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Far-flung garage-funk cosmologies are nothing new — the Make-Up, the Lord High Fixers, and the Hives all had their own version of the MC5’s 10-point program — but lately we’ve been partial to the "Five Pillars of Soul" enshrined by the Hoosier-state soul-punk assassins John Wilkes Booze. On five limited-edition EPs, the band paid roundabout tribute to Marc Bolan, Melvin Van Peebles, Tania (Patty) Hearst, Albert Ayler, and Yoko Ono — all in Beefheart-and-JBs-flavored R&B raveups warbled in an off-key, Bolanesque sneer. (Though they’re not above a weird counterrevolutionary joke, as on their faux-Guthrie country tune "People’s Songbook": "Death to the fascist insects/that prey on the lives of the people.") Touring behind a single-disc Kill Rock Stars re-issue of the "Pillars" series, JWB play Sunday at Flywheel (413-527-9800) in Northampton and Monday at a house party in the Boston area that we don’t want to see busted. (Google around. You’ll find it.)

Out of step and out of tune, the self-titled debut album by Georgia’s the Black Lips sounded haunted and malicious — even if you didn’t know that guitarist Ben Eberbaugh (death by car crash) didn’t live to see its release. With sloppy garage-rock/biker-punk chords and a maniacal rat-voiced frontman shouting such provocations as "I’ve Got a Knife," "You’re Dumb," and "Everybody Loves a Cocksucker," they sounded like the Sonics after a few cases of cough syrup. The surviving members have a new disc coming next month on Bomp; they’re at AS220 (401-831-9327) in Providence tonight (Thursday, April 8) and at the Chopping Block (617-734-4177) in Boston on Friday.

Anyone expecting darker tones from Stereolab on their first album since the passing of longtime singer/keyboardist Mary Hansen (death by bicycle crash) won’t find them on Margerine Eclipse (Elektra); whatever grief may lie beneath the surface, it is surface — champagne-bubble effervescence, French-pop sophistication, bachelor-pad zum-zum — that’s still the group’s chief concern. They’re at Pearl Street (413-584-0610) in Northampton on Monday and the Roxy (617-931-2000) in Boston on Tuesday. Stereolab’s cross-channel rivals, the French duo Air, are back with tunes from their new Talkie Walkie (Astralwerks) for shows at Avalon (617-423-NEXT) in Boston on Monday and at Pearl Street on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Godsmack gear up for the Metallica tour with dates Monday at the Hippodrome (413-787-0600) in Springfield and April 15 at the Mohegan Sun (860-204-7163) in Uncasville, Connecticut. Slipknot break in some new masks while headlining the sold-out Jagermeister tour at the Palladium (800-477-6849) in Worcester on Saturday; the emo Smiths, Brand New, play a sold-out Palladium gig on Wednesday with local heroes Piebald. And Gainesville folk-punks Against Me! play an all-ages gig at the Jackson Mann Community Center (617-635-5153) in Allston on Saturday and at the Call (401-751-2255) in Providence on Sunday.

BY CARLY CARIOLI

Issue Date: April 9 - 15, 2004
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