Hopefully by now, you've read Jim Nintzel's cover story about Luz de Vida, the compilation album released this week to benefit the Tucson Together Fund, the only officially sanctioned fund established to assist victims, families, and witnesses of the Jan. 8 tragedy. Just to hedge our bets, here's a brief summary.
Seven local writers (including me), recording engineers and venue operators started putting together the album in the days following the shootings, and the result was released on Tuesday, Oct. 18, in two formats: a 37-song download card featuring local and national acts, and a 12-song limited-edition vinyl LP featuring all Tucson acts; the download card comes free with purchase of the LP.
The rave reviews have already started pouring in, with Blurt awarding the album a nine out of 10, and the Arizona Daily Star's Cathalena Burch writing, "Altruistic considerations aside, Luz de Vida: A Compilation to Benefit the Victims of the Tucson Tragedy could very well be one of the finest showcases of Tucson's music community ever presented." Obvious subjectivity aside, we think so, too.
Your best opportunity to pick up a copy comes at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 22, when the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., hosts an album-release party featuring a dozen of the local acts who appear on the compilation: Joey Burns and John Convertino from Calexico, Kiss and the Tells, Salvador Duran, Reno Del Mar, Mariachi Luz de Luna, HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS, Tracy Shedd, La Cerca, Golden Boots, Silverbell, Rich Hopkins and Tom Walbank.
Gabrielle Giffords' district director, Ron Barber, and Bill Carnegie, president and CEO of the Community Food Bank, will be on hand to speak. Matt Milner, host of KXCI FM 91.3's Locals Only, will emcee.
Admission is a suggested donation of $5, or the equivalent in dry and canned foods. $10 gets you a download card of the album and entrance; $20 gets you a copy of the vinyl LP, along with a download card and entrance to the concert.
Not only did all of the acts who appear on the album donate their songs (many of which were recorded specifically for Luz de Vida), but a slew of local businesses donated money to defray the production costs. What that means is that every penny earned from the benefit concert and the sales of the album will go directly to the Tucson Together Fund.
We hope to see you Saturday.
WHO SHOT ROCK 'N' ROLL? THEY DID!
Saturday is also the opening of the Tucson Museum of Art's Who Shot Rock 'n' Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present, an exhibit of rock 'n' roll photography that has inspired several other music-photography exhibits around town under the Tucson Rocks! banner.
In addition to the photographs themselves, the event will feature a costume contest, album-cover art-making, and Guitar Hero stations; food and drinks will be available for purchase. The exhibition will remain at the museum through Jan. 15, 2012.
The opening for Who Shot Rock 'n' Roll begins at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave. Admission is $10, or free for museum members. For more information, head to tucsonmuseumofart.org, or call 624-2333.
STARS AT PLUSH
From Atlanta—a city currently known for its hip-hop and garage-rock exports—comes Gringo Star, who don't fit neatly into either category. On their upcoming album, Count Yer Lucky Stars, out Oct. 25 on Gigantic, the band takes elements of that garage-rock sound and mixes in Beatlesque flourishes, '90s Brit-pop, psychedelia, early rock 'n' roll and R&B, and even a bit of Americana. Paste magazine wrote that the band "easily slip(s) in somewhere between fellow Atlanta natives The Black Lips' chaos-infused compositions and MGMT's sing-along medleys."
Gringo Star performs at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Friday, Oct. 21. Phoenix's Black Carl and Tucson's Where Sirens Meet Silence open the show at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $7. For more information, check out plushtucson.com, or call 798-1298.
FROM CRETE TO CONGRESS
Those sing-along melodies are also present in the music of Grouplove, a Los Angeles-based five-piece that released its debut album, Never Trust a Happy Song (Canvasback), in September.
Singer/guitarist Christian Zucconi and singer/keyboardist Hannah Cooper met the rest of the band's members—guitarist Andrew Wessen, bassist Sean Gadd and drummer Ryan Rabin (son of former Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin)—while all were attending an artists' residency on the island of Crete. When they returned to the States, the group began recording a self-titled six-song EP, released in January on Canvasback. The group then secured opening slots for the likes of Florence + the Machine and Foster the People, and this week, they stop in Tucson as part of their first headlining tour.
Never Trust a Happy Song, meanwhile, contains a dozen songs that flirt with Arcade Fire hugeness, the story songs of Cake, and the pure, singsong melodies of a band like Foster the People, while singing about consuming "lobster and Black Label" and driving to the beach with the top down. It wouldn't be surprising if Grouplove begins a speedy ascent in stature similar to Foster the People.
Grouplove performs at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The show begins at 9 p.m., and opening acts had not been announced at press time. Admission is $10. For more info, head to hotelcongress.com, or call 622-8848.
A DECADE OF DESERT BAYOU
Has it really been a decade since The Carnivaleros made their debut in Tucson? Yes, it has, and this week, the group will celebrate the occasion with a 10th Anniversary Party.
Fronted by accordionist Gary Mackender and featuring guitarist Michael P. Nordberg, drummer Marx Loeb and bassist Larry Lee Lerma—ringers, all—The Carnivaleros are a self-described "Tex-Mex desert bayou band" that incorporates zydeco, spy themes, circus music, swingin' jazz, jump blues, and a dark Tom Waits/Nick Cave vibe into a big ol' sonic gumbo.
Expect to hear tunes from the group's three albums—Step Right Up! (2003), Lost in the Graveyard (2006), and Happy Homestead (2009)—at the band's performance this weekend, where they'll be joined by special guests including Carla Brownlee, Mitzi Cowell, Catherine Zavala and others.
The Carnivaleros' 10th Anniversary Party kicks off at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21, at Suite 147 in Plaza Palomino, 2970 N. Swan Road. Advance tickets are available for $10. For more information, visit rhythmandroots.org, or call 319-9966.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Manchester Orchestra, White Denim, The Dear Hunter and Little Hurricane at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, Oct. 25; Snoop Dogg at AVA at Casino del Sol on Friday, Oct. 21; Game, Jae High, We Got Next, J-Rock and Nesha P at the Rialto Theatre on Monday, Oct. 24; Gabriel Ayala, who recently was named Native American Artist of the Year at the annual Native American Music Awards, at La Cocina on Sunday, Oct. 23; Joe Bourne at the Vail Theater of the Arts on Friday, Oct. 21; Gaelic Storm (not to be confused with Celtic Thunder) at the Rialto Theatre next Thursday, Oct. 27; Voxhaul Broadcast, Ocean Grove and Rooney frontman Robert Schwartzman at Skrappy's on Wednesday, Oct. 26; The Black Dahlia Murder, All Shall Perish and Cannabis Corpse at The Rock on Saturday, Oct. 22; 3 Doors Down, Theory of a Deadman and Pop Evil at AVA at Casino del Sol on Sunday, Oct. 23; Chimaira, Impending Doom, Revocation and others at The Rock on Tuesday, Oct. 25; Optimist Club presents Opti-Ween! which doubles as the annual Daft Punk Night at Club Congress next Thursday, Oct. 27; QTango at Plaza Palomino courtyard on Saturday, Oct. 22; Piñata Protest, The Furys and Clarice and the Lotion Baskets at the Surly Wench Pub on Saturday, Oct. 22; Ben's Bells benefit featuring the Determined Luddites at La Cocina on Tuesday, Oct. 25; Potluck at The Rock on Wednesday, Oct. 26; Brawloween featuring Throwdown, Carnifex, First Blood and Suffocate at Skrappy's on Monday, Oct. 24; the Last Call Girls, the Kevin Schramm Experience and The Maxwells at Boondocks Lounge on Saturday, Oct. 22; Claude Bourbon at Abounding Grace Sanctuary on Saturday, Oct. 22; Inoculara, Dodsfalla and Vanish Twin at Surly Wench Pub on Sunday, Oct. 23; Acorn Bcorn, Wax Idols and Terry Malts at Plush on Saturday, Oct. 22; Steff Koeppen and the Articles, Captain Squeegee and The Possibles at Club Congress on Saturday, Oct. 22; Amber Norgaard at St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church on Friday, Oct. 21; the return of Golden Boots at the Red Room at Grill tonight, Thursday, Oct. 20.