Curious what's going on around town this weekend? Need some suggestions as to how to rock, dance, or krump in the Valley of the Sun?
Don't fret: These are our Five Shows to See This Weekend.
One of the most intriguing new voices in hip-hop, Maryland MC Oddisee has amassed one of the most loyal word-of-mouth grassroots fanbases in indie-rap today. Acclaimed for his work both behind the mic and behind the boards (he's produced for Talib Kweli, Freeway and Homeboy Sandman), what makes Oddisee stand out is how his strong roots in rap tradition allow for him to thrive with a strong, entirely fresh sound. His new album, People Hear What They See, is one of the year's strongest sleeper hits.
Oddisee's perspective has often been compared to much of today's "everyman"-type rappers. But, while many of his contemporaries frame their struggles in a "this could be anywhere" motif, it's precisely because Oddisee maintains his geographic lineage that empathizing with him feels much more genuine.
It's not hard to get lost in the world of Vermont-based songwriters Matt "MV" Valentine and Erika "EE" Elder. The duo's blanket of releases -- dozens of tapes, CD-Rs, downloads, live tour documents, and long players for labels like Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace!, Time-Lag Records, and Three Lobed Recordings -- unspools in all cosmic directions, sewing gentle rural folk, psychedelic ragas, and busted-ass soul into its tattered patchwork. There's a lot to take in, but don't worry -- it's an inviting place to be.
The group's latest, Space Homestead, recorded for Woodsist Records, is a perfect distillation of what the duo (and accompanying players) does best, with shimmering vocals and smoky guitars drifting in and out of "Moment," a sidewise funk beat propelling "Workingman's Smile," and the beatific "Shit's Creek," where MV's puffing harmonica gives way to wiseacre wisdom, singing, "Shit's creek is a funny place to be / Out in the middle of life's sea."
The group's stop at Tempe's Yucca Tap Room also is notable because local soothsayer Eddy Detroit, known for his collaborations with Sun City Girls and his own warped, spectral, ol'-timey folk, is scheduled to open.--Jason P. Woodbury
The terms "black metal" and "benefit show" may not seem like they go hand-in-hand, but you'd be amazed at the amount of love coursing through veins of local act Blessedbethyname. This industrial black metal band is one of the best known metal bands to come out of the Valley of the Sun, where they became infamous for their raucous stage shows back in the late '90s. The band hasn't played a show since 2008, but now they're coming out of the shadows for a concert this Saturday, November 2 at 910 Live, much to fans' delight.
But while the show will be one for the books (they're playing with Pelvic Metaloaf, Sicmonic, Autumn's End, The Iris, Souless, Virulent, and more), the story behind this benefit show is a somber one.
The concert is to raise money to fight against a disease that guitarist Tom Ringgold's daughter passed on from, a disease called epidermolysis bullosa, which causes skin to not regenerate and peel off. In Ringgold's mind, it's sadly ironic, since it's much like the liquid latex he used to wear over his body at shows for a cool effect --except much more painful. He and his wife started the Pioneering Unique Cures for Kids (PUCK) fund to raise money to find a cure for the disease.
Plus, it's the 14 year anniversary of Blessedbethyname's self-titled debut album, which dropped on October 31 in 1998, and was described by a band member as "a journey from the pit of hell to the height of divinity, woven together so when you open your eyes at the end of the disc, you've been to another dimension and back."
Up On The Sun talked with Ringgold about PUCK, the music industry, and what's next for Blessedbethyname.
Read the entire interview here -- Lauren Wise
In the hands of most DJs, a pair of turntables is the place to put colored Serato Control records. When wielded by the expert hands of Richard Quitevis, known in the music world as DJ Qbert, a pair of Technics 1200s will reach transcendence, becoming a true musical instrument or even a beat-generating, scratch-spitting beast that's alive with sound. A true turntablist in every sense of the word, the San Francisco native began spinning vinyl on a Fisher-Price record player at 15 and has been on an epic trajectory that's taken him to the heights of the DJ world.
His accomplishments are the stuff of legend: Qbert not only partnered with the equally esteemeed Mix Master Mike (of Beastie Boys fame) to form the highly influential Invisibl Skratch Piklz DJ crew and help redefine turntable culture in the early 1990s, he also was an early member of the legendary Rock Steady DJs. During that era, Qbert and Mix Master Mike also completely dominated the DMC World Championships for three straight years and broke the streak only after organizers reportedly asked them to step away and allow someone else to win for once.
He's shown off his skills in a slew of underground videos and in the noted 2001 documentary Scratch, and he has earned the respect of thousands of selectas worldwide. As one YouTube user pointed out in the comment section of a video featuring the artist killing it at the 1991 DMCs: "This was like 20 years ago...most of the shit you rock on the turntables wether [sic] you realize it or not is from Q." In other words, if you attend Qbert's performance at The Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street, on Saturday, November 3, prepare to genuflect to one of the true gods of the DJ world. Local old school scratch fiends Radar, M2, and Akshen open the gig, which starts at 10 p.m. --Benjamin LeathermanSunday, November 4: Eddie Vedder @ Comerica Theatre
Nirvana or Pearl Jam?
It's the Beatles-or-Stones query of the flannel era, a sort of musical litmus test, almost a line in the sand. Nirvana, of course, has the tragedy going for it (like The Beatles), and the successful followup projects (Foo Fighters is Nirvana's Wings, and Eyes Adrift is, I don't know, a pretty good version of Ringo's All Starr Band that people don't remember very well), a place in the canon, and the dubious distinction of having an upcoming CBS sitcom named after their breakthrough hit (from the guy who brought you Big Bang Theory, naturally).
But Pearl Jam, the Seattle combo of vocalist/guitarist Eddie Vedder, guitarists Mike McCready and Stone Gossard, bassist Jeff Ament, and current drummer Matt Cameron, is indeed the Stones of the equation. The band has survived lineup shifts and sea changes in the music industry, yet remarkably have maintained an air of punk rock cred (no small feat considering that Ten, the band's massive debut, is about as blooze-rocky as you'd imagine from Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hendrix devotees), dragging along bands like Sonic Youth, Bad Religion, and Ted Leo and The Pharmacists on tour and covering The Ramones, Dead Moon, and Split Enz live.
They've cultivated one of the most passionate fan bases in rock music, encouraging Grateful Dead-style fanaticism with their live record series, and they continue to inspire rabid defense from even the most "indie" (whatever that means) listeners. (Case in point: While camping near Florence earlier this year, I climbed a rock to get enough cell-phone reception to debate the band's best album via Twitter with a member of Phoenix power-poppers Kinch, a staffer from Yucca Tap Room, a local blogger, and one former New Times music editor).
As we near the 20-year anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death, much of the ink spilled regarding him wonders where the songwriter would be if he were alive today. I think he'd be making the same kind of records Eddie Vedder's making right now.
Though Pearl Jam's records have continued to roar (the last, Backspacer, was as fiery as anything they've put to tape), Vedder's solo work has been quieter, the work of a recluse in his element. His solo debut, the soundtrack to Sean Penn's 2007 adaptation of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, found Vedder singing in the voice of a sympathetic character. Like the protagonist, Christopher McCandless, much of Vedder's career has been spent rejecting the norm. As the voice of the anti-TicketMaster movement, Vedder positioned himself as an artist first and a moneymaker second. But like McCandless, he's a contradictory, flawed character, too: Backspacer's release included an exclusive version sold at Target and unavailable at independent record stores.
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Thankfully, the same call wasn't made regarding Ukulele Songs, Vedder's proper solo debut. Over sparse accompaniment (provided by the titular uke), Vedder sings a collection of sad songs, hinting softly with doo-wop melodies and his husky baritone at the big, bloody heart that's always resided at the center of Pearl Jam's bluster. Vedder's joined by like-minded guests, including Glen Hansard of The Swell Season and The Frames, and Chan Marshall of Cat Power.
It's a document that resides comfortably apart from Pearl Jam, that steady, long-running workhorse, and complements it rather than upstages it. To resort again to Stones analogies, let's say that Into the Wild was Vedder's Performance soundtrack and that Ukelele Songs is his...Paul McCartney's Ram?
Huh. Might need to repostulate.-- Jason P. Woodbury