Alibi V.13 No.20 • May 13-19, 2004 

Music to Your Ears

In response to my statement of two weeks ago in which I wrote that Unit 7 Drain were among two bands that "whined like babies" about their time slot and/or venue placement, several members of the band cited conflicts with their employment schedules as the reason for requiring a time slot later than 9 p.m. Sounds reasonable enough. Apologies therefore to Unit 7 Drain, their fans and anyone who thought I was too big an asshole to acknowledge my own mistakes and apologize for them. Rage Against the Machine, however, offered no such explanation, threatening instead to write a letter to the editor (a.k.a. Yours Truly) challenging me to a public brawl. The arrival of said letter—and brawl—is still anxiously awaited. ... This past Saturday night I managed to drag my crusty ol' ass out to the Launchpad for the Icky and the Yuks tour kick-off. I felt young again ... until about 12:30 a.m., but I did manage to make it all the way through part of Icky's set. Other highlights of the evening were masterful, thunderous sets by Fivehundred and Black Maria, not to mention the always slightly disturbing Beefcake in Chains. Head 'Cake Steve Eiland won the award for best Icky-themed T-shirt, which I can't comfortably describe even in this rag. Anyway, Icky are on the road for the next 12 days or so, returning just in time for Jay Collins and Richard Trott to catch the plane that will deliver them to a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska for about six weeks. No, really.

[ more >> ] [ permalink ]

Blue Note

White Men Can Jump

Charlie Musselwhite's Chicago Blues

Along with Paul Butterfiled, Mississipi-born, Memphis-rasied harpist Charlie Musselwhite can be credited for giving the so-called white blues movement of the '60s a leg to stand on. Already a master of the blues harp by his late teens, the then twentysomething Musselwhite had moved to Chicago and begun to absorb the intricacies of its urban blues sound. It's a style that Musselwhite has remained faithful to for the better part of 40 years. Still, the 60-year-old musician is regarded as one of the most adventurous bluesmen around, within his chosen idiom. And he's got 14 W.C. Handy awards and half a dozen Grammy nominations to prove it.

[ more >> ] [ permalink ]

Music Magnified

Brother

Thursday, May 13; Puccini's Golden West Saloon (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Guess what! It hasn't all been done before. It's safe to say that Australian-born, Los Angeles-based trio, Brother, are the first to eschew guitars in favor of dueling bagpipes in a rock format that draws on everything from Beach Boys-esque harmonies and sunny, SoCal pop to Latin rhythms and ancient, Aboriginal drones. And that's not to mention the Celtic undertones that drive most of the songs on their new album, Urban Cave.

[ more >> ] [ permalink ]

Music Magnified

The Lovemakers

with Sekiden, Leiahdorus and Brixton Ex

Thursday, May 13; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): An undeclared, unspoken '80s-style electropop revival is taking place thanks to the Lovemakers—yet another fashionable band born and bred in the Big Apple. The band, which in the past was much more polished, has taken an evolutionary step backwards in its songwriting.

[ more >> ] [ permalink ]

Sonic Reducer

Various Artists Spin the Bottle: An All-star Tribute to KISS (Koch)

Frankly, this is one of the worst albums I've ever heard—a sonic travesty even by my forgiving '80s metal standards. Every washed-up member of every washed-up band you can think of appear in various configurations, churning out pedestrian versions of the same old KISS songs that have been remade dozens of times. So why bother? Because for KISS fans, the accompanying DVD is almost worth the price. Think of it as an if episode of "Behind the Music" without the script or narration—just a bunch of aging rockers further contextualizing KISS with sincere commentary. CD = drink coaster.

[ more >> ] [ permalink ]

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.
calendar
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 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.
calendar