Alibi V.20 No.51 • Dec 22-28, 2011 

Aural Fixation

Jingle and Jangle

A festive playlist with less Christmas schmaltz

Holiday-themed music is ubiquitous during the most wonderful time of the year. Shake things up with a sonic snow globe of garage rock, punk, pop, experimental, old country and blues—all in the key of Christmas.
Julia Minimata

Jazzed

A “Nutcracker” Sweetened With Swing

Tchaikovsky faces off with Ellington

“The Nutcracker” suite is full of memorable melodies, which is at least partly the reason it has become all but inescapable during the holiday season. This year, though, the music is getting a special twist or two, courtesy of The Nutcracker (Swing!) concert presented by Concordia Santa Fe.

[click to enlarge]

Flyer on the Wall

Vertigo Venus, Hyperland and Great White Buffalo play Christmas Eve Eve at Burt’s Tiki Lounge.

Sonic Reducer

Ellis Marsalis A New Orleans Christmas Carol · Various Bambara Mystic Soul (The Raw Sound of Burkina Faso 1974-1979) · Various Tally Ho! Flying Nuns Greatest Bits

Our tiny take on A New Orleans Christmas Carol; Bambara Mystic Soul (The Raw Sound of Burkina Faso 1974-1979); and Tally Ho! Flying Nuns Greatest Bits
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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