It’s the dream of every shoe-gazing bedroom rock star with a four track: to put out a little heartfelt demo tape—in this case Ben Gibbard releasing his self-recorded-and-produced cassette You Can Play These Songs with Chords—and having it snowball into a record deal, a full band, tours, success, a bigger record deal (with Atlantic Records, hubba hubba) and so on.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
- CUTIES? : Death Cab for Cutie (pictured) hits Cal Poly’s Rec Center on Oct. 27, touring in support of Narrow Stairs, their edgiest record to date. Matt Costa and band will open the show.
This Monday, Oct. 27, the juggernaut quartet Death Cab for Cutie, which formed 11 years ago at Western Washington University, plays Cal Poly’s Rec Center for an 8 p.m. show opened by skate rat turned singer-songwriter Matt Costa and his band. Tickets cost $30 for the general public and $25 for students. Buy them at the Mustang Ticket Office or any Vallitix outlets, including Boo Boo Records and the Mid State Fairgrounds Box Office, or by phone at 888-825-5484.
Since moving to Atlantic, Death Cab has exploded. Their 2006 album Plans went platinum and was nominated for a Grammy Award. Both Gibbard and co-member Chris Walla did solo work, the first doing a solo tour, the latter recording a solo album. Now touring together again for their sixth studio album, Narrow Stairs, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Walla characterizes it as “having teeth,” meaning the band has taken on a newfound edge.
The band recorded Narrow Stairs entirely on two-inch tape (thus limiting the amount of overdubs), resulting is an album that captures the band’s live sound—a process that was scary for the band at times.
“There’s stuff on this album that makes each of us uncomfortable performance-wise,” explained Walla in press materials, adding that the happy accidents—such as tripping over a cable and unplugging Harmer’s bass on “I Will Possess Your Heart”—turned out to be some of his favorite moments on the disc.
“We spend an overwhelming amount of time as a band playing live together, so it doesn’t really make sense not to approach our recording the same way,” Gibbard added. The live feel of the recording not only affected the way the songs were put to tape but also the way they were arranged, making for the band’s most aggressive record to date.
Cal Poly, get ready to rock!
DTB keeps pouring out the hits
- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE LORDZ
- COMEBACK KIDS : Right on the cusp of success, tragedy hits The Lordz (pictured), but now they’re back and opening for Everlast on Oct. 24 at Downtown Brew.
Wasn’t Devil Makes Three awesome last week? I ask this knowing that you were there, because it was so freakin’ packed I honestly believe the entire county population was jammed into Downtown Brew. It was so crowded that I think I accidentally switched shirts with someone while dancing. If you’re missing a pink “Hello, Kitty!” shirt, I want my black “Viva Las Vegas” shirt back. You know who you are.
This week DTB is doing more of the same: delivering one must-see show after another. Is it any wondering I’m getting a cold? I need sleep, for God’s sake.
We can commence the festivities on Thursday, Oct. 23, when Carney plays an 18-and-older, 8 p.m., $5 show. They mix rock, blues, and French rock, not that anyone will care. The gals in the audience will be there to moon over the tres handsome frontman Zane Carney, and the guys will be there to gaze at the girls. If you saw Fergie this summer at the Mid State Fair, Carney was the band that opened.
Personally, I’m more excited about Everlast and The Lordz, who play Friday, Oct. 23 at a 7:30 p.m., 18-and-older show ($18 presale at Boo Boo’s or the venue). Everlast, nee Erik Schrody, first hit the scene as a member of House of Pain, whose 1992 hit “Jump Around” made them household names. I became a real fan when he put out 1998’s Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, a mash-up of hip-hop and acoustic folk. “What It’s Like” and “Ends” were the two hits off the record, but the whole thing is awesome and a decade later holds up as a serious piece of art.
Opening act The Lordz is a white rap/rock band that got an unlikely start in Brooklyn with the help of Public Enemy. But on the brink of success and the release of the first album in 1995, they faced a tragedy that to this day is still unsolved: a hit-and-run accident that took the life of their mother and four-year-old sister. After suspending their careers to raise their younger siblings, the two brothers are emerging from the ashes with a new album, The Brooklyn Way.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF SENSES FAIL
- YOUNG WISEMEN : Senses Fail play Oct. 29 at Downtown Brew, bringing their mix of punk, metal, hardcore, poetry, emotion, literature, religion, eastern philosophy, and spirituality. Ommmmm.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, SLO success story Sherwood returns to their old stomping grounds to remind local fans that even though they’re bigger than The Beatles, they’ll still come home to play. The 6 p.m. all-ages show costs $14 in advance, and includes opening acts Pink Spiders, Barcelona, and Reign of Kindo. Sweet!
Devin the Dude, a Texas rapper, plays on Monday, Oct. 27 with special guests Coughee Brothaz. Devin’s a so-called guilty pleasure of hip-hop since he and his Odd Squad hit the scene in the early Šs and began creating a homegrown blend of the lighter side of reality. This $17, 16-and-older show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Finally, Senses Fail is booked for Wednesday, Oct. 29 during a 7 p.m., $16, all-ages show that also features openers Dance Gavin Dance, Sky Eats Airplane, and Foxy Shazam. Senses Fail are influenced by punk, metal, and hardcore mixed with poetry, emotion, literature, religion, eastern philosophy, and spirituality. Ommmmm.
You can hear music samples, see video, and read more about all these acts on
DTB’s awesome new interactive website: www.dtbrew.com.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF DOUGHS KNEES
- ALMOST DEAD : Grateful Dead tribute act Doughs Knees plays two shows this week: Oct. 24 at Monteleone’s Rock, and Oct.25 at Sweet Springs Saloon.
Santa Cruz-based Grateful Dead tribute act Dough Knees are partly filled with members who, frankly, are too young to have seen the Dead live, but that doesn’t stop them from paying homage to an act whose music they claim will “live on as a canon of work that will be performed and reinterpreted for generations, something akin to the great European classical composers.”
I’ll have what they’re smoking!
“Jerry died when I was 15, but for me, the songs exist in their own universe with or without the original musicians. We’re basically breathing life into what I believe are timeless works,” said Dough Knees bassist Roger Sideman, 28.
The Dough Knees repertoire spans the entire arc of the Grateful Dead’s career, from the psychedelic “experimental” period in the late 60s the rootsy Americana of the early 70s the jazz-rock of the mid- Šs the hard-edged coke-fueled “disco dead” of the late 70s and 80s as well as the stadium-friendly anthems of the 90s.
Check them out on Friday, Oct. 24 at Monteleone’s Rock in Paso Robles, and Saturday, Oct.25 at Sweet Springs Saloon in Los Osos.
Get ready to jump
Smokin’ hot traditional jump blues act The Insomniacs play this Saturday, Oct. 25 for the 8 p.m. SLO Blues Society concert at the SLO Veterans Hall. This young quartet of hep cats is based out of Portland and recently was nominated for the Best New Artist award at the Blues Music Awards in their hometown.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE INSOMNIACS
- THEY’LL KEEP YOU UP : Traditional jump blues outfit The Insomniacs may be playing vintage-sounding music on vintage instruments, but they’re punks at heart. Hear them Oct. 25 at the SLO Vets Hall.
They owe their authentic sound in part to the vintage instruments they play, including a gut-string upright, a 1951 Fender “Nocaster” guitar, a 1964 Framus Star Bass, and Magnatone and Ampeg tube amps. You can almost hear that warm sound right now, eh?
Local favs Sleepy Guitar Johnson, featuring Denis Degher, will open the show. They’re riding high on the release of their new CD Mojo Sessions, best described as old-school, authentic, down-and-dirty blues. Pull the CD out of its case and it looks like a vinyl record. Stick it in your CD player, and it begins with the familiar analog scratches of real vinyl. The music itself begins as the sort of guitar-driven chugging electric blues that’ll have you tapping your toes and then shaking your behind.
But something unexpected happens on “side two” of the album. Johnson and company slide away from standard blues tradition and explore smoky dirge blues, Springsteen-esque American rock, jangling boogie, and troubadour folk. These unexpected curve balls help elevate Mojo Sessions from a standard-issue blues record into an uneven but enduring piece of near art.
Tickets cost $17 for Blues Society members and $20 for the general public.
The SLO County Jazz Federation presents the And Annual Your Jazz Show Concert” on Friday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Coalesce Bookstore. Local saxophone great Dave Becker is producing the fundraiser to help support the continuation of the popular “Your Jazz Show” on Charter’s channel 2. Performers include Inga Swearingen, Dylan Johnson, Jeff Miley, and Darrell Voss—some of SLO County’s finest musicians. Last year’s show was a sellout, so get your $25 tickets now by calling 772-2880.
Sean Wiggins and Lone Goat play at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24 at Vina Robles as the last installment of the summer concert series. They’re a blues-country-rock with powerful female vocals in front of a rockin’ band, currently touring in support of their fifth CD. Bring a picnic, but no outside alcohol.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF RUDOLF BUDGINAS
- MAGIC FINGERS! : “Rudolf: No Limits” comes to the Clark Center on Oct. 25 when SLO piano virtuoso Rudolf Budginas takes the talented SLO Youth Symphony on a fast-paced journey from Bach to Brazil.
The Central Coast Guitar Society is bringing classical guitarist James Edwards back to the Central Coast for a concert of solos, and duets with local violinist, Ron Kiel, on Friday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in St. Timothy’s Church in Morro Bay. Donations accepted at the door for info, call 995-2596. Prepare to be amazed by Edwards’ technique.
Art lovers can get substances for the eyes and ears this Friday, Oct. 24 at Green Acres Lavender Farm during Open Studios weekend. Not only will art be on display, but at 7 p.m., Cafe Musique will perform an evening of acoustic Gypsy and Eastern European traditional folk. The concert costs $20. Call 466-0837 for reservations, and bring a picnic and arrive at 6 p.m. If you miss them Friday, see them Saturday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. in SLO’s United Methodist Church for a fundraiser for Central Coast Clergy and Laity for Justice ($20, $10, and $5 tickets available at the door or by calling 704-3356).
Christian-R&B-country performer Sonya Diane Jones has a full slate of shows this weekend: Friday, Oct. 24 at 4 p.m. at The Manse on Marsh Senior Living in SLO Saturday, Oct. 25 at 5:30 p.m. at Creston Village Assisted Living in Paso Robles and Sunday, Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. at The Village at The Palms in SLO. Check out some music and chill with some folks who’ve lived through the first Great Depression.
“Free Fall,” a Surfrider art benefit show at the Cayucos Veterans Hall this Saturday, Oct. 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., will feature live music by Briana Brewer, Honeyglide, InStar, Klockwyze, Mrs. Brown, Shane Stoneman, Tropo, and The Dentures, not to mention a huge collection of awesome art for sale. Check it out, amigos.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF LARRY KOONSE
- JAZZED : Guitarist Larry Koonse (pictured) and bassist Tom Warrington are the next attraction at the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet in Cambria on Oct. 26
“Rudolf: No Limits” comes to the Clark Center on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. when SLO piano virtuoso Rudolf Budginas explores the boundaries of music where the classics meet cool as Budginas takes high caliber guest artists and the talented SLO Youth Symphony on a fast-paced journey from Bach to Brazil.& Call 489-9444 for tickets.
The Cal Poly Choirs perform their annual debut concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, in Harman Hall at the Performing Arts Center’s Cohan Center. Titled “American Idols,” the program includes music by such outstanding American composers as William Billings, Aaron Copland, Randall Thompson, and Charles Ives. Selections from American folk songs, Southern harmony, and African American spiritual traditions will also be featured, as well as the words of such famous poets as Edgar Allan Poe. Tickets cost $13 and $15 general, $12 and $14 for seniors and $8 for students, available at the PAC Ticket Office or by calling 756-2787.
The Central Coast s rock’n’roll cover band Unfinished Business is going to deliver a night of scary-good vintage rock when they play Saturday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. for a s Spooky Monster Mash Halloween Bash at St. Patrick’s School Event Center in Arroyo Grande. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and morning DJ The Big Kahuna from Q104.5 will emcee the evening. Local cartoonist Leigh Rubin, creator of Rubes, will also be on hand, and there’ll be a costume contest and door prizes, and local nonprofit organizations will provide a no-host bar and 50/50 drawing. Tickets cost $20, available online at unfinished-business.org, or at KK’s Gourmet Bundt Cakes in Arroyo Grande.
The Cal Poly MultiCultural Center presents its 11th annual Culturefest on Sunday, Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mitchell Park. More than 20 campus and community organizations will showcase their rich heritages with booths and displays. This year’s theme is “USS Culturefest: Sea of Diversity,” for a program that features live music, dance, hands-on activities, entertainment, performances, and food.
Guitarist Larry Koonse and bassist Tom Warrington are the next attraction at the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet in Cambria this Sunday, Oct. 26. These two inveterate West Coast jazz stars record for the Jazz Compass label, and have collaborated with scores of jazz greats such as Cleo Laine, Buddy Rich, Bob Brookmeyer, Lee Konitz, and Louie Bellson, to name but a few. Series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake (vibraphone and vocals) will join the fun at 4 p.m. ($15) and 7:15 p.m. ($12 or see both shows for $20). Reservations are recommended: 927-0567
Seattle-based act Half Light will roll though town this week to promote their debut self-released CD Sleep More, Take More Drugs, Do Whatever We Want, a swirling semi-psychedelic rock album fueled by the ethereal vocals of two Daynas: Dayna Loeffler (rhythm guitar, pedal steel) and Dayna Smith (bass). Between the harmonizing and soft-fuzz guitars, Mazzy Starcertainly comes to mind. They play Wednesday, Oct. 29 at Frog and Peach with local band Quality Fridge Buzz (never heard of them!).
Antony & The Johnsons—Another World
Coming off collaborations with Bjork and Leonard Cohen, contributing his version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” to Todd Haynes’ Dylan biopic and stamping his distinct vocals to electro-disco act Hercules and Love Affair, you may wonder what all the hubbub is about. But Antony Hegarty is gifted with a voice that is androgynous, unique, and emotionally wondrous. Prepping for his upcoming 2009 release, Antony & The Johnsons releases this EP, Another World, as a stopgap, and he covers a wide range of sounds. “Another World” is a haunting spiritual, sad yet uplifting, as Antony craves “another world” but line lists all the simplistic beauties he’ll miss here. “Shake That Devil” puts two separate sounds together—the unnerving distortion and sparse piano beginning into a saxophone blaring, bare-bone blues—with addictive success, as Antony shapes his voice with more bristling husk. Ending with the tender ballad “Hope Mountain,” Antony & the Johnsons recedes from the stage, spotlight dimming, giving us the encore first, with the full production a few months away.
M83—Digital Shades Vol. One
M83’s music has previously been a balance between lush cinematic movements, pummeling percussions, and shoegazing walls of sound. That was until Anthony Gonzalez’s fixation with the °‰s colored his last album, 2008’s Saturday = Youth, with Cocteau Twin etherealness and New Order jubilation, erected within songs that held greater structure than the loose sweeping sonics that previously reigned on 2005’s Before Dawn Heals Us. Positioned between those two albums, however, Anthony Gonzalez snuck out a digital only release that explored the ambient landscape missing from this year’s record, a soundtrack that echoes the desolate space terrains of Kubrick’s 2001 as well as the ambient synthesizer of Brian Eno’s Music For Airports. As meandering as the instrumental passages seem, they never lack direction, and forgoing any brash percussion, these melodies will slip you into a dreaminess easier than Xanex.
—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and KCBX’s “Night Train.”
Glen Starkey knows so many clowns that when he dies, all his friends will go to his funeral in one car. Honk his round, red nose at email@example.com.