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SOUND CHECKS ‌ Notable Shows in the Next Week


ALTERNA-FOLK | Hamell on Trial
w/ A Decent Animal
Wed. Feb. 1
$ 5

Based in NYC (by way of Austin, Texas), solo punk turned folk rocker Ed Hamell — a.k.a. "Hamell on Trial" — has been performing music and speaking into microphones for well over a decade. He recently released a new collection titled Songs for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs on singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe label. "I'm constantly touring to pay the bills, spread the word, and build the name," says the songsmith, who stays busy raising a three-year-old named Detroit when he's not on the road. "I did extensive demos in a studio in my house last year, and then we ended up recording it with Ani producing at her studio. This album is for all those liberal-minded people who can't fathom raising a child in this world of non-tolerance." With a bit of rhythmic help from drummer Andrew Case, electric guitarist Mike Napolitano, and DiFranco (who also contributes backing vocals, synth bass, keys, drums and kazoo), Songs for Parents... is a stand-out collection of witty observations, social commentary, and smart-ass tunecraft. —T. Ballard Lesemann WEDNESDAY


ALTERNA-GROOVE | Big Head Todd & the Monsters
w/ Jackie Greene
Fri. Feb. 3
Music Farm
$18 ($16 adv.)

A fixture on the college town touring circuit for some time, Big Head Todd & The Monsters are led not by a raving egomaniac, but rather just a dude with a slightly larger-than-average cranium atop his shoulders. Todd Park Mohr is said dude and the rocking trio that shares his name (bassist Rob Squires and drummer Brian Neven, along with occasional members keyboardist Jeremy Lawton and percussionist Gary Greene, comprise its remainder) have proven to be one of the most durable groups of the mid-'90s. They've all managed to stick around and earn their rep by retaining the knowledge previously utilized as a working bar band. That's really what these guys still are at heart, anyway: a dyed-in-the-wool "live band" best experienced under low lights and the wafting aroma of beer and cigs. Though heavy on material from their latest studio release (2004's Crimes of Passion), longtime staples like "Broken Hearted Savior" and "Ellis Island" make the cut on their latest release, Live at the Fillmore. —Michael Andrews FRIDAY


JAZZ/IMPROV | Kevin Hackler Quintet
Fri. Feb. 3
Johnson's Pub

Trumpeter Kevin Hackler, 24, has been playing music since he picked up his first horn at age 10. Growing up in the Myrtle Beach area, he moved to Charleston just a few years ago to study music at the CofC (where he received a degree from the jazz program), gig around downtown's cozy jazz venues, and launch a professional musical career that, so far, has led him around the world and back. On a weekly basis, Hackler plays a mix of loungy and be-bop standards and original pieces in various settings — including with a quintet at Chai's Tapas Lounge on Tuesday evenings and with a small combo with a rotation of guests (half-jokingly named "Coach Hackler & The Jazz Jam Tacklers") on Sunday evenings at Johnson's Pub. The quintet playing Friday at Johnson's Pub includes bassist Ben Wells, drummer Stewart White, vibes player Michael Hans, and guitarist Dave Linaburg. "That show will be more of a concert-type performance," says the bandleader. "We'll be trying out some new compositions and pieces, many of which each band member contributed. The Sunday nights [at Johnson's Pub] are much more of a jam session." —TBL FRIDAY


Rap/rock | Rehab
Sat. Feb. 4

Touring in support of a new album titled Graffiti the World, Atlanta-based rap-rock quintet Rehab — lead singer/emcee Danny "Boone" Alexander, bassist and studio engineer Hano Leathers, guitarists Fazal "Foz" Syed and Mike Hartnett, and drummer Chris Hood — return to town with some bad-ass grooves and licks. Alexander formed the group eight years ago with original cohort Brooks Buford (both became friends while spending time together at a Georgia rehab facility — hence the band name). In 1999, Epic signed the band and released the critically acclaimed Southern Discomfort, which featured the chart-topping single "It Don't Matter." After distancing themselves from a bad situation with bad management, the duo split apart and aimed in different directions. By 2004, Alexander had assembled a new backing band. Graffiti the World demonstrates Rehab's balancing of music styles, with big rock guitar chords, complex funk patterns, an unusually melodic twang-pop feel, and a healthy dose of turntable scratchin'. —TBL SATURDAY

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