A reliable source has reported that local band Fivehundred (formerly Mr. Spectacular and three-fourths of Fatso, not to mention Smoothie) have thrown in the proverbial towel, unfortunately before making a record and without any official farewell show. Just another sad day in an endlessly long line of sad days. ... On a happier note, two local bands who remain active as of this writing appear to be getting better and better. Unit 7 Drain are back with a revamped lineup and a boatload of new songs they plan to record for forthcoming albums. They played two Saturday's ago at the Launchpad with Oktober People, who, presumably as part of their effort to spit-polish their set before heading to South By Southwest next month, sounded tighter and more majestic than usual, which is pretty fucking tight and majestic. ... Black Maria's Gordon Andersen made himself a special guest on Jim Villanucci's afternoon radio program last week on 770 KKOB AM, where the topic happened to be the giant new, $10,000-apeice concrete decorative pots that appeared early last week on the I-40 median just west of Carlisle. While most callers agreed that the artistic additions were pleasing, Andersen, true to form, went a step further, telling Villanucci and his listeners, “I'm pro-pot ... and I also like this public art.” Nothing like a little drive-time humor to quell the road rage.
Friday, Feb. 25; Willee's Blues Club (Santa Fe, 21 and over, 9 p.m.)/Saturday, Feb. 26; El Rey Theater (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Sometimes, it's difficult to be a brother. My own brother and I both know that from experience. But imagine being "little brother" to Buddy Guy, constantly overshadowed by your elder sibling's brilliance and status as a superstar. On the other hand, it doesn't necessarily hurt to be billed as "brother of Buddy Guy."
To say I grew up with Jenny Farrell wouldn't be altogether accurate. Indeed, we did attend the same elementary, junior and high schools (John Baker, Hoover and Eldorado), and resided in the same basic neighborhood. But, she's a few years younger than I, which makes her my brother's age. So he grew up with her, while I simply grew up in her presence. My good friend, Albuquerque Journal contributor and all-around punk-ass Kevin Hopper even managed to take her to prom. All that matters now, though, is that our fair city is about to be represented by the all-grown-up Ms. Farrell on the third season of USA Network's reality smash, "Nashville Star." And she's got what it takes to win big.
Even for a band whose trademark is its penchant for musical re-enactments of historical events and Victorian literary references, Picaresque is an amazing feat of unapologetic chamber pop so full of hooks the average indie drama queen could easily find him- or herself mortally jigged. Colin Meloy, The Decemberists' Arch Duke, has outdone even his usual borderline overdone lyrical self here, and the rest of his five-piece indie orchestra provide the perfect accompaniment to his archetypal exercises. This is as close as you'll get to musical theater sans shitty acting and with elaborate sets that create themselves in your mind.