Alibi V.18 No.34 • Aug 20-26, 2009 

Music to Your Ears

The King Is Dead, Long Live the King

Born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wis., Les Paul had just turned 94 in June. He died on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009.

Les Paul’s solid-body electric guitar started as the basement tinkering of a gifted musician. Where it led was rock and roll as we know it—and the foundation of innumerable permutations we haven’t gotten to yet. Even if you just look at the instrument and the ways its architect figured out how to play it—put aside, for a moment, the game-changing recording processes he pioneered like multitracking, overdub or delay—without Les Paul’s innovations in design and technique, the Book of Rock would have scant few pages and not much of an alphabet. The Edison of amplified music is gone. But because of Les Paul, rock and roll will never die.

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From left: Kyle Crane, Paul Hansen, Katie Franich and Adam Sankowski of The Grownup Noise air their dirty laundry.
Nicole Tammaro

Spotlight

The Grownup Noise

Being flipped off never felt so good

When Boston's The Grownup Noise plays a show in Beantown, there's usually a solid turnout.

The fan base took about four years to fully cultivate. It began with family and friends, then strangers started taking notice. "When we first started, we would ask ourselves, Do they really like it, or are they just being nice?" singer and guitarist Paul Hansen recalls. "It's gotten to the point where a lot of them tend to be people we don't know. So, unless everyone's just being really nice, they actually like us."

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[click to enlarge]

Flyer on the Wall

Odd Birds

Outsider insiders Occasional Detroit, The Scrams, The Hollow Lines, Dread and DJ Caterwaul raise a pluralist ruckus at 1kind Studios (1016 Coal SW, all-ages) on Friday, Aug. 21. 8:30 p.m. $6. (Laura Marrich)

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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 …
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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. …
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