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Today Is the Day

Red Square, Thursday

“Today is the Day are one of the most important bands in the history of underground music,” or at least that’s what they have to say about themselves on their Web site—which is a dot-org, by the way. Perhaps that’s because they’re “harder, heavier and just plain truer,” and because only “the real, zero-compromise deal” would sate your appetite for “experimental-terror-metal noise,” “pure hate and chaos” and a “self-actualized concept of good and evil; the absence of tolerance, pity, and devotion to God; insatiable hedonism.” Or, it’s the Six Million Dollar Man’s fault: The band’s lead guitarist and vocalist is none other than Steve Austin. That Steve Austin? Who knows. Find out at the “psychedelic bloodbath” tonight (Thursday); Psyopus and Mouth of the Architect are also on the bill. (March 20, 8 PM, $7, 388 Broadway, Albany, 465-0444)


Club Helsinki, Friday

Golem frontwoman Annette Eze kiel is one of those dynamic people who make you feel tired and inadequate just reading about them. Of course she sings and plays the accordion in—and writes music for—the klezmer-folk-punk band Golem. She also speaks a handful of languages (including Yiddish, natch), is a trained classical pianist and has spent a number of summers traveling around Eastern Europe collecting folk songs. And, if you’ve ever seen Golem before, you know she’s also funny. The band, including clown-prince vocalist Aaron Dishkin and ace violinist Alicia Jo Rabins, are as dynamic as Ezekiel. They are, in fact, incredibly entertaining, and they’re returning to Club Helsinki tomorrow (Friday) after a longer-than-usual absence. (March 21, 9 PM, $20, 284 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-3394)

Ben Arthur

Moon & River Café, Friday

We’ve been staring at this screen for too long: We initially misread this as Ben Arnold, and were prepared to write something about the Philly-based performer and maybe make some joke about treason, because we try to be funny. But there’s nothing funny about Ben Arthur, the New York singer-songwriter who’s playing a set at the Moon & River Café on Friday. In fact, his articulate, moody folk-pop is right along the lines of such earnest folk as Dan Bern and Duncan Sheik; CMJ went so far as to say “Arthur croons like Duncan Sheik if he had a pair.” Them’s fightin’ words, so here’s a challenge: Catch the smart sounds of Ben Arthur, plus local duo Of Keeping Secrets, tomorrow (Friday) at the Moon & River; then, when Sheik himself comes to town in a few weeks, compare and contrast. (March 21, 8 PM, no cover, 115 S. Ferry St., Schenectady, 382-1938)

A Fine Frenzy, Chris Stills

Iron Horse Music Hall, Saturday

Nowadays, folky femmes are in. Each light-and-airy, intellectual-but-head-bopping melody floating on the Billboard Hot 100 seems kick-started from some Apple commercial and the mass public’s desire to “indie-up” their iTunes collection. A Fine Frenzy—the stage name for pianist-singer-songwriter Alison Sudol—may be some folky sounding female, but she doesn’t proclaim to be so indie, hence her signing to Virgin Records. She’s not an Apple alum either, and she chose a band name to keep attention away from herself (take that Sara, Ingrid, and especially you, Feist). Chris Stills, high on the luck of being the offspring of a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young member (guess which one!), opens for Ms. Sudol with his bilingual alt-folk romanticism. He’ll sing in French, he’ll sing in English, and he’ll aim to prove that, even with a famous dad and a decade in the music business, opening is the new headlining. (March 22, 7 PM, $18, 20 Center St., Northampton, Mass. 413-584-0610)

Earth Crisis

Northern Lights, Sunday

These guys are the good guys of metalcore, if there is such an irony. Their name, Earth Crisis, foreshadows both a sound and a stand. They’re straight-edge, vegan, animal-rights advocates; they’re locals (from Syracuse, anyway); and they “had it” in the ’90s. It came as a shock when they disbanded at the turn of the 21st century, but here they are thrashing together for a purpose at the Firestorm Fest of 2008. The tour, as we predict, is a means for overexcited fans to scream and mash into each other legally. “Firestorm,” the popular straight-edge anthem of EC’s heyday, will have you Sharpie-ing black Xs on your hand and cursing the wanton filth, demon alcohol. As for foreshadowing a sound in a name, have a listen to P.O.D. and Slipknot to hear what they’ve “influenced.” (March 23, 5:30 PM, $17, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Also Noted

If a straight-edge vegan hardcore show isn’t righteous enough for you, check out the Take Action Tour at Northern Lights tonight (Thursday); the show benefits the Do Something Foundation, which distributes grants to youths active in their communities, and the show features Every Time I Die and From First to Last, among others (6 PM, $18, 371-0012). . . . Or maybe you’re in the mood for some Henley, and for that you’re on your own—we’ll just say that Eagles tribute act Hotel California will play Vapor tonight, and that it’s about as close to the Don as you’re gonna get this week (8 PM, $20-$25, 800-727-2990). . . . And you’ll never get any closer to the Lizard King—because Jim Morrison’s dead, you see—than you will tomorrow (Friday), when Doors tribute Riders on the Storm perform at Jack Rabbit Slims (9 PM, $12, 434-4540). . . . Relive your first meth binge with the composers of “Semi-Charmed Life,” the single greatest/worst song on the topic: Third Eye Blind will play Northern Lights Friday night (7 PM, $25, 371-0012). . . . If your St. Patty’s hangover is still hanging in there, try soothing it with some Celtic harp mastery care of Patrick Ball this Friday at Old Songs (8 PM, $17, $5 children, 765-2815). . . . The Albany Sonic Arts Collective presents another experimental-music showcase at the Upstate Artists Guild in Albany this Saturday, with performances by C. Spencer Yeh, Bryan Eubanks and Andrew Lafkas, and Meg Clixby (7:30 PM, $5 donation, 426-3501). . . . Finally, our favorite double bill of the week, in name alone: Caribou and Fuck Buttons play the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass. on Tuesday (7 PM, $15, 413-584-0610).

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