ON THE GRILL: One of the greatest pleasures of being a music dork is that rare occasion when you decide to check out a band--maybe a friend has played a song or two for you, maybe you read something about 'em, maybe you're just checking them out cold--and said band proceeds to completely blow you away. The band responsible for one such incident for myself last year is pulling back into town this week.

Ohio-based Them Wranch is touring again on the heels of its second full-length, Medium Rare, released April 3 on Orange Records, and lucky for you, you'll get a second chance to check 'em out when they make a stop in our friendly burg this week. Comprised of singer/drummer Joe Pat, singer/guitarist Andy Wranch, and bassist/vocalist Gerry Morrison, the band is a power trio in every sense of the word, much like Cream or Husker Du; Them Wranch falls somewhere between the two. Sorta.

Sporting a penchant for original tunes that sound like they could have come from the Nuggets volume subtitled The Early Punk Years (if there was one), the band oozes equal parts Sonics-era garage pre-punk and tuneful, bluesy pop hooks. The only song the Wranch covered in its last Tucson appearance was a blazing, speedy romp through Spirit's "I Got A Line On You," and that single fact pretty much sums up what the band is shooting for; they succeed.

Don't miss Them Wranch at 9 p.m. on Friday, May 18, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. For details call 670-9202.

GETTIN' AROUND: In a town where most local bands struggle to self-release a CD, then often break up soon after, you have to admire Warsaw for its sheer staying power and prolificacy. Over the course of a nine-year career, the band has released an EP and five full-length CDs, the fifth of which, Pimpin' on Crutches (Invisible Mass) will be released this week. It is easily the most accomplished disc the band has placed in the bins yet, effectively catapulting the band from the ska college party circuit to one that is ready for the next step, whatever that may be. Pimpin' is so far all over the map stylistically that if the band didn't have such an unmistakable sound, it might come off like one of those albums that tries way too hard to be diverse for its own sake. Somehow Warsaw is able to pull it off, from the slinky hip-hop of "Midnite Cold Cut" to the appropriately titled "Spanish Calypso." "Pull Me Over" starts out as a laid-back Sublime-esque groove before exploding into a guitar-driven pop confection of a melody at the chorus, while "Pay the Rent" is pure Beatle-esque psych-pop with a gorgeously pastoral horn arrangement. Well done, boys.

Warsaw plays a CD release party at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, at O'Malley's, 247 N. Fourth Ave. For answers to all those burning questions call 623-8600.

CANDY-COATED FUN: Note to any moron willing to shell out twenty-six bucks of your parents' hard-earned cash to attend the Insane Clown Posse show this week: Don't throw M&Ms at the stage.

It seems the ongoing feud between Detroit rivals Eminem and the Insane Clown Posse was re-ignited last week in--of all places--Omaha, Nebraska when an Em fan relentlessly pelted the spooky clown duo while they were onstage performing. The group's road manager, one William Dale--likely not coincidentally the brother of another ICP employee who had a gun pulled on him last year by the bleached blonde himself--attacked the candy-throwing fan, eventually landing him in a chokehold until he passed out. Kinda gets ya all misty-eyed for that old East Coast vs. West Coast thing, dunnit? Come to think of it, if you're at an ICP show in the first place, maybe you should throw all the M&Ms you can get your paws on; you've probably got it coming to ya anyway.

Insane Clown Posse performs with support from Marz & Blaze on Friday, May 18 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $26 at all Zia and Ticketmaster locations or by phone at 321-1000. For more information call 798-3333.

TELL ME NO LIES: Influenced by guitarists as diverse as Steve Cropper, Roger McGuinn, B.B. King and Eric Clapton, Albuquerque-based Richard Boals has settled into a big-ass Chicago blues sound, witnessed on his latest disc, That's the Truth, released on the U.K.'s JSP Records, and produced by W.C. Handy award-winning producer Jimmy Morello (Boals and Morello split songwriting duties down the middle).

Richard Boals and The Soals appear at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, at Boondocks, 3306 N. First Ave. Cover is five bucks and you can call the club for additional info at 690-0991.

CHARITY BALL: Most bands throw release parties when they finally unleash a new CD on the listening public, but then Tucson's Liberty School isn't most bands. The eclectic pop quartet has finished recording a CD, set to be titled Coincidence and Fate, but doesn't have the cash to either release it or even pay back the disc's producer. Hence, this week brings us Liberty School's "Raise Money to Pay Off Jim Waters So We Can Release a CD Someday Party." Along with a set from the Schoolers, the evening will also include bluesman Tom Walbank and freestyle hip-hop from Roladamus Bandye, with DJ Top Shelf spinning French pop and bossa nova between sets.

It all goes down at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. For cover charge and other 411 call 622-8848.

FIGHT THE POWER: Skrappy's, that venerable all-ages punk club, is the site of a benefit show this week for, according to a press release from the Direct Action Media Center, "the twenty Free Trade Area protesters who were attacked by Tucson police on April 20th". In addition to sets from Los Federales, the Apocalyptics, Screemz, the Pentatraitors, and a "mystery punk band," the gathering will include puppet shows, workshops, and a "radical info-shop."

The event takes place at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 18 at Skrappy's, 201 E. Broadway. For information and donations call 312-6662.

PULLIN' IN: If down 'n' dirty punk rock oobles your wooble, you'll want to check out Austin's The Hatchbacks, which features former members of the Motards and the Reclusives. They'll take it to the basement of the Double Zero, 123 E. Congress St. at 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, along with One Man Show Live. For details call 670-9332.