Bear in mind that Prophet's current A&R man is Lost Highway headmaster Peter Jesperson, who not coincidentally also discovered the Replacements, among others, and you're only partway onto understanding the allure that exists in spades on No Other Love. Like the latter-day Mats' Paul Westerberg, Prophet has a way with deft wordplay, interlacing his tales of sad sack dreamers and lost prophets (no pun intended) with references to Richard Gere and Sissy Spacek. "After the Rain," a duet with Prophet's wife, Stephanie Finch, is a breakup song sublime in its sheer simple beauty; "I Bow Down to Every Woman I See" is a Timbuk 3-esque roll call of troubled girls the narrator has loved before, like Chloe, who "yearned to be a model/Had issues with food/Last I heard of Chloe someone saw her on TV/preaching the power of hypnosis and aromatherapy" before concluding, "Ain't no mother gonna criticize me/I bow down and pray to every woman I see" over a slinky blues shuffle and synth strings. And "Summertime Thing" is a wistful ode to days of yore when summer meant the simple things, like stumbling upon a band playing at a house party next door, or taking off your clothes to swim in a water hole.
The record rarely missteps, but even when it does, as on "What Makes the Monkey Dance" which recalls one of those half-baked ideas that Warren Zevon (with whom Prophet has worked) tacks onto an album to ensure it's a full-length, has its charms: "We got brand new drugs for the same old blues."
Chuck Prophet performs at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 14, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. For further details call 798-1298.
THAT'S SOUL-ASS TO YOU, BRO: I have in my grubby little paws the new EP from Tucson's The Solace Brothers, and I couldn't be happier. What? You haven't heard 'em yet? This is their second EP! Get on the ball, mofo!
The first, self-titled one (2001) was decidedly demo-like, compared to this one, which is called Discover!!! (Water Closet Sounds), and was notable for its fabulously catchy skeletal quirk-pop, as well as a simply gorgeous, heartfelt take on Bryan Adams' "Cuts Like a Knife" (yes, I'm serious).
With the five-song Discover!!!, the bass-less trio--Ezra Daniels, aka Daniel Naiman (keys/vocals), Ignatious St. John, aka John Polle (guitar/vocals), and Walter Cummings, aka Justin Donaldson (drums)--hits upon a sound so dense that you'd swear there were twice as many people playing it. That is no more apparent than on the opening song, "Reaction," which appeared on the debut in a far more lo-fi incarnation. Here, it becomes a full-fledged rock arrangement, with multi-layered, intentionally fragmented vocals, keyboard in full-on drone mode and the cleanest dirty guitar you've ever heard. Best of all, there are three complete vocal hooks--one per minute, not a bad average.
Elsewhere, "Fly" is a nifty little rocker with an all-too-brief nod to E.L.O. on the background vocals (and a Lynne-esque string arrangement, to boot); "Set the Sun on Fire" utilizes an Auto-Tune on the vocals for a more-Ween-like, less-Cher-like effect; and "Feel the Love," a relative epic at 5:20, begins as a stark, lovely ballad, before launching into a blissful guitar 'n' gospel wash.
Discover The Solace Brothers when they perform, along with headliners The Therapists and openers Amor, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. Cover is $4. For more info call 622-3535.
DOIN' IT WELL: Remember last year, when it was illegal in Arizona to engage in anal sex and mouth sex? And stuffed-animal sex? And live animal sex? (OK, so that last one still might not be kosher on the law books.) Well, we really don't either (you mean we've been breaking the law this whole time?), but Plush certainly does.
A year ago, the club celebrated the removal of archaic state bedroom-behavior laws by throwing a big ol' shindig that featured local bands performing, in the esteemed tradition of Big Black's Songs About Fucking and every Barry White song ever recorded, songs about, um, y'know, doin' it. And apparently, you, the proud sodomizers of the world, responded heartily enough that they've decided to celebrate the anniversary of the event with the 2nd Annual Sex Night this week. Ozlo and the Sexhounds will play host to a tantalizing roster of performers that includes Chick Cashman, Spacefish, Al Foul, Alana Sweetwater, The Four Horns of the Apocalypse and Tucson Puppetworks. Oh, and they'll be giving away free condoms and antenna balls (insert your own joke here). All this for the low, low price of three G.W.s.
The 2nd Annual Sex Night commences at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 8, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Call 798-1298 with questions.
LAST NOTES: If Alana Davis had first been foisted upon the world last year, when her second album, Fortune Cookies (Elektra), was released, she might have found herself up for a pile of Grammys, just as fellow neo-soul divas Alicia Keys and India.Arie were. As it is, however, Davis was a bit early to arrive at the party, releasing her more folky/bluesy debut, Blame It on Me (Elektra), in 1997, a few years before the keg was officially tapped. Cookies sounds thoroughly more modern than its predecessor, more in line with what modern radio has deemed playable. But if that Neptunes track on the new album had appeared on the first one, well, Davis might have a few shiny trophies on her bookshelf, instead of Alicia.
Alana Davis performs on Friday, August 9, at The Backstage, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. The show is a Backstage customer appreciation concert, which means that tickets are free, on a first come, first served basis. For details call 733-6262.
Aside from occasional angelic vocals, you'd never know Kittie was comprised of three young women from London, Ontario if you hadn't seen a photo of them. But apparently, they lace the water in London with testosterone; how else to explain Kittie's brand of death metal, quite possibly the most brutal sonic assault ever launched by anyone without a Y chromosome.
The Run Like Hell Tour features Kittie, Poison the Well, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and Hotwire, all of whom will perform at 8 p.m. at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Sunday, August 11. Advance tickets are available for $18 at all Zia locations. For more information call 798-3333.