Alibi V.17 No.3 • Jan 17-23, 2008 

Music to Your Ears

The Craft

Does your guitar have a person's name? Do you sometimes fall asleep with it in your arms? Are your pants pockets stuffed with lyrics scrawled on little bits of paper? If so, you might be one of the millions of Americans who are aspiring singer-songwriters.

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Mac Lethal’s bringing rice krispie treats to the party.

Wax Tracks

Mac Lethal

On paranoia and talking to strangers

New Rhymesayers label artist and former Scribble Jam champion Mac Lethal is hitting the industry with a lethal dose of acid-tongued lyricsm. He hits The Stove in Albuquerque this Sunday. The Alibi got a hold of Mac to talk about his Always Talk To Strangers Tour (co-headlined by MCs Grieves and Type) as he was sitting down on the same green couch he raps about in his new album, 11:11.

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Flutist/composer James Newton

Jazzed

Newton & Jang

Flutist James Newton and pianist Jon Jang forge a musical brotherhood

Brothers typically come to their sibling relationship without choice, riding shared DNA from common parents. Flutist/composer James Newton and pianist/composer Jon Jang, however, were drawn into brotherhood nearly 25 years ago by a common musical DNA and a shared appetite for justice.

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The Knew

Show Up!

The Knew

Writing the songs The Knew would like to hear

In 2006, Jacob Hansen and Patrick Bowden of Denver’s The Knew became a two-piece after guitarist Tyler Breuer left to teach overseas. They were vulnerable in a live setting and were limited musically. The only thing they could do was quit or adopt an underdog mentality, to play as though each song was their only shot. The duo did more than survive.

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Flyer on the Wall

Bananas

Get all ape shit when Suffrajet (Chicago), The Dollyrots (L.A.), Volume Volume and Pan!c increase the Launchpad’s decibels this Tuesday, Jan. 22. $5, 21+. (LM)

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Sonic Reducer

Chris Walla Field Manual · Donny McCaslin In Pursuit · Chloe Day Sugar

Death Cab For Cutie Guitarist Chris Walla may not have the pipes of his bandmate Ben Gibbard, but DCFC’s deep outer space atmosphere and sugar-pop melodies are all over Walla's first solo album, Field Manual. It can be sickly sweet at times, but there's no doubting Walla's songwriting gifts, which allow him to draw in unsuspecting ears like a tractor beam. It's airy, enthusiastic and, aside from some politically charged lyrics, doesn't take itself too seriously. Death Cab fans should gobble this one up. (SM)

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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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