MARK YOUR PUNK-ASS CALENDARSFeaturing ex-members of The Reds and a current member of The Riverboat Gamblers, The Marked Men make a fine argument that there's something in the water of Denton, Texas, that spawns great bands. On their second full-length, On the Outside (Dirtnap), the quartet merges blistering, speedy power-pop hooks with '77-era punk, evoking an amped-up version of bands like the Buzzcocks, the Ramones, The Beat (U.S.) and Stiff Little Fingers in the process. For those to whom any of this sounds remotely appealing, I wish I could sit each and every one of you down and play you this album, which is easily the best slab of punk rock I've heard since, well, probably The Knockout Pills' debut from last year.
And, speaking of the K.O. Pills, in a stroke of booking genius, they'll be joining The Marked Men on this bill, which also includes Parkway Wretch. It all goes down on Sunday, July 11, at the Surly Wench, 424 N. Fourth Ave., in the former Guido's location.
MOZZER IMPOZZSTERSeattle's Coulter--a guy, not a band--couldn't be any more blatant in his worship of The Smiths on 2003's The End of Everything (Reflekt). First, there's the fact that he calls himself by a moniker (when was the last time you heard anyone refer to Morrissey as "Stephen Morrissey"?), and the James Dean shirt--another favorite icon of Morrissey's--he's wearing on the CD booklet. Then, there's the sneaky pop songs anchored by Johnny Marr-inspired guitar that belie the woe-is-me tenor of his Morrissey-ish lyrics and vocal croon. And in places, the similarities even become, well, a bit too similar.
To wit, compare Coulter's lyrics on album opener "12 Steps in Reverse" to those of Morrissey's in "Rusholme Ruffians." Where Morrissey contemplates his lonely walk home from the local fair with, "I might walk home alone / but my faith in love is still devout," Coulter describes his walk home from the bar as, "I want to stagger home / not alone, never alone." You can see the problem, right? (Not to mention the fact that, for someone trying so hard to emulate the well-read Morrissey, he should know better than to use "you're" in the lyric sheet when he means "your.")
Still, with all that against it, the bulk of songwriting and arrangements on The End of Everything are well-executed enough that I can't bring myself to completely write it off, no matter how much I'd like to. Here's hoping that before he records his next album, he drops his unforgivable Smiths worship and expands his record collection. If he does, he just might come up with something actually substantial.
Coulter performs in the middle slot of a 9:45 p.m. show Wednesday, July 14, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., that also includes openers Girls in a Coma (What is up with these people?) and headliners The Deludes, who, thankfully, have no interest in sucking Morrissey's dick. Cover is $3. For further details, call 798-1298.
SOUNDS LIKE PHILANTHROPYClub Congress hosts a pair of benefit shows this week, both of which feature a fine roster of performers.
First up, at 9 p.m. Friday, July 9, is the Ultra Vixen Super Show, which will raise funds to help the hell-on-wheels ladies of Tucson Roller Derby. To go along with the theme, four female-centric, kick-ass rock bands will take the stage in solidarity: Whiskey Bitch, Blare Bitch Project, which includes former Betty Blowtorch guitarist Blare N. Bitch, Winelord and Solid Donkey. Admission is $5. Bitchin'!
Then, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 14, three local rootsy acts band together to aid a cause that's a bit more complicated, for the Show to Benefit Arizona Professional Counselors for Fair Licensure. In case you didn't read Joseph Bavier's cover story in The Weekly's May 6 edition, here's the gist: A law recently passed in the state requires all professional counselors, marriage and family counselors, social workers and substance abuse counselors to be licensed to practice by the State Board of Behavioral Health Examiners, forcing them for the first time to meet educational and training requirements. Critics of the law, including the organization benefiting from Wednesday's show, contend that the requirements are far too strict and the grandfather clause far too narrow, forcing thousands of mental health professionals to suddenly be unable to practice and leaving many of their clients--who have developed longtime relationships with their counselors--out in the cold. Lest we get too involved in the gray areas of the situation (this is, after all, a music column), we'll just mention that Greyhound Soul, Topless Opry and Jason Steed and Friends will all be performing, and more information on the cause will be available at the show. Admission to this one is $5, too.
Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. Call 622-8848 for more information.
HIP-SHAKING FUNWhile I was expecting the worst after seeing the contrived glam-sleaze photo of The Foxx on their one-sheet, I was pleasantly surprised by the contents of their self-titled debut CD. The Albuquerque band, which features Juliet Swango (formerly of The Rondelles), brings to mind a slew of bands including, but not limited to, T. Rex, The Sweet and mid-period Stones, albeit with a healthy dose of late-'60s/early-'70s bubblegum pop tossed in to sweeten the deal. While it surely won't change the world--or even your life--the album is chock full of hip-shaking fun, and there's certainly something to be said for that.
The Foxx perform along with The Okmoniks, who have just released a new 7-inch EP (more on that next week), and The Black Jetts Wednesday, July 14, at the Surly Wench, 424 N. Fourth Ave.
HE'S A WINNERTucsonan Vince Redhouse is on a (near-) winning streak. The multi-instrumentalist was nominated for a Grammy as half of the duo Redheart (along with Abraham Marcor) for their seasonal recording Sacred Season; and in the very same year, his first solo album, Faith in the House, received the same honor. Redhouse has just released his second solo effort, Go Unto Every Nation, on Albuquerque-based Red Sea Records. Redhouse, who plays flute, pow-wow and hand drum, saxophone and guitar, was joined on the album by guitarist and keyboardist Marcor, bassist Mike Levy, his brother Lenny Redhouse on drums, his sister Charlotte Tividad on vocals and his late father, Rex Redhouse, who contributes Navajo dialogue to one track on this album of mostly instrumental, spiritual songs. Here's hoping he wins the Grammy this time around.
See Vince Redhouse perform songs from Go Unto Every Nation at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 10, at Borders at Park Place, 5870 E. Broadway Blvd. Admission is free. For further details, call 584-0111.