Rilo Kiley, with the Elected and Tilly and the Wall

The 17th-century Puritans of New England called it a conversion experience -- something that brings you closer to God and makes you one of the elect few on the guest list in heaven (Puritans were so the indie kids of the 1600s). Rilo Kiley fans don't have a specific term for it, but the sentiment is the same: To experience a Rilo Kiley album or see the group in concert makes you feel profoundly connected. Connected to the music, to the other fans and, most important, to the voices coming from the headphones.

Lest I sound like I'm describing a Dashboard Confessional situation, let me assure you -- Jenny Lewis's vocals and lyrics are tinged with enough poison and genuine sorrow to knock any whiney chump with an acoustic guitar flat on his ass. Rilo Kiley is the rare kind of band that has equally nuanced vocals and guitar work, and an ability to expand with every album while alienating few fans. From their delightfully original 2001 debut, Take Offs and Landings, to the moody pop brilliance of 2002's epic album, The Execution of All Things, to their latest, and indeed boldest, release, More Adventurous, the band members have proved themselves as dynamic as they are talented. Every element of their sound -- from the piercing vocals to the intricate guitar work, catchy drums, subdued yet effective bass and deluge of extra instrumentation -- is detail-oriented. In short: Elvis Costello loves Rilo Kiley; maybe you ought to find yourself a seat on his bandwagon. -- Kate Richardson

Thursday, October 21, at the Engine Room, 1515 Pease, 713-654-7846.

Alter Bridge, with Submersed

Why is former Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti even bothering with the local media? His former band sold more than 30 million records, and One Day Remains, the first album by his new band, Alter Bridge, debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard album chart without the group playing so much as a single live show.

"I think the main thing I want out of getting out and doing some press is that everybody knows about this band. That it exists," Tremonti says. "And that we're going on tour."

The Alter Bridge lineup consists of three former members of Creed -- Brian Marshall, Scott Phillips and Tremonti -- with former Mayfield Four vocalist Myles Kennedy taking on Scott Stapp's former role. So the elephant in this room -- and in every interview Tremonti has done lately -- is "Why did Creed break up?"

Tremonti's tired of talking about it, and we don't really care, so we discuss shredding. And baseball. The guitarist is good friends with Padres pitcher David Wells. Former Cleveland reliever Jason Grimsley (of "Let's crawl above the ceiling and steal Albert Belle's corked bat from the umpires' locker room" fame) is close enough to be thanked on the One Day Remains liner notes. And Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon is a neighbor and wannabe rocker.

A recent, extremely unscientific sample reveals that four out of five white guys in Major League uniforms have two favorite bands: Metallica and Creed. Would Tremonti have an explanation?

"I just think that athletes are less artsy than your average person," he says. "They're just more all-American, blue-collar kind of people, and that's why a lot of ballplayers like all-American rock and roll. And that's kind of how we are, you know?" -- Rob Trucks

Friday, October 22, at the Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas, 713-230-1600.

The Silos

In the great underground assimilation of the late '80s, the Silos never fit in with the other indie rockers (Hüsker Dü, Throwing Muses, Pixies) snapped up by the majors. Founding singer and songwriter Walter Salas-Humara couldn't sacrifice his personal idiosyncrasies, the raw quiver of his voice, his guileless love for soul and country or his gift for space-clearing, guitar-stacked arrangements. The indie ethos equated cool detachment with artful intelligence, volume with emotion. The Silos just played rock and roll like it still mattered, not as politics (despite album titles such as Cuba and Hasta La Victoria) but as exhilaration, the inexhaustible well of melodies and emotions the music was meant to be. Over the past 15 years Salas-Humara has sometimes put the Silos on hold to record with Alejandro Escovedo and Hazeldine or to dabble in ersatz electronica. Now the brand-new When the Telephone Rings (Dualtone) finds the Silos dialing in a bit of the violin-scored sway of their glory years, but mostly twanging hard and rocking harder through low-budget Mexican fiestas, phone calls evoking post-9/11 New York, a chorus of angels looking for work and a wide-open world that doesn't owe anyone anything. It's been seven years since some of rock's true dark horses have played our town. Welcome them back. -- Roy Kasten

Thursday, October 21, at the Continental Club, 3700 Main, 713-529-9899.

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