“I love you more than my own skin,” said Frida Kahlo. “And though you may not love me as much, you do love me a little. Don’t you?” If posterity has any say in the matter, the answer is a resounding Y-E-S. The six decades since Kahlo’s death have only seen adoration amplify for the otherworldly painter who bared her feeling self on canvas. And because we love her so, the Frida Fiesta unleashes in Old Town on Saturday, July 19, from 11am to 8pm.
W!ld Moon Boutique (206½ San Felipe NW) hosts the fourth annual celebration and provides clothing for the Frida Fashion Show in the early afternoon. A Frida parade wends its way through Old Town in the afternoon, and early evening sees a Frida look-alike contest on the Plaza (worth it for the acclamation of exquisite eyebrows alone). The day includes Frida trivia, games and prizes, plus live entertainment from Aztec dance group Kapulli Ehecatl, Mariachi Nuevo Mexico, folklorico dancers and more. Wear your finest chunky jewelry and flowers (or pick some up from Old Town shops) and show some love for a great 20th-century artist. For más information, see wildmoonboutique.com or call 247-7456. Historic Old Town • Sat Jul 19 • 11am-8pm • FREE • View on Alibi calendar
Consumers of my dancing-about-architecture reportage are probably aware of my frequent use of the adjectival "blackety-black." It's really just an overly precious synonym for: atramentous, ebony, jet, obsidian, onyx, pitch, slate, sloe and the like. But thanks to British scientists at Surrey NanoSystems, there's now an honest-to-goodness blackety-black. It's called Vantablack (or super black), and it's record-breaking darkness absorbs all but .035 percent of light. It's so damn black that the human eye has difficulty discerning its dimensions. Like a freaking black hole. Its primary intended applications are terrestrial, space and air-borne optical instrumentation. But now hear this: The Little Black Dress will never be the same.
Blouse - "Into Black"
The Daily Mail reports that it's created using carbon nanotubes—"which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between"—and if that isn't enough, it's 10 times stronger than steel and conducts heat seven-and-a-half times more effectively than copper. Yeah. Owing to my obsessive-compulsive nature, themes prove irresistably attractive, so here are my favorite songs that pay tribute to blackety-black, er, Vantablack. Share your favorite black-centric tracks in the comments, fellow darklings.
Dead Can Dance - "Black Sun"
Beat Happening - "Black Candy"
Cosmetics - "Black Leather Gloves"
Nick Drake - "Black Eyed Dog"
Nina Simone - "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair"
Pictureplane - "Black Nails"
The Sandwitches - "Black Rider"
Timber Timbre - "Black Water"
The Velvet Underground & Nico - "Black Angel's Death Song"
Ever notice how different sets of ears hear things, well, differently? Take Oakland, Calif., quartet Everything is Dirty. Peruse online reviews and you’ll find numerous references to grunge, art rock and psychedelic. The meaning of pigeonholing tags—which all us music scribblers adore—shift over time as music changes. For instance, “soul” used to mean cornbread vocals by Sam & Dave backed by plenty of horns. These days, soul means (ugh) Robin Thicke or (less ugh) Duffy. That '90s catchall phrase “alternative rock” referred to the watered-down but occasionally worthy successor to '80s “indie rock” on labels like Merge and 4AD but ultimately degenerated into describing knuckleheads like Fred Durst.
If Everyone Is Dirty is grunge, then so is Weezer. Art noise? Sure, there’s some droning here and there, but I guess anything vaguely atonal is “noise” to masses who nowadays prefer songs that are more beat than melody or harmony or anything else that was once the hallmark of popular (pop) music. Live, the band does tend to venture heavily into “improv” and “jam”—two words that always fill me with dread. Singer Sivan Gur-Arieh takes her electric violin into Jean-Luc Ponty territory, while Christopher Daddio's guitar solos are sometimes longer than necessary but not by much; that's good for a guy like me whose attention wanders when soloists noodle around above the fifth or sixth fret. Psychedelic? Please. Only people who have never taken drugs use that word.
Here’s my take: Everything is Dirty's recorded output is post-Breeders, post post-Pixies, texture-rich and crunchy with vocals reminiscent of Louise Post (Veruca Salt), Chrissy Amphlett (Divinyls) and Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses). (And if three “posts” in one sentence isn’t enough, I don’t know what is.) Of course, I think I’m correct, but see for yourself at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Monday, July 14, at 9pm. Cover is $5. Low Spirits • Mon Jul 14 • 9pm • $5 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
King Tuff's Was Dead album was one of my favorites of 2013. Though it came out years ago, fan fervor over the original recordings made him reissue it last year, and rightfully so. It's a fantastic record. Now Tuff is gearing up to release another LP (Black Moon Spell), and he's giving a taste of what it'll entail with the album track “Eyes of the Muse.” That should tide you over 'til Sept. 23, but I'm sure he'll release more previews between then and now. Here's hoping.
King Tuff - “Eyes of the Muse”
I've always liked Usher ... well, mostly. I've lost touch with a lot of his recent work, but “Confessions Part II,” “Nice and Slow” and “Yeah” are some good songs to dance, reflect or get in the mood to. Whatever your preference, the man knows what he's doing. Now Usher has made a track available that was produced by Pharrell and features Nicki Minaj. The slick, club-happy number will definitely be a crowdpleaser. Head to Hip-Hop Wired to hear it.
Coldplay and Cat Power? I'm sure some could have predicted it … probably not. Cat Power is ... well ... Cat Power. And Coldplay used to be good. Regardless, it's an interesting combination any way you squeeze it, and the song they've concocted together (written by Coldplay's Chris Martin, sung by Chan Marshall) is a contemplative little number. The track “Wish I Was Here” was written and recorded for Zach Braff's upcoming film of the same name. How that'll go is an entirely different thing. But check out the song below.
Coldplay & Cat Power - “Wish I Was Here”
There's always dissension when a legendary rock group announces they've recorded new material. Some say it's going to be awful. Some say it's a new era, a new sound. Whatever your views, that still doesn't stop it from happening. Take Pink Floyd for instance. The group is coming out with a new record (The Endless River) in October, and according to the band's website, it's “an album of mainly ambient and instrumental music based on the 1993/4 Division Bell sessions which feature David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright.” So keep an eye out for that one … or don't … I mean I might not even remember … I probably will though.
I mentioned a few weeks back that Christopher Owens (former frontman from Girls) was coming out with his second solo album. Well, that's still happening. The record (A New Testament) hits the music-sphere on Sept. 30. And Owens shared a snippet in the form of “Nothing More Than Everything to Me,” which you can view below.
Christopher Owens - “Nothing More Than Everything to Me”
It's happening. Beck is going to release a new album titled Song Reader. I know, I know, he already came out with a record called Song Reader (though it was a release of sheet music, made to be interpreted by skilled musicians). But Beck is going to release actual recordings of those songs, and each track is going to be done by a different artist. Among them are Laura Marling, Jack Black, Jarvis Cocker, Jack White and much more. Head to Pitchfork to get more deets on that. Oh, and it drops on July 29, which is hella soon!
Like most, I became familiar with The Vines at the turn of the millennium when they graced us with “Get Free.” Anyone else remember the Hives vs. Vines battle during MTV's Music Awards? Them's were the days. The band has been steadily releasing albums over the past decade, though none have found their way on my radar. Now, they're coming out with a new double LP (Wicked Nature). They're self-releasing it via PledgeMusic where fans donate funds and get free downloads of some of the album's tracks. So there ya go. Not sure when the record is coming out, but you can watch the video for their new song “Metal Zone” below.
The Vines - “Metal Zone”
Out the left hangar
Taylor Swift is a writer? Well, duh, I know she writes her own songs, but an editorial? And for the Wall Street Journal? The country-pop sensation wrote a piece on the future of the music industry, speculating on where music will be in 30 or 40 years. Swift describes herself at the beginning of the piece as an “enthusiastic optimist.” (Go figure.) She does say some insightful things here and there, and whether you agree with her assertions, it's not as if she's the be-all-end-all authority on music entirely. But if you want her perspective, it's not a terrible read. See what she has to say here.
Fans of Death Proof are no strangers to Mary Elizabeth Winstead (you know, the one who was dressed like a cheerleader in the second half). 'Member the scene where she sits in the car and sings a lovely cover of Smith's “Baby It's You”? Good times. Well Winstead and Dan “The Automator” Nakamura have a music project together (Got A Girl), and they're getting ready to release a record on July 22. To give people a preview, they've made the track “There's a Revolution” available. Listen to the retro pop ditty below.
There are still moments when I get tears in my eyes at the thought that I will never see The White Stripes live in person. I think back to moments when I could have seen them had I driven 3 1/2 hours, changed highways, snacked on goodies, all while playing all six of their fantastic albums in chronological order. That is slightly remedied with the release of a live White Stripes album (Live Under the Lights of the Rising Sun). No release date on it yet, but the record will have 31 tracks, and it's taken from their first tour in Japan in 2000. So it'll probably have some good early stuff. Head to NME to read more 'bout it.
Sketch troupe Comedy? (pronounced “comedy-question-mark” for reasons I don’t pretend to fathom) has been entertaining Duke City audiences for years with their distinctively hilarious brand of long-form improv, games and sketch comedy. Now they offer A Toast to the city, a newly birthed multimedia show brandishing just about every formidable talent their seven wacky members possess. From skits to songs to unrelenting tomfoolery, Comedy? promises homegrown, off-kilter hilarity in the vein of “Key & Peele,” “SNL” and “Arrested Development.” Breaking away from Comedy?’s Downtown roots, A Toast opens at Aux Dog Theatre (3011 Monte Vista NE) in Nob Hill tomorrow at 7pm. Tickets are $10 at auxdog.com or by calling 254-7716, or $12 at the door. The show runs Fridays at 7pm and Saturdays at 8pm through July 26. Aux Dog Theatre • Fri Jul 11 • 7-8pm • $10-$12 • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
Are you properly caring for your inner goth? My years of rockin' an all-black wardrobe, a Wite-Out complexion and panda eyes may be over, but I take care to nourish my blackety-black heart and sonic sensibility. If you're feeling the urge to chainsmoke clove cigs, brood and write bad poetry, I recommend channeling that energy into a celebration of Dark Entries Records' fifth anniversary.
Stream a mix Cheon brewed up for Dark Entries' fifth anniversary above.
DJ Josh Cheon founded the label in July 2009 with the intention of releasing out-of-print and unreleased underground '80s treasures. Named for the first 7-inch released by goth icon Bauhaus, Dark Entries' focus is curation, preserving sound quality and respecting its artists' aural aesthetic . And, yes, the label's output is strictly vinyl.
Preview Dark Entries' reissue of '80s Italo disco group Helen's early maxi singles as a four-song EP.
Dark Entries' lifeblood is the excavation, quality reproduction and distribution of largely unknown pleasures, but it also showcases contemporary acts whose sound harkens back to the heyday of minimal synth, coldwave, dark wave, electro, Italo disco and post-punk. Highlights of the Dark Entries catalog include work by Dark Day, Jeff and Jane Hudson, Starter, Linea Aspera, Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons, Algebra Suicide, Los Microwaves, Patrick Cowley, Victrola, Lè Travo, Crash Course in Science, Lassigue Bendthaus, Cute Heels and Helen.
Sample the debut LP by Cute Heels, the solo project of Belgian artist and Black Leather Records manager Victor Lenis.