Alibi V.17 No.28 • July 10-16, 2008 

Music to Your Ears

Swap Rock and Roll

If you've ever been in a band, chances are you've got 900 pressings of your first album stashed away in someone's closet. That was the finding on a recent RockSquawk thread, anyway. Almost all of our self-produced collections are collecting dust in inaccessible armpits of the city. Meanwhile, just as many of us would love to comb through someone else's pile. ( ... The wax is always blacker on the other side.) So, what would happen if we all unearthed our ancient jewel cases, cassettes and vinyl and traded them for stuff we actually want to hear?

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“Sunday I don't have a show, so I might sleep in. That's what I have planned in the future.” —Joe Anderson
Tina Larkin

Music News

Damage Control

What it took to get the Launchpad back on its feet

It was anything but a vacation, says Joe Anderson, operator of the Launchpad. "There were people that were making remarks like, Yeah, well, at least you'll have some time off," he says. Launchpad had its doors shut from the time of the neighboring Golden West's fire on Feb. 28 until happy hour on July 1. During those four months, he and some of his coworkers were working 10 times harder than usual, Anderson says, moving already-booked shows to other venues and overseeing renovations to the space.

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The Launchpad opens for its first official concert on Monday, July 7.
Tina Larkin

Spotlight

Not Just “Some Joe Schmo Bar"

Employees welcome back the Launchpad

When the Launchpad went out of commission more than four months ago, talent buyer Luis Mota had to scramble to reschedule shows.

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Jazzed Reducer

Letters from New Orleans

New Orleans pianist Tom McDermott has to rank among the most fluid, inventive and technically robust pianists radiating the 88s today in the traditional syncopated musics of the Americas—from ragtime to choro to tango, from Jelly Roll Morton to James Booker—and he’s a beguiling composer besides. The eloquently understated Connie Jones may be the Crescent City’s most respected cornetist. Neither man knows how to play a false note. They combine beautifully on this collection of reinvigorated standards (“Tishomingo Blues”), McDermott originals (including the lovely solo piano reverie “Song of Bernadotte”), jazz from Freddy Chopin (title track) and more. Meanwhile, Parnassus Records has had the good sense to reissue McDermott’s 1996 solo effort, All the Keys & Then Some. This collection of 24 piano miniatures (one in each key) plus 14 portraits of friends for piano and synthesizer—by turns prankish, tender, audacious, bemused—showcases an adventurous and delightfully eccentric musical imagination.

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Sonic Reducer

Third World Love New Blues · CSS Donkey · Sigur RÛs Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust

The second U.S. release from this fine quartet—Avishai Cohen (trumpet/flügelhorn), Yonatan Avishai (piano), Omer Avital (bass) and Daniel Freedman (drums)—continues its collective exploration of various musical strains (funk, Mizrahi, flamenco, samba, Afro-Cuban) in a jazz embrace. They all contribute compositions (with one Ellington track), making straight-ahead, uncluttered, emotional music that grooves. It’s definitely an egalitarian affair, but Cohen’s warmth and expressiveness and his arresting improvisational acumen make him the first among peers. His unassuming composition “Gigi et Amelie” is the disc’s most beautiful, closely followed by Avishai’s bluesy “Beauty of Death” and the sweet Middle Eastern ache of Avital’s jazz waltz “Homeland.” (MM)

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Flyer on the Wall

If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Down in the Kitchen

The Architects of Rhythm (DJ Eldon and Justin Roberts) cook up a mess of soulful sounds every blessed Sunday from 7 to 10 p.m. at Nob Hill Bar and Grill (3128 Central SE). Free, 21+. (LM)

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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 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.
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