Alibi V.16 No.2 • Jan 11-17, 2007 

Music to Your Ears

Spring Crawl is set for Saturday, April 28, this year. That's three and a half months from now, but I started getting calls from bands asking how they can get on the bill back in October. So, while I truly admire your forethought and tenacity, for the millionth time, don't send me or anyone at the Alibi your demo. Here's Crawl coordinator Joe Anderson on what really works:

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Flyer on the Wall

RIP BTS

Say goodbye to Below the Sound with one last bust at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (free, 21+) on Friday, Jan. 12. Fivehundred, The Bellmont and Fando say they’ll help with the heavy lifting. (LM)

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Left Brain
Tabatha Roybal

Spotlight

At Home with Left Brain

Original progressive rock, fresh from the oven

Imagine a metal band at a house party. On ripped-up sofas, overturned chairs, and a floor littered with empty cans and bottles, a crowd moshes wildly as the band trashes its way through the set. A glass vase falls from the shelf, shattering on the tile floor and bringing the party to a halt. The moshers disappear, the sofas are repaired, the cans and bottles are (mostly) gone, but the band remains.

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Sonic Reducer

17 Pygmies 13 Blackbirds, 13 Lotus · Mos Def True Magic · Rod Lacy Blacklung

Who is manning the woodblock on 13 Blackbirds? I can get next to soupy folk ambience, super-blended vocals, even a mellow pace. But there is some woodblock-sounding thing (Or alternately, some other awkward percussion instrument. Is that a triangle?) plinking away in the foreground of a bunch of tracks. I zero in. I tap along. I jam ... with the woodblock. All the careful atmosphere falls away, and it's time for "The Woodblock Hour" with Woody and his Syncopated Block Boys. 13 Lotus, a second disc that remixes a song titled “Lotus,” replaces the woodblock with decent electronic work that provides a nice, unexpected contrast to the folksiness of it all.

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Courtesy of the Artist

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Their Kindness is Charade

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.
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Courtesy of the Artist

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Special Beat Service

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.
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