Braid heaps on layers of contrasting dual vocals, an arresting twin-guitar attack and loose, jazzy drumming. It's a framework that's been associated with the term "emo," which is roughly a melodic, more sensitive play on the hard-core punk tradition. Braid's take on the term comes equipped with a taut vibrancy -- the result of three years of near-constant touring.
Robert Nanna's pleadingly pretty voice sustains a charismatic tension with fellow singer/guitarist Chris Broach's gritty, ferocious delivery. The latest release of the Illinois band, Frame and Canvas -- by turns serious, playful and achingly beautiful -- highlights Braid's judicious use of those contrasting singing styles.
At a time when most fans demand more bang for their buck, frowning on rock-star posturing, Braid has earned its reputation as an engaging live act with an honest approach to playing. Though on the wrenching "Never Will Come for Us" they argue that they'll never succeed, one can only hope Braid's "never" is a long way off.
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Braid performs Saturday, June 6, at Zelda's, 3706 White Oak. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7. Chisel.Drill.Hammer. opens. For info, call 862-7530.
Nashville Pussy -- Copping their name from Ted Nugent, their sound from Motsrhead and their live antics from Kiss, psychobilly rockers Nashville Pussy are the official spokes-group for the most prurient indie rockers. Their debut release, Let Them Eat Pussy, is nastier than the Reverend Horton Heat and hornier than the Cramps. Trashy, heavy and noisy, Pussy says and does things most groups wouldn't dare even imply -- and do so with as little finesse as possible. As a result, the music can't compete with the stage show, which includes exhibitionist kissing between the group's two Russ Meyeresque females and genuine fire-breathing. The band is currently experiencing a major-label bidding war -- never mind that you can't say its name on the radio. Then again, you can't see them on the radio, either. On Thursday, June 4, at Numbers, 300 Westheimer. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8. Gaunt and Pure Rubbish open. 526-6551. (David Simutis)
Bobby Womack -- At the beginning of Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, Pam Grier glided through an airport lobby like an ebony phantasm -- probably one of the most memorable movie moments of last year. Equally memorable was Bobby Womack's "Across 110th Street," which played in the background. Hearing Womack rip through that lost ghetto treasure after all these years was a potent reminder of just how scorchingly soulful a singer he is. In addition to its inclusion in Jackie Brown, "Across 110th Street" can also be found on the '70s movie soundtrack of the same name, which was recently reissued. It would be wise to catch Womack live while you can, before the memory fades yet again. At 8 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at Houston Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway. Tickets are $35 and $40. Betty Wright opens. 629-3700. (Craig D. Lindsey)