by INLANDER & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & he easy tack to take with LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM is to rhapsodize about how, decades ago, his guitar brilliance brought him to the attention of two dudes named Fleetwood and McVie, and how that, his fierce monogamy and, later, rigorous partner swapping, led to one of the greatest pop albums of all time.

We could do that, or we could just pop in Rumours and let its majesty wash over us.

Let's do that; it leaves more room to talk about Buckingham's solo career that, while hardly thriving by Fleetwood Mac standards, is intensely interesting. His latest, Under the Skin, is just fingerpicked guitar and his plaintive voice showcasing how intensely uneasy and fraught he is after all these years. The production is spare, though his voice is wrapped in a half-dozen layers of echo, making the whole thing feel alternately gauzy and trippy. A study in the power of an effect and the continued effectiveness of an artist.


Lindsey Buckingham at the Big Easy on Saturday, June 23 at 8 pm. $40. Visit or call 325-SEAT.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & here are times in the life of a scene when bands come along and refresh it. Now is one of those times. SLOW DANCE FAST is one such band.

Their instrumental work is made up of soft easy stuff, reminiscent of early Weezer but more sedate, without Rivers Cuomo's voice and with less drum. Composed, then, of the occasional surf lick and silly love ballad. Steve Hilmes' voice is deep in a perpetually sleepy way, very much like The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt. The comparisons stop there though (good thing too, or else they'd be total rip-offs).

They're stranger than either Weezer or the Fields, singing songs about dinosaurs and monsters. Slow Dance Fast, though, isn't a hook-y kid's band or a cryptic everything-I-say-is-a-metaphor-for-life-type band. They're straight-up fun, providing a welcome diversion from pop's well-worn lyrical standards, and they do it in a way that doesn't sound forced. The ingenuity is real and the result is fresh.


Slow Dance Fast with Table Top Joe and Starflight Ambush at Empyrean on Saturday, June 23 at 8 pm. $3. Call 838-9819.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & he evening news at 6 hook on KRISTY KRUGER is that her brother, Lt. Col. Erik Kruger, was killed in Iraq in November. Repeated calls from publicists top lined this, burying her name and art beneath the tragic personal consequence of our national quagmire. It bears mention as the impetus for her current tour of the 50 states ("Since he died for America, I'd like to see the whole thing. I'd like to see what he died for," she says), but misses, we think, the more important story: She's really, really good.

Possessed of a dry, low, unimpressed vocal delivery strikingly reminiscent of Lucinda Williams and engaged in a sly butchery of traditional American song forms (reminiscent of Tom Waits), she's exciting as hell to listen to.

The 50 state tour is a fine (though ultimately quixotic) memorial for a fallen brother. How she eventually renders the tragedy into art, though, will be the real tribute.


Kristy Kruger at Brooklyn Nights on Tuesday, June 26 at 8 pm. Free. Call 835-4177.

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