Music to Your Ears
By Michael Henningsen
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.
By Jason Victor Serinus
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, piano—and you have Eighth Blackbird, one of the most exciting contemporary music ensembles on today's scene.
Random Access Memory
By Michael Henningsen
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.
Memorial Day Ceremony
By Gwyneth Doland
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?
By Jason Victor Serinus
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.
By Stephanie Garcia
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.
Yule Logs and Jingle Balls • Holly Rebelle • Mena Domina • burlesque
By Devin D. O'Leary
Gilded Cage Burlesk and Varieté is definitely getting on Santa's Naughty list with Yule Logs and Jingle Balls: A Very Risqué, Very Glittery, Very Burlesque Ode to the Holidays. Burlesque dancers, sideshow performers, drag acts and more join forces to celebrate this most sparkly of holidays in grand style…
Big Holiday Bash • First Annual Toy Drive • Native Remedies • rap • 2 Evil • Seenloc • Illnickell & Badshit
By Megan Reneau
Envision a happy Christmas morning: Kids waking up across the world and running with wide eyes to a collection of presents just for them. Here's the catch: Some kids can't have that. Not just the presents, but even just being home could be impossible. Pleasantly Offensive Productions is hosting the Big Holiday Bash: First Annual Toy Drive at The Jam Spot this Saturday, Dec. 17. Native Remedies, 2 Evil, Seenloc, IllNickell & Badshit, Acetone Boogie & Izzo, Big Jubes and many more local musicians will be performing to raise funds for kids who can't make it home because they're in the hospital. This all-ages show begins at 7:30pm, and entry is free with a donation of a toy.
Ugly Sweater Dance Party • Gabriel Jaureguiberry • funk • David Hartshorne
By Desiree Garcia
The best time to wear an ugly sweater is this Saturday, Dec. 17, at Boese Brothers Brewery from 6pm to 1am. Show off that bad boy with a Christmas tree made from macaroni or even that ugly sweater you’ve had stuffed away somewhere that you got as a gift from that relative you only see once a year. Make sure to strut your stuff and capture the moment in the taproom and use the hashtag #veryboesechristmas on Facebook or Instagram to win some prizes. If that doesn’t sound like enough of a good time, there will also be live entertainment by Gabriel Jaureuiberry and David Hartshorne along with catering by Karue’s Mexican Food!
Pinball Tournament • arcade games • Food Drive
By Maggie Grimason
As my friends in Rudest Priest say, “I may not get the high score, but then again I might/ I just wanna play a little pinball tonight.” And this Sunday, Dec. 18, it doesn't really matter if you get the high score, everybody wins because at this Pinball Tournament—sponsored by and held at Sister—is also a food drive. All pinball machines on site will be set to free to play from 4pm onward, so get there early and warm up your fingers. There's a $10 buy-in for the tournament, and while non-perishable food donations aren't required, I'm just going to say this: Don't be an asshole. You're not going to eat that canned corn.
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