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THE FIELDS ARE ALIVE: One of the finest indie-rock bands of the '90s was Sebadoh, originally formed by former Dinosaur Jr. bassist Lou Barlow, and his friend Eric Gaffney. Later, drummer Bob Fay and bassist Jason Loewenstein (who recently performed a solo show at Club Congress) were added to the fold, resulting in three very individual singers/ songwriters under the Sebadoh umbrella.

Loewenstein's songs were the most straight-up punk rock of the three; Barlow split his time between gorgeous love-in-all-its-forms songs and revenge tales directed at his former Dinosaur boss, J Mascis; Gaffney specialized in both eerie ballads and as much plodding sonic weirdness as four dudes could muster. (At times, Gaffney's songs were downright scary.) It was this lineup that cemented Sebadoh's inclusion in rock history books. In 1993, Gaffney pulled a Johnny Carson, leaving Sebadoh, and seemingly stepping out of the spotlight for good.

But those with an ear to the ground know that, in 1999, Gaffney released Brilliant Concert Numbers (Old Gold), a collection of solo material culled from his post-Sebadoh recordings. And in 2000, he put out a seven-inch single on Sub Pop's limited edition Singles Club series. And while we haven't heard any of his post-Sebadoh material, we can pretty safely say that a performance this week from his new band, the San Francisco-based Fields of Gaffney (which also includes ex-Alice Donut drummer, Richard Marshall), warrants your time and money.

Fields of Gaffney performs on Monday, March 10, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. The upstanding gentlemen of The Red Switch open at 9 p.m. Questions? Call 670-9202.


ON PINS AND NEEDLES: A few years ago, I was in Stinkweed's Records, one of the only good things in the greater Phoenix area (and, oh, is it good), and as happens fairly often in Stinkweed's, I found myself enthralled by what I was hearing on the store's system. Sufficiently compelled to ask what it was, I was told it was Pinback, a part-time band formed by Armistead Burwell Smith IV, formerly of San Diego's Three Mile Pilot, and Rob Crow, of Heavy Vegetable, a truly amazing and overlooked quirk-rock band I discovered through a mix tape from a well-read ex.

Pinback is way different than either of those bands. Gone are the otherworldly punk edge of Three Mile Pilot and the abruptly shifting tempos of Heavy Vegetable. What takes their place is far more dreamy and purely melodic, comparable to the jazzy figures of the Sea and Cake and the indie-pop sheen of Beulah (though the hooks are less instantly throat-grabbing than the latter), with shimmering vocal harmonies from Smith and Crow.

Reportedly, the band plays the material a bit harder live, and we'll get the chance to see for ourselves this week, as Pinback makes its first local appearance on Wednesday, March 12, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Manifold will open things at 9 p.m. For more information call 622-8848.


GOOD THINGS COME IN THREES: Carla Bozulich's musical career has always been both varied and riveting. Whether she was spewing tales of S&M in her industrial-dance outfit, Ethyl Meatplow, fronting the wall-of-sound, country 'n' more outfit, the Geraldine Fibbers (one of the greatest live bands I've ever seen), or performing Willie Nelson's Red Haired Stranger album in its entirety (as she did at Solar Culture last year), you never know what she's going to do next, only that it'll be worth checking out. And if that's not enough to entice you, her boyfriend, Nels Cline, truly one of the world's greatest guitarists, is playing in her current band, the Carla Bozulich Revue.

Also appearing on the bill are Two Foot Yard, featuring Carla Kihlstedt of Tin Hat Trio and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (their publicist describes them as sounding "a little bit like PJ Harvey with a violin"), and El Fay, which features Lisa Fay Beatty, formerly of 7 Year Bitch.

The Carla Bozulich Revue, Two Foot Yard, and El Fay perform at 9 p.m. on Friday, March 7, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Cover is $7. For further info call 622-8848.


ON THE BANDWAGON: Everyone's favorite Siberian surf-rock band, the Red Elvises, make a stop through town this week. Combining surf, rockabilly and various types of ethnic music--Russian and otherwise--with a decidedly camp approach, the Elvises always make for an interesting night out. (We can already hear you saying, "Whoa, check out that dude's big red triangular guitar. What is he, Siberian or something?")

The Red Elvises perform at 9 p.m. on Friday, March 7, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Admission is $7. For more information call 798-1298.

You say you smoke a quarter-ounce of weed every week and you like your shit heavy? Man, have we got a show for you.

First up is Drunk Horse, who made their name putting out some of the most complex and least-dumb stoner rock out there, on the Man's Ruin label. Then comes a set from Ex-Girl, a Japanese trio that specializes in sugary pop doused liberally with off-key chamber harmonies and performance art weirdness. Finally, gods of the stoner rock kingdom, Nebula, will finish out the night with a pummeling set of 21st century Sabbath riffs.

Bring your earplugs when Nebula, Ex-Girl, and Drunk Horse perform at 9 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Call 622-8848 for cover info.

Though her sound has far more in common with Macy Gray and india.arie than with R. Carlos Nakai, singer/songwriter Martha Redbone nonetheless won the Debut Artist of the Year award at the 2002 Native American GRAMMYs. (Her mother is American Indian, her father black.) You won't find any drums or chanting on Home of the Brave (Blackfeet, 2001), her debut CD; Instead, you'll find neo-funk grooves and vintage, smooth R&B slow jams, as sung by the honey-throated New York chanteuse.

Martha Redbone, along with opener Kim Howell, appears at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Admission is free. That number again is 798-1298.

Though she's best known as a country artist, on her new album, Roses (2002), Kathy Mattea has abandoned her label, Mercury Nashville--and all connotations the Music Row imprint signifies--and lends her memorably strong voice to Celtic-tinged, modern folk music for Narada, her new label. Citing the fact that modern country music is filled with 20-year-olds with pierced bellybuttons, and she's not getting any younger, Mattea says her new label is better suited to support her musical restlessness, as opposed to looking for the next hit. Nonetheless, expect her to perform a good number of tunes from her younger, country days when she performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, at Centennial Hall, on the UA campus. Tickets range from $16 to $44, with discounts for students and children. For more information log onto http://uapresents.arizona.edu/facts/ mattea.html.

It's always encouraging when, in the age of pierced country-pop tarts mentioned above, a true-blue country act scores in the big time. Such is the case with Cross Canadian Ragweed, whose latest, self-titled album (Universal South, 2002) layers strummed acoustics with big, driving rock guitars for a sound that's, by turns, both tender and ornery. Reminiscent of early Steve Earle, CCR is undoubtedly some of the best stuff you'll ever see on CMT (which chose the band's "17" as a Hot Shot Video).

Cross Canadian Ragweed performs at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11, at City Limits (formerly Backstage), 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. Admission is $10. For more info call 327-2214 or log onto www.calproductions.com.

We haven't heard Petty Booka, but what little info we have on them merits mention. Here, then, is the description we received: "Petty Booka is a ukulele-playing chorus duo from Tokyo. Their musical influences run the gamut from classic country music a la Patsy Cline to Steppenwolf-ish classic rock to Ramones-flavored punk rock to Madonna-style pop." Intrigued? We are, too.

Petty Booka performs at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, March 10, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Admission is free. Call 798-1298 for further details.

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