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Gucci Mane, Nappy Roots and Country Bucks 

WEDNESDAY 8/17

TOUCHE AMORE
7 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $7.

Every once in a while I'll pick up a copy of Maximumrocknroll, the long-running DIY punk periodical that has never and will never change. And every time I do, I'm amazed that there are still enough people who dig crusty gutter-punk bands that wear bullet belts and butt-flaps and sound exactly like Discharge to support a monthly magazine. And even though I don't care about the music, it makes me happy to know it's there. But in recent years, I'd begun to worry about the life spans of other deeply obscure musical micro-genres. Specifically, I was concerned that a certain style of hardcore had gone extinct, that being the genus that spread from San Diego in the early '90s and employed dissonant guitars and screaming and white polyester belts and Mr. Spock hairdos and had really dramatic, personal lyrics about things like drowning and loneliness and how no one understands and everyone has changed and they all died inside and maybe you're dead inside too. This was once called "emo," a mildly pejorative but generally accepted term. That name was expropriated at some point and is now even more of an insult, though the music sounds different. But hey, looky here, there are some bands keeping the '90s emo flame alive — case in point, Touche Amore. The band cops from The Swing Kids, early Drive Like Jehu and maybe Assfactor 4, and if you're old enough to remember that band, you've probably got kids and a mortgage and you're in bed by 10 p.m. There are five bands on the bill, which would be a pain in the ass for grownups, but is perfect for those youthful, carefree summer evenings when you have nothing more pressing to do than watch five hardcore bands, befriend them, sneak into some swimming pool and then go to Waffle House. RB.

FRIDAY 8/19

GUCCI MANE
9 p.m., Clear Channel Metroplex. $25-$75.

Last year, Pitchfork described Gucci Mane as "rap's most divisive figure, with the Internet peanut gallery lining up to call him everything from a borderline-retarded grunter to rap's last, best hope." The debate continues. Earlier this year, a judge ordered the prolific Atlanta rapper sent to a psychiatric and chemical dependency facility after his lawyer filed a plea of "mental incompetence" following a probation violation. Sometime between his stay at the mental health facility and a longer stay in jail he got a large tattoo of an ice cream cone with three scoops on top and lightning bolts surrounding it on his face; a spokesman said it was reminder to fans that Gucci is "cool as ice." Despite spending a big chunk of the year in jail, the rapper still managed to put out at least two mixtapes and, on Tuesday, a major release called "Ferrari Boys" (conspicuous consumption gets nostalgic?) with protege Wacka Flocka Flame. What I've heard doesn't live up to perhaps Gucci's best lyric, "I'm a dinosaur, you a herbivore / I use words and verbs you ain't heard before," but it's a big enough release-event as to likely inspire the hordes to descend on the Metroplex. LM.

NAPPY ROOTS
9 p.m., Stickyz. $10 adv., $15 d.o.s.

A decade ago, the Kentucky rap collective Nappy Roots broke through nationally with "Awnaw" ("aw naw, hell naw, y'all done up and done it"). The infectious, organ-sampling single should be part of anyone's pantheon of Southern rap anthems (along with OutKast's "ATLiens," Goodie Mob's "Soul Food" and Big K.R.I.T.'s "Country Shit"). But despite some modestly successful follow-ups, nothing the five-man group has released has made quite an impact. That could change with "Nappy Dot Org," an album due out in September that, despite its lame title, has strong promise, largely because it's produced entirely by legendary producers Organized Noize. Early in their career Nappy Roots were often pegged as the heir to Goodie Mob and Outkast's particular brand of Southern rap. Teaming with the producers who gave those groups their early sounds could help along that comparison. LM.

SATURDAY 8/20

EUREKA SPRINGS FAMILY BLUEGRASS WEEKEND
7 p.m. Basin Spring Park. Free.

Good news for anybody who was bummed out about the cancellation of the Blackberry Winter's Little Rock show a couple months ago: The band is headlining this here bluegrass festival. You might remember Blackberry Winter from its hauntingly beautiful folk songs, which were featured extensively on the "Winter's Bone" soundtrack. Singer and bandleader Marideth Sisco's voice is incredible, buoyed and propelled by fiddle, guitar, mandolin and all manner of plucked strings. The group has been getting some well-deserved attention and playing the sort of clubs that usually host indie rock acts, including such houses of ill repute as The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, N.C., or The Earl in Atlanta. Sisco has been blogging about the band's awesomely titled "The Amazing Geriatric Hillbilly U.S. World Tour." Sample observation: "Boston was another surprise, another indie rock place painted all black and with a bare green room, no amenities and with the bathrooms clear over on the other side of the facility. Don't know what the rest did, but I changed clothes and cleaned up in the handicap stall on the women's side. Not a good start." I don't know that Basin Spring Park has a green room but nonetheless, it will be a great venue to see Blackberry Winter, as well as the dozen or so other bluegrass bands that will play this rain-or-shine jamboree, which kicks off Friday night and goes through Sunday. RB.

SUNDAY 8/21

ROYAL FOREST
4 p.m. Artchurch Studio. $5.

Austin's Royal Forest traffics in mid-tempo, modern psychedelic rock, with reverb-heavy vocals, swirly washes of guitar and sound effects galore. The band's self-titled EP from last year treads similar ground as Grizzly Bear or a slightly more restrained Tame Impala. The pulsing "Civilwarland" gets things off to a rollicking start and a name-check of "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline," the short story collection by George Saunders that is totemic among 20- and 30-somethings nowadays in the way that Richard Brautigan novels were to hippies. A recent EP of covers finds the band in an even more subdued mood. Neil Young's "Borrowed Tune" eschews the broken-down-drunk-at-the-piano feel of the original for a Xanax-numbed, contemporary interpretation. Similarly, Bob Dylan's "You're a Big Girl Now" feels detached, cold and distant. It's the sound of heartbreak on the dark side of the moon as opposed to the smoldering, earthly ember of pain that is Dylan's original. This band will probably sound excellent inside Artchurch Studio. RB.

MONDAY 8/22

JANET NAPOLITANO
6 p.m. Clinton Presidential Center. Free.

The Clinton Presidential Center has certainly brought in some serious political heavyweights. While Arne Duncan and Ray LaHood have both been to Arkansas within the last year or so, it's not every day that Little Rock gets a presentation from the acting director of a high-profile, Cabinet-level department of the federal government. Former New Mexico Gov. Janet Napolitano is the third secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which was created in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Though relatively young, DHS has been criticized for many things, from the typical charges of wasteful spending to more pointed complaints about privacy violations and security gaffes such as the thwarted "Underwear Bomber," Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. But if nothing else, we can all be thankful that Napolitano replaced that ridiculous color-coded terrorist alert system. Seating at these events is limited, and this one will probably fill up quickly, so make reservations by calling 683-5239. RB.

TUESDAY 8/23

COUNTRY BUCKS
8 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $8.

Mark Deutrom — aka Mark D. — has a resume to make any heavy music fiend turn green with envy: He went to school at the California Institute of the Arts, attending seminars with such luminaries as John Cage, Morton Subotnick and Aaron Copland; he started the Alchemy label in the '80s, producing and releasing albums by Neurosis, The Melvins and Rich Kids on LSD, among others; he played bass for The Melvins — arguably one of the most influential metal bands ever — during an incredibly successful period in the band's long history, even opening what turned out to be Nirvana's final show; and he collaborated with Sunn 0))) on a European tour, among many other very awesome, very metal things. Earlier this year, he released "The Value of Decay," a darkly psychedelic solo album that captured the sturm und drang of sprawling metal acts like Neurosis, but sounds less angry, more contemplative and bluesy. His band Country Bucks naturally incorporates more than a little bit of demented, Melvins-style heaviness, but with an added ZZ Top-style boogie rock sound. RB.

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