Alibi V.14 No.29 • July 21-27, 2005 

Music to Your Ears

Attention: Because our precognitive powers and general omnipotence here at the Alibi is not yet well-honed, be advised that anyone with good local music news, information, photos, miscellaneous (anything!) should send the goods to cassyle@alibi.com for consideration. Also be advised that we make no promises. Deadlines are Thursday afternoon the week prior to the date of publication. More specifically, we would like local bands to send us flyers (as often as you like) for a new flyer-of-the-week section. Ideally flyers will have at least one of the following qualities: artistically adept, humorous, unusual or just strange. Deadlines are Thursday afternoon the week prior to the issue you'd like to appear in.

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Music Magnified

The Briggs

with The Derelicts, The Rum Fits and The Rowdy Boys

Wednesday, July 27; The Launchpad (all-ages): At its core, punk is a genre defined by adolescence. More specifically, it's defined by that radioactive existential meltdown that, like a clockwork time bomb, goes hand in hand with growing up. But it's been close to 30 years since bands like Sham 69 crawled out from the gutters of South London and spat up their first "Who am I? Who are you?" Now all the young dudes are old punks with car payments and maybe a few grandkids. And they are, for the most part, pretty pessimistic about the future of the genre. "Punk's dead," right? I hope to hell it's not! And it certainly won't be anytime soon if The Briggs have anything to say about it. Built by two young brothers from Los Angeles, The Briggs make smart street punk that's as loud as it is proud. Their latest EP, Leaving the Ways (Side One Dummy Records) oscillates between Oi anthems and hardcore throw downs—what you might expect from a band that shares a label with The Casualties, 7 Seconds and Flogging Molly. What you didn't see coming, though, was how these songs maintain all the familiarity of a pub sing-along without feeling rehashed. There's a fresh edge somewhere in there, although I can't quite put my finger on it. Whatever it is, it's in the grand old style and they do it well. Not bad for a band that's just four years young.

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Music Magnified

The Ebb and Flow

with FOMA and Babelshack

Tuesday, July 26; Burt's Tiki Lounge (21 and over): When I first heard San Francisco's The Ebb and Flow I thought, now here is a band that travels well. As in, I'd like to take this album on a long car trip, possibly at night, through the Arizona desert. Maybe it's because their first full-length album is called Time to Echolocate and depicts bats in flight on the front cover. After all, bats are nocturnal creatures that fly long distances through the desert. But I don't think it's as simple as all that. There's something far less tangible in there, and it keeps propelling me down the same phantom mental freeway. Take the first track off of Time to Echolocate, "Sonorous." It glides for nearly 10 minutes; first plodding, skipping then running, then on to a full gallop through a forest of moogs and organ, guitar, strings and jazzy drum change-ups. The band itself travels light, with only three members to split between two vocal parts and a tight, diverse instrumentation that somehow manages to sound simple and loose. It's like a trompe l'oeil of the ear. Which I guess makes sense in the whole bat-scheme of things, because that's exactly what sonar and echolocation is all about—using sound for sight. Give them a listen and see where it takes you.

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Sonic Reducer

Holopaw (Sub Pop)

In a tense and panicked mood last week, this album, with its powerful calming effects, saved me from giving myself an ulcer. Sweet and melodic, these Floridians create the perfect mood music that reminds me of something I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps the confusion can be explained by the overall alt.country feel tinged with subtly weird '70s synth sounds. Or maybe it's the album art that, I don't know, just makes me think of Care Bears.

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Interview

The Briefs

The Alibi sat down at the computer last week and had a very compelling cyber-interview with former Albuquerquean Chris Brief of the Seattle band The Briefs.

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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 the 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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