Yeah, yeah, yeah...we get it Mondays suck (we've read Garfield). But it means the start of a new week, which means a bunch of killer shows in and around Phoenix.
And here are a few of the coolest, our top five must-see shows this week.
Nick Lowe has worn more than a couple stylistic hats in his 40-plus years as a songwriter, performer, and producer. He played ambling country rock with Brinsley Schwarz, ushered in pub rock, punk, and new wave with solo records and production for Stiff Records, and eased into a remarkable career as a singer/songwriter, touching on blues, rockabilly, country, folk, and blue-eyed soul.
Johnny Cash (his one-time father-in-law) and Elvis Costello have covered his songs. He's produced records for The Pretenders, The Damned, and even an early Motorhead single. He's played with Los Straightjackets and Little Village (featuring John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, and Jim Keltner).
Through it all, he's proven his knack for a hook, melody, and charming wit.
His latest, The Old Magic, shows no signs of diminishing returns: "Checkout Time" winks slyly at death, "Sensitive Man" cracks wise on the state of men in the modern age, and "I Read A Lot," is positively crushing, the kind of sad bastard ode that has finds hardened listeners reaching for a handkerchief. -- Jason P. Woodbury
In 2004, Phil Elvrum decided to start making music as Mount Eerie while retiring his old band moniker, the Microphones. And while there is sense of inscrutability inherent in both projects, Elvrum has definitely blossomed as the sole musical mastermind of Mount Eerie.
His somewhat sporadic output has come in fitful creative bursts as of late. Elvrum has two albums this year on his own record label, P.W. Elverum and Sun, with the hypnotic, moody pulse of Clear Moon released in May, and Ocean Roar just now seeing the light of day.
It's clearly a fruitful period for Elvrum, and he's graciously bringing Mount Eerie on the road for a few special shows. . -- Erik Thompson
Space is the place. It is the (claimed) birthplace of legendary jazz composer Sun Ra; it's where Captain James T. Kirk boldly traveled; and it was there to give Cold War strategists something else to think about as people raced for the moon.
It's also where acclaimed hip-hop artist and founding Wu-Tang Clan member GZA is gathering inspiration for his upcoming album, Dark Matter. An avid fan of science and the cosmos in particular, GZA -- real name Gary Grice -- first conceived the concept to lay out the Big Bang in rap form after expounding on the notion that Saturn's rings were actually a record.
"God put the needle on the disc of Saturn / The record he played revealed blueprints and patterns," GZA raps on the album, which he's called "cosmological."
A high school dropout, the rapper also known as The Genius has always been guided by his curiosity and the mysteries of science hold great interest. Dark Matter, which he claims is "clean" after denouncing profanity in rap music, is designed to promote science to school children and, at the very least, get adults wonder about that giant turntable in the sky. -- Glenn BurnSilver
The gorgeously gauche atmosphere of Sanctum is often a prowling ground for curiously dressed creatures of the night, whether it's the grotesque goths who come for Tranzylvania or the tattooed-and-pierced freaks who frequent Doom Disco.
Wednesdays, however, are the domain of the industrial-music rivetheads, who put on their big boots, leather pants, and quasi-military gear before stomping over to Sanctum to get their ears assaulted at :Fallout.Shelter:. Crimson-haired femme fatale Self.Destrukt and punky partner Defense.Mekanizm serve as audio taskmasters, dispensing driving industrial dance hits from the elevated DJ booth.
Besides the relentless grind of Front 242, the gloom of Velvet Acid Christ, or the harsh onslaught of Front Line Assembly, the pair are known to rain down plenty of EBM and some dark electro. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Speaking with Robyn Hitchcock back in 1996, the conversation quickly diverged from music to the difficulties of growing tomatoes at high-elevation. It was not his issue, but mine, as he lives in England where growing tomatoes is much easier, and I was in Colorado. Still, that conversation made it clear that while Hitchcock is an acclaimed musician and songwriter with an acerbic wit and slightly twisted vision that manifests via his astute insight into the world around him, talking about his music is secondary to simply having a good conversation.
These days, however, even his tomatoes have taken a back seat to the more immediate global demand of "be here now" that circumvents such conversations in favor of incessant reporter (and other) emails requesting some of his time. "I have stopped having time for gardening since I started doing email -- I do emails instead of gardening," he says, by email of course, from his London home.
But somewhere amongst the cyberspace demands -- he has also caught the Twitter bug, mostly as an outlet for his paintings and photographs -- Hitchcock finds time for his latest passion: environmental causes.
"We need songs about the collapse of the environment, but more than that, we need to take action to stop the collapse of the environment!" he says.
His latest release on his Phantom 45 label (available only at www.RobynHitchcock.com), "There Goes The Ice," follows this lead as he addresses the obvious effects of global warming. Written while traveling on a Russian ship off the coast of Greenland at the behest of Cape Farewell, an organization that takes scientists, filmmakers, writers and artists to visit endangered environments, the spontaneous, echo-y, almost haunting acoustic track features the willowy voice of KT Tunstall, who was also onboard.
"KT was in the cabin next to ours, and her husband had a recording studio in his briefcase. I wrote the song as our ship was drifting past the broken glaciers and recorded it immediately with Kate singing harmony," he explains. "The way we have to live is at a terrible cost to the environment. You can fly around the world telling people not to fly. I don't know what to do about this. So far all I've managed is to write that song!" -- Glenn BurnSilver