Carefully avoiding the loaded term “unplugged,” the latest in a six-year-old series originally known as The Acoustic Showcase takes place at Low Spirits this Friday. Bands, and varying configurations thereof, perform songs from their respective catalogs as well as selected covers that don’t fit into regular repertoires. Don’t expect old favorites and regurgitated hits. Do expect obscure covers from limited-edition blue-vinyl releases that would make any record-collecting fanboy swoon.
Like so many of the world’s great ideas, the Southwest by No Fest began as a joke. It eventually manifested on some flyers last year, and in 2010 SWxØFest has morphed into something resembling a full-fledged festival. Events, which began last week, the convergence of a handful of atypical venues and the bounty of touring bands passing through town this month. KUNM 89.9 FM DJ and longtime promoter of local music and arts events Derek Caterwaul is among those at the helm of the endeavor. He says this month's fest is not so much a spin-off of the music industry spectacle that is SXSW but more a spinout inspired by a concentration of creative energy and counter-SXSW Austin events like Fuck by Fuck You and GAYbiGAYGAY.
The hues that appear in mid-century color photography tend to create a delicate, airy quality, as if the sands of time are causing the image to melt away before our eyes. Here we see a western view of Route 66 at I-25 and ghostly Zia images hovering in the sky during what seems to be the late ’50s. Once a humble postcard, this photo now advertises Songs for Boys & Girls with Sugar Wings at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Saturday at 7 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Nick Brown is a musician who likes to make weird songs late at night in the shed behind his house. He’s also the Alibi’s puppet master, a prolific blogger and a jokesmith. Here are five jazzy, new wave-y, psychedelic, random selections from his collections.
Where to begin—her craft? Her freedom? Her depth? Her joy? It’s all here on vocalist Kate McGarry’s latest. She opens with a slow, dark “Let’s Face the Music” in a breathtaking arrangement by guitarist Keith Ganz, profoundly re-imagining Irving Berlin’s song for our fractured time. McGarry’s mesmerizing arrangement of The Cars’ “Just What I Needed” captures the vulnerable hypersensitivity of crazy love, and her own “Man of God” reveals a gifted songwriter with a spiritual bent. Not every track rises to the elevated level of these three, but McGarry’s warmth, her willingness to jump off musical cliffs, and her ability to richly and precisely render complex emotional life make it all worth hearing. She is very ably supported by Ganz, Gary Versace (piano, organ, accordion), Reuben Rogers (bass) and Clarence Penn (drums). (MM)