TOP CHEF: Hoping to break the Wu Tang curse of poorly received (and reviewed) shows in S.B., flow master Raekwon the Chef hits Velvet Jones (423 State St.) this Tuesday, November 17. Since fellow Wu member Ghostface Killah bombed his solo show at Velvet Jones last month, it seems that folks have been waiting with baited breath to see (and hear) if Raekwon delivers. If the cuts off his recent sophomore effort, Only Built for Cuban Linx : Pt. II, are any indication, fans need not worry. Like past efforts, Pt. II drips with raw energy and in-your-face lyricism. But unlike so many of Raekwon’s contemporaries, this rapper knows when to lay low and groove. Case in point: the album’s all-in-the-family first single, “New Wu,” which features former Wu Tang Clan members Method Man and Ghostface, and production from none other than RZA-not to mention an eerily catchy sample from some random Baltimore vocal group. The result is catchy, laidback genius, and the groundwork for a great night of live hip-hop. For tickets and show info, call 965-8676 or visit velvet-jones.com.
GENERATION NEXT: Lovers of baroque pop of the Arcade Fire-Stars-Decemberists variety, take heed. This Sunday, November 15, Muddy Waters Cafe (508 E. Haley St.) battens the hatches for a rollicking night of tunes from Loch Lomond and Generationals. While it’s tough to guess who will put on the better show here, it’s a guarantee that these two will not disappoint. For Portland five-piece Loch Lomond, it’s all about the details : lots of ’em. Quivering vocals, sweet xylophone colorings, and delicate percussive elements make songs like their new EP’s title track, “Night Bats,” go from meandering shoe-gaze to understated experimental pop of the most intimate variety. Add to that lead singer Ritchie Young’s Nico-meets-Colin Meloy style injections, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for greatness. As for New Orleans four-piece Generationals, you can expect something a little louder. The band mixes elements of ’60s doo-wop (“When They Fight, They Fight”) with pop songwriting sentiments of a much later era (i.e., MGMT and Ra Ra Riot) to create a sound that’s about as catchy as they come. Currently the band is touring around the middle states with none other than the Spinto Band, so we’re guessing this will be your first and last opportunity to catch them in a venue this tiny. Snag a ticket while you still can by visiting clubmercy.com.
HELLO GOOD-BYES: On the S.B. circuit, dear friends and piano rock powerhouses Threadspinner kick off their West Coast tour this Friday, November 13, at Muddy Waters with L.A. three-piece Pollyn and H-Wood experimentalists Divisible. Following the show, the band will head down to L.A., then up through Oregon and Washington in support of their new EP, Night Chorus. The show starts at 8 p.m. For more info, visit myspace.com/muddycafesb.
Also this Friday, local blues legend Alastair Greene (and a full backing band) dishes up a night-long shout-out to guitar legend Eric Clapton at SOhO (1221 State St.) starting at 9 p.m. “[Clapton] is one of a small handful of white musicians responsible for turning music fans on to one of the most important if not the most important musical art form-the blues,” Greene explained. “His guitar playing has inspired thousands to pick up the instrument and play. It is for these reasons I want to pay tribute.”
And on Tuesday, November 17, Biko Co-op Garage (6612 Sueno Rd.) hosts a night of experimental folk featuring Ventura’s warm and sunny rockers Tall Tales and the Silver Lining and S.B.’s own Mutineers. Also on board for the night are the Minneapolis duo Raccoon Raccoon, who’ll come bearing a slew of sleepy vocals and poignantly pretty lyrics (think Mazzy Star meets Goldfrapp). For show info, visit myspace.com/biko_garage.