Bloc Party's rise from indie chancers to chart darlings has been meteoric. A year ago, they were sending their demo to an immediately appreciative Franz Ferdinand; last month their debut album SilentAlarmslammed into the UK top 3. This coming October, they will play two consecutive nights in London to a total of 10,000 people. But singer Kele Okereke is an intensely private person in a very public arena. He despises rock & roll clichs like Courtney Love ("a crazy personality who makes sub-standard music") and admires artists like Bjork and Radiohead, whom he feels have managed to stay grounded while making "outstanding music." The last thing he wants is to be an influential spokesperson: "Yesterday, there was this group of 15 year-olds who were really excited to meet me," he says. "One girl was crying when she was speaking to me. I thought, what on earth is happening? I'm not a hero. The artists that I liked when I was younger were ordinary people who managed to do extraordinary things." Just two years ago, Okereke and Russell Lissack (guitar) met at Reading Festival through mutual friends, discovering they also had a mutual disgust for the bland, safe music dominating the British scene at the time: Coldplay, Travis, Starsailor et al. They recruited Gordon Moakes (bass) through an ad in NMEand churned through nine drummers before finding Matt Tong, who Okereke says "brings a sense of glue" to the band. Like most of the rewarding things in life, Bloc Party are complicated, in their personalities and in their music. You find subtleties in layers, revealed after repeated plays. "Pioneers" and "Price of Gas" are cold, eerie and militaristic; "Blue Light" is so steeped in longing it's nearly tangible. Live, Russell races his guitar lines over tight, unpredictable beats; across it all, Okereke's voice peaks and plummets. In "This Modern Love," he sings, "You told me you wanted to eat up my sadness/Well jump right in and gorge away." The sentiment rips right through you, and there's something almost accidentally uplifting in the dissonance. But still—not heroes. "We finished the album at the end of the summer; I've completely washed my hands of it," says Okereke. "Now it's time for other people to make of it what they will." (KimTaylorBennett)
ALSO:DR.DOG:When 25-year-old Dr. Dog lead singer and guitarist Scott McMicken claims his band has been around for 15 years, you'd believe him: this Big Star/Pet Sounds-inspiredbrand of laid-back, raw and folk-y pop rock should have taken a long time to sound this grand. The Philadelphia band—enjoying quite the buzz after a glowing NewYorkTimesfeature—actually only recently self-recorded and self-released two albums, the latest of which (Easy Beat)was re-released by National Parking last week. It's summery harmonies, jangly guitars and an occasional R&B shoo-whop, a scruffy but brilliant record by five clever kids with beat-up instruments and a lot of love for the Beatles. Aw, feel that warm breeze? (JennyTatone)
ALSO:ANTICONPRESENTSSOLE,PEDESTRIAN,DOSH:Koo's returns to indie hip-hop with Sole, Dosh and Pedestrian, all members of the Bay Area's noted Anticon collective. It's not quite the Santa Ana location's fondly remembered Freestyle Night, but if this show goes well—and Koo's survives the great Kancellation of '05—look for live hip-hop shows to break up the stacked-with-black-T-shirt-hardcore calendar when music events return in a few weeks. (ChrisZiegler)
BLOC PARTY WITH DANCE DISASTER MOVEMENT AT THE GLASS HOUSE, 200 W. SECOND STREET, POMONA, (909) 469-5800; THEGLASSHOUSE.US. MON., 7 P.M. $10. ALL AGES; DR. DOG WITH AMBULANCE LTD AND AUTOLUX ALSO AT THE GLASS HOUSE. WED., 7 P.M. $10-$12. ALL AGES; SOLE, PEDESTRIAN AND DOSH ALSO AT KOO'S, 540 E. BROADWAY, LONG BEACH; WWW.KOOS.ORG. THURS., MARCH 24, 7 P.M. $8. ALL AGES.