Alibi V.16 No.17 • April 26-May 2, 2007 
Dr. Octagon

Music to Your Ears

On Hos and Hip-hop—Last week in response to Oprah's two-part Hip-hop Town Hall (which was in response to Don Imus being a dipshit), poet and hip-hop artist Saul Williams wrote an open letter to Oprah. Oprah's programs dealt with misogyny, racism, marginalization and censorship and hosted guests such as Def Jam cofounder Russell Simmons, rapper Common, poet and author Maya Angelou, a record executive, an entertainment lawyer, people involved with the NAACP and a group of female students from Spelman College (who, in 2004, protested a Nelly performance for his treatment of women in his videos). While the program was positive, it wasn't in-depth. Saul Williams’ letter, on the other hand, was.

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Dr. Octagon

Spotlight

Paging Dr. Octagon

Triumphant or resistant, an innovator returns

It was your average rabies call. Dr. Octagon was paged to Room 109, unaware of his looming demise. “I’ll tell you what,” spat Dr. Dooom as Octagon entered. “Take this, motherfucker. Take two of these and call me in the morning.” And thus, the good doctor was capped. Cause of death? Multiple GSWs (gunshot wounds) from a nemesis Octagon never saw coming.

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Flyer on the Wall

Go West, Young Band

Rio Rancho gets a little louder when The Pharmacy, Fiction Onehundred, Built for Dummies and Easier Said Than Done play Thursday, April 26, at Turtle Mountain Brewing Co. (21+). Bring a few dollars for cover. (LM)

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The Hands

Show Up!

The Hands and The Skeletons

Hand jives and exorcisms

Garage rock is a tricky genre. From listening to the intentionally lo-fi recordings and simple song structures, you might be tempted to think anyone can pull it off. Goodness knows a lot of bands have tried, but few have managed to stand out enough to gain more than just local recognition. Still others, such as Southern California’s The Willowz, struggle to break out of the tightly confined space the genre allows without losing what made them successful in the first place.

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Sonic Reducer

Neil Cowley Trio Displaced · Miles Okazaki Mirror · Misha Piatigorsky Uncommon Circumstance

Brash, punkish energy, hooks that could snag a whale and sheer invigorating exuberance mark the debut recording of the Neil Cowley Trio (with pianist/composer Cowley, bassist Richard Sadler and drummer Evan Jenkins). A taut ballad, a trancelike rocker, a miniature that recalls Vince Guaraldi, a conundrum set to music, a contemplative swinger—Cowley attacks everything with breathtaking dynamic flair and a surprising, adept touch. With a sure rhythmic feel and an irrepressible and infectious spirit, Cowley and the boys gleefully roll the tunes downhill in a headlong rush—almost, but never quite, losing control every time.

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Courtesy of the Artist

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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

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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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