Let the Spring Crawl Countdown Begin—Spring Crawl is set for Saturday, April 29, this year ... less than one month away! Clear your schedule and prepare for 100 music acts (give or take a few), including nationally touring bands Guttermouth, Bullet For My Valentine and Attractive at the Sunshine Theater and Stereotyperider at Launchpad. This is all subject to change, of course. Now, for those of you who are still trying to figure out how to apply for a slot: Er ... you can't. You cannot audition, submit yourselves for review or put a bug in someone's ear about playing any of the Crawls. Sorry. It just doesn't work that way. What does work is playing live gigs Downtown as much as humanly possible, bringing in a good draw (people who come specifically to see you) and being polite, punctual and easy to work with—because it's the venues who decide, not us. See, after working with you guys for the past six months or more, each participating venue submits a “wish list” of bands they'd like to have play their respective rooms during the Crawl. We just do our best to schedule it all smoothly. Make sense? I sure hope so ... now get gigging!
Revelation recording artists Shook Ones and Sinking Ships perform a monster set with local newbs Outlaw and Excruciation. $5 show starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, at Sol Arts (all-ages, 712 Central SE). (LM)
The thing about Four Shillings Short is that they're so unique, writers who attempt to explain their sound have gone to great lengths to describe them in likewise original ways. Sure, they're amazing folk musicians who travel around the world in a white van stuffed with an array of instruments. Sure, both Aodh “g” Tuama and Christy Martin are talented, well-educated musical entrepreneurs. Their traditional Celtic yet Indian-influenced bluesy American folk is just so undeniably good, and they're obviously far from "short" on anything—where'd "Four Shillings Short" come from?
Monday, April 10, Burt's Tiki Lounge (21-and-over); Free: For over 25 years, El Aviador Dro has been a fixture of the synth pop community of Spain and other parts of Latin America. In their native land, they are as important to the scene as groups like Devo and Front 42. But, as with so many non-English speaking, semi-noncommercial bands, Aviador Dro have remained largely unnoticed by the American underground music community and non-Spanish synth poppers alike. That has changed, however, since Omega Point, an electropunk indie label in the United States, released an Aviador Dro compilation that spans the group's entire musical history and also includes a few bonus tracks for those already in the know. The band's earlier work can loosely be compared to Duran Duran and is especially similar to Devo, while their more current material is in-style enough to win the hearts of today's modern synth pop devotees. So don't let the Español scare you, come on out to Burt's for the best synth pop you've never heard.
Sunday, April 9, Launchpad (21-and-over), Free: Like Johnny Cash with throat cancer or Flogging Molly's Dave King on a whiskey binge, Two Gallants' lead singer Adam Stephens belts out dust-covered vignettes over muted guitar and flower-petal-soft symbol crashes. This is the windswept landscape of Two Gallants' “Nothing to You” off of the band's debut release The Throes. Stephens and Tyson Vogel borrow the unmistakable intimacy of Bright Eyes mastermind and Two Gallants' mentor, Conor Oberst, and take it to a murky, half-chaotic place that's uninhabited by most but oddly familiar to many.
Singer, songwriter, fictionist and former Stanford attendee Mark Ray Lewis grew up the son of a country preacher in Hannibal, Mo. Lewis' family, which included his gospel-adoring mother, Betty Jo Lewis, who released her own 8-track in the '70s, cultivated in him a profound respect and love for music as well as an irrepressible spiritual consciousness.
The Kleptones are more than the sum of their samples. They do what's called “mashup” or "bastard pop," where super-geniuses clip moments of well-known songs, then layer vocals and parts of other famous tracks on top. The further away the genres are from one another, the better the result. For instance, Simon and Garfunkel get down with The Cure. Peter Gabriel sings “Land of Confusion” with Edwin Starr's “War,” (you know, “What is it good for?”) in the background to create stunning results. The best part is how well these things line up, like they were meant for each other. The other best part is this brilliant double disc is free if you go to www.kleptones.com.