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Sunday, June 13, Engine Room, 1515 Pease, 713-654-7846.Califone, with Rebecca Gates

Appalachia meets electronica and takes her on a date to a Delta juke joint -- that's the music of Califone in a nutshell. Headed by former Red Red Meat purveyor Tim Rutili, Califone has a sound that's less raw and more sublime than the punky blues of his previous band. Live, the trio of multi-instrumentalists offers up slow-paced yet seriously compelling thrills, as ideal for riding out a heroin high as vintage Allman Brothers was 35 years ago. (Maybe Califone's new album, Heron King Blues, offers up a misspelled tribute to the drug their music feels like, or maybe not.) Quicksand / Cradlesnakeswas one of the best roots-music releases to come down the pike last year, which brings us to some lyrics I misheard on that album. When the band performed the song "Mean Little Seed" at Fat Cat's last year, I expected a sprinkling of boos and jeers. After all, didn't Rutili sing "Texas looks like Hell to me"? Well, that's what I thought he said, anyway. What he really sang was "Texas looks like Galilee." And as it happens, that's kinda true. -- John Nova Lomax

Thursday, June 10, Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive, 713-521-0521.The Fiery Furnaces

The New New York Rock Scene needs the Fiery Furnaces for two reasons: 1) Singer-guitarist Eleanor Friedberger is a woman; and 2) she and her brother Matthew are as uncool as they are cool, which is very. The first fact is important because, despite the plentiful and deserved attention received by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, the New New York Rock Scene floats on a cloud of testosterone sturdy enough for Fred Durst -- carefully disheveled guys in raggedy black clothing standing around reasserting the bullshit values of fatigued cynicism and bait-and-switch sensitivity into a community hardly capable of resisting what it's told is hip. When Friedberger gets on stage, she explodes that practiced pose, strangling her guitar and unleashing a torrent of surreal trash talk about her day. Her songs -- about staplers, doughnuts, asthma, tunnels, rubbing alcohol and running away to that warm, safe place where as a child she'd hide -- actually use the New New York Rock form to engage with life, rather than simply seducing females or impressing record-store clerks. That's why reason No. 2 is important. -- Mikael Wood

Saturday, June 12, Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington Avenue, 713-864-2727.

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