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Get Out

Music worth leaving the house to hear this week

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Jon Shain
The Pour House
Thursday, Oct. 21

The kind of performer who catches you off-guard with the warmth of his style, the sharpness of his hooks, and the gentle, foot-tapping melodies. His 2003 release No Tag, No Tail Light kicks a snappy, folk-blues vibe that gets better every time you hear it. Shain's a fine flat picker, but he's perhaps an even finer songwriter, working easily in a variety of styles like John Prine, with a soulful voice and an ability to cut to the heart of the matter lyrically. --CP

Dayna Kurtz
The Cave
Thursday, Oct. 21

Like a cross between the jazzy traditionalist Jolie Holland and the smoldering torch singing of Eartha Kitt, Kurtz's music recalls a smoky cabaret, the walls soaked in blues, jazz and roots. The arrangements are tenderly supple and evocative, but the star is Kurtz's deep, throaty delivery, full of drama and a slinky grace. Her new third album, Beautiful Yesterday, features mainly covers--expertly rendered--including Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows," Billie Holiday's "Left Alone" and Prince's "Joy in Repetition." --CP

Paik, N. Lannon, The Strugglers, Bitter Bitter Weeks
Local 506
Thursday, Oct. 21

Nyles Lannon mastered mood in the S.F. slowcore band Film School, and with his new solo album, Chemical Friends, mixes melancholy folk in the Nick Drake-Elliott Smith vein with programmed beats and synth washes, creating a low-level thrum and hum about his acoustic strum. Paik is a Michigan instrumental drone rock act with electronics, a bad attitude and a new album called Satin Black, who get all dark, sludgy and disconsolate like the Melvins mainlining speedballs while covering Windy & Carl. The Strugglers is the lo-fi indie folk-pop outfit of Brice Randall Bickford II (which is a band name if I've ever heard one!). Bitter Bitter Weeks may be the best of the bunch: It's the songwriting outlet of producer Brian McTear (Matt Pond PA, Burning Brides), creating haunting, pretty, thoughtful, acoustic songwriter pop. --CP

Southern Culture On The Skids
Martin St Music Hall
Friday, Oct. 22

What the Cramps did for sci-fi, SCOTS do for the white-trash, trailer-park lifestyle--which is to put a rambunctious, country-fried rockabilly shimmy on their pop culture skewer. The live shows are a raucous celebration of guitar rumble, humorous cultural stereotypes and old-fashioned bad taste, making it like a rock 'n' roll version of the Springer show. --CP

Ted Leo, Engine Down, Mary Timony
Kings
Friday, Oct. 22

Leo got his start in NYC hardcore, and then decamped to Washington, D.C. to lead Chisel during the mid-'90s. Since embarking on his solo career in 1998, Leo's been playing tightly-wound rock with plenty of punkish guitar bluster, snaggletooth hooks and steely rhythms. His latest, Hearts of Oak, features a terrific batch of songs that recall The Jam if they'd been raised on Jawbox's chewy guitar attack and fronted by Rockpile's Nick Lowe. Engine Down's early work displayed a post-punk sense of tension and release, soft-pedaling melody in favor of dramatic structures, but their self-titled latest adds more hooks to the moody melange. --CP

Eric Andersen
Friends Meeting building
Saturday, Oct. 23

Do you remember the famous folk troubadours of Greenwich Village circa 1964, brimming with the tart vinegar of youth, toting well-worn wooden 6-strings and notebooks filled with pretty poetry and point-y opinion? Dylan was around--and so were Tim Hardin, Phil Ochs and scores of others singing original songs just achin' to be heard. Eric Andersen, a handsome prince framed by a swirl of hair and suede ankle-boots, was my favorite, the author of "Violets of Dawn," an eternal bouquet lovely beyond description. Like those purple flowers, Anderson survives--and is currently on the road in support of The Street Was Always There, a Village souvenir that recalls the good old days with tunes written by his colleagues. He'll be accompanied by Patrick Sky, another Bleecker Street alum, at the Triangle Folk Music Society Friends Meeting House in Durham at 8 p.m. Call 286-7963 for ducats or visit trianglefolk.org. --JV

Death Cab For Cutie
Cat's Cradle
Sunday, Oct. 24 (with Portastatic)
and
Monday, Oct. 25 (with Pretty Girls Make Graves)

Death Cab for Cutie may have seemed a little aloof and more than a little awkward opening for Pearl Jam in front of a capacity arena audience two weeks ago in Asheville, but the band is at home in low-light rock dens like the Cradle. These already sold out shows mark the Seattle quartet's third and fourth visits to Carrboro in less than a year. --GC

Steve Poltz, Mark Ambrose
The Pour House
Sunday, Oct. 24

Former plumbing supply salesman Steve Poltz left his job one day to sing in the streets of Europe, busking his way from Morocco to Barcelona. Returning to the States, he bummed around the country for a decade with his band The Rugburns until meeting Jewel and co-writing her big hit, "You Were Meant for Me." He toured with her, first as her acoustic guitarist and then supporting act until his songwriting ability and singing voice got him a record deal. Austin folk/blues rocker Mark Ambrose opens. --GB

Pinback, Mates of State, Aspects of Physics
Cat's Cradle
Tuesday, Oct. 26

Standing in New York one day before taking the stage behind his new record (the beautiful, complex Summer in Abandon) for his new home of Touch N' Go ("Best record label in the world," he proclaims), Rob Crow seems optimistic about the direction he and Zach Smith have taken with Pinback, their San Diego-based, electronics-laced, harmony-infused indie pop band. "Now, I've just tried to resign myself to make the songs sound the best they can, and I have to go with it. I know that sometimes that requires using a little flange or whatever," laughs Crow, one-half of the creative tag team responsible for the band, a two-man studio project that shied from tying exorbitant studio wizardry to its first four records. This time, though, they went with it, smearing the vocals, canvassing them across the song's surface and--in the meantime--carving out some of the spaciest, most delightful pop that can exist in the gap standing between late Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse. It's one of the most sublime, studio-savvy efforts of 2004 and certainly the best record to ever use the phrase "safe as a cootie wootie."--GC

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