Alibi V.17 No.46 • Nov 13-19, 2008 ››
Music to Your Ears
Scandinavian Metal Quiz
1) True or false: Gothenburg is the name of a real Norwegian town.
Eighty-eight states and counting
A son of Seattle's underground music tradition, rapper Grieves is as independent as they come. He certainly has the independently produced albums and hard-won, growing national status to prove it. Grieves spoke with the Alibi from his new home in California (the move was "all for the sunshine," he admits) about speed-writing an album--88 Keys and Counting, out Nov. 12 and featuring Seattle producer Budo--touring across genres, touring and more touring.
Snow Patrol A Hundred Million Suns
· Escape The Fate This War Is Ours
· The Cure 4:13 Dream
Lacking both the ingenuity and guts of piano stadium rock bands like Coldplay and Keane, Snow Patrol proves it's destined to play second fiddle. Too many dull, slow and overly breathy ballads keep A Hundred Million Suns from gaining any momentum. When the band temporarily snaps out of its groggy stupor, the result is a contrived, guitar-heavy, "let's get everyone to clap their hands" attempt at straight-shooting rock. "The Golden Floor," at least, has a catchy pseudo-Latin rhythm and ambient, smoothly textured vocals--a welcome surprise. But Snow Patrol keeps itself too boxed in to break out of its tightly confined niche. (SM)
Courtesy of the Artist
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.
Courtesy of the Artist
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.