Alibi V.15 No.51 • Dec 21-27, 2006 

Music to Your Ears

Lily Comes Home--Cutting-edge guitarist/composer Lily Maase (see Mel Minter's "Spotlight," May 18-24) has left the frozen coasts of Brooklyn, N.Y., for a sojourn in her hometown of Albuquerque. The purpose for her return is a "creative development residency" called Music in Motion. Lily will spend a week teaching classes and developing new material for her forthcoming album, unbind, due out early 2007. She's also bookending her visit with two solo performances at the Blue Dragon, giving listeners a rare glimpse at how music composition evolves (and through what looks like will be a period of intense refinement). Hear her Tuesday, Dec. 26, and again on Wednesday, Jan. 3, for the full impact. There's a suggested $5 donation for each 8:30 p.m. performance.

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Flyer on the Wall

Silent Night

... Not! It’s a very special all-ages Christmas show at Sol Arts (712 Central SE) with The Build and Goodbye Cody. Doors open at 7 p.m. Cost is $5. (LM)

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Giant Steps, just like the old days.

Spotlight

Giant Steps Reunion Show

Soundtrack unites ska champs for one more show

It was only life in 1999 that scattered members of Giant Steps around the country. "Jobs, wives, kids, promotions," sax player Mike Silva ticks off the list of things that come up, even for local ska heroes who made as big a stride as the Steps. "We didn't want to go on with just bits and pieces of our former band." Members realized they had gone as far as they were going to go, he says. Still, Silva remembers his time with Giant Steps as one of the best in his life.

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Sonic Reducer

The Whigs Give 'Em All A Big Fat Lip · Radio Birdman Zeno Beach · Bottle Rockets Zoysia · The Dears Gang Of Losers · Cold War Kids Robbers & Cowards · The Bellrays Have A Little Faith · Ghostface Killah Fishscale · The Drams Jubilee Dive · The Walkmen A Hundred Miles Off · The Hold Steady Boys And Girls in America

The Best Overlooked CDs of 2006

Music is a tough business these days, what with online downloading eating away at record sales. But this hasn’t discouraged musicians from jumping into the fray. Each new day, it seems, brings a new CD from some new (or otherwise little-known) act. Give the credit (or the blame) to affordable recording technology and the power of the Internet to build awareness for bands. It’s just a whole lot easier to make albums now. And with the deluge of new releases, it’s a whole lot easier to miss out on CDs that deserved to be heard. I surely missed my share, but here are 20 CDs from 2006 that deserved far more attention--and sales--than they received.

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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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