THREE OF A KIND: If you couldn't tell by the content of the majority of the music section this week, we're collectively excited about this weekend's triumphant triumvirate of folks--not folkies, dammit--playing this Friday at Solar Culture. It is perhaps the most understatedly sublime showcase of young singer-songwriters that could possibly share a stage in December 2000. This is not a show to be missed by anyone with a keen ear for sad-sack indie-boy singer/songwriters.
Though Chicago's Chris Mills is the one picked to headline the show--likely because he's the most rockin' of the trio--the bill could fall into any combination of order of the three and still make sense. That's how solid the lineup is.
Fans of local alt-country mavens Fourkiller Flats--and lord knows there's a hell of a lot of you these days--will find much to celebrate and identify with in Mills' m.o. You get fairly straightforward country-rock arrangements, subtly layered enough to make slight new discoveries upon each listen, as well as the requisite aw-shucks-I'm-down-on-my-luck lyrics that are a bit smarter than most in the genre.
"Brand New Day," the opening track on Mills' most recent release, Kiss It Goodbye (Sugar Free Records), sounds rockingly cathartic in both its title and its Wilco-circa-A.M.-ish rough-hewn riffage until you realize he's merely trying to persuade himself to make a fresh start in life, at least on that particular day, due to--what else?--a lost love: "It's gonna be a brand new day / Put a smile on my face / Cut the corners to my mouth / Hang them from a higher place / I'm gonna be satisfied / Fill myself up with lies / Throw the curtains wide / Wipe you from my eyes."
Elsewhere, songs about suicide ("Crooked Vein"), drunkenness (too many to name here) and dead-end small-town existence ("All You Ever Do") have never sounded so homespun appealing and empathetic.
Catch Chris Mills with Damien Jurado and Songs: Ohia at 9 p.m. (get there early--you'll thank us later) on Friday, December 1, at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. The show is all-ages and you can call 884-0874 for cover charge info.
MOSE BETTER BLUES: Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that his son resides here in town, or maybe the gods were just smiling upon Santiago and Maybelle, but we Tucsonans receive an early holiday gift this week when the legendary Mose Allison sets up shop in the plush confines of Plush's somehow simultaneously spacious and intimate back room.
Allison is easily one of the most distinctive singers and songwriters in jazz music's last half-century.
He's now 72 years old, but Allison's playing, singing, writing and stinging wit are as sharp today as they ever were, as evidenced by his most recent release, last year's Gimcracks and Gewgaws (Blue Note), as well as his local performance of a year ago to support it. The record features a sequel of sorts to the aforementioned "Young Man's Blues"--"Old Man's Blues," natch--as well as one of the most gorgeous songs the guy's ever written, "Numbers on Paper," one of those tunes that somehow sounds instantly recognizable even though you know you've never heard it before.
Do not miss your chance to catch Mose Allison in one of the smallest rooms the dude's likely ever played--Plush, at the southeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street, in the former location of Cafe Sweetwater. He'll be playing two shows, an early one at 8 p.m. and a late gig at 10, both on Saturday, December 2. Tickets for each are $15, and you can purchase advance tickets by calling 798-1298.
LAST NOTES: A way-cool music and video venture is slated to take place this weekend at The Screening Room. Titled Soundscape: One Evening of Sound and Images, the event will feature a series of video montage produced by local artists Gus Kyriakakis, Jake Sutton and Miranda Musiker. The latter is taking a break from her other musical outfit, Wasabi, to collaborate with Mike, the guitarist in Liberty School, on their side project, Sonic Rhumba, for the event. The duo, whose musical improvisations are often inspired and never less than interesting, will be performing a live soundtrack of sorts to accompany the video images. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 1, at The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. For further details call 622-2262.
Just six short months after their last Tucson appearance, Czechoslovakian art-rockers Uz Jsme Doma wash back up on our shores for a return engagement this week. Celebrating its 15th year of existence, the combo specializes in an art-damaged melange of oddball noise that, last time around, I described thusly: "Bearing in mind that the group's musical heroes are San Francisco oddballs The Residents, the band slides easily from horn-laden ska to abrasive art punk to noisy jazz-rock to '80s Cali New Wave à la Oingo Boingo, stopping, starting, lurching around changing time signatures, getting quiet, then exploding in your face like a bad car battery. Imagine what Rocket From The Crypt might have sounded like had the members grown up at the Knitting Factory, soaking up the sounds of John Zorn and his ilk." Couldn't have said it better myself. The band's frenetic live show drops into Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave., at 9 p.m. on Monday, December 4. Locals Adult Party Experience (A.P.E.) open the all-ages show, which will run you six bucks at the door. Call 884-0874 for details.
World-reknowned local Tex-Mex-Celtic combo The Mollys has never played at Nimbus Brewing Company, if you can believe that. That situation will be remedied this Saturday night, December 2, when the band hits the Nimbus stage, 3850 E. 44th St., at 8 p.m. Cover is $7 at the door, and you can have any remaining questions answered by calling 745-9175.
Longtime scenesters will want to arrive early to the Black Sun Legion show this Saturday to catch the opening set by Jupiter Cobra Stigmata, a pseudonymous moniker for a band playing its first gig in 10 years (OK, so it's the Infinite Beauties--I never was very good at keeping a secret). Things kick off at around 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. Call 670-9202 for details.