Bayside, with Armor for Sleep, Fall Out Boy and Name Taken

The group of young, slightly geeky, self-hating emo kids from Long Island that make up Bayside pour their little hearts out on their debut, Sirens and Condolences, turning high school prom tragedies into magnificent rock songs. These kids worship at the altar of exalted Jawbreaker, whose front man, Blake Schwarzenbach, sang frank, almost embarrassing lyrics about depression, cigarettes, cute punk girls and bad parties. (And continues to do so with Jets to Brazil.) Fittingly, one of Bayside's first appearances was on the Jawbreaker tribute album Bad Scene, Everybody's Fault. On Sirens and Condolences, Bayside borrows the angst-ridden Schwarzenbach's muted bar chords, punchy choruses and despairing subject matter to craft songs that move the listener in a ticklish, goose-bumpy manner. "Poison in My Veins," one of many songs about getting dumped, adds the band's lovely harmonies to the Jawbreaker formula, along with a cathartic guitar solo, knockout hooks, a pleasurable bridge and no shortage of emotion. Some of the lyrics -- "Take this razor / Sign your name across my wrist / So everyone will know you left me," or maybe "Spend my days looking back / And I wonder if you're looking up / From underneath someone who is able to be everything I'm not" -- definitely fall in the wimpo, crybaby, oh-so-precious, I'm-a-dork-who's-way-too-into-Morrissey category. Still, the stirring music manages to make these sentiments seem less lame. This mix of adolescent self-loathing and upbeat, spirited punk rock is the recipe for most of Bayside's songs, and overall, it clicks. -- Adam Bregman

Tuesday, July 13, at the Engine Room, 1515 Pease, 713-654-7846.


Speaking of Morrissey (see above), that's who the high-pitched voice of Seattle singer-songwriter Coulter reminds you of -- as do his woe-is-me lyrics in songs with Morrissey-like titles such as "Adieu," "Diving Off the Wagon" and the title track of The End of Everything. Coulter's press kit describes him as heavily influenced by rockabilly, just like the depressive Brit. That influence is just as impossible to detect in Coulter's early Smiths-like music as it is in that of Morrissey, though both artists wear rockabilly hairstyles. And once again like Morrissey, Coulter also goes by his last name only and is definitely no fan of Dubya. In fact, the only thing keeping Coulter from being a Smiths/Morrissey tribute act is the fact that he writes his own songs. You could almost say that Coulter is actually living and breathing a continual episode of Morrissey fan fiction -- his is Morrissey's life as lived by a devoted aficionado. I mean, the dude named his backing band Girls in a Coma, fer cryin' out loud. And it's downright weird that his thousand-word bio doesn't make note of the pompadoured elephant in the room, because I've never seen any artist more obviously modeled on another than this one. Is Coulter hoping no one will notice? Is he in denial? Oh, what difference does it make? It makes none. -- John Nova Lomax

Thursday, July 8, at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive, 713-521-0521.

Diana Krall, with Ollabelle

Pre-Norah Jones, Canadian crooner Diana Krall nailed the sound of consenting adults luxuriating in a privileged mental space of svelte sophistication on her debut, The Look of Love, an easy-riding pop-jazz confection. Krall's new album, The Girl in the Other Room, nails something else: her attempts -- with new husband Elvis Costello -- to make music perfect for entertaining in their New York apartment. As such, it's a snooze. Half of Room's 12 tunes are Krall-Costello co-writes, including one called "Abandoned Masquerade," which we won't quote, out of respect for, well, lyrics as a concept; the title track is better, because Anthony Wilson's guitar shimmers like Chardonnay. But even the good stuff here lacks Love's breezy sensuality, the seductive sheen that made us miss the shit out of Banana Republic two years ago. Looks like Costello made off with more than Krall's party dress. -- Mikael Wood

Saturday, July 10, at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 713-227-4SPA.

Dresden 45, with Hognose and Assnipple

Digging back through the annals of Houston hardcore, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more apt vehicle for Bayou City rage than D-45. During the latter half of the '80s these boys from Bellaire delivered hardcore with a severe dynamic. The band had unparalleled technical prowess, and their presence was embellished by the subversive melodies of the sometimes hoarse, always overexerted voice of Brumby Boylston. Their songs inspired sing-alongs as much as they sparked mosh pits, and in the days before rap-metal, D-45 was well documented as having experimented with such alloys. Thirteen years after calling it quits, they're playing together again, and even though this is a reunion gig by name, Dresden 45 is actually functioning as a working band. Original drummer Oscar Gray has been replaced by Jeff Chavez, and though Boylston now calls Cali home, D-45 is playing a few gigs each year. It should also be noted that you no longer have to whip out the vintage vinyl just to hear the boys. The band has recently issued an expanded and enhanced CD of their brilliant 1988 LP Paradise Lost, designed by Brumby and D-45 bassist/renowned poster artist Uncle Charlie. -- Lance Walker

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