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Yo La Tengo

Academy of Music, Friday


If you’ve never heard of Yo La Tengo, don’t let their latest album title, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, confuse you about the music they make and crowds they draw. They’re certainly not a tough-guy band who play songs about brass knuckles and knocked-out teeth, but rather an indie-rock trio who have been together since the ’80s. Husband-and-wife duo Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley started the band 23 years ago in Hoboken, N.J., and have continued to craft an eclectic sound of experimental folk, electronic pop, and old-fashioned punk-rock. They have released more than 15 full-length albums and more than two dozen singles and LPs, and they aren’t showing signs of quitting any time soon—after this current tour they’re off to Europe. (April 20, 8 PM, $25, 274 Main St., Northampton, Mass., 413-584-9032)

Two Cow Garage

Valentine’s, Friday

Columbus, Ohio, rockers Two Cow Garage are doing the rounds to plug their new album Three, which hits stores on Tuesday (April 24); tomorrow’s (Friday) show is in fact being billed as a CD release. And while there’s much to recommend the release, we can’t recommend the show highly enough, as the rough-around-the-edges trio have a reputation for full-on, go-for-broke, rock & roll recitals. And you never know if this could be your last chance to catch them—if the lyrics on new songs like “No Shame” (“There ain’t no shame in just givin’ up and walking away”) are saying anything, the boys could be considering getting out of the business. Which they shouldn’t, so go tell them when they play Valentine’s Friday night with Sonorous Gale and—for real?—Small Axe. (April 20, 9 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave. Albany, 432-6572)

The Clay People and Super 400 CD-release party

Revolution Hall, Saturday

Local music fans don’t get too many chances to see these two Capital Region rock institutions on the same night—prior to Metroland’s Feedback 2007 show this past January, the bands hadn’t shared a stage in years. So this Saturday’s double CD-release show isn’t only a mutual pat on the back for the two bands, but a victory lap of sorts for area music fans. The Clays have been promising their new Waking the Dead disc for a while now, and the time has finally come for it to see the light of day; meanwhile, after taking seven years between their first two studio records, this will be Super 400’s third release in as many years (counting last year’s excellent Live ’05). As a bonus, Boston’s Muck and the Mires, winners of Little Steven’s Underground Garage Battle of the Bands, will open. (April 21, 9 PM, $10, 421-425 River St., Troy, 274-5233)

John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Al Kooper

The Egg, Saturday

This kind of stuff is slowly being lost to the mists of time, so it’s worth noting that John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers were the seminal British blues group of the 1960s. Mayall, who grew up listening to records by the likes of Leadbelly and Eddie Lang, led a band Eric Clapton once described as a school for the blues. Who got schooled there? Clapton and Jack Bruce (Cream); Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (Fleetwood Mac); Mick Taylor (the Rolling Stones); and Andy Fraser (Free). Mayall’s current lineup features three Americans, including drummer Joe Yuele, who’s played with Mayall for two decades. This will not be your typical bar-band blues. Al Kooper is another ’60s survivor, famed for his session work on Bob Dylan’s essential recordings and for founding Blood, Sweat and Tears—though his acclaimed original group bore little resemblance to the one famous for “Spinning Wheel.” Kooper is touring with his current band, the Funky Faculty. (April 21, 8 PM, $24, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

Of Montreal

Skidmore College, Saturday

Of Montreal have found themselves receiving a lot of attention recently, having become the most notable band to hail from the psych-pop Elephant Six collective, based in Athens, Ga. Their latest album, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, the group’s eighth, finds primary songwriter Kevin Barnes inventing characters and telling bizarre stories over varied sounds that include infectious synth-driven pop—such as on lead single “Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse”—as well as some funk, one chorus that screams disco, and more than a handful of abstract, noise-driven quirkiness. The band’s live show features more wardrobe changes than that of a pop princess, and for those who attend Saturday’s show at Skidmore’s Sports and Recreation Center: Be on penis alert. At a recent show, Barnes performed in the nude, and later said he was rather flattered that people were talking about him and his package. (April 21, 8 PM, $20, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 580-5298)

Harry Connick Jr.

Harry Connick Jr.

Proctor’s Theatre, Monday

Actor-musician Harry Connick Jr. has been an enormous supporter of the victims of Hurricane Katrina ever since that disaster happened a couple years ago. A native of the city, Connick immediately went to work raising money and performing charity concerts to help the victims. And the smooth-voiced blue-eyed singer is still going strong with his charity work. According to the Proctor’s Web site, Connick will perform selections from his two-decade-long career as well as “songs from two brand new releases, the all-instrumental Chanson du Vieux Carre and Oh, My NOLA, a 16-song collection of vocal tracks” about New Orleans (royalties from which are donated to Connick’s charity, New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village.) Connick and his big band will stop by Schenectady as part of his spring U.S. tour. (April 23, 7:30 PM, $37.50-$65, 432 State St., Schenectady, 346-6204)

Also Noted
We apologize in advance for all the Northampton references to follow, but they’re having a good week—what can we do? First, tonight (Thursday), it’s an all-ages show at Valentine’s right here in Albany, with Sick Puppies, The Snake The Cross the Crown, ActionReaction, and Prima (7:30 PM, $7, 432-6572). . . . Tomorrow (Friday) at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass., it’s the one and only Kristin Hersh, who’ll perform songs from her new Learn to Sing Like a Star with a full band—and strings! Delorean will open (7 PM, $17, 413-584-0610). . . . Fountains of Wayne’s new album Traffic and Weather hit stores a few weeks back; they’ll play some those fine new tunes at Pearl Street in Northampton this Saturday; their guests will be the Motet and Winterpills (8:30 PM, $20, 413-584-7771). . . . The Cooper Union celebrate one whole year together—don’t laugh, that’s a long relationship in rock world—at Valentine’s on Saturday, with help from the Corduroys (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Maine-born singer-songwriter Patty Griffin has two area shows this week, with Texas band Terremoto in tow: in Massachusetts at Northampton’s Calvin Theater on Saturday (8 PM, $25-$35, 413-584-1444), then at the Egg on Monday (7:30 PM, $28, 473-1845). . . . Wind down the weekend with the smooth jazz sounds of the Kurt Elling Quartet and Bill Charlap Trio at the Egg on Sunday (7PM, $24, 473-1845). . . . Not to harp on it, but at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Monday, it’s Graham Parker and the Latest Clowns; his band this time out features Capital Region expats Mike Gent (Figgs) on drums and Brett Rosenberg on guitar. Eileen Jewell will open (7 PM, $20, 413-584-0610).

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