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 Feb 3 - 9, 2005 

Music to Your Ears

By Michael Henningsen

Several weeks ago, I reported in this column on the formation of another new locally-based regional label, Detach Records, and their “coming out” part at the Launchpad featuring live performances by bands on their roster. As of this week, the Detach crew have released their first official longplayer, the third record by Austin's The Onlys, titled Limbic System. Look for a review of the album in a coming issue. In the meantime, check it out for yourself at your nearest independent record store. ... As part of its “Latin Diva” concert series, the National Hispanic Cultural Center will present world beat/reggae/Latin jazz sensations Kátia Moraes & Sambaguru Friday, Feb. 4. Call 724-4771 or visit www.nhccnm.org for tickets, time and more information. ... Local band The Ground Beneath recently began working on an album, which they say should be completed over the next few months. They've also uploaded seven live MP3 tracks that can be downloaded for free at www.thegroundbeneath.com. The band also report that they've been in contact with Fred Durst's (Limp Bizkit frontman/shithead) management and that “big things” are perhaps in the works on the moving-up-the-music business-ladder department. ... If you haven't bought your copy of the brand new Shine Cherries self-titled debut, what the fuck are you waiting for?

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Blue Note

By Jason Serinus

Elaine Kreston & Ray Regan TranslucenT (www.elainekreston.com)

Elaine Kreston & Ray Regan

TranslucenT

The music is gentle and meditative, with expansive soundscapes that softly explore the more reclusive aspects of human consciousness. Featuring the cello of Elaine Kreston, the disc also draws on the multi-dimensional talents of co-composer Ray Regan, whose artworks, soundworks and video bridge the natural and digital dimensions.

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Music Magnified

Michael Tolcher

with Gavin DeGraw

By Michael Henningsen

Saturday, Feb. 8; Sunshine Theater (21 and over, 7:30 p.m.): Admittedly, I don't generally consider the Dave Matthews/John Mayer/Matchbox 20 set as my proverbial bag. But I've also got to admit that there are certain days—certain moods on certain days, actually—on which music by that particular singer-songwriter subset and the artists it encompasses seems absolutely perfect. Add to those artists Georgia-based roots rocker Michael Tolcher, whose debut, I Am (Octone) proves that the age of soaring pop melodies and rock-driven, folktastic songwriting are still alive and well both inside and outside the mainstream.

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Sonic Reducer

By Michael Henningsen

Jean Michel Jarre Essential (Dreyfus)

At least a full decade before electronica, techno and ambient were officially declared genres, the music that defined them was lumped in the new age category and, therefore, unfortunately stigmatized as bullshit background music for tofu-eaters looking to get their yoga on. French electronicist Jean Michel Jarre's earliest and best work was among the falsely imprisoned. Fast-forward to the '90s and bands such as Stereolab, High Llamas, St. Etienne, Air and countless others. What was then considered to be the latest craze was actually a co-opting of Jarre's pioneering work in electronic music. Listen, learn—this is whence it came.

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Courtesy of the Artist

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Their Kindness is Charade

Crystal Castles • electropunk, synth pop, witch house

By August March
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

By August March
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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