While it may be tough to tell Christian punkers/Pepsi pitchmen MxPx from New Found Charlotte, Good Glory, Blink-41, Sum 182 and the rest, they at least have 10 years of history behind ’em. Why it took MxPx that long to gloss up with an album like Before Everything & After (A& ), a shiny disc of up-with-people pop-punk nuggets heavy on the ballads, is anyone’s guess—but they’re still punk, right? “We’re portrayed as good guys and we are,” says singer-bassist Mike Herrera. “We don’t swear at the audience or tell girls to get naked onstage.” Oh, man ... THURSDAY, Jan. 22 @ Sound, 579 W. 200 South, 6 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
“Besides drinking at least a couple of six-packs, people kept handing the guy shots all night long—no one can put away that much alcohol,” says City Weekly’s Susan Kruithof, who’s experienced the gonzo musical-comical stylings of former “serious” country singer Kip Attaway firsthand. “And he must have been wearing Depends, because he never took a pee-pee break.” Yes, she said “pee-pee.” Attaway’s drinking prowess is the stuff of legend, as are his marathon shows filled with tunes like “My Liver Hates My Guts” and enough parodies to break a Yankovic. Again, she said “pee-pee.” THURSDAY, Jan. 22 @ Club 90, 150 W. 9065 South, 8 p.m. Info: 566-3254.
Stands for “no one ever really dies,” correctly or not—N.O.E.R.D. doesn’t have the same flow. Though better known as the beyond-hot hip-hop production team The Neptunes, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo’s N.E.R.D. splashed down amid much hype in 2002 with In Search of (Virgin), their hipper-than-thou debut album that mixed up classic soul, breakbeat electronics, psychedelic rock and more with live beds to cool alien effect. The self-titled follow-up doesn’t drop until March, but we all know that no one can ever really resist the pull of Sundance. THURSDAY, Jan. 22 @ Harry O’s, 427 Main, Park City, 9 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
The term drum & bass means something else entirely: Chicago’s Evil Beaver, a two-woman rawk & roll machine sure as hell’s not into Jungle techno. Like Morphine with lethal PMS and the sax player dumped in a shallow grave off the Interstate, screamer-bassist Evie Evil and drummer Laura Ann Beaver take girl-on-girl action to crushing-but-musical extremes with their latest, Pleased to Eat You (RidetheBeaver.com), and a live show described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “AC/DC after a sex-change operation.” And you thought that was Hell’s Belles or The Darkness, didn’t you? THURSDAY, Jan. 22 @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 726 S. State, 10 p.m. Info: 521-0572 (with Thunderfist).
Looking for someone to thank/blame for the modern proliferation of Irish-Celtic folk bands filling concert halls, pubs and our general consciousness? It all stems back to Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains, who jigged straight outta Dublin 40 years ago and hit big in mid-’70s America on the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick’s underrated Barry Lyndon. “[The first album] was really meant to be just a one-off thing because it was a limited market, and not at all certain,” Moloney told Chiff & Fipple. “We had no idea it would snowball into what it did.” FRIDAY, Jan. 23 @ Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 355-2787.
Elsewhere on campus: “I look at each new album as an art opening, where the visual artist must create a show that’s cohesive and dynamic, one that reflects the time in which the work was made,” Boston singer-songwriter Patty Larkin said upon the release of her 10th album, last year’s Red Luck (Vanguard). “I’m inspired by change, it captures my imagination.” Since 1985, the dynamic redhead has captured everyone else’s with a stylistic roller-coaster ride of releases, anchored by vivid storytelling and guitar chops that owe as much to rock as they do folk. FRIDAY, Jan. 23 @ Fine Arts Auditorium, University of Utah, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 339-7664 (with Stacey Board).
When singer-songwriter Stephen Ashbrook abandoned his longtime digs of Phoenix for the more musician-friendly climes of Portland a couple of years ago, some likened it to Bruce Springsteen leaving New Jersey, or even Wayne Newton beating it out of Las Vegas. Ashbrook fronted Phoenix favorites Satellite before striking out solo with three albums of Mellencamp-ish rock with tinges of Steve Earle and Warren Zevon—the latest being 2002’s American B-Sides. “This record finally sounds like me,” he says. “It’s not too perfect. It’s not too raw. It sounds real to me.” SATURDAY, Jan. 24 @ The Hog Wallow Pub, 3200 Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd., 9:30 p.m. Info: 733-5567.
HAMELL ON TRIAL
Even though New York “anti-folkie” Hamell on Trial (aka Ed Hamell) debuted in the ’90s on Mercury Records, most people think of him as a brand-new player on the scene via Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe label and his recent Tough Love, a critical-hit album taking up residence on many a Best of 2003 list. He pontificates and plays guitar like a demon, but he’s just a working stiff: “I’m like a brush salesman, and I don’t think about that in a bad way,” Hamell told the Syracuse New Times. “I’m proud of my brushes. I think they’re very good brushes.” SATURDAY, Jan. 24 @ Halo, 60 E. 800 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 363-4522.
Gotta love a recommendation like this: “If you like drunken punk rock, you’ll really enjoy their live show!” So says the ol’ record company of Chicago’s Lawrence Arms, a trio who apparently drink as hard as they rock—but no way a match for Kip Attaway, not even between the three of ’em. The Greatest Story Ever Told (Fat Wreck), the band’s second album, is widely considered one of the best punk albums of 2003 by people who consider things like “best” and “punk” simultaneously. Or something like that. MONDAY, Jan. 26 @ Albee Square, 165 S. West Temple, 7 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499 (with The Ghost).
Jetliner (Sound, Jan. 29). Vaux, Bear vs. Shark (Kilby Court, Jan. 30). Thin Lizzy (Expose, Jan. 30). Hank Williams III (Liquid Joe’s, Jan. 31). Camper Van Beethoven (Halo, Feb. 1). Gomez (Liquid Joe’s, Feb. 2). Victor Wooten (Suede, Feb. 2). Handsome Family (Liquid Joe’s, Feb. 3). Copeland (Kilby Court, Feb. 8). Kathy Mattea (Eccles Center, Feb. 8). Linkin Park (E Center, Feb. 10). Bruce Cockburn (Rose Wagner Theater, Feb. 13). A Static Lullabye (Albee Square, Feb. 15). Drive-By Truckers (Halo, Feb. 17). Medeski, Martin & Wood (Suede, Feb. 19). Tooth & Nail Tour (Sound, Feb. 23).