This may (or may not) compute

One of these days, Todd Drootin says of his atypically frenetic electronic stage show, "I'll probably fall and hurt myself." But those are the risks for the harried knob-twiddler who titled his album "Throw Down Your Laptops" because, he says, "I don't think a laptop is a way to do a live show." Drootin, who performs under the name Books on Tape, brings his pedal-pushing, dial-spinning show downtown to the Smell on Jan. 11. If "Throw Down" is any indication, expect a melange of sequencers, effects and digi-beats, all stirred into an edgy froth the L.A. artist describes as "beatpunk." His music, with influences ranging from underground hip-hop to "really quirky rock with a lot of character," has been used on MTV's "The Real World" and "Road Rules."


No longer playing Possum

Three years ago, with his wife expecting and his Possum Dixon bandmates parting ways after their album for Interscope, guitarist Celso Chavez was at a crossroads. "I thought: 'It's over, I'm going to be a father,' " he says. "Instead .... [i]t was an inspiration." The songs he wrote around the time his son Vincent arrived have sent Chavez and former Permanent Green Light guitarist Matt Devine collaborating on a new band, Pill Module. Their early recordings haven't strayed too far artistically from 1998's "New Sheets," the final, Ric Ocasek-produced Possum Dixon album of crunchy New Wave-flavored rockers. The band includes Ricky Estrada (guitar), Wayne Lewis (bass) and Kaz Kim (keyboards). "It's an exciting time right now," Chavez says.

-- Kevin Bronson

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