Alibi V.14 No.28 • July 14-20, 2005 

Music to Your Ears

Star Wars fans will score this fall with an interstellar night of music from all six of the beloved films (though I suppose the term “beloved” does not apply to all six). The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Chorus will perform Symphonic Star Wars on September 23 and 24. So why am I bringing this up now? Because tickets went on sale last week and these things tend to sell out quickly. The concerts will include laser light shows, costume contests and other "space opera touches." I don't know about you, but I'm dying to find out what the other space opera touches are. Tickets are $15 to $45 and can be procured by calling 881-8999. Or I suppose you could just use the force.

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Music Magnified

Falconhawk

Monday, July 18; Atomic Cantina (21 and over): If you've been watching MTV Canada lately, you might have caught a video by Calgary's Falconhawk (a video on MTV? Canada is sounding more and more like a true paradise). But since you probably haven't heard of this band, much less caught them on Canadian television, let's just put it this way: If this were the mid '90s, Falconhawk would probably be on Matador. What they've really done is moved past the '80s, through the '90s and towards the present, picking things up along the way to create a delicious cornucopia of music for our generation. Their subtle keyboards combined with piano, drums and a vocalist who sounds like a more relaxed Kristin Hersh (à la Throwing Muses) make for an uncomplicated, pleasantly indie feel.

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Sonic Reducer

zZz Sound of zZz (Howler)

Norwegian hipsters zZz probably think they're a lot cooler than anyone that would ever buy their album. Even so, the band's latest LP is chalk full of first-rate fashionable dance tracks that would serve one well on a late night road trip. Just try falling asleep at the wheel with lead singer Bjorn Ottenheim vociferously barking at you. zZz combines soulful omnipresent organ and static drums with vocals reminiscent of a coked up Jim Morrison. It's probably not as good as Ottenheim and organist Dean Schinkel think it is, but it's still worth a listen.

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Spotlight

Danny Winn and the Earthlings

If the fizz of Mountain Dew could be translated into music, it would sound exactly like Danny Winn and the Earthlings: exhilarating, high-energy and really, really bubbly. Leave it to those catchy, filled beats or maybe even the infectious bass lines, and before you know it there'll be a pit of fans in front of the stage skanking like there's no tomorrow.

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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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