ATHLETE, CARNEY (Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) WORK IT OUT—Here's your chance to swoon all over South London synth-pop mainstays Athlete in a dimly lit and intimate venue. Easy, tiger: Try to hide your drool. You're probably going to be surrounded by at least another 200 dedicated swooners. ND
JAMIE LIDELL, ALEX B (Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Seething jealousy aside, Jamie Lidell lives a charmed life. Following an emotional bottoming out at the tail end of his travels in support of 2008's Jim, the British-via-Berlin-via-New-York singer was ready to start anew. Then Beck called. "He had just finished a Charlotte Gainsbourg record and he called me saying, 'Hey do you want some help in the production of a new record?' and I'm going, 'Ah, brilliant! I mean, yes, let's do it, let's do it!" The pair connected in Los Angeles, working alongside an all-star cast (Nikka Costa, members of Wilco), which presumably comes with the territory when recording with Mr. Hansen in the same Hollywood studio where Thriller was made. Then Lidell, always the jetsetter, departed for Feist's ranch in the Niagara Escarpment to roll more tape with Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear. But any recording is more than the sum of its name-dropped parts, and the result of Lidell's cross-country recording adventure is the stellar Compass. Neatly bridging the gap between the digital fury of the breakthrough Multiple and the soul-drenched Jim, Compass is Lidell at his best.
SUBHUMANS, ARCTIC FLOWERS, SALTED CITY, VIVID SEKT (Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Let's see: Oil is pissing into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate beyond our ability to calculate, much less stem. Unemployment is at its highest in 30 years. Wall Street bandits get a bailout while homeowners get the boot. The festering war in Afghanistan is becoming another Vietnam. Congress is broken. America's status quo is circling the drain and there's only one place left to turn: punk. It's time to tune into some truly different ideas, and for the last 30 years, few have been more consistently driven by radical, populist, anti-consumption, and peace-loving politics than Subhumans. The stalwart British band (and their ska alter ego, Citizen Fish) tour relentlessly, earnestly sharing their model for a better world. And in days like these, theirs is the only one making any sense. ANDREW R TONRY
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