Weekend's best live bets: Rick Ross, Big Head Todd, Danielle Ate the Sandwich and more
Big Head Todd released a Robert Johnson tribute album last February, but it's another Johnson -- Jack -- who owes the bulk of his success to Todd Park Mohr and company. The imposing Korean frontman proved that it was possible to be a collegiate smooth-jam fave without having to send his guitar into elongated fits of acid-soaked noodling. Along with the Samples and Dave Matthews, Big Head Todd epitomized the safer, fleece-vested sector of the '90s groove-tune scene, leaving the serious degenerates to tour with the Dead and Phish. While the chances of ever seeing Big Head Todd in the intimate local venues the band started off in the '80s are rare, seeing the guys at Red Rocks with Barenaked Ladies ain't too bad either.
See Also: Q&A with Dan Bejar of Destroyer
If you're looking for the perfect soundtrack for that Miami Vice-themed party you're planning, Destroyer's newest release, Kaputt, should do the trick. Whereas main Destroyer (and wild-card New Pornographer) Dan Bejar's previous catalogue is full of ramshackle chamber pop and folky mopes, Kaputt could very well be an ushering moment in the new romantic/yacht-rock revival, sounding like it was recorded on a ship floating slowly through a neon-shrouded harbor in the middle of a serious wine-spritzer binge. While Destroyer's scattershot subject matter remains as cryptic as ever: Bejar has upped the smooth factor in his songs, seeming more relaxed and focused than ever atop lush beds of chorus-laden guitar, drum machines and straight-faced sexy sax solos.
See Also: Cobra Starship feature profile
The words to "Pleasure Ryland," a song on Cobra Starship's 2007 disc ¡Viva La Cobra!, are very different from the ones initially warbled by the tune's co-author and namesake, guitarist Ryland Blackinton -- and that's fine by him, since the originals weren't intended for public consumption. "I have a little bit of a potty mouth," Blackinton confesses, "and I think, when you're on tour, sometimes you say things that would make a sailor blush, and they don't mean anything. In this case, I was writing the song, and I had all the parts done, but I felt like it would be cool if there was a Vocoder part -- like a real West Coast hip-hop Vocoder-sounding part. And I'm not sure why, but the first thing that came to mind was, 'Lick my balls and play with my asshole.'" After a laugh, he adds, "We obviously had to change it." (Read more in the full profile: Cobra Starship Took Flight
Before Gabe Saporta even had a band together)
See Also: Glowing House Q&A
Jess Parsons and Steve Varney connected instantly before a songwriting class at the University of Colorado Denver. The initial draw was the fact that, aside from being musicians, they were both songwriters, too. Over the course of a week they had off from school during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, they talked about their music and played their music for each other. At the beginning of 2009, Parsons and Varney -- who share vocal duties and are both vocal teachers -- released their indie-folk debut, The Annual Demise of Every Aspen, under the Glowing House moniker; they were married a year later. After hearing producer Jamie Mefford's work on Gregory Alan Isakov's albums, they recruited Mefford to produce their second effort, Days Run Out, which also features guest spots from DeVotchKa's Jeanie Schroder and Air Dubai/Petals of Spain trumpeter Wesley Watkins.
Hailing from the same Texas city as Midlake and Centro-matic, Denton-based singer-songwriter Sarah Jaffe has toured with the two hometown bands. After releasing two EPs and 2010's full-length Suburban Nature, Jaffe started working on The Body Wins the day she bought a bass and a drum set at a pawnshop. While her previous releases were steeped in indie folk, The Body Wins shows a much more energetic side of her, one that likes to dance and listen to hip-hop.
Check out our newly revamped concert calendar for a complete listing of all of tonight's shows. Page down for rundown of tomorrow night's best bets.