ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS
Antony Hegarty's got a delicate disposition and a hankering for the embrace of Mother Nature. His latest effort, The Crying Light (Secretly Canadian), extends the band in the direction of strange, rending meditations on life, love, and gender-line transgressions. Hegarty may never be described as a big-throated hollerer, but his are rousing intimations of human fragility that approach a chest-clenching volume of heartbreak, though he never raises his voice above a whisper. The vocalist's got a slew of side-projects going on even as he fronts cabaret-pop mopers/maestros Antony and the Johnsons. Still, no project has achieved the Johnsons' dimensions of fortune, fame, and critical acclaim, although Hercules and Love Affair became something of a local cause célèbre last year with its cerebral, minimalist some would say undernourished disco hymns. (Danica Li) Tues/24, 8 p.m., $32.50$40. Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111, California, SF. www.masonicauditorium.com
They're breaking out of their kudos-drenched Microcastle (Kranky, 2008) and a dwarfing arena slot opening for Trent Reznor. (Kimberly Chun) With Lilofee. Tues/24, 10 p.m., free with RSVP at www.uptheantics.com/noisepop. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.mezzaninesf.com
"I'm really exited about the Malkmus show," Noise Pop co-honcho Jordan Kurland told me. "It's the first time he's doing a solo show." Amazing, since the Stockton-bred Pavement songwriter has hovered round these parts, band at hand, for so long. (Chun) With Kelley Stoltz, Peggy Honeywell, and Goh Nakamura. Feb. 25, 8 p.m., $20. Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, SF. www.gamh.com
FROM MONUMENT TO MASSES
The appeal of From Monument to Masses, like contemporaries Mogwai and Godspeed! You Black Emperor, pulls from a wellspring of aggressive melodicism, diverse instrumentation, and careening thrash rock one banana peel from going ass-up. Composed of Matt Solberg (guitar), Francis Choung (drums and programming), and Sergio Robledo-Maderazo (bass and synths), From Monument to Masses formed in 2001 after Dim Mak owner and fellow hardcore fan Steve Aoki took a look-see at one of the trio's demos and decided to release it as the group's first self-titled album, which came out the following year. And that's not even touching on the band's fierce dedication to activism: they've formed liaisons in the past with groups like Challenging White Supremacy and the Kalayaan School for Equity. (Li) With Crime in Choir and Built for the Sea. Feb. 26, 9 p.m., $12. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. www.bottomofthehill.com
Anyone who has seen a Goblin Cock album cover giant, pierced cartoon penis, anyone? may be compelled to think of the band as a Spinal Tapesque side project from Pinback's Rob Crow. With band members boasting pseudonyms like Lord Phallus and Bane Ass-Pounder, it's easy to see why such a misstep would occur. The San Diego group, which performs shrouded in smoke and hooded black robes, describes its oeuvre as "beyond time and beyond space" and certainly has the chops to create a sinister grind. The dirge "Stumped" and the epic "Kegrah the Dragon Killer" sound like lost Sleep or Melvins tracks, and while Satan probably hasn't invited Goblin Cock over for tea yet, the band is earnestly writing him love notes. Opener Warship will set the mood by laying down its aggro Brooklyn metalcore after Mt. St.