Friday, October 29, at the Firehouse Saloon, 5930 Southwest Freeway, 713-977-1962.

The Dwarves

Take a look at the cover of The Dwarves Must Die, the Dwarves' latest album. It features a trio of nude women weeping around a cross on which is nailed a dwarf. That's a pretty good hint of what you're in for: one of the most blissfully vulgar, immoral and offensive albums you'll hear this year.

Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab for Cutie
The Dwarves
The Dwarves

Yes, the notorious Dwarves are back. Bluntly stated, the band's goals are "corruption of the youth" and to "fight, fuck and destroy," and sonically, they succeed. What's more, the band continues to defy expectations (and piss off its punk fans) by delving further into industrial, hip-hop and, yes, even straight-up pop music. Believe it or not, singer Blag the Ripper can actually rhyme, and he delivers a hysterical tribute to rap diss songs on "Massacre." Elsewhere, "Queens of the Trust Fund" finds him doing a little dissing himself -- he relentlessly unleashes on bands like Good Charlotte over some pretty cool beats. "Runaway," the closest thing to a tender ballad these guys will ever unleash, could even be described as radio-friendly pop, if only the subject matter were not a graphic discussion of incest and bathroom coitus, and that's not even to mention the tune's bloody, perverted ending.

Pop and hip-hop forays aside, fans of earlier Dwarves albums such as Blood, Guts and Pussy will be glad to know the band hasn't completely gone off the deep end. There is still plenty of violent and ferocious punk rock to satisfy the diehards who wish the band still played naked and beat the hell out of the audience. -- Jason Gagnon

Saturday, October 30, at the Engine Room, 1515 Pease, 713-654-7846.

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