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The B-List

April 25, 2002|Natalie Nichols, Robert Hilburn , Steve Hochman, Steve Baltin, Richard Cromelin

Making noise just below the must-see level is a crowded roster of artists worth taking that extra step to see, either for the curiosity factor or for a reliable dose of quality.


You might want to visit the Charlatans' set simply as a sympathy vote. The English group's snake-bitten career has been waylaid by arrests, embezzlement and death, but they bounced back last year with "Wonderland," an album that combined their classic Stones/Faces vibe with the grooves of their hometown, Manchester. Their recent Palace concert captured the against-the-odds spirit that's become their subtext. Saturday. --R.C.


Concept-happy producing whiz Dan "The Automator" Nakamura has been a force in many innovative acts over the last decade, including cartoon hip-hoppers Gorillaz, the mock-suave Handsome Boy Modeling School and alt-rap icon Kool Keith's lascivious Dr. Octagon character. Recently Nakamura toured as his Modeling School persona, Nathaniel Merriweather, to present the tongue-in-cheek seduction of "Lovage: Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By," a collection blending cocktail-culture mating rituals and thoroughly modern mixology. And his new "Wanna Buy a Monkey?" is a mix album underscoring his fine DJ skills. Whatever he does should be intriguing. Saturday. --N.N.


After 10 years and four albums (the most recent being 1999's "One Part Lullaby"), the lo-fi duo of Sebadoh's Lou Barlow and friend John Davis is calling it quits after the Coachella appearance, according to Barlow's Web site. Best known for the song "Natural One," featured on the soundtrack of the 1995 film "Kids," F.I. has employed a couple of dozen instruments, including cookie sheets and glasses of water, in its charmingly homemade music. Barlow has formed a new, as-yet-unnamed band. Saturday. --S.H.


Carl Stephenson, who co-wrote "Loser" with Beck and who records under the name Forest for the Trees, battled a brain disorder five years ago to release a long-awaited debut album that was a striking mix of exotic musical textures and moods. He's now completing his follow-up, and this is a rare public performance. Saturday. --R.H.


The pro surfer and surf filmmaker has become a music phenom not with the shredding metal and punk of extreme sports, but with a positive, beachcomber vibe in his easygoing yet sharp-eyed songs.

The Hawaii-raised, Santa Barbara-based singer-songwriter's debut album, "Brushfire Fairytales," has been a steadily growing success since it was released by tiny Enjoy Records last year, initially sold mostly in surf and skate shops. Now, with screaming girls crowding his concerts and radio play starting to come, he's been picked up by major Universal Records. Saturday. --S.H.


The flagship of L.A.'s progressive/alternative rap scene released its debut album in 2000. "Quality Control" is a freewheeling but purposeful collection driven by rhythmic insistence and a restless originality. Saturday. --R.C.


KRS-One (real name: Kris Parker) has been around almost as long as rap itself, and he has as profound an understanding of the music's creative and social history as fellow New Yorker Chuck D. His early albums under the Boogie Down Productions name, including the trailblazing "Criminal Minded," were essential building blocks in hip-hop.

On last year's well-received "The Sneak Attack," the socially conscious KRS-One, who likes to think of himself as a teacher as much as a musician, demonstrated that he remains one of the genre's most gifted and illuminating figures. Saturday. --R.H.


The disc jockey has become a star in New York through his own radio show. Before celebrity came, though, Liquid Todd was shaking up dance floors with his mix of big beats and large trance hooks. Saturday. --S.B.


Not as big on the national scene at it might have been because of the group's infrequent appearances over the years, the Pharcyde nevertheless remains a major part of the local scene. The rap group's brash and irreverent rhymes are always a crowd-pleaser. Saturday. --S.B.


New York's Princess Superstar (a.k.a. Concetta Kirshner) is hip-hop's answer to Ani DiFranco. Along with writing and producing such hilariously lascivious collections as last year's "Princess Superstar Is," she runs her own label, the Corrupt Conglomerate. Such playfully X-rated material as "Bad Babysitter" is good fun, but the Princess also cleverly twists pop-culture references into sharp critiques of wannabes ("You Get Mad at Napster") and the music biz ("Trouble"). Live hip-hop can be an iffy proposition, but this is worth the gamble. Saturday. --N.N.


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