Just when critics have begun clamoring for that signature Makers sound -- malicious garage-fueled fury that you can dress up but can't take out -- those angry young men from Spokane, Wash., throw a rose in the ointment. Psychopathia Sexualis may be named for a work by 19th-century German psychologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing, but more likely it was drawn from a term in a 1960s mockumentary by High School Confi-dential! producer Albert Zugsmith. Unlike Zugsmith's low-budget one-note film wonder of suburban psychosis, the Makers' Sexualis is a highly polished chrome crank of surprising emotional scope and inspired craftsmanship. The Makers still spew bad-boy snottiness all over the place with "Turn Up the Century," "Sicko Sexual," and "Deliver Your Disease," but these high-octane rockers are surrounded by perfect pop gems like "Lover Lover" and plush musical admissions such as "Love That Is Strange," "The Mystery," and "Psychotropic Supergirl." The Makers perform at the Bottom of the Hill on Thursday, July 30, with Bobbyteens and Roulettes opening at 9:30 p.m. and on Friday, July 31, with Gimmicks and Benedictions opening at 10 p.m. Tickets for each show are $7; call 626-4455.
Born out of the hyperandrogynous, psychosexual excesses of Manhattan's "Squeezebox" club night, Psychotica was a band destined to be signed before they ever performed. New York City thrives on the cult of personality, and there are few larger personalities than "Squeezebox" co-founder and Psychotica frontman Patrick Briggs. A West Hollywood street hustler at the delicate age of 12, Briggs broke into the real entertainment industry dancing on a bar at New York's notorious Pyramid Club, where more than a few club kids, like RuPaul, earned their early wedge. His outrageous sense of style and love of all things glam achieved real success with "Squeezebox" and the accompanying club band Psychotica. The music is an enduring amalgamation of Bowie, Sisters of Mercy, and Whitesnake-era glam metal. Whatever the incarnation this time around, Briggs is still one of the sexier queers to drizzle Manhattan on our sleepy little town. He appears at Slim's on Sunday, Aug. 2, with Jack Off Jill and Switchblade Symphony opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 255-0333.
With the majestic voices that have flowed from Lusophone Africa -- the subculture that emerged from an old trade triangle including Portugal, Africa, and South America -- it would be only a matter of time before the name of Cesaria Evora would not need to be mentioned to discuss new artists released on Luaka Bop and Tinder Records. In the case of Waldemar Bastos however, it's unavoidable, not because Bastos is a native of Angola -- a war-torn country that, like Evora's Cape Verde, suffered under Portuguese rule until 1974 -- but because there is no other artist, male or female, who so easily matches the emotive vocal style of the "Barefoot Diva." Within the first aching strain of "Sofrimento" ("Suffering") that opens Bastos' debut full-length stateside release, Pretaluz (Black Light), the 44-year-old vocalist divulges years of anguish caused by his politically motivated imprisonment, his subsequent self-exile, and his long-suffering love for a country ravaged by civil war. Waldemar Bastos performs at Cafe Du Nord on Monday, Aug. 3, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 861-5016.
-- Silke Tudor