Sound and the Fury

A week on the scene

Case of blues

Even by the most conservative estimates, Peter Case has experienced at least four musical careers.

As a teenager in the '60s, he busked his way up and down the east coast playing folk music. In 1975, while in San Francisco, he hooked up with fellow songwriters Jack Lee and Paul Collins, and formed the obscure but brilliant power-pop trio the Nerves. That band broke up in 1978 with a mere EP to show for their troubles, but Lee's "Hanging On the Telephone" later provided Blondie with one of their most indelible tracks, and Case's "When You Find Out" became a cult classic. In the early '80s, Case co-founded the Los Angeles pop-rock band the Plimsouls, who gave us the timeless "A Million Miles Away" and enlivened the 1983 teen flick, Valley Girl. But it's over the last two decades, as a bluesy singer-songwriter, that Case has brought his music full circle and offered the purest expression of his sardonic worldview.

Case is currently touring behind Who's Gonna Go Your Crooked Mile?, a Vanguard Records compilation covering his last 10 years of work. From the screwup's lament, "Coulda Shoulda Woulda" ("20/20 hindsight such a drag") to the Abu Ghraib response "Wake Up Call," this is a model of rootsy, literate songwriting.

Case is scheduled to perform at Casbeers (1719 Blanco) on Friday, October 22.

Indie troubadours

It's a good night for despair this Sunday in Austin, where some of the indie world's saddest and finest songwriters are getting together in an unusual venue, the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater downtown. Richard Buckner (who sort of lived in Austin a while back) is touring with the new Merge album Dents and Shells; the less famous but more prolific Damien Jurado (currently recording for Secretly Canadian) is visiting from Seattle, and Yep Roc's lushly lethargic Dolorean are promoting their third disc, Violence in the Sunny Fields. The Downtown Drafthouse is a nice size for an indie movie theater, but pretty tiny for a rock club; San Antonians looking to make the drive north are advised to secure tickets ahead of time. Alamo Drafthouse Theater is at 409 Colorado, Austin ( Showtime is 8.30 pm, and tickets are $10.

Compiled by Gilbert Garcia and John DeFore

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