Alibi V.18 No.30 • July 23-29, 2009 

Music to Your Ears

Bud Melvin's Popular Music

What do you get when you mix banjo, 8-bit Nintendo and karaoke? (Aside from a Missourian out on the town in Japan.) You get programmer/picker Bud Melvin’s LP release for Popular Music.

Bud Melvin creates a solo novelty using the banjo and chiptunes—music produced by older video game and computer systems that generate sound in real time. It’s both retro digital and pastoral, an unlikely combination that interacts with the dynamism of yin and yang. On Sunday, a live collision of Luigi and Jed awaits release party revelers at Ed's Pub, Leisure Bowl's wood-paneled, karaoke-fraught watering hole. The show is free and followed by a night of open karaoke. In the meantime, the Alibi shipped off a few electronic questions to Melvin about the record.

Why release digital chiptunes on an analog record?

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It takes a village ... to rock.
Bernie DeChant

Spotlight

Balthrop, Alabama

Come visit

Siblings Pascal and Lauren Balthrop are living the small-town life.

They walk nearly everywhere they go, stopping to say hello to people they recognize on the street. They chat with store owners who know them by name and socialize at the neighborhood coffee shop where all their friends hang out.

The Balthrops live in the little-known blip on the map called Brooklyn, N.Y.—a city of 2.5 million. But the Mobile, Ala., natives managed to create an insular home for themselves in the borough's Carroll Gardens neighborhood. "We hardly ever get to Manhattan," Pascal says. "I'm glad it's there, because it obviously has a lot of great things, but we pretty much stay in our neighborhood."

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Ace Frehley

Music Websclusive

See Bud Melvin’s Game Boy Camera Photos

The sonically and visually talented Bud Melvin agreed to share photos taken on his Game Boy Camera. Here’s a selection hand-picked by us. To see more, click here, and link to more photos at the bottom of each page.

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[click to enlarge]

Flyer on the Wall

Skunk’s Not Dead

Who Killed Carla, Travesty & The Screwups, Made In Bangladesh, Emergency Ahead, Martial Law, The Plain and Spring Loaded Hot-Dog raise a ska-punk stink on Friday, July 24, at Amped Performance Center (4200 Lomas NE). $5, 5 p.m., all-ages. (Laura Marrich)

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Courtesy of the Artist

EVENT HORIZON ()

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

EVENT HORIZON ()

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 the 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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