Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock
If there is but one truth within the annals of rock 'n' roll, it is this: Queen is awesome. Voyageur Press understands this truth. The publisher released a handful of excellent coffee table titles this year, including one on The Velvet Underground and another on Neil Diamond (very cleverly named Neil Diamond Is Forever), and has now added to its catalog an extensive volume that chronicles Queen's mighty quintessence. With the help of hundreds of photos, record covers and other ephemera, rock journalist Phil Sutcliffe recounts Queen's story from a tiny twinkle in Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon's eyes, to arena-rocking audiences throughout the '70s and '80s, to Mercury's death of AIDS in 1991, to present. The book is supplemented by guest writers on topics like the band's equipment and effects, and how it persists with only two remaining original members. There's also commentary—Slash on Brian May, Rob Halford on Freddie Mercury, et cetera. Even comics about the band are included. It's a worthy package of Queen's regal, majestic, glamourous glory.
Could this be the coming of ska’s fourth wave? To find out, put on your bowler and finely tailored pants on Saturday, Dec. 12, and skank down to Amped Performance Center (4200 Lomas NE). The $5, all-ages show begins at 7 p.m. and includes the jams of Drop Steady Rockers, The Blue Hornets and Martial Law. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
With a voice that promises everything, including maybe 20 years in the pen, vocalist/co-producer Bernadette Seacrest conjures a noir underbelly of a world on The Filthy South Sessions, with help from co-producers Charles Williams (guitars), who wrote all 12 tunes, Kris Dale (double bass, pedal steel) and guests. Williams’ steamy tangos, blues and rumbas don’t so much tell stories as sideswipe them (“I love you, but put down that gun”). “Babylon” recalls Leonard Cohen’s lyrical enigmas, and Seacrest delivers it with a seductive, Billie Holiday–esque plangency. Clearly, Seacrest knows what’s what and, deliciously, she’s in no hurry to explain it. (MM)
As talent-buyer and manager for not one, not two, but three venues—Launchpad, Low Spirits and Sunshine Theater—Luis Mota is constantly surrounded by music and/or music-related things. Below are the first five shuffled tracks that were floating around his music library.
Crystal Castles • electropunk, synth pop, witch house
By August March
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.
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.