Alibi V.17 No.35 • Aug 28-Sept 3, 2008 ››
Music to Your Ears
Clawhammer or Scruggs? Bluegrass banjo players pledge allegiance to one of the genre's two major styles (which boil down to frailing in the former and arpeggiated picking in the latter), but they're not at odds. Folks from either camp would jump at an opportunity to see a pillar of modern bluegrass in action, regardless of style—especially when you're talking about Earl Scruggs himself. Sixty-plus years of refined innovation and the guy still chooses playing live over resting on his laurels, though he doesn't make it to our neck of the woods much.
It’s not like Sonny and Cher
Mac McCaughan gave Baltimore’s folksy shoegaze duo Wye Oak the best Christmas present of its young career.
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Flyer on the Wall
DJ Eldon does his thang every Friday night in The Cellar at Zinc (3009 Central NE). Never a cover, always 21+. (LM)
Evan Christopher Django à la CrÈole
· The 2Bers Children of a Mortal Sun
· The New Year The New Year
Albuquerque hip-hop tandem The 2Bers doesn’t pout or scream about its dissatisfaction with day-to-day annoyances. Instead, the chill-hop effused from The 2Bers’ cauldron is an intoxicating brew of keyboards, organic samples and programmed backbeat that’s never in a rush and always understated. The flows are decidedly downtrodden and self-reflective, electing to move slowly and carefully without a lot of flash or flourish. The rhymes are good, but the beats are better. In fact, a couple of the best tracks are the instrumentals. This is especially true of “The City is Still Blue,” in which the keyboard line of Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” takes on a menacing, forceful and very engaging persona. (SM)
Courtesy of the Artist
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.
Courtesy of the Artist
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.