Next month's Midnight Boom is the third album from London duo the Kills, whose seedy, deconstructive blues have a sensual cool most bands can only wish for. Built around handclaps and rudimentary beats, their new songs lean toward the dancefloor while remaining caustic and insular and still regurgitating the darkest parts of the Jesus and Mary Chain. Everyone is invited to remix the first single, "U.R.A Fever," at www.midnightboom.com, though you'll be hard-pressed to come up with something as neat as the original's dialing phone. The song is short and sour, as is the second single, "Cheap and Cheerful," another feat of bad vibes and badass refrains ("I want expensive sadness"). Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince come our way as guests of Popscene's Valentine's Day Massacre on Thursday, Feb. 14, at Rickshaw Stop at 10 p.m. Advance tickets have sold out; call 861-2011 or visit www.rickshawstop.com for more info. — Doug Wallen
Though Seattle cult faves the Briefs insist they're not breaking up, that hasn't prevented singer and guitarist Steve E. Nix from starting his own damn band, the Cute Lepers. As their name indicates, Nix & Co. spread a severe form of snotty pop sickness, embracing the Briefs' tart and tuneful punk and then infecting it with extrapotent strains of melody. The seven Lepers then attack the stage with clapping female backup singers, tambourine-shaking male cheerleaders, and more jittery energy and sweat than a caffeine addict with malaria. The resulting pandemic is two parts punk, one part Mod, one part Motown, and all fatally fun —- so cancel that doctor's appointment and catch Leper fever at Annie's Social Club on Friday, Feb. 15, at 9 p.m. Admission is $8; call 974-1585 or visit www.anniessocialclub.com for more info. — John Graham
San Francisco's Impalers may pursue the groovy over the gritty, but don't mistake their smoothness for lack of authenticity. The seven-piece reggae armada boasts a lineup culled from veteran outfits, and they're successful enough to soon tour Europe, including an insane ten shows in Germany, where their debut album, Blood, Rum & Reggae, is out on Scorcha Records. Released stateside on Axe, the record offers such affable instrumentals as "Uppercut" as well as the cautionary tale "I Vampiri," on which singer Cindy Chi warns, "She's gonna get you, boy" as syrupy guitar and shiny horns blossom beneath. There's some Stax soul in there, meaning Sharon Jones fans won't be disappointed. The Impalers celebrate their CD release with the Struts and Police & Thieves on Friday, Feb. 15, at Café Du Nord at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $10; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com for more info. — D.W.
Most supergroups aren't nearly as good as the drugs used when dreaming them up, but Stockholm Syndrome is the dank. The talented quintet of singer-songwriter Jerry Joseph, Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, Sheryl Crow drummer Wally Ingram, Gov't Mule keysman Danny Louis, and ace local guitarist Eric McFadden formed four years ago when longtime friends Joseph and Schools wanted a side project to collaborate on when not playing their regular gigs. Nearly a year after two benefit concerts in San Francisco to aid Ingram's recovery from throat cancer, Stockholm Syndrome returns for two nights with Dirty Sweet and My Revolver opening. Expect two hours of sweaty, loud rock 'n' roll on Friday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Independent at 9 p.m. Admission is $20; call 771-1422 or visit www.theindependentsf.com for more info. — Andy Tennille
The line between genius and madness is fine, porous, and in the case of San Francisco cult band Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, serrated and blood-soaked. Born out of the considered nonsense of Dada, the serious farce of horror, the crazymaking sophistication of prog rock, and the orchestrated abandon of metal, SGM laughs in the face of absurdity, hypocrisy, and the imminent apocalypse. The quintet's third album, in glorious times, aims to eviscerate the complacent masses with its demonic affect: picture a soundtrack to Dante's Inferno or Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights. And yet for believers, this music brings peace to the unquiet soul. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum appears with Estradasphere and OvO on Saturday, Feb. 16, at Great American Music Hall at 9 p.m. Admission is $17-$19; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more info. — Sam Prestianni