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Pearl Street Nightclub, Northampton, Mass., Thursday

The Teacher is back with a new album, Kristyles, and a tour that brings the legendary founder of Boogie Down Productions to Northampton, Mass., tonight (Thursday). While the album was not released in the form KRS-One wanted—he took his former record company to court over this, in fact—even a quick sampling of the disc shows KRS-One is still making hard, impassioned and opinionated hiphop. Back in the day, you will recall, KRS and BDP were famous for politically, spiritually and socially incendiary ideas. (His dispute with Nelly last year proved that he still won’t let a ’dis go without a tough response.) For KRS-One, hiphop isn’t just a musical genre. As he recently told an interviewer, he wants to be remembered for introducing “the concept of being hiphop, not just doing it. . . . The concept of living a culture.” (July 17, 8:30 PM, $17.50, 413-584-0610)

They Might Be Giants
The Egg, Friday

What is there to say about They Might Be Giants that you aren’t already hip to? With snappy, slightly inscrutable ditties like “Ana Ng” and off-kilter covers like “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” they’ve been building birdhouses in our souls for almost two decades. They’ve provided theme songs for movies (the second Austin Powers flick) and TV (Malcolm in the Middle). They kept that Dial-a-Song thing going longer than any other platinum-selling band would have, confirming their status as the ultimate hipster-nerds. You probably didn’t know, however, that they recently released No!, their first children’s album. (All their albums have seemed like kids’ albums to us, but what do we know.) We don’t know if they’ll sing any of this kids’ material tomorrow night, but you can bet they will mix some new tunes in with the hits—these guys write songs like most people breathe. (July 18, 8 PM, $24, 473-1845)

Patty Griffin
Mahaiwe performing arts center, Great Barrington, Mass., Friday
Central Park, Schenectady, Sunday

Here’s a story you may find hard to believe: Untried singer-songwriter lands deal with big label on the force of her low-budget demos; label hooks her up with bigtime producer (Daniel Lanois, to name names); but—so sad—label doesn’t hear the hit. So far, you believe it, I know, but wait: Turns out, the artist is happy that the label doesn’t like it. She thinks the producer kind of got in the way of the songs. And, get this, the label thinks so too, so they send her home to record versions with just her and her guitar—and the label (A&M, to give it all away) actually releases that version! Strange as that sounds, that’s what happened to Patty Griffin—and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer artist. The release in question, Living With Ghosts, was a spare and powerful set of songs wedding Americana grit with an unfailing melodicism. (Later, the Dixie Chicks seized upon that trait, and gave the Griffin tune “Let Him Fly” all the overproduction it needed to be a hit.) On subsequent albums, Griffin has rocked a bit more, but the songcraft has remained firmly centerstage. Griffin will play the newly renovated Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday, with Kris Delmhorst opening, and Schenectady’s Central Park on Sunday, with Rosanne Raneri opening. (Mahaiwe: July 18, 8 PM, $36, $42, 413-528-3394; Central Park: July 20, 4 PM, free, 866-333-8191)

Stephen Clair, John Brodeur
The Larkin, Saturday

Once upon a time in Albany, there was a hardworking local musician named Steve Ferguson making the rounds—forming bands, re-forming bands, going solo. You know the drill. Then—due to a little surname confusion with another fella on the circuit—he became Stephen Clair. Then he went off to school and got himself a fancy degree in the writing of stories; then he recorded an album called Altoona Hotel that had all the No Depression-reading, Townes Van Zandt-worshipping types all a-twitter; then he moved off to the Big City and started knockin’ out all the urban cowboys at places like the Lakeside Lounge; then he recorded another album, Little Radio, that had critics saying he sounded like both Dan Bern and Lou Reed (hell, The Village Voice called him “laid-back” and meant it as a compliment). Then—and here’s the part you should pay attention to—he came back to Albany. It’s not a permanent re-relocation, but for one night, critically lauded former homeboy Stephen Clair (née Ferguson) returns to his old stomping grounds. He’ll be joined at the Larkin by critically lauded and current homeboy John Brodeur. (July 19, 8 PM, $5, 463-5225)


Circle Jerks
Saratoga Winners, Monday

L.A.-based skate-punkers Circle Jerks have been plying their unique brand of rock, metal, punk and humor since 1980, when Black Flag frontman Keith Morris left the Flag to form the Jerks. He grabbed guitarist Greg Hetson, bassist Roger Rogerson and drummer Lucky Lehrer, and the foursome went on create a fresh and fun version of hardcore. Today the Jerks are composed of Morris, Hetson, Zander Schloss (with the band since ’84) and new drummer Kevin Fitzgerald, and they’ll play Saratoga Winners on Monday. GBH, the Bronx and Missing 23rd will open the show. (July 21, 8 PM, $15, 783-1010)

 also noted
New York City anti-folk artists Robin Aigner and Matt Singer will peform a couple of shows in our area, the first at the Saratoga Springs Borders Books & Music tonight (Thursday), and another at the Albany Borders on Sunday (Thu: 8 PM, free, 583-1200; Sun: 2 PM, free, 482-5800). . . . Albany’s Altar Records will close their doors at the end of the month, and local noise-rockers the Wasted and gleefully offensive-rockers Complicated Shirt will help them go out with a bang with a show tonight (7 PM, free, 690-2816). . . . One of our favorite garage bands, Thee UMMmm (who continually confuse us by changing the already curious spelling of their name)—composed of Rocky Velvet frontman-guitarist Ian Carlton, his Velvet bandmate bassist Jay Gorleski, and ex-1313 Mockingbird Lane ’mates, organ-mistress Kim 13 and drummer Brian Goodman—welcome new guitar slinger Alex Wozniack into the fold. The new lineup will play Savannah’s tonight (10 PM, 426-9647). . . . Blugrass-revival trio Nickel Creek, who have been performing together for a decade, although the oldest band member is 24—the other two are 21—will play Northern Lights tonight (7:30 PM, $25, $22 advance, 371-0012). . . . The George Boone Blues Band will play the Culturefest Summer Concert series on Friday in Schenectady’s Jerry Burrell Park; 13-year-old Omar McGill, winner of the Schenectady Youth Talent auditions, will open with a dance choreographed to hiphop music. There will also be food and craft vendors and kids’ activities (6:30 PM, free, 346-1262). . . . Local Americana ensemble knotworking (who graced Metroland’s cover a couple weeks back) will play their CD-release party for A Garden Below on Saturday, with fellow roots-weirdos the Kamikaze Hearts and the Sifters opening (8 PM, $7, 432-6572). . . . Local swamp-jangle-R&B outfit Rumdummies, featuring guitarist Todd Nelson and drummer Al Kash—who performed together years ago in seminal area new-wave act Fear of Strangers—along with bassist Steven Clyde and vocalist Pat Conover, will share songs from their upcoming CD, currently in the works at Arabelleum Studio, at the Garden Grill on Saturday (9 PM, $3, 462-0571). . . . Irish music’s “dream team,” Lúnasa, led by Waterboys bassist Trevor Hutchinson and Sharon Shannon guitarist Donogh Hennessy, will play Washington Park on Monday, with Kevin McKrell opening (7:30 PM, free, 866-333-8191). . . . If you’re planning on heading out to the Tuesday-night jazz jam at the Van Dyck hosted by Adrian Cohen and Brian Patneaude, you’d better make alternate plans as the weekly event has been cancelled indefinitely. . . . Classic rockers Foghat (“Fool for the City,” “Slow Ride”) and the Edgar Winter Band (“Frankentstein,” “Free Ride”) will play the Empire State Plaza on Wednesday, in collaboration with the Ford Motor Company’s 100th anniversary celebration—which means along with the classic rock will sit classic cars (7 PM, free, 877-659-4377).

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