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Spot Check



G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE 4/28, LOUNGE AX Self-proclaimed rag moppers G. Love & Special Sauce hit town to try out material from their forthcoming second album, due out this fall. The trio's 1994 debut offered a sprawling oddball fusion of gutbuckety hip hop rudiments and strangely dissociated bluesy raunch. G. Love's slurred raps recline naturally over any number of grooves, from Led Zep wallops to slinking vamps. The new stuff ought to demonstrate whether they're a one-trick novelty or an act with depth to spare. Cassius Clay open. ALTAN 4/28, OLD TOWN SCHOOL Thought by many to be the finest traditional Irish combo working today, Altan seamlessly blend dazzling instrumental prowess and the gorgeously delicate vocals of Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh. Their most recent studio outing, Island Angel (Green Linnet), contains an exuberant collection of both traditional and original jigs, reels, polkas, and other Celtic forms sung both in Gaelic and English. The quintet's impec-cable playing and their deep historical sensibility separates them from the flocks of generic pub bands that come out of the woodwork every year for Saint Patrick's Day. ALEX CHILTON 4/28,DOUBLE DOOR Ever since the perfect pop of Big Star decayed into the emotional bloodletting of Third/Sister Lovers, Alex Chilton has remained a pop contrarian. For most of the last decade his erratic recordings have focused on troubled-sounding R & B, and his latest effort, the aptly titled A Man Called Destruction (Ardent), is no exception. His innate pop sensibility still rears its head now and again--as on the charming "What's Your Sign Girl" and a falsetto-heavy cover of Brian Wilson's "New Girl in School"--but for the most part he sticks to grinders like Chris Kenner's "Sick and Tired." Chilton's moodiness always makes his performances a bit of a crapshoot; he can be astonishing or he can be an abusive mess. Glue open. V3, PIPE 4/29, EMPTY BOTTLE One of lo-fi's progenitors, Columbus's Jim Shepard has given his music many forms and names over the years--perhaps its best-known incarnation was Vertical Slit--but for most of the 90s his work has come under the name V3. The twisted art rock on V3's most recent collection, Evil Love Deeper (Thrill Jockey), happily careens through sonic brambles, enthusiastically accruing debris to add to the band's slag heap of sound. Shepard's talk-sing voice hovers ominously over funereal stuttering rhythms, violin cries, and off-kilter guitar excursions. Chapel Hill's Pipe play punk rock that bridges the gap between the Germs and hardcore's then nascent brutality. The band's recent 6 Days Till Bellus (Jesus Christ) provides an earflash of concentrated energy that's got nothing to do with the chirpy version of punk so hep with today's Q101 youth. Also on the bill is the new local combo Go, which promises a noisy blast of raucous, rock-leaning free improvisation. KATY MOFFATT 4/29, ABBEY PUB On her recently released Hearts Gone Wild (Watermelon) Texas-bred Katy Moffatt continues to craft terrific country-heavy roots rock that slips through radio-format cracks. Based in California since a failed go at Nashville back in the 70s, she's fallen in with like-minded roots rockers like Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and Dave Alvin, among others. Moffatt's voice ranges from brassy belting to highly nuanced heartbreak crooning, and she's also a strong songwriter who sticks with affairs of the heart, cleverly using a broken-down car as a metaphor for her heart ("And if you can't fix it maybe it ain't broken") or painting a straightforward picture of triumphant reconciliation with a tune like "After the Smoke Blows Away." She'll be supported by her crack quartet. BILLY TIPTON MEMORIAL SAXOPHONE QUARTET 4/30, HOTHOUSE A couple of interesting things separate the Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet from other similarly configured units. First, they're all female--with the exception of a part-time male drummer, who then boosts them to a quintet. Second, they draw upon an unusually large variety of sources, jumping effortlessly from klezmer to broad explorations of pure sound and texture to lockstep funky get downs. Judging from the group's sole release Saxhouse (Knitting Factory Works), they're pretty fine soloists as well, especially noted experimentalist Amy Denio of Tone Dogs. Incidentally, the group is named for the notorious female saxophonist who spent her life masquerading as a man in order to infiltrate New York's sexist jazz-club scene. MASTERSON & BLACKBURN 4/30, OLD TOWN SCHOOL This Denver duo performs a spirited fusion its members call "cowboy swing," which logically enough combines western swing and cowboy songs. On both originals and oldies by artists like Patsy Montana and Gene Autry, Liz Masterson and Sean Blackburn infuse the music with buoyancy and fluidity, to say nothing of their gonzo yodeling, which updates the tradition without altering its integrity. Their live show also includes rope tricks. Hee-haw! What a deal! MARY KARLZEN 5/3, SCHUBAS Mary Karlzen writes some passable lyrics, but catches ears with her inherent tunefulness. On her recent Yelling at Mary (Atlantic) she manages to transcend her childlike warble--imagine a less precious Juliana Hatfield--forcefully delivering crisp pop-rock melodies tinged with rough-edged country. She's a new-breed singer-songwriter, straddling the line between smart rocker and simpy coffeehouse philosopher. Here's hoping she veers more toward the former. JUPITER COYOTE 5/4, CUBBY BEAR Five guys from Macon, Georgia, who can name any Allman Brothers tune in three notes or less. FIBULATOR 5/4, LOUNGE AX A weirdo Bay Area troupe whose latest album, Unhammerlike (Silly Bird), swings back and forth between countless outsider inspirations, including the Art Bears, Captain Beefheart, and the Raincoats. The tandem vocals of Kris Langan and Sarah Avery put an incongruous singsongy spin on the band's jarring noise blurts and faux-panethnic experiments.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Melanie Nissen.

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