By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9
Nice times we hyped last week: Kid Congo glam blues at Detroit; Richard Bishop guitar astrology at Koo's—a rare chance to see a human play music in Koo's!—with Tara Jane ONeil; 10-seconds-from-stardom Lupe Fiasco gives you a last chance to see him at the Galaxy before he starts doing televised arena concerts.
PLUS: Modest Mouse, whom nature tried to stop with fire one time at Detroit. And nature failed. At the Grove.
Rapture are never going to untangle from the bubblegum of "House of Jealous Lovers" (best rollerskate jam of my legal drinking years) even with new album Pieces of the People We Something Something Something, which is considered/literate/produced so sharp as to cut glass but still sounds like its chasing the stuff LCD Soundsystem did and dumped after their last record. Sort of a shame because Rapture was pretty early to the game and Mirrors/Out of the Races were post-Pop Group before Pop Group became the newest noodlehead namecheck—for how much longer must we tolerate mass culture?—but after "Jealous Lovers" it's been lonely ever since. As always I blame England and New York. At the Glass House.
PLUS: Golden Arm Trio reprises Scanner Darkly at Open.
All the action just would not let up: British noisegaze band Telescopes actually were all things to all people—JMC soundwall and Stooge blues drug sludge and Revolver psych pop and even Ubu/Ornette sound décolletage—but as is pretty standard in the music biz, they weren't all things to enough people and so they dissolved much like the pharmas they may have possibly swallowed from time to time. But Telescopes are top fodder for Spaceman/Spiritualized chowers—they knocked out a set of notable singles ("Perfect Needle") and a few LPs (screamer As Approved by the Committee, softer and personal zoner fave self-titled) that more people should purchase and adore, and they even got the NME moment-of-the-month approval, but then again all that great songs and NME approval truly get you is something uncomfortable to talk about while you're waiting in the dole queue. Then Telescopes reformed and they are playing our own Prospector on their first-ever American tour! Huge coup.
PLUS: Litigiously vindicated Supernova drop from low orbit to Chain with true claim to the Supernova name firmly legally established, and the Rock Star reality show band has to go forward with the back-up name Should Have Saved My Money Better; Nafro (desiac implied) spray some pheromones around Detroit; Brian Eno discrete rapper Subtitle makes music for Glass Houses.
Brand New Heavies were reanimators real early, puffing dust off rare 45 tracks and learning the songs themselves—philosophy being that hip-hop kids would dig live-band performances of the sample-source songs they were already stockpiling, which the Breakestra and the Dap Kings would sort of later do stateside and the Detroit Cobras would do for a different part of Andre Williams' discography. Then they went on hiatus—residual wax toxicity—and now they are back to pry the cap off their extant discography with a new album and a familiar face to front the serious dudes in suits. Though Heavies were/are a mostly British import, current/classic singer N'Dea Davenport comes from Atlanta (next over from James Brown Town) with a Muscle Shoals soul vocal you could probably dip between Carla Thomas and Irma Thomas, and although Heavies are having fun dial-scanning '65-'75 radio hits, you can of course expect the golden middle there to deliver the best style for all concerned. N'Dea singing over Eddie Bo bucket beats: that song is "Right On" and it sounds ready for WDIA. N'Dea on Mighty Ryeders smooth soul: that song is "Sex God" and it's cute, too, but you know I prefer my sex deities with Crescent City production. Rock me again and again and again and again and again and again at the Galaxy.
Chamillionaire riding flirty with Ciara's new Evolution on her song "Get Up," which is just panting for popularity, and which finds our ambitious post-Destiny's Child proto-diva lifting lines of pop phrasing from reported guiding light Michael Jackson When He Was Good. It's not quite watershed enough for Weird Al to pick up but he could do a lot with the lyrics: "Spicy just like hot sauce!" Hotly tautological at the HOB.
Hell with you!
Snooze-out mope folk from safe boy Josh Radin, making pop songs as dumbly winning as a misspelled valentine. If you like this I bet I could make you cry in 10 minutes. Actually let's use this opportunity to get you to listen to Karen Dalton, who Bob Dylan—a probable Radin influence, as well as a probable influence on anyone who ever stood in front of a mirror holding an acoustic guitar and trying not to crack a smile—respected and admired and outsold by the hundreds of millions. But she was a six-foot Oklahoma girl who played twelve-string guitar and had a voice that was a bird in flight, and to know her is to love her. How about you go get her records? Radin at the HOB; Dalton reissue on Light in the Attic.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16
"Guns of Navarone" reloaded: Skatalites took a name so bold they had no choice but to define a genre; luckily, they picked ska and it all worked out. Studio One stalwarts sessioned for all the classics and released a lot of classics themselves plus held together half Jamaica's legends—Jackie Mittoo and Tommy McCook at two sides of the same stage and it just seemed like a natural thing. Phoenix City? It would explain the lifespan. At the Galaxy.