“Don't start that talking/ I could talk all night/ My mind was sleepwalking/ While I'm putting the world to rights/ Call careers information/ Have you got yourself an occupation?” from “Oliver’s Army” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions.
Elvis was an angry young punk rocker in the midst of discovering elaborate pop melodies when he wrote a song about colonialism that both shocked and surprised. I used to sing this song to myself while I was supposed to be learning the intricacies of high school football. I’m sure that’s what got me kicked off the team. More importantly it got me thinking about things that were going on in the world and suddenly I felt I had an occupation. I was going to write all about those things. But now I’m just using the opening lines to introduce this week’s concert preview column by asking you, gentle reader, to make your concert-going activities an occupation that will lead you to some semblance of sonic truth … or a least a damn good time.
Elvis Costello & The Attractions: “Oliver’s Army”
Thursday night, Jan. 14, hip-hop is in the house over at Launchpad (618 Central SW). Mic Club 35, a gathering of local DJs, emcees and turntablists presents its latest findings available for groovy discourse at a gig that features Skata Jay and Cryogenik. The former is a dude who has been playing around Burque (mostly as a session guitarist) since he was in high school but has lately turned his attention to a party-flavored brand of hip - hop that indulges deep R&B roots, sublime samples and lyrical tendencies that focus on the, uh, ascendancy of life. Cryogenik—formerly known as Cryogenik Styles—is a totally fluid fellow whose knowledge of records has got to be greater than that of DJ Cassyle, DJ Mello and Alibi music reviewer Geoffrey Plant combined; his earlier recored oeuvre, “Beware of My Quasar Mixtape” is always floating around at mi chante! En serio, work like this demonstrates the cool quantum proximity of the deepest underground locations in El Lay and Albuquerque, N.M. Last year’s champ Sublmnl Rnsons hosts a performance that also includes Int’l Petey & DJ Shadoe among others. A sawbuck in advance or $15 at the door allows one to roll into this 21+ affair. It begins at 9pm.
So, like, I’m checking out the Spoonfed Tribe webpage and thinking that they sorta resemble The Flaming Lips without the dark undercurrents, third-wave feminist inferences or Steven Drozd’s immensely American pop ear, but you’ll have to check the band out for yourself to be sure. They’ll be playing at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Friday, Jan. 15. Spoonfed Tribe has a jam band vibe lugubriously mixed up with prog rock conceits and a rocked out attitude that includes stage names like Egg Nebula, KABooM and Jerome 57. Plus, they’re from Tejas, dig? That might lead one to think Butthole Surfers, but no dude, Gibby wouldn’t approve. But what Spoonfed Tribe lacks in mean-spirited wit, they more than make up for with a funky-bright optimism further clarified by fine playing. Local rocanrollers Merican Slang, a band with a stealthy saxophone situation, open. For a mere seven dollars and a valid 21+ ID you can be witness to one of the most interesting live acts in the rock universe. The show commences at 9pm; just remember though, a spoonful weighs a ton.
Of course the heaviest news this week is about TheLymbs. The local post-post-rock duo (who have lately been playing as a quartet with sidemen Kyle Ruggles and David Bloom) will play their last gig in this here town on Saturday, Jan. 16, at Sister (407 Central NW) before heading out west to the left coast on a voyage designed to bring their music to a wider audience. I spoke to Gage Bickerstaff and Jeff Bell as they drove to Tractor Brewing for an acoustic gig. About their move towards the sea, Gage said, “We owe Albuquerque everything. The music and art scene here have been integral in shaping our sound and success. But we’re ready to take bigger steps, so we will relocate as a way to find more fans and new inspirations.” Lymbs latest release, Moon is an informed and deeply complex work that is at turns bluesy, propulsively gritty and operatic in scope and execution. Certainly serious rocanrol such as this should be heard and seen outside the boundaries of this humble burg; Bickerstaff’s guitar playing has a wicked edge to it that suggests Melchiondo during his most intense Moistboyz moments while Bell’s use of percussion is reminiscent of Carlock’s muscular yet jazzified approach to the drums. Cactus Tractor, Kevin Herig, Kyle Ruggles, Hiss and The Bla Bla Blas open this demonstration of what rock is capable of in the Duke City. It’s a 21+ recital of sorts starting at 8pm. And it will only run you five dollars. So there.