Alibi V.17 No.23 • June 5-11, 2008 ››
Music to Your Ears
It's too easy to disparage New Mexico for its lack of youth-empowering, School of Rock-style summer camps like the one featured in Girls Rock! (read Marisa Demarco's film review, then see it at the Guild June 6 through 12). We've got music programs, all right, but they're, uh, not quite synced up with the iPod generation. Lord knows Hummingbird Music Camp would be a lot cooler if your counselors were Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney) and Beth Ditto (The Gossip). But—for now, at least—we just don't have those kinds of resources.
Sugar with a spoonful of E.E. Cummings
Can you sneak literary references into ear candy? Self-described power-pop four-piece Sweetness doesn’t see why not. You might be too busy nodding your head to notice, but the garage-anthem “Angry Candy” is a reference to a stanza in an E.E. Cummings poem. The American wordsmith isn’t the only literary figure alluded to on the sly. “I think you can have pop songs with interesting lyrics that go beyond, ‘I want to hold you until the day I die,’ ” says guitarist and English major Chente Rimorin. “The lyrics can be intellectual innuendos.”
The Anniversary Devil on Our Side: B-Sides and Rarities
· Dizzee Rascal Maths + English
· Al Green Lay It Down
Devil on Our Side is like a long road trip with friends. There are moments when you're bored to tears and times when you wish you had stayed home, but when it's all over, you're glad you went. The record's sluggish pace and refusal to veer from its indie-punk schtick can make getting through the album on a first listen tough. But the murky, distorted guitars, high-strung keyboards and Adrianne Verhoeven's refreshingly out-of-tune vocals make the journey worth it. It's always sad when a quality outfit disbands, as The Anniversary did in 2004. But the group has a raw and giddy delivery that might have worn away if it had continued to make music. (SM)
Courtesy of the Artist
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.
Courtesy of the Artist
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.