Alibi V.16 No.35 • Aug 30-Sept 5, 2007 

Music to Your Ears

Pop Goes the Tribute

Theme shows—like this Friday's Pop Tribute night, or the Johnny Cash Tribute IV coming Sept. 14—are a terrific idea. And that's the problem. It's easy to say "'Rocket Man' is one of the best songs ever. Hey, you know what'd be cool? An Elton John tribute night. We'll invite 20 bands, all of them have to play Elton John songs. It'll be rad!"

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Flyer on the Wall

Fall Crawl, Y’all

A bajillion of the best bands in the world will be Downtown on Saturday, Sept. 1, for Fall Crawl—where will you be? Buy your advance tickets here. (LM)

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Jeremy Eaton

Pop Culture

Read Carefully Before Signing

Contract riders that take you for a ride

Which came first, the diva or the rider?

A rider is a clause tacked onto a contract that lists additional requirements that must be met in order for the rest of the contract to be fulfilled. These additional requirements can include anything from basic accommodations and stage setup to more outlandish requests.

Keep in mind that these requirements are in addition to the fee paid for the performance and can cost in the several thousands of dollars—and be a pain to fulfill.

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The man: Will Sheff

Show Up!

Okkervil River

The Stage Names is the transcendent fifth album from Okkervil River, an indie-folk-rock group based in Austin, Texas. The Alibi had a chance to speak with Will Sheff, the band's singer/songwriter/guitarist whose lyrics and music are the driving force behind much of the band’s critical acclaim. Although Sheff calls it good ol' rock ’n’ roll, perhaps a better phrase would be "lit-rock," a term coined by New York Times writer Kelefa Sanneh to describe the smooth narratives serving as lyrics. But Sheff doesn’t want to be branded as anything, and leaves it up to the listener to decide for his or herself what they hear. Any way you spit it, The Stage Names is a musical treat, and hearing the band live seems even sweeter.

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Sonic Reducer

Atmosphere Sad Clown Bad Summer Accompanied by Piano · Lily Maase and theSuiteUnraveling unbind. · Aesop Rock None Shall Pass

Some call it a mixtape—a bundle of recordings compiled onto one album in an expedient bootleg fashion. In Atmosphere’s case, we'll label Sad Clown Bad Summer Accompanied by Piano a B-sides and rarities EP. The modern hip-hop legend has released five exclusive tracks that didn’t quite make the cut for the forthcoming album When Life Gives You Lemons, which is scheduled to drop in early ’08. With detailed narration by Slug and ANT’s full-of-soul funk production, this album leaves us with a taste of a bittersweet summer but an even better new year. [JAH]

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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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