Break out your short shorts

This is your summer jam: The organizers for the Concerts in the Park series made a lot of smart bookings for this season’s lineup, including incomparable dance punkers Chk Chk Chk on May 31. The band members split time in various cities, but the band known by three consecutive exclamation points will always have its roots in Sacramento. Chk Chk Chk, which features members of past local bands including the Yah Mos and Pope Smashers, has toured the world with its dance grooves and frontman Nic Offer’s short shorts.

In the final moments of April, Chk Chk Chk released its fifth studio album Thr!!!er. Names like Jim Eno of Spoon and Sonia Moore (who sang on MC Hammer’s “Too Legit to Quit”) make for headline hype, but at the heart of a Chk Chk Chk song always exists an endless supply of sinewy bass lines. If the single “One Girl/One Boy” was too fluffy, don’t let it scare you off Thr!!!er. I highly advise getting to know this record prior to the Friday it takes the stage in Cesar Chavez Plaza. I can only hope that as the sun sets on downtown, the boys will treat friends and family to an after-party, like those days when they’d hole up for an entire weekend at The Press Club. Ah, those sweaty, halcyon days of ’07. Check out the entire CIP lineup at

School yourself: Jazz intimidates many. Not only are there countless genres, but those genres often fuse and collide to form new ones, and each city with a celebrated music history seems to have its own style. For me, it took an introductory course in college that counted toward nothing, but simply existed in my transcript for a semblance of a footing. Yes, I once caused myself further student-loan debt—outside of my academic focus—to understand jazz.

I get jazz though, or I think I do. Rather than enroll or come to me with questions, I suggest the In the Flow Festival, particularly the music of founder Ross Hammond, as an economical and far more rewarding alternative.

Hammond is one of Sacramento’s greatest jazz generators and arguably its most accessible. He plays guitar, which is a less jarring instrument than, say, the clarinet or saxophone, blending blues and folk melodies into the improvisation of free jazz. His earlier work might be likened to Santana’s collaborative album Love Devotion Surrender, with John McLaughlin of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. In 2012, though, after 14 years of playing, Hammond assembled a quartet bearing his name.

The Ross Hammond Quartet received numerous critical accolades in 2012 for Adored, an album dedicated to Hammond’s daughter Lola. On Sunday, as part of the festival lineup, the RHQ will perform at Antiquité Maison Privee (2114 P Street at 6:30 p.m.) for a release party for its follow-up, Cathedrals. The new album is more free in its form, with leanings toward hard bop and plenty of winding, rolling, fragmented tangents. If it’s possible to use “fussy” as a positive note, it applies here. Where much of Adored was subdued, lovely and written as lullabies for a 2-year-old girl, Cathedrals was written by and for impressive jazz minds. It is here that the genre becomes intimidating again, as the exclusivity of inside jokes finds its way into the track listing of “Run, Run Ibex!” and “This Goes With Your Leather.” Love it, which you should, or give it an honest ear as a challenge to your radio presets. The festival is happening now through Tuesday, May 14. Visit for a complete schedule of events.

Details, finally: If you took the bait on $9 presale tickets for the Sacramento Electronic Music Festival, the handsome reward has finally arrived via a lineup announcement. The 2013 roster includes Pictureplane, Antwon, Sister Crayon, Free the Robots, Eprom, RAC and Jerome LOL. The four-day event, which takes place from Tuesday, May 28, through Saturday, June 1, kicks off at LowBrau (1050 20th Street), spends three days breaking in the new Assembly (1000 K Street), and then finally wraps it all up Saturday at a secret-location after-party. Saturday’s lineup remains a mystery, however. All that’s known is that there will be low ceilings, cement floors, plenty of piping and could very well be a DIY rager for the annals of local raving.

Tickets are $12 per night; visit for more info.