Alibi V.18 No.7 • Feb 12-18, 2009 ››
Music to Your Ears
The "L" stands for love. And lesbians. And lyrics from hip-hop duo God-des and She—who, come to think of it, once appeared on HBO's "The L Word," cable's most prominent source of literate, lusty lesbians.
Murder by Death
Bigger is better
Murder by Death knows only one size.
"I tend to be more interested in big things," explains singer-songwriter Adam Turla. "I feel like so many people write songs about simple stuff. One of the reasons why I do write such big, theatrical songs is that there’s not as many people doing it."
Epic struggles between good and evil fill the lyric sheets, and the meaty Americana that saddles up beside it gallops through sonic peaks and valleys. It could be called alt.country-noir, or cowpoke indie rock, but either way, the scent that wafts past your nostrils is robust.
The Appleseed Cast Sagarmatha
· Omar Rodriguez Lopez Old Money
· Randy Klein Piano Improvisations
Sagarmatha is the Nepalese name for Mount Everest, and the title couldn't be better suited for this sky-scraping LP. The Appleseed Cast reaches the summit only after a lengthy climb through post-rock soundscapes that stretch for miles. Vocals show up sporadically, and when they do, they're so echoing and distorted they might as well be another guitar. The temperament stays at an even keel—there are no depressions, no high-spirited peaks. It's a kind of fog that engulfs the record and refuses to disperse, keeping a shroud of mystery over every step of the ascension. Squawking guitar sirens are your only guide as to what comes next. (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.