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The Fake Fictions, the Prairie Spies

51 3rd Street, Friday

You were already planning to go to Troy Night Out, yeah? Good, because this month’s free festivities happen to include a top-notch indie-rock show! Chicago-based trio the Fake Fictions pride themselves on their ability to pair old-school punk sounds with modern indie-pop; judging by the tunes on their latest album, Raw Yang, they’re doing a fine job at that. Their tourmates and fellow Chicagoans the Prairie Spies take a more rounded approach to their lo-fi thing: The band’s new record, Surplus Enjoyment, will be a trip down new-memory lane for fans of both Pavement and the Cars. (It can happen!) Opening Friday’s freebie rock show are Albany indie-pop brainiacs Scientific Maps. And did we mention it’s free? Now you know. Please note, this show was moved from Kismet Gallery, so be sure to check the map before venturing out. Also: This may be your last chance to catch live music at the 51 3rd space; keep that in mind. (July 25, 8 PM, free, 51 3rd St., Troy)

Plaza MusicFest

Empire State Plaza, Saturday

In last week’s Best Of issue, we forgot an important category. Best Modernist Outdoor Music Venue: Empire State Plaza. In the summer, the winds that whip around the spaces between Nelson Rockefeller’s marble palaces of government are welcome breezes, inviting you to hang out for hours and dig the public architecture. Especially if there’s an all-day festival going on, like this Saturday’s Plaza MusicFest. It begins at 2 PM and goes right on through 10 PM, starting with the juggy Ramblin’ Jug Stompers, Rocky Velvet, and the Mother Truckers; the featured artists are musical caravan Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, and Canadian folk-rockers Cowboy Junkies. Here’s hoping the Junkies crank it up to 11, or those Plaza winds might blow them away. (July 26, 2 PM, free, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-0559)

Bang on a Can Marathon with Terry Riley

Mass MoCA, Saturday

If your all-day music-festival tastes skew toward the avant-garde, boy, have we got the festival for you! Boundary-pushing ensemble Bang on a Can will wrap their seventh annual marathon this weekend at MASS MoCA, and they’ve brought along one of the biggest names in modern composition. Terry Riley basically launched the minimalist movement in music with his 1964 piece “In C,” and this weekend he’ll join forces with the 30-plus can-bangers to help bring the group’s yearly bash to a fitting conclusion. Saturday’s six-hour-plus blowout will also feature the mixed-media oratorio Shelter, and selections by the late, great Frank Zappa. Zappa, you say? We’re convinced. Get your tickets in advance, as this event tends to be a big seller. (July 26, 4 PM, $24-$40, 87 Marshall St., North Adams, Mass., 413-662-2111)


VETIVER

Vetiver

Valentine’s, Saturday

Judging by their MySpace genre-classification of “Thrash/Black Metal/Christian Rap,” one can assume that the members of San Francisco’s Vetiver have a sense of humor. Under further examination, however, there is a possibility that they simply could not find the right words to describe their music—enter the term “freak folk,” a label that vocalist and songwriter Andy Cabic disowns. “People should revisit that concept and improve upon it. It seems like a weak and lazy category,” he told interviewer Alexander Laurence of Los Angeles blog the Portable-Infinite. Taking their name from the Indian grass used in making perfume, Vetiver formed in 2003 and quickly signed to independent label, Dicristina. After extensive touring and collaborations with friend Devendra Banhart, the five members are on tour supporting their third album, Thing of the Past, which is composed solely of cover songs by the likes of Hawkwind, Loudon Wainwright III, and Townes Van Zandt. (July 26, 9 PM, $8, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Aimee Mann, Ashley P ond

Washington Park Lakehouse, Monday

A wise man once told us that Aimee Mann should be named the official songwriter for Albany, because of her ever-so-dour outlook on life in general. (“It’s not going to stop, so just give up,” was the passage quoted to back that up.) But look, Albany ain’t so bad—we get Aimee for free this week! And she’s even lightened up a bit—the latest disc from the one-time ’Til Tuesday frontwoman (we’re certain she’s sick and tired of hearing about this, but we have a word count to meet!) is called @#%&! Smilers, and it’s the most upbeat thing she’s done in years. Ashley Pond and her band will open Monday’s show; if you’ve followed Pond’s career thus far you know that her Dala disc was a highlight of the local scene last year, and with her recently added rhythm section, she is poised for bigger and better things—though we’re not quite sure what could be bigger and better than a free show in the park. (July 28, 6 PM, free, Washington Park, Albany, 434-4861)

Asylum Street Spankers

The Linda, Tuesday

Born of a 1994 booze- and hallucinogen-fueled party in Llano, Texas, the Asylum Street Spankers have made it their mission to keep the spirit of that party alive. The Spankers named themselves after a street in Austin that led, naturally, to a state asylum—the same street where the band started out as a group of buskers, performing their mix of country, progressive folk, jazz, blues and rock. A “spanker” is someone who can play their instrument vigorously and proficiently, and the Spankers certainly do that, while adding smart, sophisticated lyrics to the mix. They’ve covered songs by everyone from Tom Waits to Bob Dylan to Black Flag to the Beastie Boys; in their own songs, they’ve tackled issues like marijuana legalization and the “war on drugs.” So you know where they’re coming from . . . um, politically. (July 29, 8 PM, $20, WAMC Performing Arts Studio, 339 Central Ave., Albany, 465-5233 ext. 4)


Also Noted

Movie star meets indie-folk-rocker, makes a great record, tours nation: Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, collectively known as She and Him, play tonight (Thursday) at the Academy of Music Theater in Northampton, Mass. (8 PM, $20, 413-584-9032). . . . It happens every year, and this year is no exception: The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival runs tonight (Thursday) through Sunday at Dodds Farm in Hillsdale, and features performances from the likes of Dar Williams, Martin Sexton, and Patty Larkin (call for times and prices, 866-325-2744). . . . The Saratoga Acoustic Blues Society will celebrate the season with a two-day event at Stockade Imports in Saratoga Springs tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday; Mark Tolstrup, the Tequila Mockingbirds, Tom Evans and Michael Eck are among the many acts scheduled to perform (6 PM, free, 583-2044). . . . Palatypus kick off a busy weekend at the Albany Public Library’s Garage Bands in the Garage series on Friday; the Blisterz share the evening (6 PM, free, 427-4300). . . . We fondly remember folk duo Ian and Sylvia; this Saturday, one half of that late, great duo—Ian Tyson—performs at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass. (7 PM, $30, 413-586-8686). . . . It’s Swing Night for this Wednesday’s freebie At the Plaza concert at Empire State Plaza; the Count Basie Orchestra and the Royal Crown Revue supply the swingin’ sounds—just bring your dancing shoes (6 PM, free, 473-0559). . . . Close out your week with an old-fashioned garage-soul rave-up, courtesy of King Khan and the Shrines, at the Iron Horse on Wednesday (8:30 PM, $15, 413-586-8686).


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