Spring rite smashup
Minnesotan piano-bass-drums trio The Bad Plus has been kicking out the pop and rock-infused avant jazz jams for more than a decade. Composed of pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King, the renowned threesome’s latest release is a relatively straightforward jazz interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. But even an unembellished, structurally authentic jazz rendition of this classical ballet composition will have curious fans pondering what their favorite Wagner opera might sound like if interpreted by the group. See and hear The Bad Plus live at Outpost Performance Space (210 Yale SE) on Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2, at 7:30pm. Tickets to these all-ages concerts range from $20 to $25 and can be purchased at outpostspace.org.
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Ritual on the Mesa
Nuevo Mexicano duo Mesa Ritual—made up of Raven Chacon and William Fowler Collins—conjures electric music. Rather than relying on zeroes and ones, the act employs analog equipment, electric guitar and electronic effects to build soundscapes that reflect vast expanses of desert laced with snaky wires and pylons. Perhaps the only genre descriptor that can encompass the entirety of Mesa Ritual’s sound is “noise,” but their restrained yet tonally expansive sonic signature defies hard and fast categorization. Mesa Ritual releases their self-titled debut 12-inch LP via SIGE Records on May 20, but the local release party happens at Spirit Abuse (1103 Fourth Street NW) on Friday, May 2. Starting at 9pm, aural curandera TAHNZZ and artist/Postcommodity member Kade Twist add to the buzzworthiness. Admission is only $5.
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African desert rock
Hailing from the Mother Continent, Tuareg blues caravan Terakaft exemplifies the unfamiliar yet somehow universal sound of Malian desert bluesmen. Sanou Ag Ahmed, Kedou Ag Ossad—who was also an original member of storied Saharan outfit Tinariwen—and Sanou’s uncle, Liya Ag Ablil aka Diara, formed Terakaft in 2001. When touring the US, the band is accompanied by percussionist Brahim Fribgane and bassist Richard Emery. There’s definitely a progressive aspect to the group’s work, but falling under the spell of their intoxicating sound doesn’t require a working knowledge of African political struggle. Experience Terafakt and Navajo sibling duo Sihasin at the Dirty Bourbon Dance Hall & Saloon (9800 Montgomery NE) on Sunday, May 4. This 21-plus concert revs up at 7pm, and tickets range from $17 to $22.
Autumn de Wilde
El Lay dance-punk
Teeming with an abundance of genres, Los Angeles seems to be the origin point for particularly rad electro. To wit, dance-punk/nu-disco trio Moving Units were borne of the City of Angels’ sonic soil. Formed in 2002 and regularly releasing singles, EPs and LPs, Moving Units’ early, more heavily post-punk-inflected work—see “I Am,” “Emancipation” and “Birds of Prey”—gets the heaviest rotation on my hi-fi; but latest full-length Neurotic Exotic is pretty darn terrific, too. Moving Units describe their sound as “a long-lost album of Italo-disco covers of Sonic Youth songs,” and well, I couldn’t describe it better myself. On Wednesday, May 7, put on your dancing shoes and amble over to Sister (407 Central NW) at 9pm. Admission to this 21-plus dance party is $15.
For their seventh studio album, Lift a Sail, Yellowcard had a simple but ambitious goal: to outdo everything they’d ever done before. The guitars and drums had to hit harder; the songwriting had to cut deeper; the choruses had to reach heights only hinted at on their previous outings. Frontman Ryan Key believes he and his bandmates—guitarist Ryan Mendez, violinist Sean Mackin, bassist Josh Portman and guest drummer Nate Young (Anberlin)—succeeded on all those fronts. “We really feel like we got where we wanted to be, and made a proper rock ‘n’ roll record,” Key says proudly.
Cowgirl Karaoke hosted by Michele Leidig at The Cowgirl BBQ
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