Critic's Choice for the week of January 18-24, 2006 

Log-cabin pop, moody battle rappers, and Brazilification.

Queers/Freaks/Accordion Players

There's nothing not to love about 924 Gilman this weekend. Queer-punkers. Freak-folk. A punk-rock accordion player. The prospect of digging through mosh-pit wreckage surpassing what you'll find in any city dumpster -- everything from spangled wrist garb to mangled limbs. Friday's amazing lineup featuring Pansy Division, the Fleshies, Abi Yo Yos, and Jet Sex is surely worth braving the inclement weather, though it pales in comparison to a Saturday night extravaganza starring Jason Webley, Two Gallants, Readyville, Teenage Harlots, and Sex Tape Scandal. Both shows kick off at 8 p.m. and cost $6; you won't find a better bang for your buck. 924Gilman.org (Rachel Swan)

BRAZILIFICATION

If you've been slow to warm to the superhot tropical flavor of Brazilian music, here's your chance to get with the here and now: a record release party for the second installment in Six Degrees' Now Sound of Brazil series, which touches on everything from cardiac-pumping Brasilectro to smoothly sensual bossa nova. This shindig is like a mini carnival transporting your body and soul to Bahia, Rio, or São Paulo; members of Bat Makumba, Soulsalaam, and DJ D. Wurkur supply the music, while Omulu Guanabara showcases live capoeira, Callou Designs and Touch of Brazil flaunt the latest in tropical South American fashion, and Brazilian short films are screened. All this for only $5, which leaves plenty of loot for a caipirinha or three. Saturday at the Madrone Lounge in SF. 9 p.m. MadroneLounge.com (Eric K. Arnold)

INTIMATE JAZZ

Jazzschool's winter concert series opens with a quartet performance featuring one of the Bay Area's most enjoyable singers, Jacqui Naylor. She's released several CDs of small-group music that ranges from jazz standards to folk, soul, and rock, all impeccably delivered in a warm, very personal style -- whether they're familiar tunes or originals, she makes the lyrics seem like the closest thing to her heart at the moment. Joining Naylor are longtime pianist-guitarist Art Khu, bassist Jon Evans, and drummer Josh Jones. $18, 4:30 p.m. 510-845-5373 or Jazzschool.com (Larry Kelp)

BLUES COPYCATS

Traditionally, Monday nights are pretty desolate in clublandia -- you're likely to waltz into your favorite cocktail joint and encounter a sparse crowd of schlumpy music journalists or sad sacks in rumpled hats and Bermuda shorts, ordering cheap PBRs and white Russians. Years of frustration with the Monday night slump prompted Uptown co-owner Bob Fratti to institute Blue Mondays, a night of jam sessions and sets by rotating house bands -- Fox's Blues Band scored featured billing in January. Evidently, the idea is catching on, as other East Bay bars (namely, the Missouri Lounge on San Pablo) are aping Fratti with their own Blue Mondays. Hosted by Captain Mike & the Wild Springs, these jams are guaranteed to be a bit dodgier, but that's just what happens when you import uptown chic to your local dive. Blue Mondays kick off at 8:30 p.m. at the Uptown (UptownNightclub.com) and 7:30 p.m. at the Missouri (510-548-2080). There's no cover at either venue. (R.S.)

LOG-CABIN POP

Brandi Carlile grew up in a small town called Ravensdale, Washington -- you'd be hard-pressed to find it on most maps. In fact, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter's eponymous major-label debut was recorded in a log cabin there. By mixing old-school country like Patsy Cline with modern-day downer darlings like Thom Yorke, she's created what might be the first documented case of log-cabin pop: twangy, acoustic, ethereal, dark. Behold at SF's Cafe du Nord Friday night. $10, 9 p.m. (Cole Haddon)

AMERICANA

Rodney Crowell's recent trilogy of autobiographical albums actually threatens to overshadow his landmark work with Emmylou Harris in the mid-'70s, his hit songwriting, and his commercial solo breakthrough with 1988's Diamonds and Dirt. His latest, The Outsider, turns his view outward to contemplate his fit in the modern world's social and political landscapes. Recorded with his electric road band, Crowell's new material killed at 2005's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Will Kimbrough opens for Crowell Thursday night at the Great American Music Hall. $20, 8 p.m. GAMH.com (Eli Messinger)

MOODY BATTLE RAPPERS

If there were such thing as a 99th percentile of battle rappers, emcee Shamako Noble would be at the upper end. While the guy isn't exactly known for slick SAT words or long-ass complicated phrasings, he's a startlingly persuasive emcee -- and in the rap game, clever rejoinders and an ebullient stage presence will get you a lot farther than knowing the dictionary by rote. Check Noble out Friday afternoon at the Oakland spot Youth Uprising, where he'll perform with Wasaname an 'Em, JB, K Doe, and the Jacka -- another promising emcee who uses smooth-jazzy beats to reveal the sentimental underpinnings of his hardcore rap lyrics. Part of the Weekend Wake-Up series, this show kicks off at 4 p.m. and costs nothing. YouthUprising.org (R.S.)

CLASSICAL

The superb American Bach Soloists return to Berkeley's First Congregational Church Saturday night to perform the music they do best, focusing on Bach's Cantatas from Leipzig, an astounding test of soprano versatility. $18-$40, 8 p.m. 415-621-7900 or AmericanBach.org (Jason Victor Serinus)

FUNKY TROUBADOURS

The "white dude doing vaguely funk rock 'n' soul" aesthetic has enraptured drunk sorority girls and KFOG listeners for ages now, and SF businessman-turned-musician Kiff has the style nailed on his new disc, You Can't Keep It Down, which both rocks and rolls with unforced fluidity. Regard him wondrously Saturday night at the Independent with Brad Wolfe & the Moon, Keith Varon, and Mike Gibbons. $10-$12, 8:30 p.m. TheIndependentSF.com (Rob Harvilla)

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