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TALENT IN BLACK AND WHITE

Phoenix band The Love Me Nots started out as a side project for its members, all of whom are in other bands, but that may soon change. Despite the fact that the group has only been together for just more than four months--they played their first gig at the Surly Wench in mid-July--things are happening awfully fast for the co-ed foursome.

After they posted four demos recorded at their third rehearsal on their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/luvmenots), the demos started getting airplay on a college station in the United Kingdom. One of the people in the audience at that first gig at the Wench was Tucsonan Tim Gassen, a former member of '80s garage revivalists The Marshmallow Overcoat who is now a writer, garage-rock historian, owner of Purple Cactus Media and video director. In a recent cover story on the band in the Phoenix New Times, he said, "They were really, really, really good, especially for such a young band. ... I have seen maybe 10,000 bands play in my life. ... I have seen too much music, and it really is difficult to get me excited about a new band. And these guys--and ladies--just killed me! Their style, their attitude on stage, the whole presence." He'll be shooting a video for the band at this week's Tucson appearance, which will also be their first gig after returning from Detroit to record their debut album with noted producer and engineer Jim Diamond, a former bassist for the Dirtbombs who has recorded albums with the New Bomb Turks, The Mooney Suzuki, the Electric Six and The White Stripes, among many others.

Did I mention they've only been together for about four months?

So, what do they sound like? They sound like an authentic garage band from the '60s--Farfisa organ, fuzzy Mosrite surf-inspired guitar, female vocalist, the works--blasting through songs that hardly ever break the three-minute barrier. In other words, they sound an awful lot like Tucson's own The Okmoniks. On their MySpace page, they describe themselves as "spy-fuzz-surf-gogo," and the "gogo" part of that description is probably due to their sense of style more than anything: They dress the part, with the male half wearing mod-style suits, and the ladies sporting vintage-looking short-cut dresses and knee-high go-go boots--black and white are the only colors allowed. In other words, they're into showmanship, being not just a band but entertainers--a trait that reportedly extends to their live shows, as well.

See for yourself what all the fuss is about at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, when The Love Me Nots return to the Surly Wench, 424 N. Fourth Ave., along with Los Angeles' The Tell Tale Heartbreakers. For more information, call 882-0009.

THOSE KITCHY FINLANDERS!

The moody, ambient pop of Helsinki, Finland's Husky Rescue has drawn comparisons to Air and Stereolab, and those comparisons are fairly apt. "Summertime Cowboy," from the group's 2005 album Country Falls (Minty Fresh), is an ode to its titular character that appropriately references "laser lights" and sounds a bit like a perkier, sped-up version of an Air song. It's slightly kitschy electro-pop with traces of trip-hop, but sans the beats normally associated with the latter genre--on "City Lights," singer Reeta-Leena Korhola uses the same treated-vocal sound that Beth Gibbons used in Portishead. London's The Observer described the band as "a combination of David Lynch and Bambi," and that makes sense, too, as there's a balance here between the darkness of Lynch and the carefree airiness of the Disney classic. Following an appearance earlier this summer at Lollapalooza, and prior to an upcoming performance at the Austin City Limits Music Festival later this month, the group will perform at Plush this week as part of their first West Coast tour.

Touring with Husky Rescue on those dates is Judah Johnson, not a dude but a five-piece from Detroit that sounds unlike anything I've ever heard emerge from that city. On their latest album, Be Where I Be (Flameshovel, 2006), the group gorgeously blends indie-pop with electronic flourishes, and the result approximates what Talk Talk might sound like if they were still releasing albums today. The album was recorded, mixed and co-produced by studio vet Andy Smith, who has worked with artists as diverse as Public Enemy, David Bowie, Mariah Carey and most recently Paul Simon and Brian Eno, on Simon's Surprise. It's a lovely little slice of atmospheric dream-pop.

Husky Rescue and Judah Johnson arrive at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., next Thursday, Sept. 14. Opening the show at 9:30 p.m. is Luca. Cover is $8. For further details, call 798-1298.

ON THE BANDWAGON

As part of the Ninth Annual Courtyard Concert Series, veteran modern folk singer-songwriter John Gorka, who has 20 years' worth of albums under his belt, will perform in town this weekend. Known as much for his rich baritone voice as his slice-of-life songwriting, which has garnered him comparisons to Lyle Lovett and John Prine (though I'd argue he's far more earnest a writer than either), Gorka is touring in support of his most recent album, Writing in the Margins (Red House, 2006). He'll perform at Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Ave., at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9. Advance tickets are available for $18 at Antigone Books, CD City, Enchanted Earthworks, online at www.rhythmandroots.org or by calling (800) 594-8499. For further details, call 440-4455.

Though he hasn't released an album since 2003's live Swing Time (Bloodshot), acclaimed honky-tonk master Wayne "The Train" Hancock drops into Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., this week. You always know what you're gonna get at a Hancock show: a reliable amalgam of retro country, Western swing and rockabilly--sans drums--and you probably already know if you're a fan or not. Congregate with the faithful on Monday, Sept. 11. Twang Tango and Mickey Sixx and Mighty Joel Ford kick things off at 9:30 p.m. Call 622-3535 with any questions you might have.

Metal outfit Lamb of God, who combine doomsday-growl vocals, proggy changes and pummeling guitar riffs to better effect than the bulk of similar-sounding bands, headline a modern metal extravaganza this week that also includes Swedish prog-death-metal giants Opeth and Sanctity. This one's at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Monday, Sept. 11. Advance tickets for the all-ages show are available for $20 at the venue's box office. They'll be $23 on the day of show. For more info, call 740-1000.

Like Phoenix's Minibosses, The Advantage perform soundtracks from Nintendo NES games, with the bonus of counting Hella's Spencer Seim as a member. Be among the coalition of dorks on Sunday, Sept. 10 at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. The all-ages show starts at 9 p.m. with a set from Osama Bin Sars. $7 gets you through the doors, and you can call 884-0874 for more details.

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