PUT THE NEEDLE ON THE RECORD
With Philadelphia's Dr. Dog on a brief hiatus after touring the hell out of their fantastic 2012 release Be the Void, we Tucsonans have gotten spoiled with a ton of recent Golden Boots shows. The two bands, of course, share a member – Dimitri Manos – and the Boots' Nathan Sabatino is also Dr. Dog's sound engineer.
But that's about to end. Golden Boots will be playing its last show for at least a month this week, as Manos and Sabatino are headed to Philly to begin work on recording new Dr. Dog material.
The show will double as a release party for an unusual new release by the band as well.
Golden Boots — whose other current members are Ryen Eggleston, Ben Schneider, and Andrew Collberg — have always been fond of doing weird stuff with the vinyl format and they found a likeminded conspirator in Olympia, Washington-based Mike Dixon, who owns and operates the label People in a Position to Know, which releases "limited edition vinyl recordings and handmade musical artifacts."
It was PIAPTK that released the band's long out-of-print 2008 12" EV/Coyote Deathbed Surprise, which comprised the two titular previous EPs. Only 500 copies of the 12" were made — half in green/white/orange swirl vinyl, the other half in translucent blue/black swirl vinyl — and it had some built-in quirks tailor-made for vinyl nerds: Side A, which housed the Coyote DeathBed Surprise EP, played from the inside out, while Side B, which contained the EV EP, had double grooves that ran parallel. Which means that when you put the needle down on the record, you could be playing either the odd groove or the even one, and each contained a different set of songs. So, when it came time for a new Boots record experiment, they knew who to ask.
According to a handwritten letter sent to the Soundbites desk by Manos, a few years ago Sabatino read about roentgenizdat, which were Russian records containing banned Western music, with the grooves embedded in hospital x-rays so that they could be bought, sold, and traded without the authorities realizing what they were. The Boots, being the Boots, had the idea to create a modern record that would be released on x-rays in homage to the practice. They asked Dixon if he could help them create it.
The project had a couple hurdles to jump: the modern move to digital x-rays and hospital patient confidentiality. It was Dixon who came up with the brilliant idea to contact veterinarians to supply the x-rays, and he ended up procuring hundreds of them. As he writes on the PIAPTK website, "After years of experimenting and trying to make playable records out of actual x-rays, I finally found someone who could! Pirates Press in SF put my x-rays on their flexi-disc press and (after five sets of test pressings) finally accomplished the monumental task of turning this weird medical waste product into a playable record!"
And so, the new Golden Boots song "White Skeleton" (a more than appropriate title for a song pressed on an x-ray, if you think about it for a second) is now available in a limited run of 250 x-ray flexi-discs, each one unique. At first glance it looks much like a normal flexi, but hold it up to the light and the image reveals itself.
The song itself is a live recording of a nice little chugging twang-pop tune with Eggleston and Manos singing in tandem. All that being said, due to the unusual medium, it's about as lo-fi as it gets. On my first listen, the needle settled into a locked groove at the end of the song, and I wasn't sure if it was intentional (this is Golden Boots, after all) or just a skip in the record. On subsequent listens, the needle made it all the way through, meaning it was the latter. Still, even if you don't own a turntable, it's pretty nifty as a unique art item; if you do, consider the song a bonus – the band will be selling them at their show this week for only $2.
They'll also be selling newly pressed copies of a remastered, Army-green vinyl version of their excellent 2011 LP DBX 'n' SPF, a co-release by PIAPTK and Tucson's Bloat Records. The covers were printed at the local Tanline Silkscreen Printing. (And while we're on the topic of vinyl albums, let me address a pet peeve. Youth of Today: Please stop calling vinyl records "vinyls." Thank you in advance for your cooperation.)
Get your last fix of the Golden Boots live for a while and take home a couple aural souvenirs to stave off the loneliness in their absence when they headline a free show on the outdoor plaza at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Sunday, Feb. 17. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. with opening sets by Texas-based The Preservation and Andrew Collberg. For more information call 622-8848 or head to hotelcongress.com/club.
OPTIONS FOR THE TICKETLESS
If you've got a ticket in hand for The xx's first Tucson show, at the Rialto Theatre, also on Sunday, Feb. 17 (read all about it in Michael Petitti's feature article this week), consider youself lucky: The show has been sold out for weeks.
If you didn't get a ticket when they were still available through the venue, well, you're not that unlucky. If you've got some spare dough, check out Craigslist where, at press time, they were being offered at wildly divergent prices (anywhere from $50 to over $150 each). Or, consider either the aforementioned Golden Boots show or the other offering at Club Congress that night, a triple bill of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Foxygen, and Wampire that the club is calling the "xx Official After Party," which was just announced last week.
In his glowing review of Unknown Mortal Orchestra's latest release, II (Jagjaguwar, 2013), the Weekly's Sean Bottai said that the psychedelic hodgepodge of an album references everything from Al Green and Jimi Hendrix "to krautrock, to Zeppelin, to Cream, to Sam Cooke." Meanwhile, the similarly referential We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Jagjaguwar, 2013), the debut full-length by Foxygen, has fans and critics alike raving.
Doors for the show open at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are $12; they'll be $14 on the day of the show. Or, if you've got a ticket stub from The xx show, cover is only $5. Call 622-8848 or point your browser to clubcongress.com/club for answers to your questions.
ON THE BANDWAGON
We've already run out of room here, so be sure to check out our listings sections for tons of other great shows happening around town this week. For now, here's a (rather large) sampling:
John Pizzarelli Quartet at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 16; Ra Ra Riot at Club Congress on Saturday, Feb. 16; Far East Movement at the Rialto Theatre on Monday, Feb. 18 (free show); Tom Russell at the Javarita Coffee House in Sahuarita on Friday, Feb. 15; Wynonna & the Big Noise at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Friday, Feb. 15; Uli Jon Roth of the Scorpions at The Rock on Wednesday, Feb. 20; Orange Kids album-release show with Latches, The Living Breathing, and Martin Aguilar at Club Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 19; Masters of Hawaiian Music: George Kahumoku at the Fox Tucson Theatre next Thursday, Feb. 21; British Invasion Night (local acts the Electric Blankets, Silverfox, Kaia Chesney, Smallvox, Sugar Stains, and Atom Heart Mother each covering a British act) at Club Congress on Friday, Feb. 15; NEON – '80s vs. '90s Video Dance Party with Black Cherry Burlesque at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 16; Dolan Ellis at Abounding Grace Sanctuary on Saturday, Feb. 16; Beth Bombara and Fur Family at La Cocina next Thursday, Feb. 21; "Tucson's Best" Showcase: Ska/Reggae Edition featuring Three Point Turn, Bangarang, Grite-Leon and more at the Rialto Theatre next Thursday, Feb. 21; The Resonars, Logan Greene, and Discos at Club Congress on Wednesday, Feb. 20; La Cerca, Jessa Cordova, and Burning Palms at La Cocina on Wednesday, Feb. 20; Drifter, Diners, Hip Don't Dance, and Tinsels at Tucson Live Music Space on Saturday, Feb. 16; The Cordials, The Possibles, and Leila Lopez at Plush on Saturday, Feb. 16; Bethany Rose Womack: A Night of Local Love with Brandon Jim Band, Wake Up Joel, and Alisha Peru at The Rock on Sunday, Feb. 17; Lunar Light Collectors, Fire Dust, and The Monitors at Plush on Wednesday, Feb. 20; Low Culture, Turkish Techno, Free Machines, and Cold Charlie at Tucson Live Music Space on Sunday, Feb. 17; Black Cherry Raw burlesque with a live band at Surly Wench Pub on Friday, Feb. 15.