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December 11, 2007

Thalia Zedek’s longevity a feat in and of itself

Friday, Dec. 14Tim Krekel, whose recent collaborative album Soul Season is doing quite well on XM Country Radio, joins Lexington’s Tula for a show at St. Francis of Assisi (1960 Bardstown Road, 473-0617). Tickets are $10, and the all-ages show starts at 7:30 p.m.Saturday, Dec. 15The older she gets and the more she writes, the more Thalia Zedek comes full circle. This notion grew legs after a close friend of hers heard Zedek play material from her 2004 Thrill Jockey solo album, Trust Not Those In Whom Without Some Touch Of Madness.“She said, ‘It sounded like Come would’ve sounded if you would’ve gotten your way,’” Zedek recalled on the eve of her recording sessions for Trust’s follow-up. Come, the Matador Records group Zedek formed with Chris Brokaw of Codeine, is one of Zedek’s most well-known exploits in a 20-year career filled with them. The band’s first single, “Car/Last Mistake,” which came out on Sub Pop around 1992, catapulted Zedek into the indie rock limelight, earning high praise from the likes of Kurt Cobain, Bob Mould and J. Mascis, along with accolades from Melody Maker, Creem, NME and Spin. Come went on indefinite hiatus after 1998’s Gently Down the Stream, but by then, Zedek had already begun sowing the seeds of a solo career.Those early shows featured Zedek on guitar and singing with soulful abandon, plus additional musicians on viola and drums. The arrangements were quieter, putting Zedek’s voice front and center.In 1998, the Indigo Girls invited Zedek along on their Suffragette Sessions tour, the Lilith Fair’s less-commercial cousin that featured Lisa Germano, Kate Schellenbach of Luscious Jackson, and Jane Siberry.Zedek released one solo record, Been Here and Gone, in July 2001. She planned to release another album on Matador, but when Beggar’s Banquet Records bought part of the label, Zedek went looking for another home. Brokaw suggested she contact Bettina Richards, who owns Thrill Jockey.“She’s been really supportive of my music,” Zedek tells LEO. “She lived in Boston when I first met her. We’ve kept in touch over the years; she’d come to our shows when she was in Chicago. Since then, she grew Thrill Jockey into an awesome label.”That label is up for another go, and judging by Zedek’s storied career among independent music fans, the anticipation surrounding Zedek’s record is bubbling. They think she’s awesome, too.Born in 1961 to German and Lithuanian parents, Zedek grew up in Washington, D.C., In her teens, she took a shine to Patti Smith, entranced by her raw, punk aesthetic, and Zedek traveled often to New York to see her.In 1979, as documented on the fan website “Thalia Zedek: A Different Girl,” Zedek moved to Boston, where she attended Boston University for one semester before she decided matriculating as an artist was more fun, and dropped out to focus on music. In the ’80s, Zedek fronted the bands Uzi and Live Skull, before returning to Boston and starting Come.Now, as she heads into Boston’s Mad Oak Studio to work on her new effort, does she think she’s retracing her steps? Yes, and no.“It’s kind of getting back to more Come-type stuff, but in a different type way,” Zedek says. “Come was definitely a total democracy, and there were several different songwriters and everyone fought over different ideas. It’s pretty rich.”Politics form the bulk of the subject matter Zedek writes about on her still-untitled record. “It’s not like I’m consciously trying to do that, but that’s definitely what’s coming out,” she says. “I’ve been pretty horrified by the stuff that Bush has done. It’s hard to get away from.” She plays the Pour Haus (1481 S. Shelby St., 637-9611) Saturday with Parlour and Second Story Man. Doors at 9 p.m. Cover is $5.Saturday, Dec. 15 The Town Criers banjo player/singer Mick Sullivan and a handful of friends have been running the duck pond booth at the St. Joseph’s Children’s Home Picnic for years. “It’s the most successful booth there that’s not gambling. Basically, everybody wins. It turns into this great big party,” Sullivan says.Along the way, he and that group of volunteers received a donation from Kaybee Toys so large, they formed the nonprofit corporation Star Duck Charities (www.starduckcharities.com), then started a new program so the 40 kids who live at the orphanage can have a birthday present.Every month, whichever kid has a birthday, Star Duck gives them a gift card worth however much can be donated, and lets the kid pick out a toy they want. Star Duck also fills other duties for St. Joe’s, buying school supplies, and now, holding a benefit concert.Saturday’s concert takes place at The Rudyard Kipling (422 W. Oak St., 636-1311). The show starts at 9:30 p.m., and the cost is $5. The Town Criers and American Freedom Machine handle musical entertainment.Saturday, Dec. 15Label X is having a Christmas party, and word is all the bands will feature BrigidKaelin. She’ll back Peter Searcy, Code Red, The Muckrakers, Digby and Marion Square at Headliners Music Hall (1386 Lexington Road, 584-8088). Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $10. Contact the writer at mherron@leoweekly.com