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by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & M & lt;/span & ISTRESS AND THE MISTERS' new album Conflagration (the first without the mistress chick -- good riddance, our e-mail boxes are half as full without her) is filthy. I'm not just saying that because I went through my promotional CDs the other day and realized I had more MatM discs than all other bands combined and decided I should write them up to get them off my back.





Honestly, this is good stuff, and Conflagration is the perfect name for it. The album cuts a swath right through the middle of punk, grunge and classic rock -- three genres that no one seems to want to acknowledge the similarities of (I can totally draw a Venn diagram if you want). Further, the album's tempo is turned up considerably over their past work. Like an inferno, to complete the metaphor.





Catch the CD release on Friday at the Blvd. You'll believe in rock again before you even hear one of the greatest dismissively misogynistic lines in history: Too much jibber-jabber comin' out her mouth / There's a good reason why we call her "cocaine crazy."





Mistress and the Misters with Thee Emergency and Paper Genius at the Blvd. on Friday, Oct. 20, at 9 pm. Tickets: TBA. Call 455-7826.








& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & f I had heard it back when I was the captain of slacker-ass English majors, DESTROY NATE ALLEN's song "Holiday" would have totally been the perfect jam to write an extra-credit poetry explication for (with the impassioned thesis that anything set to music is at least as good as anything by e.e. cummings book-ending four double-spaced pages of hyperbole, equivocation and cursing).





Peep this: "This holiday's no holiday without you / truth's not as distant as it seems / there's a certain amount of living without wisdom / that comes when we erase our dreams." Now belt it out in an upfront, idiosyncratic wail, set it to acoustic guitar, and you've coalesced an essential coming-of-age moment. It's an "I discovered Buddhism while on ketamine at an Innocent Criminals concert" type-moment, but it's a beautiful one nonetheless. That's not to say he sounds like Ben Harper. No sir.





His pluck-think-croon compositions will grate heavily at Empyrean on Friday against the Van Halen-inflected emo of Therefore I Am.





Destroy Nate Allen and Therefore I Am at Empyrean on Friday, Oct. 20, at 8 pm. Tickets: TBA. Call 456-3676.








& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & F & lt;/span & or what a failed experiment Sparta was, you gotta admit they spoke to a lot of people in a short amount of time. And, no matter what your thoughts on arena-sized post-hardcore ("Preposterous! Anthithetical! Rage-inducing!" comes the refrain -- to which I say, go back to your Fugazi albums and leave the rest of us alone), it's big with the kids.





Both THE TRANSIT WAR and SELF AGAINST CITY build walls of sound with relatively simple structures and lots of reverb, then adorn them with riffs ascending and cascading. It's an economical though powerful aesthetic that certainly holds up better than the manic synths and general overwroughtness of THE FOLD and QUIETDRIVE. The Big Easy's quadruple bill, then, makes for an interesting study in contrasts.





As for who has the more 12-year-old girl-friendly myspace page, the unequivocal winner -- with their pink to burgundy color scheme and the lass who looks like an Impressionistic pastel rendering of multiple personality disorder -- is the Transit War.





The Transit War and Self Against City with Quietdrive and the Fold at the Big Easy on Friday, Oct. 20, at 7 pm. $12. Visit www.ticketswest.com [and search "The Fold"] or call 325-SEAT.
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