Music Menu

Trans Am/Rye Coalition/Oxes After-the-rock innovators Trans Am have been around since long before we had a word for every style under the radar, and they continue to defy category with an ever-evolving exploratory yet organic vibe (see Music column). Jammy, muscular postpunks Rye Coalition are still around, similarly confounding the concept of genre. The new seven-track, self-titled Oxes disc is herky-jerky, menacing and intriguing — it hasn't left my CD player yet, but maybe that's because I only put it in about 20 minutes ago. (Dec. 6, Orpheum)

Sick of it All/Shai Hulud/Glasseater Hardcore legends Sick of it All must have been, like, 12 when they first started playing together; after what seems like well over a decade of quality grooveage, they still look like the world's most malevolent boy band. Local favorites Shai Hulud take a somewhat heavier approach, but inject their metallic noise with plenty of earnest emotion and jagged hookiness. Comparative newcomers Glasseater, they of the monster dynamics and anguished delivery, will almost certainly prove to be a highlight. (Dec. 6, State Theatre)

98Rock Nutcracker Ball feat. Nickelback/Saliva/Soil/Default/Mesh After enjoying modest success with their first CD, Nickelback's sophomore effort, Silver Side Up, somehow crept to the top of the Billboard charts on the strength of the most generic alt-rock single to grace radio since the days of Bush's Sixteen Stone. Tennesseean rap/cock-rock outfit Saliva has also achieved a similarly unaccountable level of stardom. A guy dressed like David Coverdale, rhyming badly over tired lite-metal riffage. How compelling. Soil purveys competently executed nu-metal, Nickelback proteges Default give up more rock-oriented fare, and Mesh are, well, pretty much unknown. Knock yourselves out. (Dec. 7, USF Sun Dome)

Pepper & Fine Thyme Those crazy kids at Swing Time celebrate one year of live events with a performance by jump-jazz favorites Pepper & Fine Thyme. Rumor has it Santa himself might show up for a little rug-cutting. (Dec. 7, Centro Asturiano)

Good Charlotte w/Mest/Sugarcult Good Charlotte pack all manner of hooks and hip styles into a slick, vaguely punky aesthetic, a la Sum 41 or Lucky Boys Confusion. They're not bad, just don't expect anything beyond an insanely catchy, prepackaged and target-marketed good time. Mest's photos, CD cover and bio match Good Charlotte's almost exactly, right down to the tattoo logo and font, so there you go. Sugarcult draw a little more heavily from the power-pop of Cheap Trick and edgy eclectica of The Clash, coming off as a bit more mature, but no less accessible. This tour might appropriately be named The Ghost of Warped Tours Yet To Be. (Dec. 8, State Theatre)

Vanilla Fudge Quintessential psychedelic rock band Vanilla Fudge reconvenes after more than 30 years to ROCK YOU. Drummer Carmine Appice, bassist Tim Bogert and guitarist/vocalist Vince Martell have all enjoyed success in other musical endeavors since the days of VF but regrouped earlier this year for some touring, which included a performance at Love Ride 18, the world's largest motorcycle-culture fundraising event. (Dec. 8, Bourbon Street)

27/Argentina/Isobella Boston-based pop minimalists 27 have been compared to Joan of Arc and Cat Power; their meanderings feature atmospheric samples and some seriously trance-inducing female vocals. Gainesville indie-rock favorites Argentina return as well, along with storied locals Isobella, who've got a new disc out on Clairecords. (Dec. 8, New World Brewery)

Fang Shooey/Rudesquad/Gaslight Addition/Middleground The Realm Coffeehouse in on Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete has gotten a bit of a reputation as a goth/Wiccan/New Age hangout. Allow them to re-introduce their open-minded nature with the first Realm live event, a local to-do featuring some great ska/punk/rock/indie sounds. Remember those shows where you had to make sure you didn't step on any of the guitarist's pedals? Intimate setting is the password. Check it out, and maybe they'll be able to keep doing shows. (Dec. 8, Realm Coffeehouse)

Derrick Carter Chicago house's main man, DJ Derrick Carter comes to town in support of his first mix CD to be released in five years, About Now. Like most DJs, Carter is a star in Europe but maintains a relatively low profile here in the States, though he has helped shape the sound and success of domestic house music. In addition to his own work, he's re-mixed such hype-shrouded names as Tortoise and Esthero, and even contributed vocals to the last Basement Jaxx album. (Dec. 8, Rain Lounge)

Dashboard Confessional/Further Seems Forever/Rocking Horse Winner/Seville Chris Carrabba and friends return to the State. All of these indie/emo acts come from South Florida's fertile underground scene — Carrabba fronted Further Seems Forever before erstwhile side-project Dashboard Confessional took off, and Seville's rhythm section is also that of DC. Expect a friendly, family vibe, lots and lots of earnest, melodic posthardcore tuneage, and Chris complaining about the sound system. (Dec. 9, State Theatre)

First Annual Human Rights Day Festival w/Sparky's Nightmare/Gotohells/Car Bomb Driver Features information booths and speakers from human rights organizations. The festival is free to all and runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Largo's Central Park. Sparky's Nightmare entertain crowds with their early R.E.M.-influenced sound, Gotohells provide their slamming rock 'n' roll, and Car Bomb Driver screeches in with a set of good-time punk. For more information, check out www.humanrightsfestival.com. (Dec. 9, Largo Central Park)

Eric Taylor w/Vonn New Influential Texan Eric Taylor cut his teeth amid Houston's '70s singer-songwriter scene, as a peer of Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. Robert Earl Keen and Steve Earle, among others, have cited Taylor as an influence, and he's appeared on national television as a sideman with Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith. World-beat percussionist Vonn New fuses Middle East and African techniques and instruments with a contemporary vibe and the Deep Listening experience. (Dec. 9, Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa)

Over It/Brand New/Mid Carson July Road-dogs Over It return to Tampa for the second time in as many months — their fusion of melody, punk attitude and hardcore energy seems to have scored with the New World/Harbor Club crowd. They're bringing the similarly furious Brand New with 'em; now-locals Mid Carson July provide support. (Dec. 12, New World Brewery)

Peter White Smooth jazz guitarist Peter White released his eight solo collection, Glow, this past October. This tour brings White together with saxophonist Dave Koz and friends for A Smooth Jazz Christmas program. (Dec. 12, Ruth Eckerd Hall)

—All entries by Scott Harrell

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