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by INLANDER & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & "S & lt;/span & omebody's gonna get their head kicked in tonight," grunts LOS GATOS LOCOS' Charlie Splatterhead (guessing that's a nom de rock). Promise, Chuck? We're going to hold you to it.

Just what conspired among punk, rockabilly, surf rock and the dark arts to create psychobilly may never be known. Thank God for conspiracy, though. (We're always up for a little conspiracy.) Bands like Los Gatos Locos, CALAVERA and Spokane's THE GRAVE SCENE, who share a bill at the Blvd., make punk, a very threadbare form nowadays, feel vital (or at least varied).

It's got the hell-raising steez that so freaked out parents with the advent of rockabilly, with actual (and frequent) reference to hell through the imagery and tropes of horror films, the paranoia of zombie flicks and the rough-and-tumble sexuality of the pinups. Sure, it's gimmicky and just as old as punk, but insofar as it's never been widely popular, psychobilly still feels fresh.


Los Gatos Locos with Calavera, Grave Scene, Switchblade Sinners and Monster Crash at the Blvd. on Saturday, May 26, at 5 pm. Price TBA. Call 455-7826.

We don't get much avant metal around these parts, which is why an appearance by STOLEN BABIES, a band flirting with that designation, bears mention. Inspired by Gorey and all things Neo-Victorian (parasols, church bells, A Nightmare Before Christmas), their music is black and bouncy, incorporating horror pop as much as dark cabaret, mixing hardcore shrieks with sultry, grim singing.

It's reminiscent of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, but less propulsive and nightmarish, tending toward the sinister and carnivalesque. Not a bad niche to fill, especially since it gives hot singer Dominique Persi all sorts of costume choices.

Sharing a bill and not much else with hard rock snoozers Lacuna Coil -- probably because both bands have sexy leads (Coil's Cristina Scabbia is Revolver's "Hottest Chicks in Metal" cover girl two years running, holla!), get there in time to see Stolen Babies, then just, kinda, leave whenever you feel like.


Lacuna Coil with Within Temptation, Kylesa, Stolen Babies at the Blvd. on Wednesday, May 30, at 6 pm. Price TBA. Call 455-7826.

Hot damn, I love pedal steel! Though the instrument is, by all accounts, a stupidly hard instrument to play, it conveys the exact opposite: a calloused, dusty, spiritual simplicity of life. Salt Lake's BAND OF ANNUALS use it to terrific effect at the beginning of "Don't Let Me Die," a plaintive country-western elegy to dead youth at the hands of hard knocks.

"When I was young, said, I was na & iuml;ve. It was a misunderstanding how life could be so demanding, but I learned it quick," sings Jeremi Hanson, the singer/violinist/mandolins/Wurlitzer jockey exuding a smoky charisma through his hard-worn airs, sounding every bit like Neko Case with an Adam's apple.

It's just the soft whine of the pedal steel, the quiet snap of a lone snare and that heartbreaking voice. It's gorgeous. See them at Empyrean and you'll be dying to catch them at Elkfest the next day.


Band of Annuals with Kid Theodore at Empyrean on Thursday, May 31. Time and price TBA. Call 838-9819. Also at Elkfest on Friday, June 1, at 8 pm. Free. Call 363-3973.
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