Though Chrissie Hynde is now following another Midwestern post-punk trio around (Chicago's Urge Overkill), in 1981 she took notice of Milwaukee's Violent Femmes as they played on the street. She not only got them opening gigs on the Pretenders tour, but a major-label deal too.
The Femmes (who play the Stone Balloon on Wednesday) have since put out an uneven catalog of albums embracing folk, jazz, funk, rockabilly and pop (with occasional Christian overtones), but are still best loved for their raucous debut in 1982. To introduce younger listeners (and reacquaint older ones who may have stopped listening circa "The Blind Leading the Naked"), the band is stumping behind the new "Add It Up" compilation of semihits, rarities, live stuff and other detritus.
Even though some of their recordings sound self-indulgent, the Femmes retain a reputation (rightfully so) as an incendiary live act. When they're on, their sometimes bare-bones, sometimes full-throttle mix will make you a believer. Tickets are $12.50 in advance, $15 at the door.
The Femmes Balloon date comes two days after Matthew Sweet's, who's touring behind his wonderful "Altered Beast" LP, the follow up to his breakthrough "Girlfriend." In tow is a killed supporting band, including Television guitarist Richard Lloyd and ex-dB's drummer Will Rigby. Holly Faith opens. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door; the Stone Balloon is at 115 E. Main St., Newark. (More on Sweet in Sunday's Entertainment section.)