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Soundbites

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ANALYZE THIS: Several months back I ran into Drew Burk, co-honcho of the local literary journal Spork, at Casa Video. It was around the time of the live premiere of the first two Spork radio plays, and we stood talking for quite some time, about a lot of stuff: the newly burgeoning local music scene, his attempts to bridge the gaps of the musical and literary communities (the Spork plays included local musicians in their casts, and "intermission" was actually a set by local bounce-poppers Shoebomb), and such. But the one idea that really sticks out from our conversation was that we both agreed it would be really cool and interesting to see more collaboration amongst local, somewhat disparate, musicians.

Since we spoke there have been a few stones tossed in that direction: The homegrown rock opera Twitch brought together local musicians, writers, actors, dancers, and others for its eight-show run; and local musical events like the Club Crawls, the Great Cover-Up, and the upcoming Stunning Tonto Records showcase have pooled the talents of dozens of bands for singular events. But none of these really cracked the nut that Burk and I were roasting in that aforementioned conversation: True musical collaboration among local bands. Finally, someone seems to have been reading our minds, as not one, but two shows this week do exactly that.

First up, on Friday, is the Sound Kontinüum Therapy Grüppe. Organized by the members of the modern neo-glam-meets-power-pop band The Therapists, the event will be a rare non-stop night of music by four stylistically opposed acts: The Therapists themselves, the bastardized delta blues of Bob Log III, Red Switch's swagger-rock-with-synths, and the experimental French avant-pop of Amor. Why "non-stop," you ask? Because each act will join the previous one onstage, so that the segues, none of which are being rehearsed, are seamless, at least in theory. "We like to refer to it as 'automorphosis'," says Therapists guitarist Clif Taylor, who will begin the show by himself. "In automorphosis, something is put into motion and you can't stop what happens to it. It mutates; it can't really help but take a different form or shape." Taylor (aka Chick Cashman) says the idea stemmed from attempting to tie his band's name to some sort of unique event, evoking the term "group therapy."

"We'll see how people get in and out of these little train wrecks; it's just kind of a fun exercise," he says. "In a real therapy kind of terminology, you really can learn a lot from something like that."

The Sound Kontinüum Therapy Grüppe kommences at 9 p.m. on Friday, December 6, at Klub Kongress, 311 E. Kongress St. Admission is $4. For more info call 622-8848.

A couple years back, at the Third Annual Great Cover-Up, N'awlins-style brass band Crawdaddy-O performed a set of songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus 'n' hippies rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. The band corralled a pack of their friends to help flesh out the sound, and it was easily one of that year's Cover-Up highlights.

Taking a cue from that performance, members of several local bands will collaborate to recreate the entire JCS soundtrack on Wednesday, as opposed to a mere twenty minutes of it. Participants include Ozlo and members of Truck, The Beating, and Sunday Afternoon. Hopefully this performance will be rehearsed.

Let your freak flag fly at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Cover charge will run somewhere in the $3 to $5 range. For further details call 798-1298.


THE BUCKNER STOPS HERE: Everyone's favorite downtrodden-guy-with-a-big-voice, singer/songwriter Richard Buckner, returns to town this week. Touring in support of Impasse (Overcoat), his first album of original material in four years (his last release, 2000's The Hill, was a collaboration with Calexico, in which Buckner set the poems of Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology to music), Buckner, in the on-target words of the Village Voice, "sings like heartbreak feels."

While his first recordings were hauntingly spare, Impasse continues in the direction forged on his last couple records, incorporating ambitious arrangements that utilize strings, synths, and vibes. And lest you start thinking that the musical dynamics signify a newly chipper Buckner, know that Impasse is essentially the story of his marriage falling apart. His trademarked bleakness is a bit tougher to nail down through the din, but listen closely: once again Buckner has stripped himself naked and shaking for all the world to see.

Richard Buckner performs on Wednesday, December 11, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The show begins at 9 p.m. with an opening set from Howe Gelb. Admission is $8. Call 622-8848 with questions.


ON THE BANDWAGON: Here's a brief rundown of some other noteworthy shows in town this week:

Ska-punks Rx Bandits might be headlining the bill, but it's the openers we're most excited about. Piebald have been unfortunately and unfairly tagged as emo, but in reality they've progressed over the years from an interesting neo-hardcore band to a dynamic outfit that will please fans of the likes of Weezer. Meanwhile, Koufax, hailed by many as the Next Big Thing, sound a bit like Kill the Moonlight, the latest piano-heavy Spoon album, albeit slightly more instantly catchy, and with synths swirling about in the mix.

All three will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $12 through Ticketmaster, or at CD City, Zia Records, and the Rialto box office. For extra info call 798-3333.

Fans of spacey drone-pop would do well to check out The Voltasound's performance this week. The band has been compared to the likes of the Radar Brothers, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and perhaps most accurately, Spiritualized, whose Jason Pierce called the band "fookin' brilliant." They'll open for Cleveland trio Ether Net, whose latest offering, the amped-up More Strange Bruises (Requisite), is a whole lot less wussy-ish than their previous releases. Still, singer Rob Cherry's dramatically breathy vocals, which recall those of The The's Matt Johnson's, will likely be annoying to some.

Ether Net and The Voltasound will perform at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, December 9, in the lounge at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Call 798-1298 for more information.

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