by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & n a review of THE VALLEY's self-titled 2005 debut, webzine musicemissions.com declared, "the J. Mascis generation has begun." By invoking the brain behind buzz gods Dinosaur Jr., the small Website had essentially foreseen the return of grunge. (If you didn't realize it was coming back, don't fret. We all missed it too.)
Given that album's age and the fact that the band at large been splashing around Seattle since 2002, the Valley would have helped clear debris from the still-recent grunge backlash, making big, distorted rock acceptable.
Of course, this all comes with hindsight irony borne of the realization that, in less than 15 years, music has doubled back on itself. When singer Dan Beloit wails, "Without your money I'd be selling dope / Without your love I'd have no hope, no hope" on "xoRx," it's as riotously offhand as Nirvana was self-serious.
-- LUKE BAUMGARTEN
The Valley with the Foxy Sluts and Skirts of Fury at the Spread on Friday, March 23, at 10 pm at the Spread. Price TBA. Call 456-4515.
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & O & lt;/span & f all the self-conscious stabs at gravitas that rock bands take with their names, HE IS LEGEND is undoubtedly the most direct. That is, there are only two or three possible meanings. And though the most likely is that it's a reference to the Christian-ish rock band's Messiah, the more interesting is that lead singer Schuyler Croom wants people to worship him like a golden calf. That's what you call ideological tension, kids, and it kicks ass.
And why shouldn't people worship the guy? His band rocks in ways I haven't heard bands rock in years. It rocks in totally unexpected ways.
Hearing singing that isn't nasally or snot-nosed (there's a difference) is rare enough. Lithe, crisp axemanship squeals and stabs like Van Halen without the hair. It's hard, but never gets sludgier than '80s thrash and rarely panders to less musically articulate though more pervasive trends (like emo).
-- LUKE BAUMGARTEN
He Is Legend with Chimaira, Takeover and Concrete Grip on Tuesday, March 27, at 7 pm. $16; $19, at the door. Visit www.ticketswest.com or call 325-SEAT.
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & he album cover for KIDS IN THE WAY's ornately -- titled Apparitions of Melody: The Dead Letters Edition is sparely illustrated. From the top of the sleeve, designed to look like a woodcut, hangs a lantern. From the yellowed paper to the lantern's long, frail line, it looks like the cover of an Edward Gorey book. If you know Gorey's drawings and stories, you grasp, to a degree, the exact opposite of the band's sound.
If Gorey was urbanely macabre, Kids in the Way are squalidly romantic. They're a band that makes big, dirty noises about little, sweet sentiments. It's big, lavish butt rock with just enough growly sincerity to connect with emo-striped 'tweens, Motley Cr & uuml;e fans, and everyone in between.
A line from "Fiction" goes, "we are not poets." I agree, though that doesn't mean they aren't rock stars. It means they'll be big ones.
-- LUKE BAUMGARTEN
Kids in the Way with Panic Division, Desole and Peachcake on Wednesday, March 28, at 7 pm. Tickets: $8; $10, at the door. Visit www.ticketswest.com or call 325-SEAT.
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.