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It still tours
Jim James plays Boston with My Morning Jacket and Connor Oberst, Afrobeat powerhouse Antibalas hits the Middle East, and more

Later this winter, Jim James will be back in these parts touring in the company of Bright Eyes’ Connor Oberst, but this week James is doing what he does best: fronting the fantastic Kentucky rock outfit My Morning Jacket, whose amalgam of crooked-fingered, country-fried jams, a Muscle Shoals–smoked rhythm section, Southern-soul rave-ups, and backwoods Crazy Horse rockage sounds just as anachronistically pleasing on It Still Moves, their debut for Dave Matthews’s ATO/RCA imprint, as it did when the band were cranking out discs for the indie label Darla. James’s gang play Monday at the Iron Horse (413-584-0610) in Northampton, Tuesday at Higher Ground (802-654-8888) in Winooski, Vermont, and Wednesday at the Space (207-828-5600) in Portland.

There are some genres best left unmediated by indie-rock hands, and with a very few exceptions, Afropop is one of them. For an example of why, see Many in High Places Are Not Well (Bubblecore), the latest disc from Chicago post-rocker Doug Scharin’s dub supergroup H.I.M. (not to be confused with the Scandinavian metal band); the concept appears to be a cross between Cymande and Stereolab, though the result is closer to a world-beat cliché without a pulse. Three of the group’s members also play in the minimalist indie-tronica outfit Mice Parade, and both groups stop by Higher Ground next Thursday, January 29, as well as the Middle East (617-864-EAST) in Cambridge next Friday, January 30.

To see what H.I.M. are missing, we suggest checking out the bulletproof protest funk of Afrobeat powerhouse Antibalas, the NYC-based large-ensemble supergroup devoted to carrying on the musical and political traditions of Fela Kuti and James Brown in the age of shock and awe. They play the Middle East on Friday, the Call (401-751-2255) in Providence on Saturday, Station 58 (860-443-5858) in New London, Connecticut, next Thursday, January 29, and Mass MoCA (413-662-2111) in North Adams on January 30.

For a decade, from 1989 to 1999, NYC hardcore dudes Life of Agony had it pretty good — signed to Roadrunner, toured with Ozzy, sold well. To some of us, though, they’ll be remembered for briefly recruiting Ugly Kid Joe singer Whitfield Crane to fill in after founding vocalist Keith Caputo left in 1997. A one-off show with Caputo early last year turned into a full-fledged reunion tour for the metalcore faithful; it hits the Palladium (800-477-6849) in Worcester on Friday and Webster Theater (860-525-5553) in Hartford on Sunday.

Avant-metal standard bearers Dillinger Escape Plan had better luck in replacement singers a couple years back, when Faith No More/Fantomas frontman Mike Patton joined them for a one-off EP on Epitaph; we’re still waiting for them to release their live cover of Justin Timberlake’s "Like I Love You." In the meantime, DEP join spazz-punk instigators the Locust for a tour that hits the Palladium next Thursday, January 29.

Issue Date: January 23 - 29, 2004
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