WEDNESDAY

earthlings?

Last night, I dreamed I was with the Baader-Meinhof Gang in Joshua Tree National Park. We were passing a pipeful of the sacred ashes of Gram Parsons and listening to Amon Duul II’s “Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight” while searching the skies for the incandescent trails of UFOs, when a great voice—a voice that was strictly Old Testament Casey Kasem—disturbed the starry firmament. “Yes?” we said, trembling, as the sky spazzed an electric blue and the cactuses burst into sudden golden flame. “The Duul is cool,” spake Casey, “but this shit is cooler, dig?” With that, the skies opened up and it rained copies of the first earthlings? album. And Casey wasn’t lying: The Joshua Tree-based earthlings? are as cool as you’d expect a bunch of kraut-rock-obsessed, desert-fried ex-punks to be. With D.C.-native Pete Stahl (Scream, Wool) on vocals, Dave Catching (Tex and the Horseheads, Queens of the Stone Age) on guitars and keyboards, and Adam Maples (Continental Drifters) on drums, earthlings? may just be the best damn German band ever to come from America. Their eponymous first album is tremendous. It’s the kind of record that’ll make you want to have kids, who in turn will have more kids, so that you’ll have grandkids to bore silly with long-winded stories about how great earthlings? were. From the band’s interstellar overdrive, as on the Neu!-wave “Nothing,” to the very Krafty “Icy Halls of Sobriety (I Dare Not Tread),” earthlings? make a sound that’s out of this world. They play at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $5. (202) 667-7960. (Michael Little)