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 V.13 No.34 | August 19 - 25, 2004 

Music to Your Ears

Things are rolling along quite well for local bands these days. Nels Andrews and El Paso Eyepatch have struck a record deal with Bloodshot and Checkered Past Records founder Eric Babcock for the release of their latest record, Sunday Shoes, on Babcock's Catamount label, and they've been selected to appear at the Americana Music Awards Showcase in Nashville next month, Sept. 23-25. After their appearance at the AMA Showcase, they'll be back in town for their local CD release party at the Launchpad on Friday, Oct. 1. After that, it's off to Europe for a tour throughout Scotland, Ireland and England. ... As mentioned this week in Devin D. O'Leary's review of Garden State (page 61), the Sundance sensation starring Natalie Portman and Zach Braff, The Shins are featured prominently on the film's soundtrack. Braff, who wrote and directed the film, is a self-proclaimed Shins freak, and included “New Slang” and “Caring is Creepy”—both from The Shins' Sub Pop debut, Oh, Inverted World—in the film. Braff had originally approached lead Shin James Mercer about writing a song specifically for his movie, but touring and other commitments prevented it. Since the release of the movie, both Shins' Sub Pop releases, Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow, have re-entered Amazon.com's Top 100 in sales. Mercer has also been asked to write and record a song for the upcoming SpongeBob SquarePants movie, due out later this year.

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Blue Note

Eighth Blackbird Thirteen Ways (Cedille)

Think the expansive vision of Kronos, the freshness of youth, and an unusual complement of instruments. Note that their name derives from Wallace Stevens' enigmatic poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." Add the specifics—Molly Alicia Barth, flutes; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; Matt Albert, violin & viola; Nicholas Photinos, cello; Matthew Duvall, percussion; and Lisa Kaplan, pianoand you have Eighth Blackbird, one of the most exciting contemporary music ensembles on today's scene.

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Music Magnified

Random Access Memory

Thursday, Aug. 26; Pulse Nightclub (21 and over, 9 p.m.): DJ Kentifyr (a.k.a. Kent R. Wilhelmi) has been a staple at Pulse Nightclub for four years, during which he's served as a resident DJ and promoter—as founder and proprietor of Dark Beat Productions—of most of the gothic-industrial bands that have come through in that time.

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Aural Fixation

Memorial Day Ceremony

Ben Kweller On My Way (ATO/RCA)

Once, playing the Velvet Underground's "After Hours," on my boom box, my uncle asked me if I had recorded myself singing. It wasn't a compliment: Mo Tucker sang so girlishly off-key that he simply thought I'd made a bad recording of my own bad voice. But I liked the way she sounded. The vulnerability in her voice matched the yearning of the song. In a similar way, there's something endearing about Ben Kweller's voice. He's got to be in his early 20s but he sounds like a teenager when he sings; his voice is tentative and almost cracking until he bursts into a shouting chorus. Especially on the title track, "On My Way," when Ben sings to his mom, "I'll kill him with karate that I learned in Japan," you picture a gawky kid something like the main character in Napoleon Dynamite. Pretty and simple, just Kweller and a guitar, could it have been recorded at a coffeehouse open mic night?

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Aural Fixation

Kitka Wintersongs (Diaphonica)

Mesmerizing Eastern European vocal music from a Berkeley based ensemble? Absolutely. Kitka was founded in 1979 by women who wished to share their passion for the "stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, lush harmonies, and resonant strength of Eastern European women's vocal music." The ensemble has since become recognized as the foremost exponent of Balkan and Slavic choral repertoire in the U.S.

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Sonic Reducer

Morrissey You are the Quarry (Attack Records)

Morrissey's latest effort is a slap in the face for those with a utopian view of the world. The album combines beautiful melodies and dark lyrics. With songs like "America is not the World," "Irish Blood English Heart," and "I Have forgiven Jesus," Morrissey, formerly of the Smiths fame, proves his love and disdain for society. Longtime fans will love this album. Newcomers who are into political bands and Sylvia Plath poems, this one's for you. Gut wrenching and enjoyable at the same time, I can't stop listening to it.

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EVENT HORIZON (Saturday, Mar 4)

The Land Between Times

Castle • metal • Shoggoth • metal • SuperGiant • stoner rock • Jagged Mouth • metal

Neither Aleister Crowley nor George W. Bush will be around (maybe) but prepare to sharpen your horns and do some bidding for some badass folks who definitely aren't involved in the occult—the doom metal trio Castle enchants locals at the Launchpad this Saturday, March 4, with the doors to the underworld opening at 8pm. Joining the '70s heavy metal-esque group will be Burque inhabitants Shoggoth, SuperGiant and Jagged Mouth. Only vessels 21+ for this $8 show allowed.
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EVENT HORIZON (Monday, Mar 6)

Bring a Tissue

Gaby Fuentes • Regulus • Tear Pressure • indie pop, punk

An up and coming local band I have been enjoying listening to is named Tear Pressure. I found out about them when I was wandering the local college campus and saw a flyer for a show they were doing at some apartment complex up on Copper in the Heights, yo. That was a decent show with an excellent barbeque and I felt like Tear Pressure was going to appear on the scene within the year. Now of course, they are playing their dirty and delicious, slithery and subtle no wave at Burt's Tiki Lounge on Monday, March 6, and as usual at Burt's there is no goddamn cover charge. Ever. I hear some daring lo-fi pop credentials being built on tunes from the band's latest recording, the Chill Ass EP—songs like “Quaaludes” and “All Moms Are Weirdos” that build intensity as they roll through cray melodic and stylistic changes. They'll be opening for math mastermind and CRTTRZ guitarist Gabriel Angel Fuentes and Austin indie taco-rockers Regulus, so be there.
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