It's a brides' thing: For good luck they're supposed to wear something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. I'm not sure where it comes from, nor exactly why the phrase popped into my head. I don't know anyone with pending nuptials; maybe it was going to see Rachael Getting Married (highly recommended, BTW) or the fact that Journal staff just finished a new version of the Wedding Guide (I was only minimally involved). At any rate, the old adage came to me as I was working my way though a stack of CDs that came from various bands coming to town.
At the top of the pile was a disc called See You in Rock ’n' Roll Heaven by Power of County, a country-rock/neo-honky tonk outfit from Portland. D. R. Curtright and Matt Stark started the band as a bluegrassy duo, then went electric adding a few members and shifting into a retro sound leaning towards Bakersfield country a la Buck and Merle with the semi-ironic tone of the Flying Burrito Brothers. It's boot stompin' music you might expect to hear in a Grange hall, but they're playing at the Alibi Saturday night, apparently without an opening act.
Next in the stack: a just-released CD called Watersports by S.F.-based trio Mi Ami, which fits into the something new category. The "drums/guitar/junk/electronics/vocals" band started with Daniel Martin-McCormick (formerly of D.C. punk band Black Eyes) on guitar and falsetto vocals and Damon Palermo on drums, "reaching towards the distant lights of Daniel Wang, African disco and gamelan." Then they added bassist Jacob Long, "and the holy trinity was completed." The feel is primal, very rhythmic, definitely a beat you can dance to. Same with tour mates Thank You, a pulsating trio from Baltimore. I've been listening to their Thrill Jockey disc Terrible Two, an intense affair, a beat bombardment with pulsing guitar, organ and wordless vocals adding to the rhythm patterns. It's hard to say exactly what the touring trio sounds like at this point: Drummer Elke Wardlaw, the driving force on most Terrible Two songs, moved to Berlin right after the recording were made. Thank You's Jeffrey McGrath and Michael Bouyoucas (who trade off on guitar, bass and organ) brought in Emmanuel Nicolaidis to take Elke's place. Reports from the road indicate he's an apt replacement. See for yourself when the Mi Ami/Thank You tour hits Eureka Thursday, Feb. 26, for a show at the Lil' Red Lion.
Another new CD that showed up in my mailbox was Every Where Once, the latest from MC Lyrics Born, who'll be at the Van Duzer Friday night. L.B.'s given name is Tom Shimura, but in the early ’90s, when he was attending UC Davis, he fell in with a college radio crowd, took the name Asia Born and became part of the Quannum Projects/Solesides crew that included underground hip hop luminaries like Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel (of Blackalicious), DJ Shadow, and Asia Born's partner in the duo Latyrx, Lateef the Truthspeaker. Asia B. became Lyrics B. in 1995 -- he's been evolving since then in many ways. A few years back he dropped his turntablist and switched to a funky live band. He also married Filipino singer/rapper Joyo Velarde (she'll be singing with him in Arcata) and started moving up from underground. He's been playing major festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo, touring with alt. rock bands like Modest Mouse, placing his music in Diet Coke and Motorola commercials and, most recently, getting the single from Every Where Once, "I Like It, I Love It," into the slasher flick Friday the 13th 3-D. Note: while most V.D. shows start at 8, this one's at 9.
If rap on the political side is more your thing, check Dead Prez, whose lyrics "tend to focus on revolution, veganism, institutional racism, critical pedagogy, police, capitalism, education, prison systems, religion, activism against governmental repression, and corporate control over the media, especially hip-hop record labels," (according to Wikipedia). D.P's stic.man and M-1 will be at Mazzotti's Sunday, March 1, with umi from P.O.W opening.
In the "something borrowed" vein, there's Miles Ahead who borrow tunes from a master, Miles Davis. Mike Kapitan stills leads from his keyboard with Brad Werren on trumpet, Anna Pfiefer on bass, Rich Bradley on reeds. What's new with M.A.? Two drummers: Justin Hoopes and Mike LaBolle. They'll be at Muddy's Hot Cup Friday.
Something blue? Well, the usual Uptown suspects are at the Jambalaya for the Blues Jam every Tuesday. And here's a tip for a show coming up in a few weeks: Several blues aficionados alerted me to the March 14 blues blowout at the Riverwood with harp master Mark Hummel and two killer guitarists, Bobby Radcliff and Rusty Zinn. Loreen got so many calls she decided to sell advance tickets, assuming a sell-out. Stop by the Works or Wildhorse and pick them up, or you can get them at the Riverwood where Jimi Jeff and the Gypsy Band play Saturday night.
As always there are worthy benefits on the horizon: Thursday, Feb. 26, friends of Andrew Pease gather at the Boiler Room to raise some cash and show support for his family. Kingbee and The Buzz, Josephine Johnson, The Malone, Scotch Wiggly, Robert Tripp and others will play music, and they'll have food, door prizes and a raffle. In case you need a reminder: Andrew is the guy whose life was cut tragically short by a knife-wielding asshole in a Eureka supermarket parking lot. He left behind a wife and two boys ages 10 and 13, and they can use your support. Can't make it to the benefit and still want to help? Make out a check to "Children of Andrew Pease" and send it to Washington Mutual, 337 F St., Eureka, CA. 95501.
Coastal Grove Charter School is hosting a benefit Cabaret at the Arcata Playhouse Saturday night, with Joyce Hough, Jaese Lecuyer, Curtis and Julie from Kulica and too many other musicians and comedy acts to mention.
Mark O'Hare, bass Flea from Papa Houli and The Fleas, writes to say that The Fleas and UKEsperience are planning another Ukulele Extravaganza at The Logger Bar Saturday night. He also said thanks for a mention in this column that he figures resulted in a "tremendous turnout" for some show and noted a Fleas first: "A young lady actually took her shirt off during our cover of The Scorpions' 'Winds of Change'!" (We take no responsibility.)
Canadian psychobilly/horror band The Creepshow is back in the U.S.A. having overcome immigration problems. They're at Empire Squared Monday for a Bad Kitty show with The Beat Kids.
In the mood for ska? Chase Long Beach, an eight-piece ska-punk band from Long Beach (duh) plays Tuesday at Six Rivers Brewery. Radical Eureka punks The Social Ills open.
Humboldt Brews' next HumTunes live recording is Wednesday, March 4th (the date that's also a command). Chris Wixson's Speak Easy Saints will be immortalized along with the venerable Old Dog, who have been pickin' together 14 years or more.
As you may have heard, our favorite folky Lila Nelson and her mbira-playing hubby Ian Calindo are packing up to leave town. Wanna toast them farewell? Stop by the Jambalaya Thursday, Feb. 26, which also happens to be Ian's b-day. (His mbira friends will gather for a rare live gig.) They'll be there 10-ish, after they see The Cody Rivers Show, at the Arcata Playhouse. That's a sketch comedy thing with Mike Mathieu and Andrew Connor from Bellingham; Andrew is the brother of Lila's folky friend Casey Connor, so she has seen the guys before. She declares profanely, "They are fucking hilarious." Yes, we'll miss Ian and Lila. And yes they will be back: Lila's booked to play at the Arcata Theater on May 8.