Live Music

Sea and Cake, The Mountain Goats, Andrew Lipke, The Decemberists, Kid Congo Powers, Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs

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The Sea and Cake

Fri., Nov. 7, 8:30pm. $12. With Death Vessel. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. 866.468.7619.

Though Chicago's the Sea and Cake are usually lumped in with the city's renowned post-rock scene--and fair enough, since wispy-voiced frontman Sam Prekop's an alumnus of Shrimp Boat and drummer John McEntire guides Tortoise--theirs is a sound that's skewed more pop over the years, albeit with jazz-informed elegance, grooves and experimentalism. The quartet's been accused of growing too soft on recent albums, but their new Car Alarm is shot through with energy and vitality. As the band insists, "It is bracing, like the surge of wasabe on sweet sushi, like the slap of cool water on a diving body, like the head-rush of a rollercoaster just leaving summit." You'll hafta see if you agree--and come up with your own metaphors--when they play the new stuff live. (Michael Alan Goldberg)

The Mountain Goats + Kaki King

Fri., Nov. 7, 9pm. $17. Theater of Living Arts, 334 South St.

Despite the name, the Mountain Goats is essentially the project of one very quirky Stephen Colbert look-alike, John Darnielle, who writes what are better called narratives than songs. Listening to one of his 10-plus albums, it's as if the most interesting person at a party grabbed you to go outside for a smoke, and even though you don't have a coat on and it's freezing, you wouldn't think of interrupting his urgent stream of consciousness. The Goats' most recent full-length Heretic Pride is filled with classic Darnielle moments: "Some kid in a Marcus Allen jersey/Asks me for a cigarette/Companionship is where you find it/So I take what I can get." This tour is in conjunction with guitarist-singer Kaki King, with whom he recently released a split-EP. Hardcore fans will want to sing along or listen carefully to every word, so don't go if you want to rock. (Liz Spikol)

Holly Golightly + the Brokeoffs

Sat., Nov. 8, 9pm. $12. With Scott Churchman + Chet Delcampo. M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave. 215.739.5577.

Once a garage-rock queen who started out under the tutelage of Billy Childish, hobnobbed with the White Stripes and released a dozen albums of '60s Brit Invasion-inspired jangle-rock throughout the '90s and early '00s, English singer-guitarist Holly Golightly has settled upon a dusty, old-timey country-blues sound somewhere between Robert Johnson and Patsy Cline. Sometimes rowdy, sometimes tender, Golightly's cranking out songs like "Getting High for Jesus" and "Devil Do" on new album Dirt Don't Hurt with help from the Brokeoffs--which is actually just one dude, "Lawyer Dave," who complements her perfectly with his crusty voice and skills on guitar, spoons, washboards and junkyard percussion. (M.A.G.)

Andrew Lipke

Sat., Nov. 8, 9pm. $10. With Chris Kasper + Buried Beds. North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St. 215.787.0488.

Always willing to play a pickup game of concert show, pretty man Andrew Lipke's out banging keys, guitar, drums, banjo, harmonica, theramin or Wurlitzer in co-conspirator's bands, or with Get the Led Out, or with Franzschubert & the Schuubs almost every night. He produces albums. He designs sound for local theater. But sometimes even the most generous and collaborative of rock souls needs to do their own thing. Hence Lipke's second solo LP Motherpearl and Dynamite, which finds him slicing into edgier territory than 2007's The Way Home ... loaded as it is with lush orchestral rock-opera backdrops on high and deep fuzzy distortion down low. The CD release party features a cast of a dozen special guests, from highfalutin' Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra violinists to the ever-lovin' country twang of the Lowlands. (Tara Murtha)

The Decemberists

Fri., Nov. 7, 8:30pm. $28. With Loch Lomond. Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. 215.627.1332.

While we wait for the Decemberists--our favorite ornate, literary-minded chamber-pop ensemble this side of Neutral Milk Hotel--to finish their follow-up to 2006's The Crane Wife, frontman Colin Meloy and co. are delivering a wee treat in the form of their new three-volume vinyl-and-download-only singles series Always a Bridesmaid and a Philly appearance on their brief accompanying tour. Though the Portland, Ore., band typically sings of seamen, wayfarers and trapeze artists of days gone by, this time their new single focuses on someone a bit more contemporary: "Valerie Plame" lusts after the former CIA operative (oh Colin, you scamp). I spy a scintillating show! (M.A.G.)

Kid Congo Powers + Howie Pyro

Fri., Nov. 7, 7pm. Free. Juanita and Juans, 11th and Cherry sts. 267.519.3447.

What can you say about a guy who played guitar on records by the Cramps and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds when those bands were at their apex of cool and influence? You can say he's a badass. And that's before you even mention all the incredible work he did in the band he helped found, the Gun Club. So yeah, Kid Congo Powers rules, and he's been going strong (on more than 100 recordings!) even after falling slightly off your radar. He'll be on hand to perform at the grand opening of Juanita and Juans, a bookstore, gallery and performance space that has a lot going on in its first couple of weeks. Congo will be joined by Howie Pyro of D-Generation and Danzig fame, so it's like the Warren Buffet of legendary punk-rock get-togethers. (Brian McManus)

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