Alibi V.21 No.16 • April 19-25, 2012 ››
Indiegrass songstress Sage Harrington
Americana is the new punk rock. Like the early ’80s when any yob with a snarl and electric guitar called themselves punk, anyone today that has a thrift store banjo and name drops the Carter Family thinks they are folk musicians, deserving of serious listening and dollar-per-song downloads. Wrong.
Talkin’ Semantic Rhetorical Terminological Blues
The roots of bluegrass
At a concert this Friday evening at the South Broadway Cultural Center, Blaine Sprouse, Peter Feldmann and Wayne Shrubsall will explore the origins of bluegrass, a genre that hasn’t been around that long, but that’s deeply linked to the ancient, weird, anonymous music sometimes called folk. The idea behind the show is to explore how old-time traditional music from Appalachia, along with elements from gospel and jazz, evolved into the musical form pioneered by Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys in the mid-’40s.
Music to Your Ears
When she started working on her new album, Green, vocalist and activist Barbara Bentree just wanted to do an album of songs she loves. Then, while considering the purchase of a hybrid auto, she began to ruminate on the effort required to go green—from separating your trash to retrofitting a house with solar panels. Suddenly, Kermit’s song “Bein’ Green” took on new meaning, and Bentree decided to “look at traditional songs through an environmental lens.” With a lovely, clear, well-pitched voice that has a charming girlishness in the upper registers and a pleasing touch of sweetness throughout, Bentree walks a line between wonder and warning. With pop, jazz, Brazilian and new age touches in sterling arrangements by John Rangel, who appears on piano and synth, the nine tracks feature fine work by Marcos Cavalcante (guitar) and Joel Fadness (drums). Drummer Dave Libman guests on “The Planet Song,” an intriguing anthem by Wen Mull that’s full of synth magic. The album—nominated for six New Mexico Music Awards—entertains while raising awareness, with all revenues from CD sales going to the Natural Resources Defense Council, PETA, GreenPeace, the Sierra Club and Bioneers. The album release concert, appropriately scheduled for Earth Day, will feature Rangel, Cavalcante and Fadness, along with the Rio Grande School choir.
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Flyer on the Wall
Acid King, SuperGiant, Anesthesia, Shadow and Ash, Torture Victim, Skulldron, The Conjuring, and Jah Branch converge at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Saturday, April 21. The all-ages, metal-heavy fest—hosted by Burque smoke shop / tattoo and piercing salon / gift emporium The Zone—starts at 6 p.m. Tenderizor joins in for a 21-and-over after-show. Tickets are $10. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
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.