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by INLANDER & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & hese damn kids and their music nowadays, making such a racket! Used to be you could go down to your local concert hall and hear good, old-fangled rock with a driving beat and electric guitars: your Aerosmiths, your Pearl Jams, what have you. And now these young whippersnappers like Santa Cruz's THE DEVIL MAKES THREE are downright perpetrating noise pollution with this so-called "string band" stuff -- all finger-picked banjos, plunk-plunk standup bass, and twangy guitars.





They play too friggin' fast, making all kinds of strummy noise with hardly any amplification. And they're singing about death, drinking, and the Devil. You know what we used to sing about in my day? Making out in cars. Honest, I don't know what we're going to do with these youngsters and their new-fashioned music. Gospel? Roots? Americana? Country? Whatever happened to rock 'n' roll?


-- JOEL HARTSE





The Devil Makes Three at the Big Easy on Sunday, July 15, at 8 pm. $5; $8, at the door. Call 244-3279.





& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & S & lt;/span & ometimes it seems that the holiest music isn't being made inside churches. While today's religious music -- at least in North America -- skews disproportionately to the happy-clappy, bands like THE BROKEN LETTERS are making something altogether awful, beautiful and sacred. Broken Letters' bio emphasizes their roots in Southern Gospel music (and, the seemingly, fundamentalist Christianity itself) and their musical/spiritual journey into mystery.





The result: sprawling, anguish, somewhere in the musical neighborhood of Low and My Morning Jacket. Take, for example, "Mangled Rambler's Song" from their new EP, on which David Hickox sings weary and sure like only a man who's wrestled with both demons and angels can. There's something both transcendent and ickily incarnational in this music, like the best work of Southern novelists Walker Percy and Flannery O'Connor.


--JOEL HARTSE





The Broken Letters with the Longnecks at Caterina Winery on Wednesday, July 18 at 9 pm. $5. Call 328-5069.





& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & F & lt;/span & or decades in the early to mid-20th century, there was a running battle between Clifton Chenier and Amede Ardoin over rightful ownership of the title "King of Zydeco." But although Chenier's son, C.J., now carries on the family tradition, Clifton himself is dead. So are Amede Ardoin and Beau Jocque.





These days, it's up to BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO to bear the crown for the older generation. But he hasn't won through attrition alone. Stanley Dural Jr. is among the only zydeco musicians have struck mainstream success. His 1989 Grammy-nominated record, On a Night Like This, remains one of the best modern zydeco recordings ever, exemplifying the genre with its undeniably danceable mix of funk, R & amp;B, soul and deep Louisiana accordion.





Royalty or not, the man's a living legend and one of the last great progenitors of an unfortunately moribund American musical genre.


-- JOEL SMITH


Buckwheat Zydeco at the Big Easy on Wednesday, July 18, at 8 pm. $12. Visit www.ticketswest.com or call 325-SEAT.
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