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There's so much to do this fine Fourth of July weekend (ahhh, America... 232 years of suckers feelin' free!) I just don't even know where to get started.

I guess Thursday's pre-release party for J. Miller and Friends' long-anticipated and aptly titled debut album, Past Due, at McCabes Tavern is as good a place as any. I got my hands on an "advance copy" of the 14-song slab of crisp and bright Americana rock, which, with a little spit and elbow from Bill Douglass over at Royal Recording, sounds pretty dang good.

Anyhow, the "J" is for Jason, and the "Friends" include, among countless others, former members of regional all-stars the Old Dog Band and current members of Manitou's funky mushroom-jam spreaders, Creating a Newsense. This evening will serve only as a pre-release party, with the "real" release party later this summer when the rest of the "friends" get back in town. But according to the big J. himself, "I gotta start selling a few of these things ..." Well said, buddy. Well, said!

If you like it bluesy and rootsy, but prefer it a bit more on the seedy, rough and dirty side, or for that matter, a hell of a lot more on the seedy, rough and dirty side, then blow over to the Rocket Room on Thursday for an all-out broken blues/punk jamboree. Featuring the soul-injected neo-Delta fuzz of Denver's American Relay, the whiskey-pickled hobo-core stomp-and-howl of Denver's dearest rail-riders, Slak Jaw, and lastly the "Calhan lady killers" themselves the Jack Trades, this is the show to see! I don't get out as often as I should (seeing as I'm a professional rock 'n roll journalist and all), but I will be doing my best to slip away for this one. I suggest you do the same!

Not that you shouldn't get out on Saturday, July 5, when Nick Davey brings his heartfelt and humorous set of Neil Young-inspired folk/rock to the latest art exhibition at the Coffee Exchange (522 S. Tejon St.). Quite a lively bloke, Nick cut his teeth across the pond back in the '70s with progressive rock group Quince, tinkered around a bit with Twenty Twisted Years while living in Poland, and has been seen around town, as of late, with a cat named Jeremy Facknitz.

With a first-rate mix of originals and time-tested standards (and between-song banter that rivals the best of the BBC), Nick's current set is equal parts Billy Bragg and John Cleese. I am hard-pressed to think of a more pleasantly entertaining local music experience. If you miss him this weekend, he will play at Ricos next Saturday, July 12.

For something completely different: On Wednesday, July 9, the Underground will host the touring San Diego scream metal band Daemos, which blends elements of classic Bay Area thrash with death metal and the more melodic modern hardcore into a fine Mike Patton/Mr. Bungle-flavored stew. Opening the gig are local thrash metal groaners Vital Malice, black/death beasts Tribes of Asher (tell your Mom I said "Hi!"), and the beat-down, down-beat "shit-gazer" metal of Crusher Destroyer. Viva le metal! Viva le Underground!

That will be all. Happy "Independence Day," suckers, smell you later!

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