COCONUTS R.I.P.In case you haven't yet heard, Coconuts, which had in the last year or so upped its schedule of live shows, has been shuttered.
According to one well-placed source who asked to remain anonymous, here's the deal: The building that housed the club, as well as the parking areas surrounding it, was owned by a single private owner ever since a Goodyear garage occupied the space back in the '40s. The owners of Coconuts had a lease on the building that was set to expire in April 2007, but the city was interested in buying the property before then. So, the city struck a deal with the club's owners that required the city to find Coconuts a new home, and pay for moving expenses, by April 2006, so they could take it over. But, last week, inspectors condemned the building, a move that negated the city's responsibilities in the agreement and left the club's owners out in the cold. (Our source, who believes the club won't reopen, also noted that the building had been declared safe not long ago by the fire marshal.)
In the meantime, all shows previously scheduled to appear at the Stone Avenue venue will now be headed over to the Rialto Theatre, including The Bled's upcoming CD release party on Aug. 23, Twizted on Sept. 18, Unearth with The Dillinger Escape Plan and others on Sept. 28, and the Nintendo Fusion Tour headlined by Fall Out Boy on Oct. 29. For a complete rundown, check out the Rialto's Web site at rialtotheatre.com.
PERFECT PITCHNamed after perhaps the best baseball-playing Jew to ever step on the diamond, Midwest quintet Koufax arrives in town this week on a bill with Limbeck, who can't seem to stay away from Tucson. Both released new albums on Doghouse Records on Aug. 9. Unfortunately, our copy of Limbeck's Let Me Come Home didn't arrive in our mailbox in time to discuss it here, but it's a fairly safe bet that it comprises another batch of winningly countryish indie pop songs.
Meanwhile, we're a bit perplexed about Koufax's Hard Times Are in Fashion (2005, Doghouse)--or more accurately, the press kit that accompanied it. Admittedly, Hard Times is the first Koufax release we've had the pleasure of hearing, but unless they sounded remarkably different on previous releases, we don't understand, say, CMJ New Music Monthly comparing them to Hall and Oates, or Elvis Costello's collaborations with Burt Bacharach, or the highly respected music authorities at MaximOnline.com recommending them to "fans of the clever sounds of Joe Jackson, the not-so-clever sounds of Supertramp, the expansive pop vision of E.L.O., the tight pop vision of Squeeze" (calling Supertramp "not-so-clever" pretty much makes us dismiss this opinion out of hand, but we won't get into that here). Elsewhere, the Beach Boys and Van Dyke Parks are mentioned, somewhat inexplicably.
Well, on Hard Times, I hear maybe a bit of the melodic sense of Squeeze or Jackson, but I don't hear much in the way of anyone else mentioned above. What I do hear is a fine songwriter both lyrically and melodically, Robert Suchan, musing on topics such as pretending you're Canadian because you're embarrassed to be American these days ("Colour Us Canadian"), as well as the old standbys of liquor ("Get Us Sober") and aspiring actresses who end up waiting tables ("Isabelle"), combined with a piano-heavy bed of indie-rock-informed pop goodness. Suchan is a crooner of the variety that the Strokes' Julian Casablancas brought back into fashion (and, like Casablancas, he often sings in a faux British accent), but the sound as a whole reminds us of no one so much as Philadelphia's criminally overlooked The Trouble With Sweeney. This is pop music for those who don't like their pop mindless. (And just in case it piques additional interest, it should be noted that Koufax's rhythm section of Rob and Ryan Pope also do time in Kansas City emo heroes The Get Up Kids.)
Limbeck, Koufax, The Crowd (ex-Our Cure the Rocketship) and Japanesion Barbie perform at an all-ages show on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Things should kick off around 8 p.m., and cover is $8. For more information, call 622-8848.
And, speaking of The Get Up Kids, in an odd coincidence, that band's Jim Suptic brings his own new project to town this week. Blackpool Lights also include members of The Belles, Ultimate Fakebook, The Start and The Creature Comforts. Formed just less than a year ago, the band has recently been working on their full-length debut. Catch a sneak preview tonight, Thursday, Aug. 11 at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. Rorschach open at around 9 p.m., and admission is a five-spot. Questions? Ring 'em up at 622-3535. (Those with a high-speed Internet connection looking for a sneak preview of the sneak preview can head to myspace.com/blackpoollights, where you'll find demos of four songs. Like any self-respecting Luddite, Soundbites is still rockin' the dial-up.)
WALKING AT AVANot even a week after his Rialto Theatre performance with Suzanne Vega (see this week's live review), Mark Cohn was shot in the head in an apparent carjacking attempt, following a show in Denver. Amazingly, he's fine but has cancelled his remaining tour dates. Mega-platinum country band Lonestar's blandly awful version of Cohn's song "Walking in Memphis" has been used in local TV commercials to promote their appearance tonight, Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater at Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road. The show kicks off at 7:30 p.m., and tickets range from $25 to $48. Call 838-6700 for further details.
COLLEGE CROONERSFresh off an appearance at this year's Bonnaroo Music Festival and a series of dates opening for the Dave Matthews Band earlier this summer, Blue Merle is the latest entry in bands designed to be target-marketed to hackey sack-playing college kids. For all you mathematics majors, here's the formula: DMB + Coldplay = Blue Merle. They'll be in town promoting their debut album, Burning in the Sun (2005, Island Def Jam), on Saturday, Aug. 13 at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. Opening the all-ages show at 6 p.m. are Kyle Riabko, a Canadian teenager who mines a less-funky version of Justin Timberlake's sensual white-boy soul, and Mat Kearney. Pick up tickets in advance for $10 at the venue, all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com, or by calling 321-1000. They'll be $12 on the day of show. For more info, call 733-6262.
DON'T MISS THE MIDDLEThose attending the Brian Jonestown Massacre show at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Tuesday, Aug. 16 (see page 50) would be well advised to arrive early enough to catch L.A.'s The Quarter After, currently on tour to support their self-titled album released earlier this year on Velvet Crush frontman Ric Menck's Bird Song label. The band's brand of psychedelic rock has its roots in '60s bands like The Byrds and The Monkees, and they wouldn't have sounded out of place alongside releases from The Three O' Clock and Rain Parade in the Paisley Underground of the '80s, and finds common ground with fellow contemporary '60s revivalists the Beachwood Sparks, the Warlocks and the BJM (albeit with less drone). They'll hit the stage at 10:15 following a set from Innaway at 9:15 p.m. Cover is $8, and the number to call with questions is 798-1298.
DOUBLE MOOAlso appearing at Plush earlier this week--Saturday, Aug. 13, to be exact--is a double bill of touring bands that specialize in balls-out roots-rock.
While we were less than enthused about Two Cow Garage's gravel-and-whiskey-voiced set the last time they hit town, Soundbites seemed to be in the minority, as the newly converted snatched up copies of their CD in between breathless raves. We're more than happy to give 'em another chance, especially considering our love for openers Grand Champeen's combo platter of all things great about '80s and '90s Midwestern twang-rock. Think The Replacements, Soul Asylum and Uncle Tupelo, plus a penchant for Cheap Trick; wipe the drool away, then go see 'em do what they do best (I can tell you from personal experience that it's not playing Texas Hold 'Em). Also on the bill are locals Creosote, whose recently released remastered version of their album Blacksmoke is awfully darn good.
Things get underway at 9:30 p.m., and Plush is located at 340 E. Sixth St. And it's pretty tough to beat three fine bands at the low, low price of $4, innit? 798-1298 is the magic number.
IS TO PERFORM TWICETwo local bands that haven't been playing out live so much as of late each headline their own show this week--on the very same night, Friday, Aug. 12.
Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., features the bad little monkeys that go by the name of Chango Malo, who will be supported by a newly revamped Ride the Tiger, Is to Feel and The Provocative Whites. 9 p.m. is the time to arrive, and $4 is the amount to pay at the door. Call 622-8848 for more details.
Over at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., you can check out an increasingly rare performance from inventive synth-poppers-and-more Let's English, plus opening sets from the Ten Percenters (who seem to get better with each show) and, um, The Provacative Whites? Someone please tell The Provocative Whites they're double-booked, woncha? This one kicks off at 8:45 p.m. and costs 3 ducats. That number again is 798-1298.