Live Music

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Emma Pollock
Fri., Oct. 26, 7:30pm. $19-$22. With New Pornographers + Immaculate Machine. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.LIVE.

Once upon a time, Emma Pollock was one of two singer/guitarists in the lauded Scottish band the Delgados, which started out noisy (but not quite as noisy as their close friends and old labelmates Mogwai) and gradually became more atmospheric and symphonic-pop-inclined. After the group's 10-year run ended amicably in 2005, Pollock leapt for a solo career on storied 4AD Records with husband (and Delgados drummer) Paul Savage in tow. Her new Watch the Fireworks is textbook swirling, mesmerizing dream-pop with some shoegaze-y guitar bite, propulsive drumming and occasionally troubled lyrics. "At least three times in a single week I run aground," Pollock sings in "Acid Test." Let's hope for smooth sailing at the Troc. (Michael Alan Goldberg)

Damo Suzuki's Network
Thurs., Oct. 25, 6:30pm. $10. With Bardo Pond. Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St. 215.573.3234.; Thurs., Oct. 25, 9pm. $10. With Stinking Lizaveta + Soft People. Millcreek Tavern, 4200 Chester Ave. 215.222.1255.

After departing Can in the mid-'70s, Damo Suzuki walked away from music altogether. After a stint as a Jehovah's Witness, and even some time as a receptionist, Suzuki has returned. Performing with a revolving and ever-growing list of collaborators under the name Damo Suzuki's Network, he's focused on live, improvised and unrehearsed performances he calls "spontaneous composition." Joining Suzuki onstage is Bardo Pond at the Rotunda, immediately followed by Stinking Lizaveta at Millcreek Tavern. Suzuki's open-ended improvisational playfulness ought to make for two great shows. (John Cramer)

Jens Lekman
Fri., Oct. 26, 8pm. $12. With Silver Ages + Victor Sjoberg. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. 866.468.7619.

Just try to discuss Swedish troubadour Jens Lekman without using the words "whimsical" and "romantic." Impossible. The guy layers violin and ukulele riffs over power-ballad samples, and puts a cherry on top with the most maudlin, clever crooning this side of Jonathan Richman. 2005's Oh You're So Silent Jens compiled a bunch of the sap-puppy's previously elusive B-sides, singles and EPs, and felt like holding hands on a purple autumn evening, one scarf 'round two necks. Lekman's October-released follow-up LP Night Falls Over Kortedala is just as sentimental, droll and effortless as Silent, and is undeniably whimsical and romantic in its earnest pastiche of chamber pop, folk, Motown and melancholia. (Caralyn Green)

Sat., Oct. 27, 9:30pm. $10. With Audible, Adam & Dave's Bloodline + Denison Witmer. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

Long streaming on the band's website, the Swimmers' Fighting Trees is finally coming out on Drexel's Mad Dragon label early next year. Good thing too, because it'd be silly to drag your computer everywhere once you got hooked on their songs. And you will get hooked. The Swimmers aspire to a shiny model of power-pop, bright-eyed and ringing but with just enough melancholy to remind us of frontman Steve Yutzy-Burkey's late alt-country idols One Star Hotel, who are referenced in "St. Ceceilia." Yutzy-Burkey's wife Krista, meanwhile, ties the room together with spirited yet weighty keys. The Swimmers' big hit so far has been "Heaven," but there's plenty more where that came from. (Doug Wallen)

David Liebman Quartet
Sat., Oct. 27, 8pm and 10pm. $15. Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St. 215.568.3131.

Lieb grew up hearing John Coltrane in the flesh. Now 61, the Poconos-based Brooklynite is one of our great saxophone gurus. In the early '70s he earned his stripes playing with Elvin Jones and Miles Davis, appearing on Miles' twisted jazz-funk masterpiece On the Corner and more. His own bands, including Lookout Farm and Quest, brought a new eclecticism and harmonic density to jazz. Liebman is the picture of gravitas and encyclopedic knowledge, with a certain world-weary swagger. His recent projects range from duo to big band, jazz standards to all-out experimental. The current quartet, featuring guitar master Vic Juris, formed in 1991 and has yet to stop ripening. (David R. Adler)

Scout Niblett
Sun., Oct. 28, 9pm. $8. With Picastro + Hunter Gatherer. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

Scout Niblett's bare-bones approach is accompanied by a raw, sometimes shrill vocal style that conveys an innocent, explosive emotionality, earning comparisons to PJ Harvey and Chan Marshall. The Portland, Ore.-based British expat's style is very immediate, often relying on repetition and voice-cracking ache. Niblett frequently sings along to just guitar or drums, the songs' shambling, angular style recalling Shannon Wright, particularly on the latest This Fool Can Die Now. Louder and more electric and fully formed than previous releases, it's quite lovely at points (particularly on her four fine duets with Will Oldham) and calamitous at others, like "Hide and Seek," which ends in 30 seconds of feedback, expressing the darkness that lurks beneath the surface. (Chris Parker)

Sin�ad O'Connor
Tues., Oct. 30, 7:30pm. $39.50-$49.50. With Damien Dempsey. Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside. 215.572.7650.

A few weeks ago Irish singer Sin�ad O'Connor--her closely cropped hair halfway gray--appeared on Oprah to disclose her recent bipolar disorder diagnosis and a suicide attempt in the late '90s, and lamented the beating Britney Spears has been taking in the press. O'Connor knows a bit about being a hit-maker skewered by the media for erratic behavior. The now-40-year-old was essentially ostracized after shredding a photo of the pope on SNL back in 1992. Since then she's raised four children and explored her spirituality, became an ordained priest in 1999, released a surprisingly good reggae album in 2005, and is currently touring behind the hushed, moving Theology. (M.A.G.)

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