Critic's Choice for the week of September 13-19, 2006 

Jungle screaming, country guitar, and hieroglyphic jazz.

Guitar Jones

Former San Francisco resident Jim Campilongo led the local alt.country band Ten Gallon Cats and has played with everyone from Cake (on the smash Prolong the Magic) to Norah Jones. His stellar but understated chops combine the best of folk, blues, rock, jazz, and country. Campilongo celebrates the release of his new album Heaven Is Creepy with a batch of cowboy jazz, rock noir, folk, and torch songs at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on Tuesday, September 19. Moot Davis and Pete Anderson support. 8 p.m., $14. MusicHallSF.com (j. poet)

Distorted Whale Song

Maybe it's 'cause its members grew up in the parched Midwest, but indie quintet White Whale has a thing for the sea. Its debut album WWI, just out on Merge (Dinosaur Jr., M. Ward, Spoon), has song names such as "The Admiral" and "What's an Ocean for." Even the cover art depicts a huge, mythical beast barely wrangled by a little minstrel; a fitting metaphor for the gargantuan sound bucking underneath these young dudes. A supergroup formed from parts of the Get Up Kids, Butterglory, Thee Higher Burning Fire, and Boy's Life, White Whale fills up the Bottom of the Hill in SF with meaty cetacean goodness Thursday, September 14. 8 p.m., $10. BottomoftheHill.com (D2)

Local Britpoppery

Though the band has been together in its current formation for less than a year, San Francisco's LoveLikeFire has already gained the attention of Live 105's Soundcheck, a SOMA magazine party, and made fans at live shows at the Cafe du Nord, Make-Out Room, and the Fillmore Matrix. Its recently released EP Bed of Gold displays solid songwriting and a confluence of the band's Britpop, shoegaze, and alternative rock influences. It plays in support of the Vice label's latest signing Favourite Sons and Barbarasteele on Saturday, September 16 at SF's Cafe du Nord. 9 p.m. $8. CafeduNord.com (Kathleen Richards)

Afro-Mex Independence

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day this Friday, September 15 at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley with a visit from Los Utrera. Direct from Veracruz, this renowned family plays jarocho music, a regional style from the Gulf Coast whose sound is characterized by the use of folk harp and a variety of guitars. Los Utrera come from a long line of respected masters who know the blend of Afro-Mex influences and those vibrant 6/8 rhythms and zapateado heel dances. Expect classic songs like "La Bamba," "El Pajaro Carpintero," and many others. Their recording output is limited, so the best bet to experience their music is live. 8 p.m., $13/$15 door. LaPena.org (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

Future-Jazz!

The future-jazz big band Hieroglyphics Ensemble was created by the multitalented conductor Peter Apfelbaum and schoolmates at Berkeley High nearly thirty years ago. Apfelbaum relocated to the Big Apple along with many bandmates, but he still sells out hometown gigs in advance, including his last one in July. His largely expatriate Berkeleyite band (now the NY Hieroglyphics) employs the amazing Malian singer Abdoulaye Diabate to conjure music still ahead of its time. Fresh off the Monterey Jazz Festival concert, the ensemble gets two shows on Sunday, September 17 at La Peña. 8 & 10 p.m., $18/$20 door. LaPena.org (Larry Kelp)

Pile-Driving Catchiness

Taking its cues from the Foo Fighters and Rival Schools, San Francisco's Cold-Hot-Crash delivers all the pile-driving guitars and catchy hooks associated with alternative rock's blockbusters. Comprising Mick Leonardy and Rich Brinkerhoff — former members of Divit — and brothers Adam and John Schuman, Cold-Hot-Crash has firmly entrenched itself in an East County fan base with just four songs on MySpace. Big things seem imminent for this band, whose debut album We Could All Use a Fix will be released this fall. It plays with MillionBillion, the Hanks, and CD-releasing headliners Likewise at Bourbon Street Rocks. Thursday, September 14. 8 p.m., $10. BourbonStreetRocks.com (K.R.)

Guns and F'N Roses

Axl is a diva. Slash is MIA. But screw it. Guns N' Roses, man! Scalpers have a pair of rare tickets with your name on them. You're in the jungle, baby!/You're gonna dieeeee! Wednesday and Thursday September 20 & 21 at the Warfield in SF. $8 p.m., $60-$75. Ticketmaster.com (D2)

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