The Ataris; Cave In; My Morning Jacket
Three current products of heated record-biz indie-hunting roll through town separately this week; buy T-shirts from them and maybe they'll make a few bucks for their trouble. First up, headlining a Saturday-night bill at Deep Ellum Live that should woo every eighth-grader you know: the Ataris, touring behind So Long, Astoria, their Columbia debut after a bunch of CDs on Kung Fu that probably feature smaller amps than the ones they own now. Front man Kris Roe's as good an emo heartthrob as any, and he sings with a slight rasp that adds some believability to his endless tales of endless summers gone endlessly wrong. (It must be said, though, that their "Summer '79" is no "Summer of '69," which in turn's got nothing on DJ Sammy's endless "Heaven," but whatever.) At their best the Ataris resemble a sort of teenybopper version of Jawbreaker, another California pop-punk group that got swept up into major-label hoopla; perhaps the purchase power of America's emo massive will save the Ataris from the cutout bin.
Massachusetts metallers Cave In used to depend on emo for dinner, but on their new RCA debut, the very tuneful Antenna, they resemble a sort of ex-stoner version of the Foo Fighters, for whom they open Tuesday at the Fair Park Coliseum: crisp choruses, lengthy bridges, powerful drumming, evidence of emotional exhaustion, large amps. And singer Stephen Brodsky's eschewed the tormented hardcore yowl with which he once frightened New England, singing in a cool sneer that that dude from Sponge would kill for instead. I'm not sure if old-school emo kids like Sponge (or if they're willing to pay coliseum prices to decide), but Cave In's cave-in is plenty satisfying.
Don't expect a lot of compromise from Kentucky's My Morning Jacket, who hit the Galaxy Club on Sunday, on the band's forthcoming debut for ATO Records, Dave Matthews' BMG imprint: Over two previous albums and two recent EPs these steadfast Neil Young devotees have shown just how far a scraggly chord progression and an adenoidal vocal can be stretched and still evoke the bleary-eyed melancholy of the hopelessly prairiebound. What I'm trying to say is that their songs are long and drunken, and I doubt they're gonna trim them for Matthews' radio-friendly ass. What would you say to an endless jam session?
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