THE GREAT-IES!While it's always pleasing to see a plethora of activities for the itinerant Tucsonan on a weeknight, one is left wondering what conspiracy the gods of fashion are indulging by condemning our burg to the following slew of '80s-related shite all on the same night:
The BoDeans embodied the jangle pop zeitgeist of the 1980s, operating on the same existential plane as Del Amitri or R.E.M., albeit nowhere near Stipe and Co. in terms of influence. In the '90s, the BoDeans were perhaps best known for their hit (and Party of Five theme song) "Closer to Free." Since then, it's as if the group went into hiding, perhaps fearing the post-TV-theme fate of the Rembrandts. Clap Clap Clap Clap. Touring in support of Resolution (Rounder), their first album in eight years (color Soundbites surprised it hasn't been even longer than that), the BoDeans team up with former porker-of-Sandra Bullock and Austin resident Bob Schneider and his easygoing Adult Album Alternative (that's "Triple A" in rock-speak; see Matthews, Dave). The middlebrow menagerie rolls in to City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road, Wednesday, July 28, for the nice, round amount of $20. Doors open at 7 p.m. for this 21+ show. Details too minute for this column may be found at calproductions.com or by calling 733-6262.
Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Congress (er, Club Congress), fans of aging, keyboard-poking Brits will be pleased to take in Levinhurst, a trio consisting of founding Cure member Lol Tolhurst and vocalist Cindy Levinson (a third, not-pictured-in-the-headshot member, Dayton Borders, engages in "intricate musical crafting"). Tolhurst, who was booted out of and subsequently sued the Cure prior to 1989's Disintegration, professes great admiration for bands like The Rapture and Interpol (curiously, they're both performing with the Cure on this summer's "Curiosa" package tour), but evidence of such hip influences are nowhere to be found on the group's debut, Perfect Life. Soundbites hears a lot of Enigma and Cocteau Twins in the simple, synth-based ethereal pop of Levinhurst, not that there's anything wrong with that. Decide for yourself Wednesday, July 28, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Half a sawbuck (that's $5 for the Gunsmoke-onics impaired) gets you in the door, unless you're Robert Smith, in which case you should lose the lipstick, dude. Musica Obscura and Music Video, two fine young groups that want to make sure you know it's music that they're playing, open the bill. Call 622-8848 and holla for more.
Finally--again on Wednesday, July 28--there's hirsute hitmaker Kenny Loggins, still with a career and everything in this new millennium. Famous for such gems as "I'm Alright" (and all the gopher-dancing it inspired), "Footloose" (and its concomitant honky-dancing) and "Danger Zone," which is perhaps the quintessential '80s action-sequence soundtrack song (if that category didn't exist heretofore, it does now), Loggins has lately been cementing his reputation as a prince of adult contemporary: His newest album, It's About Time, features contributions from countrybot Clint Black and Mullet Pride Movement founder Richard Marx, presumably because Loggins didn't suck enough by himself. Loggins will "rock" TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets range from $35-$50, a small price to pay for the opportunity to throw your panties at such a handsome bastard. Doors are at 6 p.m., and tickets may be purchased via calproductions.com.
ALL YOU BALLERSThe Killers are a brand-new Las Vegas combo, and have a prefab, context-less feel, which is perfect for a band that hails from the Mecca of the Ersatz. Besotted with Britpop, The Killers lay claim to influences like Pulp, Oasis and (ick!) British Sea Power with their 2004 Island Records release, Hot Fuss. Does a crappier triumvirate of forebears exist? Anyway, through some mystery machination of the music business (cough independent radio promotion cough), they've become a Big Deal and as such are headlining the Sixth Annual KFMA Free Ball, alongside Philadelphia's The Burning Brides, exemplars of a new category of heavy that Soundbites dubs "garunge." The co-bill is a mite odd, given that The Burning Brides are about as likely to reference Jarvis Cocker as The Killers are to build a snowperson at home.
Get your Ball on at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road, Monday, July 26, at 7 p.m. Opening duties handled by Evening. The only way to procure tickets for this free, all-ages event is by listening to KFMA's notorious Frank Show (5:30 to 10 a.m. weekdays) and thereupon dialing quickly at the proper Frank-instructed time. The TW is not responsible for any dick joke fatigue incurred by listening. KFMA is located at the 92.1 megahertz frequency modulation on your radio dial.
WATERSHIP DOWNSanta Rosa, Calif.'s The Velvet Teen boast in their biography that listening to their latest, Elysium (Slowdance), will result in an experience that "... render(s) the rest of (one's) musical collection completely and painfully useless. These may be the very last songs you will ever need to hear." Ugh! Soundbites cringes at such self-referential hyperbole. Next they'll claim to be bigger'n Jesus and shit.
Regardless, Elysium is an interestingly fraught record. As we say in the music biz, piano is the new guitar. (Or was it "Pink is the new Black"?) Clearly, this notion is axiomatic for the Velvet Teen, as Elysium places a higher priority on the ivory than a poacher does. Furthermore, the album features no guitar whatsoever. Radical! Produced by the ubiquitous Chris Walla (recent work includes production for nearly every band on the northern West Coast and membership in Death Cab for Cutie), Elysium hints most strongly at Jeff Buckley's Grace, only with less falsetto and more string instruments. When singer Judah Nagler's not busy channeling Buckley, you hear hints of his training at the Thom Yorke Academy of Vocal Histrionics. (Note: No such academy exists.)
The Velvet Teen appear with Polar Bears and The Americas Tuesday, July 27, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., for $6. The punctual should arrive at 9 p.m. More info can be yours by calling 884-0874 or visiting solarculture.org.
FROM THE 'NEXT PATSY CLINE' DEPARTMENTSinger-songwriter Eleni Mandell has inhabited several guises in her brief career--would-be female Tom Waits, the Polly Jean Harvey of Studio City (made that one up of whole cloth), torch-singer-of-choice for the perspicacious hipster, and recently, reinterpreter of Grand Ole Opry. On Afternoon (Zedtone), her newest offering, Mandell seems to have embraced her own identity by not hewing to any particular tradition. In a just world, we'd be hearing earnest, catchy songs like "Say Goodbye" in our quiet moments instead of Li'l Jon's gold-toothed yelling.
Eleni Mandell performs at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., Tuesday, July 27, at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free, so pay at the door, grab a chair and sit on the floor. (That's an old rhyme my old man taught us; admission is, in fact, free.)
ACEYALONE AGAINIt was just this past February that Aceyalone rocked the mic at Club Congress, to a packed house under the old stage configuration. Now, the well-respected rapper returns and will have yet more room to pack them in after the club's March/April redesign.
Acey's place is firmly established in the zipper pouch of so-called "backpack rap," a dismissive term used to lump together literate, stylistically varied MCs by their audience, which tends to skew toward college students (thus the backpack) and white kids.
None of this categorical claptrap matters, however, when Aceyalone takes the stage, because besides being a gifted rapper, he's a charismatic, commanding performer. His most recent album, Love and Hate (Red Urban), features guest appearances from a veritable who's-who of hip-hop's intellectual set--PMD, El-P, RJD2 and Anti-Pop Consortium all make significant contributions.
Tame One and Simple Mathematics join Aceyalone on Tuesday, July 27, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. All ages are welcome to this $12, 9 p.m. show. Dial 622-8848 for info.
AVOIDING THE VOIDThe repercussions of the cancellation of this year's Lollapalooza fest (undoubtedly the best lineup ever for the traveling festival) are felt all the way down here in the Old Pueblo. Prior to the perplexing abortion of this year's festival, Plush had Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies and The Datsuns, and Club Congress expected Broken Social Scene, all of which was slated for Friday, July 23. The two venues are now hosting local shows: Colorstore and Lagoon open for Bombs for the Bored at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., for a measly $2; Club Congress features staple performers Al Perry, Tom Walbank and The Fashionistas for free as part of the Club's occasional "Congress Libre" series, which includes a gratis lime wedge for some reason.
The "entertainment gap" is further filled by a new series at The Loft Cinema. The inaugural "Live at the Loft" features a noisy pairing of local fashion punks The Okmoniks and the somehow enjoyable screeching of the lovely ladies of Winelord. The series kicks off in The Loft's Upstairs Theatre, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., at 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 23. Admission is $4. Although somewhat indeterminate at press time, the premise seems to be that the bands will be playing in front of video footage of their own creation. Our guess is that you might see clips of Alf behind the Okmoniks; surely Winelord will sport scenes from some bacchanal? Only one way to find out.