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Spotlight on: Nu South Subterraneans 

Nu South Subterraneans trumpeter/founder Roger Ruzow is a mainstay of the local jazz scene. A long-distance member of New York-based ATL expatriates Gold Sparkle Band, his yawning skronk and wail embraces the depths of improvised and aggressively avant-garde sounds.

But as the ringleader of his own outfit -- featuring saxophone/clarinet player Jeff Crompton, drummer Keith Leslie and bassist Ben Gettys -- Ruzow's roar is the product of deliberate and complicated arrangements. However, despite his best efforts to stay on track, the music wanders on its own from time to time. "We have the general forms for our songs together, but there's a potential for the ensemble to completely destroy that form and go into an entirely different song, or something completely free," Ruzow explains.

The opening salvo from Nu South's handmade debut Cabbagetown Jitter is a cerebral punk-jazz party anthem, dubbed "Lifetime of Acid." Propelled by a surge of bass, drums and horns that shift gears throughout a web of rhythms, the song swells with ecstatic tension. Later, numbers like "Public Subterranean" and the album's title track open to reveal a chasm of slow-motion skronks and percussions bubbling in a tense, bi-polar drone.

Both Ruzow and Crompton contribute to the songwriting, which ranges from abstract to politically provocative. "'Cabbagetown Jitter' is essentially a tone poem," Ruzow adds. "But we do have a dedication to [former Christian Coalition head/state Republican Party chairman, and possible GOP nominee for 2006 Lt. Gov.] Ralph Reed. It's called 'Cock Block.'"

Nu South Subterraneans play Eyedrum, with Jeff Arnal, Fri., July 29, 9 p.m. $5. 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org.

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