Alibi V.18 No.33 • Aug 13-19, 2009 ››
Music to Your Ears
Everybody and their mom hosts a music festival during the summer.
Only a few fests deserve the spotlight. Fewer still warrant a three-hour drive into the heart of Northern New Mexico. The first-ever Taos Mountain Music Festival on Saturday, Aug. 15, is poised to make it worth your while. Genre-melding Ozomatli headlines a full day of music held on four acres of Taos Ski Valley. Bob Marley's backup band The Wailers and singer-songwriter Joan Osborne beef up the bill.
Alejandro Blake, events director for Taos Ski Valley, says the lineup reflects a desire for diversity. "What we were really trying to do is have an eclectic group of artists," Blake says. "Somebody who listens to Joan might not listen to Ozo, but I think they'll come up here and appreciate Ozo's music and vice versa. There's no music that's going to be too harsh for anybody."
Tim O'Rourke Backyard Dreams
· Joel Harrison Urban Myths
· Julian Plenti Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper
Guitarist Joel Harrison—whose compositions are typically shaped as much by rigorous intellect as by Dionysian inclinations—relaxes on Urban Myths, preferring to groove on the rhythmic and sonic pleasures of electronic jazz. Intellect is never abandoned, but Harrison and friends (particularly saxophonist David Binney and violinist Christian Howes) are after an ecstatic expression that owes more to groove than gray matter. From “Last Waltz for Queva,” pregnant with loss and affection, to the funky “Straight No Chaser,” to the rock feel of “High Expectation Low Return,” Harrison explores his fusion self and plays some wailing guitar. (MM)
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.