Weekend's best live music bets, 4/20 edition: Levitate, Cypress Hill, Das Racist and more
See Also: Goodbye, Yerkish. Hello, Lexigram!
On its self-titled debut as Lexigram, the band formerly known as Yerkish stretches out a bit with more attention given to space within the song, especially on tracks like "Robot Haikus of Despair and Self Loathing," the middle section in particular where Tim Kaminski's voice spirals off into a tasteful sustain, more operatic than indulgent, before the guitars catch the song in his sudden drop off. "Flagellation," meanwhile, starts out with a dense sound and then peels off layers until towards the end when only vocals, textural percussion and impressionistic guitar create a quiet tension. The shifting percussion and pacing of "Zombie Cheer Camp" is reminiscent of The Mars Volta's penchant for polyrhythms within a larger rhythmic strategy. The EP ends with a cover of "Welcome To The Machine" that deftly transmutes the synth sweep into a cutting, prog-jazz guitar lead. Lexigram finds the group upping its use of dynamics and atmosphere.
Whoever says the music industry is dead obviously hasn't observed Record Store Day. While file sharing has certainly dampened CD sales -- removing the casual music listener from the economic equation -- a contingency of hardcore record geeks can still be found thumbing through the bins most weekends at your local sound dispensary. These were the folks that were never too into CDs to begin with, preferring the assuring weight and sonic warmth of vinyl to the disposable plastic jewel cases that cost a nickel to make and a day's wages to buy. Record Store Day is to vinyl collectors what Black Friday is to suburban parents.
CITRUS & FRIENDS @ SWALLOW HILL
Last November, you might recall, Chris "Citrus" Sauthoff (U.S. Pipe, Lord of Word, P-Funk) suffered a minor stroke, and as a result, the gifted guitarist lost some of the feeling in his picking hand. "It was one of the scariest times I've ever had in my life," recalls Sauthoff's wife, Laura McGaughey. He still has mild aphasia, she says, and the sensation in his hand is not completely back ("He describes this like wearing gloves," says McGaughey), but he's continuing to recover. As part of his recovery, Sauthoff's been playing lots of guitar as therapy, and, in addition to teaching himself, has been taking classes with Rene Heredia and learning new styles such as flamenco. Tonight, Sauthoff is slated to make his return to the stage as part of Swallow Hill's Top of the Hill series with some Swallow Hill staffers and some students and friends. He'll be playing a mixture of styles from flamenco and folk to funk and Hindustani, with a little blues and gypsy jazz thrown in for good measure.
PIERCED ARROWS @ HI-DIVE
Fred Cole was a teenager in Las Vegas in the early '60s when he recorded with his band, the Lords. For the next decade and a half, Cole soldiered on through various projects, forming the Rats with his wife, Toody, in the wake of punk rock. But Cole wasn't following a trend so much as showing how stripped-down rock and roll doesn't lose its luster if done properly and performed with a bit of artistry and conviction. Cole's enduring influence and widespread renown ultimately came with Dead Moon and its emotionally gripping, ragged, blues-inflected repertoire. With the demise of Dead Moon in 2006, the Coles formed Pierced Arrows. Fortunately, they've lost none of their momentum in writing fiery songs with a bludgeoning intensity that embody everything punk rock should be.
Over the last six years Paper Bird has become a Denver favorite for all ages and backgrounds. Since dropping its debut album, Anything Nameless and Joymaking, in 2007, the bandmembers have been on a ride that has taken them from busking on the streets of Breckenridge to performing at Red Rocks. In 2009 they were featured on NPR's All Things Considered and have since toured the country several times, opening up for acts like Neko Case and DeVotchKa. After collaborating with Ballet Nouveau Colorado on a series of performances in 2011 -- resulting in the act's third full-length album, Carry On -- Paper Bird said goodbye to trombonist Tyler Archuletta and welcomed drummer Mark Anderson, previously of Papa Bear. Adding percussion to delicate female harmonies and whimsical, folky instrumentation has undeniably altered the course of Paper Bird.
Joke rap hinges upon one thing: Whether an artist is laughing at themselves, or if the rest of the world is just laughing at them. Das Racist are clearly laughing at themselves -- best evidenced in the track "Hahahaha JK" where they explain they're not joking, just joking, they are joking, just joking, they're not joking -- and between references to 4Loko, General Hospital and Gruyere cheese, we're laughing, too. The Brooklyn equivalent of Mickey Avalon's Los Angeles sliminess, Das Racist somehow make party jams mixed with lyrics that give a much needed introspective look at rap music of the past thirty years.