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Honey Tongue, Nysm
Valentine’s, Thursday

Jen Ayers, lead singer of the Seattle pop-rock foursome Honey Tongue, has been compared to everyone from Janis Joplin to Fiona Apple to Garbage’s Shirley Manson. Ayers’ voice has landed her gigs singing the national anthem at sold-out NBA games, and she has also been a two-time Lilith Fair Talent Search Finalist. Ayers and guitarist Graham McNeill already had opened for acts such as Tom Petty, Dave Matthews Band and Vertical Herizon before they joined drummer Darnton Lewis and bassist Sam Larson to create Honey Tongue in 2000. The band just recently finished recording four new songs at Seattle’s Studio X with noted producer Brett Eliason, who has worked with Pearl Jam, Mad Season and Neil Young. A full-length release is due out this summer. Honey Tongue will appear with Nysm downstairs at Valentine’s tonight (Thursday). (May 9, 9 PM, $5, 432-6572)

Kim Richey
The Larkin Lounge, Saturday

Kim Richey has been making a buzz in country-music circles as of late. While she spent much of last year touring with Trisha Yearwood, Shawn Colvin and Jonatha Brooke, Richey managed to squeeze in some time to record a new album. Richey’s fourth release, due out later this year, is her first for the Lost Highway label—her labelmates include Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams and Willie Nelson—and she’s traveling near and far in support of it. Richey moved to Nashville early in her career, and through the release of her three albums, she’s begun to gain critical attention. Along with the songs she’s written for her own records, Richey has co-written a couple of whoppers: “Nobody Wins,” for Radney Foster, and “Believe Me Baby (I Lied),” for Yearwood, for which Richey received a Grammy nomination. Richey will play two shows at the Larkin Lounge on Saturday. (May 11, 8 and 10:30 PM, $10, 463-5225)

Catherine McGrann

They Might Be Giants
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, Mass., Saturday

Those of you who have been keeping tabs on They Might Be Giants may have gotten the impression that the Johns (Flansburgh and Linnell) had abandoned the live circuit for two-dimensional pursuits: They provided Malcolm in the Middle with its theme song, “Boss of Me,” they gave the opening credits of Austin Powers a musical accompaniment, as they did for The Daily Show, they’ve composed for the Nightline Primetime: Brave New World series, and they wrote a song for National Public Radio’s This American Life (titled, cheekily enough, “I’m Sick of This American Life”)—and that’s the short version of the list. But, for those of you eager to get a taste of the band in a live setting, which the Salt Lake Tribune described as “borderline mayhem in the best possible sense,” we’ve got good news: Supporting their first full-lengther in five years, Mink Car, They Might Be Giants are on the road again. The “geek-rock godfathers” will play MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center on Saturday. So, do, do let’s start. (May 11, 8 PM, $22.50, $17.50 students, 413-662-2111)

Caitlin Cary
Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Sunday

Though former bandmate Ryan Adams’ sudden solo celebrity has all but obscured the memory of the “other ones” in Whiskeytown, Caitlin Cary has boldly soldiered on. In fact, the guests on her own solo full-length debut, While You Weren’t Looking, indicate that the former Emmylou to Adams’ Gram has significant cred all her own. The disc was produced by onetime dB Chris Stamey (with help from Whiskeytowners Mike Daly and Skillet Gilmore), and features contributions by Let’s Active’s Mitch Easter, Jen Gunderman of the Jayhawks, Jon Wurster from Superchunk and, yes, the It-Boy himself, Ryan Adams (who co-wrote three of the songs). With such collaborators, it’s clear that Cary hasn’t strayed too far from the country-rock-meets-jangle-pop approach of her old outfit, and that’s just fine by the critics: The Los Angeles Daily News called her album “soulful, spirited and elegant,” and the genre’s touchstone publication, No Depression, upped the ante, declaring it “the best recording yet to surface from the remnants of Whiskeytown.” Who knows, now maybe Elton John will invite her over. (May 12, 7 PM, $8, 800-THE-TICK)

Mike Watt and the Secondmen, the Stars of Rock
Valentine’s, Tuesday

Of all the heralds of spring, perhaps none is as reliable as the man in the van jamming econo with the thud stick—you know, the cat from Pedro with the boom broom. All right, we’ll spell it out for you: It’s spring, so bass player and indie-rock legend Mike Watt is touring again. Yeah, sure, there are lots of bands who swing through the area more or less every year, but how many summers in a row do you wanna spend $45 for “Sweet Baby James” and a picnic? Every time Watt comes through, it’s something new—new support players, new material. The guy’s tireless (how’d you like to try 60 gigs in 61 days?). On his current Our Oars Become Wings tour, Watt will play songs from his upcoming album, The Secondman’s Middle Stand, which deals with his recent struggle with a life-threatening illness. The album “loosely parallels Dante’s The Divine Comedy,” and the tour’s title derives from Ulysses’ comment to Dante that a material object—“like a bass or an oar,” Watt notes—can propel one to loftier, metaphysical heights. As Watt himself says, “Quite the mindblow.” Opening for Watt will be the Stars of Rock. (May 14, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Dead Kennedys
Saratoga Winners, Wednesday

You make the call: Is it live or is it Dead Kennedys? On Wednesday, guitarist East Bay Ray, bassist Kluas Flouride—original members of Dead Kennedys—and D.H. Peligro, the band’s second drummer, will play Saratoga Winners with singer Brandon Cruz, as Dead Kennedys. Cruz, cool-guy name notwithstanding, is not a Fox-network series star, but nor is he Jello Biafra, the band’s original and iconoclastic front man—he’s just some guy who’s gotten hold of lyrics to D.K. songs such as “Holiday in Cambodia” and “Too Drunk to Fuck.” And there’s the rub. See, there’s a whole mess of lawsuits and bitter feelings about just what—or whom—deserves the name (and the royalties attached to the name) Dead Kennedys. Now, that being said, Jello’s busy these days touring his scathing, hilarious anti-consumer-culture spoken-word work, so if you want to hear “MTV—Get Off the Air,” “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” or “California Über Alles” performed in a club, it’s gonna be by a guy named Brandon. Also on the bill, the Generators, Murderers Row and River City Rebels. (May 15, 8 PM, $15, 783-1010)

also noted

Spookie Daly Pride

Five-piece Boston-based groove-funk band Spookie Daly Pride will play on the upstairs stage of Valentine’s tonight (Thursday), with Runna Muck opening (8 PM, $6, 432-6572). . . . The Adrian Cohen Quartet welcome neo-Dixieland jazz band Made in the Shade to their Thursday-night Larkin gig (9 PM, $3, 463-5225). . . . New York City born rootsy, bluesy artist Maria Muldaur will play Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki tonight; and tomorrow (Friday) at the club, Texan Jimmy LaFave will perform (Thu: 9 PM, $25, $20 advance; Fri: $15; 413-528-6308). . . . Valentine’s will host a Center for the Disabled benefit tomorrow, featuring the Wait, Crawdad, Dan Wos Project, Second Hand Smoke (upstairs), and the Girl, Small Appliances, Simon Screams, Paddy Kilrain (downstairs) (8:45 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Cow-punksters the Coal Palace Kings will celebrate their third release, Upstate, on Saturday at Valentine’s [See Listen Here, page 30]. Continuing on the roots-rock theme, Roundbale Conspiracy, the College Farm and P.J. Loughran will play the downstairs stage at Valentine’s Saturday (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Local rockabilly greats Johnny Rabb and the Jailhouse Rockers will be at the Ale House Saturday (10 PM, $4, 272-9740).

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