NATIONAL TRUST 7/26, HIDEOUT Lord knows there's reason enough to be glad the 70s are long gone, but I kind of miss the optimism about free love and, occasionally, smooth, studio-crafted water-bed music like that found on the National Trust's Thrill Jockey debut, Dekkagar. Since I wasn't old enough to appreciate it properly on the first go-round, this release by Neil Rosario, Andy Cunningham, and Mark Henning, plus multiple percussionists Brian Deck and Bryan Aldrin, is perfectly timed. Created with the help of a cast of thousands, it has the sound of pure glass-topped-table posthippie soul, laid-back and all about getting laid. But maybe Rosario shouldn't be so open about his influences--it's too easy to hear the ghost of Jefferson Airplane's "Miracles" between the slinky lines. AMERICAN ANALOG SET 7/27 & 28, SCHUBAS Austin's American Analog Set are sounding rather digital on their new EP, Updates (Tiger Style); there's a pleasant chilliness to their spacey grooves, and since I'm not inclined to move much in the heat, I'm grateful for some daydream beats to move my mind for me. Though the band expects to put out a full-length CD in late fall or early winter, this will be the last tour for a while, as vocalist-guitarist Andrew Kenny is moving to New York to go to grad school. They share this bill with Her Space Holiday, an electronic duo that has remixed a tune on the EP to rousing scratchy effect (and one of whose songs AAS cover), and Chinup Chinup. ARI UP 7/27, FIRESIDE BOWL Ari Up was just 14 and already deep into reggae culture when she first fronted the legendary Slits in the late 70s. Since then she's shuttled between the UK, Jamaica, and New York, and divided her time between motherhood, clothing design, music, and active campaigning for street culture and a women's history of underground music. This appearance will be atypical of her recent New York shows, at which she performed with a full band. At this show--part of a benefit and release party for the new issue of the feminist music zine Venus (see Post No Bills)--she'll work with tapes and her young son; MCs and rappers in the crowd are invited to join in. Plans are afoot for a new album and tour in the fall. TRAILER BRIDE 7/27, ABBEY PUB This fairly rare appearance by the North Carolina quartet, who specialize in dark and sinuous backwoods rock, blows a cool and deadly river breeze into a blazing summer: on their four albums for Bloodshot they've set a high standard for eerie old-time balladry, with vocalist Melissa Swingle nearly outkeening her slide guitar. The local and far more raucous Cash Audio share the bill. PORCUPINE TREE 7/29, DOUBLE DOOR All set to drop a new album, In Absentia (Lava), in the fall, the indie-prog institution Porcupine Tree hauls out on the road this summer positively creaking with grandeur and skill--they've got instruments and they're not afraid to use them! On the sampler of material I received, the opening track, "Blackest Eyes" (from the forthcoming album), invokes every classic mode: barnstorming loud, a brief solo interlude, and gloriously pretty pseudofolk that's just a bit too perfect. They excel at the turn on a dime; unlike some of their predecessors, such as Yes at their worst, they can make these swerves without causing whiplash, making the mood swings seem only right and natural, as though it all exists for a grand purpose beyond itself.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jim Newberry.