop of years gone by. Nada Surf performs on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Swedish American Hall at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets have sold out; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com for more info. Jason Bugg

 
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