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Club Helsinki, Great Barrington, Mass., Friday

Though the name sounds like a mood-altering pharmaceutical or an exotic hair conditioner, Melomane actually are a New York City-based pop band—and a perfectly swell one, too. They claim that “Melomane” is a French word for “lover of melody,” which, if true, would fit the group’s music like a beret. Led by French-born, California-raised Pierre de Gaillande, Melomane make lyrically quirky and musically sweet art-pop, and list Wings and Leonard Cohen as prime influences. (Digest that combination.) Sample lyric, from the song “Far Out”: “I’m so sensitive, it hurts my hair to grow out.” They prefer to call what they do “chamber pop,” though this seems a bit too close to “chamber pot” to be a good marketing handle. What ever you want to tag it, it’s catchy and fun, and should be a good fit for the comfy confines of Club Helsinki. (Nov. 22, 9 PM, $10, 413-528-6308)

Richard X. Heyman, Jump Cannon, 5 Alpha Beatdown, Bird Circuit
Valentine’s, Friday

Richard X. Heyman is one of those pop pilots who generally flies below the radar, which is a complete bummer for those who have missed him lo these last 15 years. The New York City-based Heyman has a long history of creating elaborate, multitextured, living-room recordings on which he sings and plays nearly all the instruments—and the ones he doesn’t play, his wife, Nancy Leigh, does. His music, which can be linked to the British Invasion, the Byrds and Elvis Costello, has attained a critical and cult following over the years. Herman’s Hermit Peter Noone covered Heyman’s “Hoosier,” off his first release, 1986’s Actual Size EP, and 1988’s Living Room!! LP apparently was the first DIY album Rolling Stone reviewed. Heyman’s dip into the majors in 1991 with Hey Man! resulted in that familiar tale of lack of label support, but the praise given his last two releases, Cornerstone (1998) and Basic Glee (2002), proves that his home-studio efforts are worth their while. “He’s someone who’s personally obsessed and intimately connected with the power of rock & roll in our lives,” says Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild (and host of Bravo’s Musicians) on Basic Glee’s liner notes. Heyman will play Valentine’s tomorrow (Friday) with Jump Cannon, 5 Alpha Beatdown and Bird Circuit opening. (Nov. 22, 9 PM, $5, 432-6572)

Pre-Thanksgiving Rock & Roll Fat Burner
Club Caroline, Friday-Saturday

Bob Carlton (ex-Dryer, the Six- fifteens, Desk Jet Booking) will put on his annual Thanksgiving Holiday Extravaganza (or, as he likes to call it, the Rock & Roll Fat Burner) at Club Caroline this year—and this year it’s gonna be a doozy. He’s managed to get James Kochalka Superstar—that’s the musical moniker of comic-book auteur James Kochalka (Monkey Vs. Robot, Pinky & Stinky)—to provide his brand of Ozzy Osbourne-meets-Daniel Johnston madman/genius rock. Check out Kochalka’s comics at Boston-based Figgs-Gravel Pit amalgam the Gentlemen (helmed by Figguitarist Mike Gent), will play their snotty blues-based rock ditties on Friday; Figgs drummer Pete Hayes brings his duo, the Land of Nod (with Steve Schiffman), to the club that night as well. The Sixfifteens round out that night’s bill. Saturday’s lineup features Boston-based Brett Rosenberg Project (think Figgs), the popsplosive Day Jobs and the Let Downs, along with the aforementioned JKS. (Nov. 22-23: Fri, 9 PM, $8; Sat, 9 PM, $5, 580-8868)


Julia Brown, C Jane Run, J-Page
The Larkin, Saturday

There was a bonanza of talent at the Elvis Costello tribute show last summer, including a few out-of-town notables making local debuts. Among these were Julia Brown, who made quite an impression with her haunting solo acoustic version of Costello’s “Deep Dark Truthful Mirror.” Brown returns to Albany with a show at the Larkin on Saturday night. Consistently praised for her pop songcraft and strong vocals—one reviewer described her album Jubilant Newborn Alien Haze as “spacious and radiant”—Brown is definitely in the Costello/XTC tradition. Or, as she told an interviewer, “I love, love, love ’80s Britpop.” Brown will be joined by a couple of local musicians, bassist Arya Chowdhury and drummer Ian Rafalak, for the show. Also on the bill are Albany-based popsters C Jane Run and J-Page. (Nov. 23, 8 PM, $5, 463-5225)

Sevendust, 30 Seconds to Mars, Cynder
Northern Lights, Saturday

Despite a major family tragedy a couple of weeks ago, the show will go on for Sevendust. Lajon Witherspoon, the 30-year-old frontman for the group, lost his brother Reginald to a fatal shooting Nov. 9. Lajon’s father told him the awful news just a few minutes before a Sevendust show, and he asked Lajon to stay where he was and perform and to dedicate the performance to Reginald. Sevendust, currently on tour in support of their latest album, Animosity, hit the music scene with their self-titled debut release in 1997. The Atlanta-based group have since become well-known for their hard riffs and angry lyrics. Lajon has been described as a “metal singer that can actually sing.” The rest of the band is made up of Vinnie Hornsby on bass, Morgan Rose on drums, and John Connolly and Clint Lowery on guitars. Sevendust will hit the stage at Northern Lights Saturday, where they’ll be joined by Cynder and 30 Seconds to Mars. (Nov. 23, 7:30 PM, $22, $20 advance tickets, 371-0012)

 also noted
You may have to resort to the age-old quarter toss tomorrow (Friday) night, there’s so much darn stuff happening. Along with what’s listed above, and featured on Night & Day (Sonic Youth), you’ve got the Kamikaze Hearts, gay tastee and Small Axe’s DJ Miller performing at Changing Spaces (8:30 PM, 433-1537). . . . Also Friday, Mabel (Frank Moscowitz and Martha Kronholm) and knotworking will be at the Larkin (8 PM, $5, 463-5225). . . . Saxman Brian Patneaude brings his quartet—guitarist George Muscatello, bassist Ryan Lukas and drummer Danny Whelchel—to Saratoga’s One Caroline Street Friday. Expect original material from each band member, as they’ve been honing their skills at Justin’s every Sunday for a several months (8 PM, free, 587-2026). . . . For jazz in Albany, the Keith Pray Electric Band, which includes guitarist Chuck D’Aloia, bassist Ed Torge and drummer Bob Halek, will play at the Van Dyck Friday (7 and 9:30 PM, $8, 381-1111). . . . And finally Friday, jamsters Motet, featuring Hope Clayburn of Deep Banana Blackout, will play Skidmore College (9 PM, 580-5775). . . . On Saturday, Richie Havens will perform at the Mahaiwe Theatre in Great Barrington, Mass.; Jess Klein opens (8 PM, $37, $35 advance, 413-528-3394). . . . Rob Beaulieu & Raisinhead, with Todd Nelson and Chuck D’Aloia, will celebrate the release of their new CD upstairs at Valentine’s, with Arc opening; on the downstairs stage, Denim & Diamonds, a theatrical electro-pop band with video accompaniment, composed of Jason Martin, Tyler Jacobsen and Chris Skinner, the Stars of Rock and Boston-based Mishima USA, will provide the entertainment. (up: 9 PM, $8; down: 9 PM, $5; 432-6572). . . . The Bayou Café in Albany celebrates its expansion with a zydeco party, and L.A.-based Lisa Haley & the Zydecats have made the trek to partake; our own Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers will open (8 PM, $10—includes hors d’oeuvres, 426-8550). . . . On Sunday, Fred Gillen Jr. makes a return visit to the Larkin (7:30 PM, 463-5225). . . . An industrial-sized Whitman’s sampler of punk touches down in Albany on Sunday, when the Virus, the Epidemic, the Victimized, Armedalite Rifles, Mary’s Ugly Children and Misfits tribute band Wolfsblood play downstairs at Valentine’s (6 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Saves the Day, Ash, Kinda Like Spitting and Circle and Square will play Saratoga Winners on Tuesday (8 PM, $17, $15 advance, 783-1010). . . . The Wait, Paranoid Social Club and the Suggestions will play a pre-Thanksgiving show at Valentine’s on Wednesday (9 PM, $8, 432-6572).

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