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Bands embrace sounds of soul

Page 2 of 2 -- Opening for the Sinners was Reed, 21, who starts a Tuesday residency at Zuzu! next week. Reed grew up in Brookline and is an encyclopedia of soul music. He was first exposed to it by his dad, Howard. After high school, he learned more about it from Sam Carr, who is Robert Nighthawk's son.

Reed is ahead of the game because one-third of his set is original material. ''I want to play this music for kids my age in the punk bars," says Reed, a former paperboy for the Globe. ''A lot of kids I grew up with are in basements listening to hardcore. But I want them to listen to this and get caught up in the feeling of it just as I have."

A Cars tribute: Odd that it took a Chicago resident to do it, but Cars uber-fan Peter Kuehle just assembled a crackerjack tribute to the band of his youth. Titled ''Substitution Mass Confusion: A Tribute to the Cars," this new album came out much better than anyone might have expected. Participants range from Los Angeles-based Jason Falkner and the Andersons, to Boston-based Bleu (with a great version of ''You Might Think"), Damone (rocking through the Cars's first hit, ''Just What I Needed"), the Cautions (''Nightspots"), and former Bostonians Gigolo Aunts (''I'm Not the One"). Says Kuehle, ''I thought it was important to have some Boston bands on there because that's where the Cars came from." Other noteworthy acts are Owlsley, Butch Walker (who brightly changes ''My Best Friend's Girl" into a folkie-style number), and the current hot band of the moment, the Bravery.

Kuehle is a photographer who has shot some of these groups in the past, but he's mainly a diehard fan who made sure that some of the CD's proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society. The album is on Not Lame Recordings, a Colorado label spearheaded by Bruce Bodeen, who grew up in Needham and admits he used to sneak into the Rat in Kenmore Square to see shows. Not Lame also put out a recent 2-CD set on Boston's Reddy Teddy. There's a CD release concert for the Cars tribute disc at T.T. the Bear's next Thursday with Bleu, the Cautions, Spiraling, and the Argument.

Bits and pieces: The Plough & Stars, following a recent hearing with the Cambridge License Commission prompted by a noise complaint from two neighbors, has promised to better soundproof the club. The Plough has hired engineer Robert Berens of Acentech to get it done. For the next week, the amplified music has to stop by 11:30 p.m. If all goes well, the music can be extended once again to 1 a.m. To defray the costs, the Plough will host a benefit on Feb. 13, with many local acts to be determined. . . . Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, and Amos Lee are expected to do a multinight run in Boston this spring. . . . Sarah Borges has a Tuesday residency this month at Toad. . . . Israeli headbangers Emok play Jarrods in Attleboro tonight, then the Middle East on Feb. 13. . . . The Lowell Memorial Auditorium has booked George Jones for March 31 (tickets on sale Monday) and Peter, Paul & Mary Oct. 21 (on sale now). . . . Tonight: Fooled by April at T.T. the Bear's, Sam Bisbee at Toad, Jim's Big Ego at the Lizard Lounge. . . . Tomorrow: Roots Nation (reggae) at Johnny D's, Max Creek at Harpers Ferry, Shaun & Suzi's Mardi Gras Ball at T.T. the Bear's with Voodoo Crewe, Tanya Donnelly, and Leah Callahan . . . Sunday: Jolie Holland at T.T.'s.


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