Monday, June 7, 2010

Sound Advice: The Twilight Sad at the Hi-Tone Café

Posted By on Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 2:31 PM

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Scottish band the Twilight Sad is, in a word, intense. They’re incredibly loud, their lyrics evoke dark, psychologically damaging scenarios, and lead singer James Graham’s brogue is so thick his words are often indeterminable. That said, they have a surprisingly slow, suspended sound for a band that impresses as quickly and permanently as they do. Individual songs are less distinctive than their combined effect; rather, everything they produce feels the same. The components of the music — slapping drums, distorted, extended chords, vocals that drag with occasional bursts of anger — don’t impact as deeply as the music itself. It’s a soaring, sweeping, and haunting noise.

The Twilight Sad play the Hi-Tone Café tonight with MONO. The show starts at 10 p.m. Doors at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Sound Advice: Jesco White at the Hi-Tone Cafe and Brooks Museum

Posted By on Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 2:07 PM

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This Sunday, June 6th, presents two unique opportunities for local devotees of cult icon Jesco “the Dancing Outlaw” White to delve further into the Appalachian wild-man's bizarre and, at times, comical world.

White, 53, originally achieved notoriety as the subject of the 1991 PBS documentary Dancing Outlaw, which chronicled White's devotion to the dying art of mountain dancing (his father, D. Ray White, is regarded by some as the greatest mountain dancer who ever lived), as well his many criminal exploits, regular drug use, and troubled family life. Yet the film played like a comedy, and took on a life of its own thanks to word of mouth and relentless bootlegging.

In 2009, actor and Jackass creator Johnny Knoxville produced a new film about White and his large and equally rambunctious extended family, titled The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. The film serves as both an update on the life of Jesco White, and a culture study on the depressed, poverty-ridden West Virginia community that helped shape the Whites into a hell-raising bunch of misfits and tap-dancers.

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Faces of Death: Photographer Jonathan Postal opens All the People who Died

Posted By on Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 1:59 PM

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I remember drinking a beer with Jonathan Postal last September, shortly after the death of author, poet and occasional recording artist Jim Carroll who recorded "All the People Who Died" knowing it would probably be played at his funeral. Postal, who had recently helped me with a project about would-be wrestlers in West Memphis, was feeling particularly mortal that night. In the 1970's he had photographed the leading lights of both the New York and LA punk scene and his peer group was starting to drop like flies. That's the first time I heard him float the idea of a photo exhibit inspired by Carroll's song. Now that passing notion is an actual exhibit that modern music fans won't want to miss. But don't take my word for it, click the video below to check out some examples of Postal's appropriately gritty punk pics.

"All the People who Died," which opens at the Jack Robinson Gallery on Friday, June 4 and runs through July 19, doesn't just include shots from Postal's punk days. It also includes artists as diverse as Alex Chilton and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

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Sound Advice: Bands Not Bombs 2010

Posted By on Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 12:03 PM

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This Saturday, June 5th, the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center will host its third annual “Bands Not Bombs” music festival and community event on the grounds of Lifelink Church, 1015 S. Cooper at Walker.

The day-long, family-friendly event will feature a diverse music line-up (headlined by local pop favorites the Magic Kids), as well as food and drink vendors, children's activities and games, and performance artists. Admission is $10 for adults (free for kids 12 and under), and all proceeds will be benefit the work of the Peace and Justice Center.

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Hayes Carll and Todd Snider at the Levitt Shell

Posted By on Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 9:46 AM

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  • Todd Snider
The current concert season at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park hits its midway point with a fantastic double-dip of rootsy songwriters.

Former Memphian and current East Nashville resident Todd Snider — who plays at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night — is one you probably know. After rising out of Memphis as a comical folkie troubadour nearly two decades ago, Snider hit his stride with 2004's East Nashville Skyline and 2006's The Devil You Know. His concert at the Shell last year was packed, and I'd expect no different this time.

The Texas-bred Hayes Carll, who plays tonight at 7 p.m., you may not be as familiar with. Mixing Snider's sly sense of humor with a harder Texas country sound reminiscent of early Steve Earle, Carll came into his own with 2008's Trouble in Mind, a major-label debut that stands as one of the past decade's best alt-country/roots-rock records.

Here's a clip of Carll performing his irreverent "She Left Me For Jesus":

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