Critic's Choice for the week of April 18-24, 2007 

Pinoy hardcore, Berkeley nerdcore, and some Earth Day 420 action.

John Adams Day

Berkeley local and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams gets a Crowden School celebration for his sixtieth birthday this Saturday, April 21. The event includes a proclamation from Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, birthday cake, a chance to meet Adams, and rare film footage of the composer by award-winning documentarian Jon Else. Arrive early for seating for the screening. 1 p.m., free. (Jason Victor Serinus)

Hot Blonde

Few bands have been able to strike the right balance of noise and pop for so many years as Blonde Redhead, and snippets from its new album 23 (the first in three years) indicates that it won't be budging from its rightful throne anytime soon — from the off-kilter distortion á la My Bloody Valentine on the title track to the driving lushness of "The Dress." At Bimbo's 365 Club in SF Monday and Tuesday April 23 and 24. 8 p.m., $20. (Kathleen Richards)

Pick a Folk Winner

Stacey Earle is Steve Earle's sister, and mines a similar vein of folk, roots, country, and blues. With her musical partner and husband Mark Stuart, she explores the highways and byways of rural America, peering into the souls of ordinary working people, turning their joys and sorrows into finely wrought tunes brimming over with understanding and optimism, even when the subject matter is bleak. They're both fine pickers, while their harmonies echo country music's oldest traditions. At the Freight & Salvage Wednesday, April 18. 8 p.m., $18.50. (j. poet)

The Noise of Jazz

The Jazz House and Berkeley Store Gallery are gone, yet East Bay improv and experimental music live on in Tim Perkis' fast-paced and fun documentary, Noisy People, in its Bay Area premiere at the Pacific Film Archive this week. Most of the subjects will be on hand to perform, including bassist Damon Smith and percussion master Gino Robair. Wednesday, April 25, 8 p.m., $8. (Larry Kelp)

Pinoy and Pissed

What does moving from the Philippines to the United States do to teenagers? Our consumption-overload culture makes them embrace the rock, naturally. At least, that's the explanation from the members of Los Angeles band Flattbush. Their scatterbrained version of "grindcore" (i.e., Napalm Death) and "experimental" (i.e., Mr. Bungle) aids the band's pissed-off, multilingual diatribe on topics like political disenfranchisement and social injustice. The anger is palpable on songs like "Passion of Satan" and "Smash the Octopus." Flattbush plays with Re:Ignition, Orphans of Aliens, and Cranium on Friday, April 20 at the Uptown. 9 p.m., $10. (K.R.)

Hella Stacked Hip-Hop

This week's Golden Shelltoes album release party at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco promises a ridiculously creative lineup of underground hip-hoppers and versatile live musicians. Expect an outpouring of local love and fresh new music hosted by ya boy Ryan Greene — the impresario behind the Golden Shelltoes project. The night also features live performances by members of Crown City Rockers, Living Legends, Greans Crew, Alphabet Soup, Lunar Heights, Felonious, the Brass Mafia, Shotgun Wedding Quintet, Inspector Double Negative and the Equal Positives, plus DJ sets by Platurn and E da Boss. That's a lot of genetic material, even for the DNA Lounge. Thursday, April 19. 9 p.m., $10-$15. (Eric K. Arnold)

Rootsy Pop

A cross-country move is never easy, but it's even more challenging when you bring your band with you. The John Howland Trio sunk its teeth into the Bay Area folk/jam-band scene after moving to Berkeley from Boston a year and a half ago, and is beginning to grow its own fan base. The band says its last local show, a headlining gig at the Starry Plough in February, was its most rewarding yet. This Friday, the Starry Plough crowd will get another stab at the trio's made-for-KFOG rootsy pop-rock. Wayward Sway and Joshua Eden open. Friday, April 20. 9:30 p.m., $7. (Nate Seltenrich)

Fuzzy Stars

The Bay Area certainly has no shortage of shoegaze devotees — you know, the ones that cite the usual suspects My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and Spacemen 3 as influences. So why pay money to see Portland's the High Violets? For starters, singer Kaitlyn ni Donovan's petal-soft voice floats above waves of guitar fuzz on the band's latest release To Where You Are. The songs are thoughtfully crafted (the album took three years to create) and full of subtle pop hooks (check out the Dandy Warhols-ish rock of "Sun Baby"), earning them well-deserved praise and the award of Best Indie CD of 2006 by UK music portal SkidMark. The High Violets play with Hardy Harr and Whalebones on Thursday, April 19 at the Stork Club. 9 p.m. $5, (K.R.)

Track Down

Berkeley native MC Frontalot and MC Lars on the Nerdcore Tour at Cafe du Nord, and Oakland's noisy Xiu Xiu at Bottom of the Hill on April 22; French farts Air at Nob Hill Masonic and Bay Arean Mike Patton's Peeping Tom and Dan the Automator at the Fillmore on April 25. Plus new CDs by: Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Cowboy Junkies, and SF's own Thee More Shallows on Anticon.


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