Dark & Dirty

Thur 5/1

The Faint offers a rousing set

Omaha, Nebraska's the Faint has no qualms about eating worms and swallowing dirt for a good photo op. In fact its members don't have many qualms, period. Recently in Britain's Bizarre magazine, frontman Todd Baechle let his catsuit out of the bag, admitting his fascination for making love in furry animal costumes -- the fetish sweeping today's sexual underground. He prefers costumes over nipple clamps, which he says hardly get him off at all.The Faint's frenzied live show -- heavy on strobes and video head trips -- is as naked as its members' personalities. Sexual energy permeates their concerts, working up crowds with songs like "Sex Is Personal," "Casual Sex," and "Worked Up So Sexual."

Kinky antics aside, the Faint's lo-fi rock and dark-dance combination (think Nine Inch Nails' well-adjusted nephew) are the reason quirky kids (and closet quirks) are reeling in their records. The once strictly coffeehouse indie-rockers, with the customary guitar/bass/drums setup, steered their style toward synth-pop madness during the late Nineties, when they upped the sonic ante with synthesizer pilot Jacob Thiele. Their past two albums introduced a new, electronically charged band just in time for the electro-pop revival currently peaking on the super-chic meter.

The Faint's last CD, 2001's Danse Macabre, was spiked with enough cross-genre appeal to spawn a remix album (the ultimate form of musical flattery) from electronica record dispenser Astralwerks. Appropriately titled Danse Macabre Remixes, the compilation includes cuts from heavy hitters Paul Oakenfold, Thin White Duke, and the kitsch-and-clean Ursula 1000.

Fresh off opening-act duties on No Doubt's national tour, the Faint arrives in Miami for a show with opening acts Les Savy Fav and Schneider TM. Responsible for bringing the Faint to town: the Poplife gang, who promise that kiddies across the spectrum -- Goths, indie rockers, ravers, even preps -- will all get off like the Faint does.BY HUMBERTO GUIDA The Faint plays at 9:00 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at the Polish American Club, 1250 NW 22nd Ave.

Sat 5/3

Medieval Musicale

You've always wanted to go medieval, to be transported to the late Fourteenth or early Fifteenth Century. Well, all those funky "faires" where kooks don costumes, joust, munch on leg of mutton, and play in live chess games seem to be done for the season, so your best bet would probably be to check out the European early music and vocal ensemble Mala Punica (translating as pomegranates, or forbidden fruit). The Miami Bach Society will present the ten members, founded in 1987 and led by Ars Nova scholar and recorder virtuoso Pedro Memelsdorff. They'll perform the stirring Missa Cantilena, a polyphonic piece that melds secular musical forms of the time and Catholic liturgical melodies, at 8:00 p.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church (3716 Garden Ave., Miami Beach). A few days before the show on Thursday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. Memelsdorff and three musicians will offer a preview with a lecture/demonstration at Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 De Soto Blvd.). Tickets for the lecture cost $20; $25 for the concert. Call 305-669-1376. -- Nina Korman

Sun 5/4

Double Time

Two can play -- at piano

Famous Russian duos: vodka and caviar, Gorbachev and glasnost, Faberge and eggs, Boris and Natasha, and now Valentina Lisitsa and Alexei Kuznetsoff. The latter two are not the latest in a string of cartoon (or real-life) spies. They're one of the hottest piano-playing pairs this side of the Ukraine. Already acclaimed as solo artists, they joined forces years ago while students at the Kiev Conservatory and have gone on to perform at esteemed venues such as the 92nd Street Y and the University of Chicago, plus take first place in the 1991 International Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition. Sitting in for the originally scheduled Duo D'Accord, who were unable to secure visas to enter the U.S., Lisitsa and Kuznetsoff pound out works by Mozart, Brahms, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Schumann, and Liszt when Sunday Afternoons of Music welcomes them to UM's Gusman Concert Hall (1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables) at 4:00 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $25. Call 305-271-7150. -- BY NINA KORMAN

Wed 5/7

Music Rules

Beats, traditions meld at fest

Crossing over, according to this week's TransAtlantic Festival, does not mean selling your soul. It means casting out your flavor into a different world and seeing what happens. The four-day music feast mixes seemingly odd partners, and introduces new beats to our multicultural mix. The festival kicks off tonight with popular Portuguese fado singer Mariza at the Lincoln Theater (541 Lincoln Rd.). On May 8 a panoply of musical styles from Africa, South America, and Europe is spun at the Aqua Hotel (1530 Collins Ave.) at Rhythm Foundation's Curated Listening Session. The festival continues May 9 at the 73rd Street Bandshell (7575 Collins Ave.) with Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra and Miami's homegrown funksters, DJ Le Spam and the Spam Allstars. May 10 the Afro-Latino supergroup Yerba Buena with Brazilian electronica meisters DJ Dolores and Orchestra Santa Massa mix it up at the bandshell. The festival concludes that night with a heavy afterparty featuring Globesonic DJs and Cuban hip-hop group Underproject at the Sandbar (6752 Collins Ave.). Call 305-672-5202 for tickets and additional information. -- Juan Carlos RodriguezThe Faint offers a rousing set