Alibi V.16 No.48 • Nov 29-Dec 5, 2007 

Music to Your Ears

My Name Is Albert Ayler

Listening to free jazz is like gazing into a world beyond reason, lacking discernible form--it's what emerges from the human brain before being rendered by any structural or harmonizing filters, a musical stream of consciousness. This cacophony can also be downright stressful. While challenging, such chaos has the potential to reward its listener with momentary glimpses into unseen transfigurations of existence.

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The Action Design

Show Up!

The Action Design

Old parts, new momentum

Rising from the ashes of punkers Tsunami Bomb is Petaluma, Calif.'s The Action Design. It's the pet project of ex-Tsunami Bomb members Emily Whitehurst (aka Agent M) and Matt McKenzie, who have emerged from their last experience older and wiser.

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Who wants to do a cheesy karaoke duet with the Concrete Blonde frontwoman?

Music Interview

Concrete Woman

Johnette Napolitano on turning 50, music industry excess and the demise of her famous band

Raw-voiced Johnette Napolitano, best-known for her work with Concrete Blonde, knows how to do a lot.

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Flyer on the Wall

Queen of Hearts

E is for Ella Vader this Saturday, Dec. 1, at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21+, free). You also adore Lousy Robot, Ghost Kimo and multi-instrumental weavers Bela Karoli from Denver. (LM)

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Sonic Reducer

Jason Lindner Big Band Live at the Jazz Gallery · Various Artists The Harlem Experiment · Various Artists Crunk Hits Vol 4

This live, two-CD release chronicles the energetic, contemporary sound of the dodecatet 10 years into its existence. Pianist/composer/arranger Lindner, who contributes six of the nine original compositions, has created a big band for the modern age. He pulls from Afro-Cuban, bebop, free jazz and Middle Eastern traditions, among others, to tailor tunes to his personnel. Though it has the punch and power, the textures and polyphony of a big band, this aggregation also has the nimbleness and elasticity of a small combo, with lively ensemble playing and adventurous soloing. Here’s hoping Lindner can keep it together for another 10 years. (MM)

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Courtesy of the Artist

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Their Kindness is Charade

Crystal Castles • electropunk, synth pop, witch house

Remember the thing called Witch House? How about darkwave? The constant bifurcation of artistic paths in the field of electronic music can be damnably confusing and irritating, as well as rewarding and helluva lot of fun too—as long as you pick the right band. When adherents of these sorts of genres aren't busy sorting their rainbow-colored toe socks and looking for tubes of Vick's Vaporub to snatch up at the local Walmart, then it's a pretty fair bet that they are listening to the likes of Crystal Castles, a duo of Canuck electro-arhats who've made their mark in the music world with a febrile and spooky glitchiness that has outlasted any names critics might apply in favor of an honestly, intimidatingly pure exploration of sounds that make humans dance and rejoice as they swirl around the very noisy and icy maelstrom of life and death. Ethan Kath and Edith Frances, AKA Crystal Castles, perform live in Burque on Thursday, Oct. 19. Viewed as an opportunity to joyfully and ferociously embrace the void, this ought to be a damn good show, but don't blame me if you can't remember your name afterwards.
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Courtesy of the Artist

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Special Beat Service

The English Beat • ska

Here's a brief on a band with three names, but unlike Eliot's bunch, these dudes are not a coterie of cats. At home across the pond, they're known as the Beat. In the land down under, kindly refer to them as the British Beat. Here in 'Merica, we call them the English Beat. But no matter what you call them, this estimable ensemble that still includes founder and guitarist Dave Wakeling—but not vocalist Ranking Roger—was partially responsible for the upsurge in popularity that two-tone ska saw on both sides of the Atlantic during the '80s and '90s. With a retinue of classic, upbeat jams like “Monkey Murders,” “Spar Wid Me” and “Save It for Later,” the band's touring the states again, impressing OG ska lovers as well as the next generation of horn-crazy youth with their combination of crazy stage antics and terrific tuneage. You can catch the outfit live here at the Duke City on Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Historic El Rey Theatre, but don't worry you don't need checkerboard pants or a smart little hat to enjoy this gig—just make sure those great big feet of yours are rested and ready to dance.
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