WHAT A SHOCK: Q: What do Benicio del Toro and Albuquerque punk band Scared of Chaka have in common? A: They both have a fondness for the people of Nogales, Sonora. The whole world knows the del Toro story by now, so let's just skip to the more obscure--and more interesting--Chaka one.

The band recorded its 1999 disc Tired of You (on Hopeless Records subsidiary Sub City) with Jim Waters at his Tucson Waterworks studio, and somehow a bootleg cassette of the album made its way to the punk-lovin' masses down south. A few weeks after the tracks were finished, and well before the record's actual street date, at the urging of the Weird Lovemakers, Chaka made its Nogales debut. The show sold out, and the fans--even those who didn't speak English--knew the words to every song the band played, from the most obscure 7-inches to the soon-to-be-released new album. Along with Japan, the band cites Nogales as its favorite place to play in the world.

Tucson fans will have three days to learn SOC's new album, Crossing with Switchblades (Sub City/Hopeless), released on Tuesday, before it makes its way back to Tucson for one of its flag-bearing punk rock extravaganzas. Scared of Chaka appears at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 29 at Double Zero, 121 E. Congress St. For more information call 670-9332.

OH, I'VE BEEN TO PRAGUE: Czech avant-weirdos Uz Jsme Doma (pronounced "oozh [rhymes with rouge] smeh dough-ma" and translated as "Now We're at Home" or "Now I Get It") make a long trek to visit us again this week. The band formed 16 years ago in the small border town called Teplice, performing underground gigs and generally avoiding the Commie Man that was trying to hold them down. Following the Velvet Revolution in November 1989, though, it became perfectly fine to rock out in front of God and everyone. So the members of Uz Jsme Doma quit their day jobs and headed for the big city of Prague, where they've remained since, churning out five albums worth of material and touring the world relentlessly (the current tour marks their ninth journey to the States, and their third Tucson appearance).

In addition to the romantic bio (how many bands do you know that have persevered through a revolution?), Uz Jsme Doma is, musically, in a word, astounding. Its first time through town I described it thusly: "Bearing in mind that the group's musical heroes are San Francisco oddballs The Residents, the band slides easily from horn-laden ska to abrasive art punk to noisy jazz-rock to '80s Cali New Wave à la Oingo Boingo, stopping, starting, lurching around changing time signatures, getting quiet, then exploding in your face like a bad car battery. Imagine what Rocket From The Crypt might have sounded like had the members grown up at the Knitting Factory, soaking up the sounds of John Zorn and his ilk." I'll stand by that.

Uz Jsme Doma performs along with opener Los Federales at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3 at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Admission is $6. For more info call 884-0874.

GOD HELP AMERICA: Beyond James Jeffords' defection from the GOP, there's not a hell of a lot to celebrate this Fourth of July (or, in the words of Mark Eitzel, in his excellent and sadly under-attended recent Tucson appearance: "God, this country sucks right now"). But then again, we Americans have never let something so silly as the state of the Union get in the way of throwin' a shit-kicker of a party. It's in that spirit that Budweiser (can you get more American?) and the Rialto Theatre team up to bring three roots-with-a-twist rockers to town on the occasion of our nation's birth.

The Reverend Horton Heat has been at his Hey, you-got-punk-rock-in-my-rockabilly/No, you-got-rockabilly-in-my-punk-rock shtick for so long now that it's not shtick anymore. When he's in the mood, the good Reverend throws down with the best of 'em; but when he's bored, it shows. Let's hope he's feelin' that American love.

To be redundant as possible, Bare Jr. is led by Bobby Bare Jr., son of '70s country star Bobby Bare. The band is twangy enough to fall into the alt-country camp and hard enough to be considered Southern rock, but far more quirky and clever that most bands in either category. In other words, yes, they've got a dulcimer, but they channel it through mass distortion. The band's latest album, Brainwasher, was released in February on Virgin.

For 15 years, San Diego's The Paladins have mined music history for all things rootsy--Chicago blues, country swing, rockabilly, surf twang and country--and channeled them into an energetic amalgam best experienced live instead of through the luxury of your home speakers. The Bud's colder at the Rialto than it is in your fridge, anyway.

The Reverend Horton Heat, Bare Jr. and The Paladins perform at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $15 at all Zia and Ticketmaster locations. For additional info call 798-3333.

SNOOPIN' AROUND: Eternally half-lidded O.G. Snoop Dogg (at some point, he lost the "Doggy") makes his debut Tucson appearance this week. Apparently, with Suge Knight on the loose once again, Snoop's staying as far away from the hood as possible. Clothing label to follow. Snoop Dogg and Friends perform tonight, Thursday, June 28, at the TCC Arena, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets and additional information are available through Ticketmaster at 321-1000.

THE SCARY BREED: Is it just my imagination or do Connecticut hardcore heavies Hatebreed oddly seem to alternate between Skrappy's and the Rialto Theatre each time they play here? No matter; the angry kids always seem to find 'em. If you've got a taste for the hard stuff, you'll want to be in the pit of the Rialto this time around, located at 318 E. Congress St., at 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 1. Advance tickets are available at all Zia Records locations for $12. For further details call 798-3333.

COMBO PLATTER: New York's Semiautomatic, which features Rop Vasquez (ex-Peechees) and Akiko Carver and is somehow affiliated with the Kill Rock Stars label (though its self-titled debut from last year resides on Five Rue Christine), is an eerie excursion into electronica beats and blurps.

Herky-jerky art-punk combo Erase Errata is comprised of four ladies who hail from Oakland, Calif. Obviously informed by post-riot grrrl bands (angular guitars a-plenty and the occasional voice-of-Corin Tucker flashback), E2 is musically more challenging than the bulk of DIY politico-punk outfits.

Semiautomatic and Erase Errata combine for a rather unusual double bill at 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 1 at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Cover is five bucks and you can call 884-0874 for more 411.

REMEMBER THIS: Before heading out on its second East Coast tour, The Infinitely Indexed Memory Bank will play a rare local show this week. The lengthy moniker is basically an alias for Brit-born Tony Davies, who plays just about everything on TIIMB's debut disc, The I (Sandwalker Records), while Robin Davies (wife? sister?) contributes keyboards and backing vocals to two tracks. The record sports a handful of winning tunes that somehow combine that cozy, early-'80s pre-"alternative" edgy guitar sound (the bulk of the disc) with a slight twang (the bordering-on-Americana "Rise").

The Infinitely Indexed Memory Bank performs at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 30 at 7 Black Cats, which, incidentally, was sold by its original owner, Sharon Cruise, last week, and resides at 260 E. Congress St. For further details call the club at 670-9202.

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