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The Casualties, the Forgotten, River City Rebels, Plastic Jesus
Valentine’s, Thursday

For the past decade, the Casualties have stayed true to their sound and their philosophy, offering their fans fast, no-bullshit, down-and-dirty street punk. Their new album, Die Hards on the Side One Dummy label, is 13 tracks of old-school punk perfection, complete with “catchy choruses, snarly vocals, and simple but intelligent lyrics,” according to the Hardcore Times. Tonight (Thursday), the Casualties will attempt to prove that punk rock is alive and well, as they tear through new tunes and old favorites at Valentine’s. Upstanding spike-donning citizens, young and old, are invited to attend this affirmation of punk. Special guests the Forgotten, River City Rebels and Plastic Jesus open. (Dec. 12, 7 PM, $10, 432-6572)

The Larkin Lounge, Friday

Jazz, metal, math-rock, funk, classical, books on tape: All of these forms of acoustic expression can be found on a list of Jerseyband’s influences. The band, who label their own work “laughably dramatic” and “abstract in the way cartoon music is abstract,” recently released their latest EP—a musical exploration of the future of human-robot relations. Their live shows typically kick brass ass, as the seven members play the hell out of the one trumpet, three saxophones, one guitar and one drum kit they have at their disposal. Jerseyband have been recording music and touring the Northeast for about four years now, and they swing through Albany on occasion. They’ll be back to play the Larkin on Friday night. (Dec. 13, 8 PM, $10, 463-5225)

The Figgs
Valentine’s, Friday-Saturday

Saratoga Springs-bred, NYC/ Boston/Philly-based pop wunderkinds the Figgs will make their yearly holiday trek to the Capital Region with shows at Valentine’s on Friday and Saturday—and this time there’s an anniversary attached. Yep, the Figgs have been playing together and staying together for 15 years (and we’re still not sure if any of ’em has hit 30). And, even though the three Figgsters now live in different cities, they still manage to play, tour and record at a breakneck pace. In September, the ever-prolific ensemble released their 10th album (not counting singles), Slow Charm (Hearbox), which includes the production skills of Tim O’Heir and the mixing and engineering talents of Dave Minehan. The Figgs, whom Billboard magazine claims are “one of America’s best kept rock & roll secrets,” will bring some friends with them for Friday’s show: Opening will be Boston supergroup the Rudds, composed of singer (and onetime Staziak) John Powhida, drummer (and sometime member of the Gentlemen and the Gravel Pit) Pete Caldes, guitarist Brett Rosenberg and bassist Jaime Griffith. The Brett Rosenberg Problem also share the bill. On Saturday, the 1234’s and the Suggestions will open. (Dec. 13-14, 9 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Mindless Self Indulgence
Saratoga Winners, Sunday

Four punk rockers from New York City, Mindless Self Indulgence have come together to piss people off with intense lyrics, a powerful stage show and offensive audience interactions. With albums such as Bring the Pain and Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy, MSI do everything in their power to chop down political correctness and conformity. Little Jimmy Urine provides the energetic vocals, while Steve, Righ? backs him on guitar. And drummer Kitty and bass guitarist Lyn Z. make the band refreshingly coed. Mindless Self Indulgence will be joined by Dog Fashion Disco, Mr. Wednesday and District 21 Sunday at Saratoga Winners. (Dec. 15, 8 PM, $15, $13 advance, 783-1010)

Rosie Flores
The Ale House, Monday

Rosie Flores, pegged by the Los Angeles Times as the “missing link between Brenda Lee and Bonnie Raitt,” brings her honky-tonk sound to Troy’s Ale House this Monday. Flores has an expressive voice that’s both gritty and sweet, with the guitar chops to match. She’s touring on the strength of her latest album, Speed of Sound. It’s an eclectic mix of original material, like her dreamy ballad “Somebody’s Someone,” and carefully chosen covers, including songs by artists as diverse as Billie Holiday and Johnny Cash. (A particular fave is Robbie Fulks’ “I Push Right Over.”) Flores was last here at the end of March, and despite suffering the effects of a nasty cold, brought a shot of real Texas warmth to that wretched night of freezing rain—and, it’s worth noting, brought out a legion of admirers. Given the early onset of frigid temps, we’re definitely ready for another dose. (Dec. 16, 8 PM, $7, 272-9740)

Drunk Stuntmen
The Larkin Lounge, Wednesday

Western Massachusetts has a well-deserved reputation as both a scenic seasonal destination and a hub of high- cultural activity, what with all the purty trees, fancy-pants museums, tony performance spaces and whatnot; but did you know that it’s also home to some of the finest genuwine rootsy rock & rollers ever to hoist a boilermaker? Music fans have likely heard of Ray Mason, who calls that neck of the woods home, but may have missed word of some pals of his, Drunk Stuntmen. The Stuntmen unleash a twangified rawk that belies their New England roots, sounding more the product of some weird and woodsy Southern boondock enclave. And though you might not have heard of them yet, they haven’t gone completely without notice: The American Music Awards recognized them last year as one of the 50 best independent bands in the United States. (Dec. 18, 8 PM, $3, 463-5225)

 also noted
Tonight (Thursday) at Northern lights, ultimate Grateful Dead cover band Dark Star Orchestra will play a show for the paisley masses (8 PM, $18, $16 advance, 371-0012). . . . Alt-countryesque indie-rocker and Varnaline mainstay Anders Parker will play a solo show at Savannah’s tonight; blues guitarist Rhett Tyler will play the downtown Albany club tomorrow (Friday; both shows 9 PM, $5, 426-9647). . . . Celtic legends Boys of the Lough will perform A Celtic Christmas at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio on Friday, with the aid of mandolin, concertina, accordion, Highland pipe, fiddle, flute, whistle—well, you get the idea (8 PM, $18, 8800-323-9262 ext. 4). . . . Boston-based rock singer-songwriter-guitarist Laurie Geltman will play an acoustic show at Caffe Lena on Saturday, touring behind her latest CD, Motion Pictures; local songstress Paddy Kilrain will open the show (9 PM, $12, 583-0022). . . . Local six-piece jazz-funk-rock ensemble Jerkwater Ruckus will play Valentine’s Saturday to benefit a local food bank—so bring a canned good or nonperishable food item to the show with you (10 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . There will be a show to benefit the Miss Mary’s cause on Saturday afternoon at 752 Myrtle Ave., Albany, with female-fronted hardcore band Give Up, punk-rockers Honor Society and maximum rockers the Highsocks donating their time (1 PM, $5 suggested). . . . One more in the Random Acts of Kindness category: On Saturday, Kielty’s Emerald Isle hosts a “Bring a Ting” party (ting=Irish for thing) to benefit the schoolkids of Waterford, Cohoes and Lansingburgh this holiday season. Bring an unwrapped new toy, and you’ll enjoy the sounds of the John Morse Band and Himer Morgan, as well as an open bar for two hours (6 PM, $10, 237-2829). . . . Troy’s Ale House will host a Hank Williams tribute show on Sunday, with performers including John Tichy, Johnny Rabb, Graham Tichy, Marc Jones and Howe Glassman (7 PM, $2, 272-9740).

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