A Gingerbread Homecoming—It's been less than a year since the Gingerbread Patriots dusted our desert from their keyboards and moved to Portland, Ore. But since they're so gosh darn sentimental, they couldn't stay away for long. Bless their little indie-pop hearts.
Some of the fine print says: "That's right. RollerCon, the international all-female roller derby convention, is looking for certified EMTs to volunteer their time and talents this summer, Aug. 8-12, in fabulous Las Vegas, Nev.!" Perks include undying gratitude and a nice little vacation in Vegas (paid for by you, but nice nonetheless). For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. (LM)
If there’s one thing The Ettes aren’t, it’s a chick band. While both their lead vocalist and drummer are of the female gender, that doesn’t fit them squarely into the “chick” category, and they’d like you to know it.
You would not believe how many bands have named themselves A Murder of Crows. But only one lived in my Walkman throughout early high school until the tape, thin and weary from overplaying, snapped apart one time too many. No amount of scotch tape could aid its redemption. Little did I know this was an early Albuquerque band, around in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
In any regular situation, if "live recording" and "garage rock" were uttered in the same sentence, I'd shudder with the conjured mental images of some horrifying Frankenstein made of Kiss and Jet. But this album, released by a fairly reliable label, is an exception. With lo-fi sound quality and elements of psychedelia, it's more like a respectable partnership between The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Velvet Underground. Except this is Black Lips, who are, to make a metaphor (and as their album art might suggest), more like the comedic flesh-eating plant Audrey Jr. from Little Shop of Horrors, just as we are the Seymours, forced to serve our master.
The guys in The Fertile Crescent don't know they're kind of geniuses. Or maybe they're in disguise as four shy 20-year-olds who mumble a little and say "like" too much. It's almost a shame to let them in on the secret that the music they're making is more innovative and well-constructed than a lot of what's put out by bands who've been on the scene for years and years. Sure hope they won't let it go to their heads.
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.
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.