Garage punks wryly needle religion; jazz stars skewer Orwellian politics

Northwest No Wave shakes some well-coiffed plumage at tonight's pairing of Troubleman Unlimited labelmates. Portland's Glass Candy does Debbie Harry disco re-envisioned as fidgety art rock. Singer Ida No is a captivating ice queen of an entertainer, keeping her eyes glazed and her voice confectionary. She lords over a landscape of sedated electro beats, synth squiggles, and wiry guitar riffs, her coos and catcalls melting the edges off an 808 drum machine. Chromatics produce prickly ambient melodies that percolate around Lena Okazaki and Adam Miller's sedated vocals. Glass Candy and Chromatics celebrate fresh, DJ-ready 12-inches on Friday, May 19, at Annie's Social Club at 9 p.m. Admission is $7; call 974-1585 or visit for more info.— Jennifer Maerz

If the scripture-citing, Bible-thumping garage rock of Emeryville-based Knights of the New Crusade is a put-on, it's a poker-faced one: these warriors for Jesus sure act like they mean it. The band's second album, A Challenge to the Cowards of Christendom — on Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles, of all labels — throws down the gauntlet in many ways, from admonishing the “money-changers” of contemporary Christian music to denouncing “non-pious” lifestyles via “Temptation of a Hipster” and “Lipstick Lesbian.” But it's the Knights' epistle directed at our hawkish leaders, “What Part of ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill' Don't You Understand?”, that best illuminates Christian hypocrisy. As the Knights say at song's end, “It's not a suggestion, it's a commandment.” Amen, brothers. Knights of the New Crusade perform on Saturday, May 20, at Café du Nord at 9 p.m. Admission is $10; call 861-5016 or visit for more info.— Mike Rowell

Guillermo Scott Herren's interpretation of hip hop may be slightly more left-field than that of, say, Public Enemy, but this Barcelona-based producer differs from Chuck D on a key point: He creates rap music and he also digs disco. Herren's latest under his nom de plume Prefuse 73 , Security Screenings, starts out with kitschy movie samples, hangs a left at a noisy, multilayered Four Tet collaboration, and blows through the finish line fusing electronic jazz to futuristic hip-hop instrumentals. The new record's more musical and less cut-and-paste tone should translate nicely on Prefuse's current tour, where he's joined by a full band (featuring DJ Nobody) and “humble magnificent” Boston emcee Edan. Prefuse 73 performs Saturday, May 20, at Mezzanine at 9 p.m. Admission is $19; call 625-8880 or visit for more info.— Jonah Flicker

The Coalition of the Willing is a persuasive instrumental-rock project with an overt political message. This dynamic new combo led by NYC drummer Bobby Previte and featuring popular Bay Area-bred guitarist Charlie Hunter aims to rattle complacency on its eponymous debut. Titles like “The Ministry of Truth,” “The Ministry of Love,” and “Memory Hole” imply a means to make the band's directive — “Wake up everybody” — a reality. This attitude echoes the confrontational/inspirational style of the activist-musicians of the '60s, so it's no surprise that the Coalition's music also draws liberally from Vietnam-era sound sources: swirling Hammond organ, bluesy harmonica, jam-rich guitar, soulful horns, and groove-deep drums. To its credit, the band ultimately comes off as less a throwback to a bygone era than a contemporary reminder that the struggle of the people against corrupt power continues — and music that's willing to say so still very much matters. Hear for yourself when the Coalition of the Willing hits San Francisco on Saturday, May 20, at the Independent. Admission is $25; call 771-1421 or visit for more info.— Sam Prestianni

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