It seems like a week can't go by anymore without some random unknown indie band hitting town, while dozens pass us by (I am thinking of BAND OF HORSES, CHROMEO and HOT CHIP among others). This issue's dose of randomness comes from Sweden's HELL ON WHEELS (June 8, Gogol, 20:00, June 9, Aktovy Zal, 20:00), a collective that has been playing indie rock under the radar since the mid-90s. I'll be frank: I've never heard of them before, but am digging the mp3s I found. If you went to college in the 90s, this is the sort of stuff that was playing on your college radio station - SEBADOH, YO LA TENGO, and SUPERCHUNK. Definitely worth checking out.
Another cheesy pop metal band I have a soft spot for is Finland's THE RASMUS (June 8, B1 Maximum, 21:00). I don't know why, but their slick licks are just so mid-80s BON JOVI that I can't resist. Again, I'm not going to go see them, but I can understand why someone might.
When someone tells you they've a New York musician visiting Moscow and playing some shows, you are jaded enough to assume they probably suck and are simply playing here because the locals don't know any better. Not so with TONEARM (June 8, Ikra, 21:00), a Russian emigre who shuttles between New York and Moscow, organizing and headlining festivals here, playing residencies at the venerable Knitting Factory there. Time Out New York called him an electronic combination of JOHN LENNON and MARC BOLAN, while Time Out Moskva will probably ignore him.
If you believe me that Kid Koala is not your average DJ, you're just gonna have to take my word for it that DJ SPOOKY, THAT SUBLIMINAL KID (June 10, Central House of Artists, 21:00, June 12, Mio, 23:00) is out of this fucking world. The DC native took his stage name from a WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS novel, and developed an early interest in punk and go-go music. He basically created the illbient style of trip-hop, and has worked with DR. OCTAGON, DAVE LOMBARDO of SLAYER, CHUCK D of PUBLIC ENEMY and others. These days, when he's not spinning, he's a professor of music-mediated art at the European Graduate School in Switzerland.
Everyone remembers SUICIDAL TENDENCIES (June 11, Ten, 19:00) for the Repo Man soundtrack classic hardcore song "Institutionalized" (you know, "All I wanted was a Pepsi" or whatever), and that's just fine. They've spent the better part of the last quarter-century founding the skate-punk scene that relative newcomers like NOFX and LAGWAGON have polished into something just short of top 40. Presumably, the band's original bass player won't be making this trip, as he's now getting paid millions to be in METALLIC A, but I think all the other founding members will be playing. At least vocalist CYCO MIKO will be there, and who else do you really need?
Moscow loves its musical clowns. Seriously. You don't have to be a great band to get repeat gigs: just be alright and have a gimmick. THE TIGER LILLIES (June 12, Central House of Artists, 21:00, June 15, B1 Maximum, 21:00) know the game all too well: they get all colored up in grease paint before presenting their brand of cabaret and the crowd eats it up. Accordion, drums and double bass are punctuated by falsetto vocals singing about hookers, drugs and death, all of which is much easier to take if you're drunk.
Finally, a band that I probably would've dug if I was ten years younger hits town. I remember seeing the video for MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE's (June 13, Luzhniki, 20:00) mega-hit "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" a while back and thinking that as cheesy as it was, if I was 15, it would resonate with me. Because, like, I'm not OK. So I get it. But that doesn't mean I have to like it. Their old stuff was catchy pop-punk. The new stuff is some kind of conceptual rock shit that doesn't make sense at all and is just no fun. But the kids eat it up.