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It's a tribute to just how misguided the music bidness has become that Spottiswoode and His Enemies had to release their scintillating, eponymous debut on their producer's humble label (Kumpelstiltskin). It's a shame because, as recently as the '80s, this is precisely the kind of challenging but accessible music in which the major labels trafficked.

Jonathan Spottiswoode was the best thing about the now-defunct Washington, D.C.-based band The Zimmermans. His ominous baritone calls to mind both Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, while his cynical lyrics playfully dissect the Battle of the Sexes. His Enemies--most of them holdovers from The Zimms--are musically expert foils for their leader's demented ideas, shifting effortlessly from cabaret and elegant waltzes to brassy Bond raves and raunchy rock 'n' roll.

Spottiswoode opens for whacked-out local superstars Lud this Tues., Sept. 12, at Local 506. --Gavin O'Hara

DiamondDiamondDiamondThe only Whiskeytown member who's been able to hold her own with the high-maintenance Ryan Adams, Caitlin Cary's pure alto and fiddle-playing adds that extra fairy dust that separates the merely good bands from the truly special ones, and her duets with Adams evoke comparisons to Gram and EmmyLou. Besides her three-chick vocal project Tres Chicas (with Hazeldine's Tonya Lamm and Glory Fountain's Lynn Blakey), Cary (pictured) has just released her debut solo EP, Waltzie, with a little help from producer Chris Stamey and her Whiskeytown friends. (Look for a full-length in 2001.) Spinning tales of lost opportunities and regret, Cary's soulful voice and the homey arrangements seem familiar and original in that way music does when all the elements come together. Head to the Brewery Sept. 9 to help Cary and her touring band the Come Ons (Mike Daly, Skillet Gilmore and Mike Santoro--who've all played with Whiskeytown at one time or another), launch Waltzie to the world. Hell, it just might save you. --Angie Carlson

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