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The Slits

SMOG at Bard College, Thursday

The Slits could have been one of the great shitty bands of the punk era, if they’d just been punk. Early on, they channeled feminine rage and attitude through three-chord guitar riffs, and added a dose of humor that their riot-grrrl successors could never quite get a handle on, all with “little—if any—musical ability.” (That’s their publicist talking.) But the group had embraced dub-reggae sounds by the time they recorded their debut album, Cut, in 1979, which made them all-but-impossible to pin down, and they split up two years later, leaving little more than a mudprint in the book of punk history. Founding vocalist Ari Up reconstituted the band this year, along with might-as-well-have-been-original bassist Tessa Pollitt and a few new Slits, for a full tour and a new EP called Revenge of the Killer Slits. They’ll play Bard College tonight, along with the Apes, Telepathe, and Shellshag. (Oct. 26, 7 PM, free, Annandale-On-Hudson, 386-890-9421)

Matt Haimovitz

Caffe Lena, Friday

What Matt Haimovitz has done for the cello over the last few years is akin to what the Kronos Quartet did for the string quartet when they burst on the scene a few decades ago: He’s busted the cello out of the classical-music circuit and taken it into new territory, both figuratively and literally. He’ll play Hendrix in a concert hall, and then turn around and play Bach in a bar. (This also explains, kids, why he’s on this page with all the pop/rock acts.) On his latest disc, Goulash!, Haimovitz sets Béla Bartók’s folk-inspired music next to works by contemporary composers Adrian Pop and DJ Olive, and then, for good measure, throws in a fiendishly compelling arrangement of Led Zep’s “Kashmir” for four cellos. So, given the level of acclaim and popularity he’s achieved, it’s not unreasonable to expect that tomorrow night’s show at Caffe Lena will be packed. (Oct. 27, 8 PM, $25, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

Complicated Shirt

Complicated Shirt CD release

Valentine’s, Saturday

Drew Benton is pissed off—not necessarily as a rule, per se, but any time he straps on his guitar and dons the Complicated Shirt moniker, it’s a done deal that he’s going to have a lot to bitch about. The Shirt—Benton, along with bassist Jason Jette and drummer Jonathan Pellerin—are about to release their third album, Compromising Compositions, and on first listen, it’s even more of an aural affront than their last, the lower-than-lo-fi Strigine. That’s a compliment, by the way: Benton’s thesaural, acerbic lyrics just wouldn’t pack the same punch without the aural equivalent of a nuclear meltdown behind them. The record doesn’t officially drop until January, so check out Saturday night’s show if you want to get the goods early. Zahnartz and Gun Christmas open. (Oct. 28, 9 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Alice in Chains

Washington Avenue Armory, saturday

For the past 15 years there has been no escape from Alice in Chains. They’ve dominated the radio airwaves, influenced every nü-grunge, nü-metal, and back-to-nü-nü-grunge band out there. Articles have been written, box sets have been released, and side projects have been started. It has been impossible to escape them, except on one front, and that is live performance. It’s actually been nearly impossible to see AIC live for the past 10 years, thanks to the drug problems of lead singer Layne Staley. When Staley passed away in 2002 of a drug overdose, people finally wrote off AIC as broken up. But our lesson’s learned: You should never count a good grunge band out. So on Saturday, you might want to cruise by the Armory, check out AIC (with their new lead singer, William DuVall) and witness firsthand a show from one of the architects of modern rock. (Oct. 29, 8 PM, $35, 195 Washington Ave., Albany, 694-7160)

The Brightwings

Jillian’s, Saturday

This Boston-based group—com-posed of three singer-songwriters and a drummer—will appear at Jillian’s in downtown Albany this week to promote their album Stay. The Brightwings took their name from an episode of The Wonder Years, and their music reflects the time period that the show represented. Their songs are inflected with classic-rock influences like the Eagles, CSNY, Tom Petty and Lynyrd Skynyrd. With three-part harmonies over acoustic guitars, frank lyrics and catchy melodies, they have been capturing sympathetic fans and garnering notices like this one from the Conway Daily Sun: “With an acoustic folk-pop-rock vibe that’s upbeat and moving, the Brightwings are poised to take flight from their Boston home.” (Oct. 28, 10 PM, free, Jillian’s, 59 N. Pearl St., Albany, 432-1997)

Also Noted

no also noted this week

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