To call the Raincoats post-punk's most exhilarating all-girl band would be an insult. In 1978, the members of the inspiring group were already in their mid-20s (guitarist Ana da Silva was nearly — gasp! — 30). They were women at the time, musicians who understood what punk rock would mean to them after all the hair spray and spit had settled. London's punk scene was strangely ill-prepared for what the Raincoats brought to the stage: natural aggression, ingenuous humor, female independence without artifice or pageantry. They came as themselves, sang for themselves, and left nothing inviolate. John Lydon took vehement delight in their candor, claiming famously, in 1980, that music had reached an all-time low, “except for the Raincoats.” In 1993, longtime fan Kurt Cobain convinced Geffen to reissue the Raincoats' catalog and persuaded the band to re-form in time to join the 1994 Nirvana tour. Cobain succeeded in getting the ladies back into the studio, which in turn inspired songwriter Gina Birch to form the Hangovers and sign with Kill Rock Stars, the indie home of Raincoats-influenced acts like Sleater-Kinney. The Hangovers' first release, Slow Dirty Tears, is textured by languid dub rhythms, warm psychedelic samples, and granular guitar work. It is an oddly comforting framework for Birch's seductive, schizophrenic voice, which slithers between intimate breathy coos and fierce latter-day Marianne Faithful howls. While more pop-oriented than most of Birch's work, songs like “I'm Glad I'm Me Today” and “Sorry” leave an indelible impression, as if Diamanda Galas had elected to sing “Yeah-Yeah” instead of “Plague Mass.” The Hangovers perform with drummer Dave Barbarossa of Adam & the Ants, Bow Wow Wow, and Republica fame (a far cry from former Raincoats and Slits drummer Palmolive, but adequate enough) at Bottom of the Hill on Friday, Oct. 30, with Linda Perry and Glitter Mini 9 opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 621-4455.
It's difficult enough in this squeaky-clean town to find a dark, slightly pee-stained corner, much less a decrepit building suitable for the ghoulish and the undead. The last bastion of genuine eeriness might exist at the Haunted Barn of Headless Point, where proprietors have taken great care not to clean up after the former residents. Witness mutilated farm animals, blood-splattered toys, and evil-minded obscenities created by a mad “scientist” in a poorly lit multilevel barn near the Hunters Point Shipyard. The House Band From Hell performs from sundown to sunup at 710 Innes on Friday and Sat-urday, Oct. 30 and 31. Tickets are $10; call 643-0817 ext. 3.
On his latest release, The Little Red Songbook, Scottish cult figure Momus creates “analog Baroque” — a combination of harpsichords, analog synth samples, Nintendo Game Boy themes, and beats from a home organ recorded on a digital camcorder. It's an odd, sprightly sound, made more sprightly still by Momus' ticklish vocalization. No matter that Momus' lyrics are unabashedly vulgar — “Either I was too big or she was too small/ But there was no way on Earth we would ever ball”; “Your first marriage was annulled/ Your second husband got killed/ You slept with your father/ And sucked your brother's dick” — they are delivered with such a dandyish vocal wink you can't help but be charmed. On this tour, Momus is joined by twee-voiced Japanese diva Kahimi Karie, for whom he has written and produced numerous Japanese hits, including the irresistible “Lolitapop Dollhouse.” Momus and Kahimi Karie perform at Bottom of the Hill on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, with Gilles Weinzaepflen opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 621-4455.
When Talvin Singh founded the London-Asian club night “Anokha” it was with the intention of giving a platform to a new generation of underground Asian artists rooted in Western dance music. While the young, classically trained tabla percussionist made inroads with mainstream music fans through his collaborations with Bjsrk, Massive Attack's Nellee Hooper, and Duran Duran, it was his compilation Anokha: Soundz of the Asian Underground that introduced the world to the delightful fusion of traditional Indian instrumentation and club beats. For his personal debut, O.K., Singh traveled to Okinawa, Kerala, Bombay, Madra, and New York City, collecting the skilled singers and musicians — Bill Laswell, Cleveland Watkiss, Devi, Shankar Mahadevan, Ryuichi Sakamoto — who he later assembled in his London studio. O.K. is a nearly perfect synthesis of the organic and the digital, a non-New Age spiritual journey through an urban landscape strewn with the remnants of hard-core drum 'n' bass. Lush, hypnotic, and unbearably beautiful, Singh's creation has single-handedly infused dance music with the global soul everyone hoped electronic music would one day possess. Talvin Singh performs at Justice League on Monday, Nov. 2, with DJ Cheb i Sabbah and “Density” regular J. Boogie spinning at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 440-0409.
— Silke Tudor