Music News & Reviews

Drive-by Truckers keeps its musical cargo fresh

Drive-By Truckers

9 p.m. April 10 at Buster's Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St. $20 in advance, $23 day of show. (859) 368-8871. www.bustersbb.com.

Perhaps more than any major Southern band of its generation, Drive-By Truckers has helped to redefine a dreadfully outdated stereotype.

For decades, it seemed, what became known as Southern rock devolved from an artful blues mix pioneered by the early Allman Brothers Band into a stagnant barroom boogie charge driven by lots of guitars and lots of odes to whiskey, women and self-importance. For a weekend party, it was all OK. Put the music to work in any other context, though, and it was an essentially empty-calorie commodity.

The Truckers represent a new generation of Southern outfits (Lucero and Chris Knight also come to mind) that rock as ferociously as any of their forefathers. But their songs have a deeper, darker and more literate cast. They take a look in the mirror and spell things out in ways that would scare the daylights out of most commercial acts.

Take the music from the The Big To-Do, the Truckers' third album in little more than seven months. (The concert set Live From Austin Tx and the "oddities and rarities" collection, The Fine Print, were issued last summer.) The tunes rock with the abandon that all great multiguitar bands summon. But their themes are more in line with Tennessee Williams.

The title to The Fourth Night of My Drinking suggests an electric downward spiral fueled by "a built-in fever and bright red cheeks," and The Flying Wallendas is a waltzlike dirge inspired by the circus act famous for performing without a safety net — a boast, it turns out, that didn't always fit in with the designs of mortality.

Both tunes are the works of Trucker co-guitarist and vocalist Patterson Hood. But co-chieftain Mike Cooley gets in the last word with Eyes Like Glue, a stark, acoustic father-child conversation and confession in which "the best you can do becomes all you can stand."

All of those tunes have become components of the Truckers' recent shows. Head down to Buster's on Saturday, and you will hear one of the finest voices of the new electric South putting those gears into fascinating motion.

A note: Take a peek at Buster's Web site, www.bustersbb.com, before going. Access to Manchester Street has become tricky because of construction on the Newtown Pike extension. The site has some tips to help with the navigation.

Mothers calling

Referring to underground Asian prog-rock as some sort of musical sub-genre might seem a touch remote. But the fact is the psychedelic Japanese ensemble Acid Mothers Temple has become one of the world's most distinctive prog voices during the band's nearly 15-year history.

On Wednesday, we get an intimate glimpse of the band's current quartet incarnation, self-billed as Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O., when it makes its Lexington debut with a concert at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Avenue.

The band, led by founder/ guitarist Kawabata Makoto, recently released Intersteller Guru and Zero, a two-tune album split between free-form guitar outbursts and Pink Floydian space-rock soundscapes. This performance is likely to be on the extreme side, but it comes highly recommended. Over-Gain Optimal Death will open. ($8 in advance, $10 day of show. (859) 309-9499. http://cosmic-charlies.com.)

CD Central homecoming

As part of its 15th-anniversary festivities, CD Central, 377 South Limestone, will host four evenings of free music next week by regional bands, featuring past and present store employees.

The lineup: Beast Per Minute (Monday), Helium Three and Cross (Tuesday), All American Werewolves (Wednesday) and Casino Versus Japan (Thursday). All performances begin at 7 p.m. Call (859) 233-3472. www.cdcentralmusic.com.

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