10 Cool & Cheap Weekenders: November 2-4
UPDATED (9:30 a.m.): Per @FitzLiveMusic, Rakim has canceled due to Sandy-related travel difficulties. :(
Walters, November 2
Houston is a better place for Indian Jewelry still being here. They could have moved somewhere hipper long ago and been welcomed with open arms, but Tex Kerschen, Erika Thrasher and their accomplices have never cared a lick about being hip. For a decade now, the group has been a dependable source of electronically addled but intricately crafted mayhem that often conceals a devious melodic gift.
Their first album in two years, the brand-new Peel It (Reverb Appreciation Society), could be a lost artifact from the old Wax Trax! days, but that only scratches the surface of something much more sinister and bizarre. Careful you don't step on something sharp. With the Wiggins and Bed Moves. CHRIS GRAY
Allow Public Image Ltd. to reintroduce themselves. Following 1992 LP That What Is Not, the irrepressible John Lydon became a best-selling author with 1993's childhood/Sex Pistols memoir Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs; was sued by a former bandmate on Judge Judy; reloaded an approximation of the Pistols; and appeared in a butter ad on British TV. (Among many, many other things.)
His hilarious, sometimes unfortunate media eruptions, while not all that different from the kind of postmodern pranks Lydon regularly pulled in PiL, eventually clouded public memory of how important they had been. Apart from Gang of Four, no band fused rock with insurrectionist politics and the coming tide of electronic dance music more successfully and influentially, so much so that Lydon and various PiL alumni effortlessly skip over that 20-year gap on sleek and cheeky brand-new LP This Is PiL. CHRIS GRAY
Fitzgerald's, November 2
Rap needs its own hall of fame, if only to induct people like Rakim. Beginning with albums with DJ partner Eric B such as 1987 landmark Paid In Full, the former William Griffin Jr. (a devout Muslim since age 15) has used language the way John Coltrane and Charlie Parker used their swooping and diving saxophone riffs: to brag and boast, and blow your mind with his astounding agility and dexterity.
This is the man who swore "I Ain't No Joke" on the first song of Paid In Full, later promised "I hold the microphone like a grudge," and has meant it ever since. Since splitting with Eric B. following three more albums, Rakim has gone on to a successful if sporadic solo career, most recently with 2009's The Seventh Seal. CHRIS GRAY