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The High Strung, the Luxury Flats

Valentine’s, Thursday

There must be something in the water up there: Besides turning out the one and only Jerome Bettis (our favorite NFL running back ever!), Detroit has produced a staggering amount of great pop music. Wunderkinds Brendan Benson and Jack White are Detroitians; acts from Alice Cooper to the Stooges to Kid Rock have proudly flown their hometown flag. So the High Strung have quite a legacy to live up to—and from the sounds of their second disc, Moxie Bravo, they’re well on their way to adding to that legacy. Their sorta soulful indie-rock sound makes all the right references—listen for shades of Big Star and the Beatles, early Sloan, and contemporaries like the Shins and the Bigger Lovers. Opening tonight’s show are the Luxury Flats, a Hudson-based rock act who sound like a T-Rex-obsessed My Morning Jacket. Highly recommended. (March 16, 9 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Stereolab, Espers

Pearl Street, Thursday

The 2002 death of multi- instrumentalist Mary Hansen made many longtime fans lament the passing of Stereolab: Her contributions to the band’s shimmering, experimental sound were innumerable. Lo and behold, the group moved on; their most recent disc of new material (2004’s Margerine Eclipse) was regarded as one of their best. Since then, they’ve been all about the catalog—last year, Stereolab released Oscillons From the Anti Sun, a 3-CD/1-DVD boxed collection of EPs and B-sides, spanning the group’s remarkable 15-year history, and they’re currently traveling in support of Fab Four Suture, a compilation of singles released over the last year or so. Pitchfork-approved psych- folkers Espers are also on this evening’s bill. (March 16, 8:30 PM, $20, 10 Pearl St., Northampton, Mass., 413-584-7771)

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad

Red Square, Friday

The Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad may have begun the year as sad pandas—two of their members were thrown in jail for smoking a doobie in public. While they have received an otherwise warm response from their home city, perhaps these Pandas are looking for a new habitat. These masters of chill dub reggae will be supporting the release of their new album Slow Down. The group have played on bills with the Wailers, the Meditations and even Vanilla Ice. As the Ice Man would say: Check out the hook while the squad of Giant Panda Guerillas revolve it. (March 17, 10 PM, $5, 388 Broadway, Albany, 432-8584)

Celtic Cross

Northern Lights, Friday

Join the good people at Northern Lights tomorrow for their St. Patrick’s Day Party with music by Celtic Cross. This seven-piece Irish band may be exactly what the doctor ordered for the big night (in addition to a healthy dose of green beer). In addition to their traditional music, Celtic Cross—who have been playing together for 18 years—will also likely do some rock & roll, country and R&B covers to keep things interesting. In addition to her musical ability, lead singer Kathleen Fee is a champion Irish step-dancer. Maybe if you’re lucky, she’ll show off some of her moves tomorrow night. This show will be broadcast from 4-7 PM with Uncle Vito on WPYX 106. (March 17, 4 PM, $8, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

maura o’connell

Maura O’Connell

WAMC Performing Arts Studio, Saturday

Maura O’Connell, the acclaimed singer who began in the early ’80s with Celtic band DeDanaan, will be stopping in Albany as part of her full St. Patty’s weekend schedule. O’Connell emphasizes the relationship between writing and singing, doing both in service of each individual song rather than conforming to any specific genre. On that note, her newest album (Don’t I Know) is a mix of jazz, pop, rock and occassional glimmers of the traditional Irish sound. Her previous work has encompassed a broad range of collaborations: She played a street singer in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, and has recorded or performed with Bela Fleck, Dolly Parton, Van Morrison and Rosanne Cash. Come hear the voice that Rolling Stone has described as “crystalline” with a “pearly timbre.” (March 18, 8 PM, $25, 339 Central Ave., Albany, 465-5233)

Also Noted

Tonight (Thursday), catch the Brian Kaplan Band, Hector on Stilts and Bryan Thomas at the Skyline in downtown Albany (8 PM, $5, 472-8150). . . . Tomorrow (Friday), the New Age Cabaret will host a show at its temporary home in the Scarlet East complex on North Pearl Street; Sugar Eater, Society High, Graystar, Kicked and Still Reaching are scheduled to perform (6 PM, $8, 436-3465). . . . At the Egg on Saturday, catch a family show from Dan Zanes and Friends (3 PM, $8-$12, 473-1845); later that night, catch Al Kooper and Sonny Landreth at the same venue (8 PM, $24, 473-1845). . . . Folk legend Richie Havens performs at the Clark Art Institute on Saturday night (413-458-2303). . . . At Valentine’s this Saturday, it’s Sucka Brown, Honeycreeper, and Northampton, Mass.-based pop band Pop*A*Wheelie (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . While we’re on the topic of Northampton, Canadian songstress Kathleen Edwards returns to the Iron Horse Music Hall this Monday night, along with the Joel Plaskett Emergency, featuring former Thrush Hermit frontman Plaskett (7 PM, $20, 413-584-0610).

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