Has it really been eight years since Iris Dement's last album? With 1996's The Way I Should, modern folk singer Dement broke free from the expectations of her audience and her scene with a self-aware song-cycle of intense intimacy. And then, nothing. In the years since, Dement has kept busy contributing performances to a host of tribute albums and making guest appearances on other artists' records. I have no idea when she'll follow-up The Way I Should, but I do have faith that Dement remains one of the planet's most distinct and affecting singers. Her solo show at the Hi-Tone Café five or six years ago was one of the best I've ever seen, and this week she'll be back for two shows at the cozy Midtown club. Dement performs Saturday, July 24th, and Sunday, July 25th. Both shows begin early (Saturday, 9 p.m.; Sunday, 8 p.m.), and tickets are $20. As of press time, there were still tickets available. Call the Hi-Tone at 321-8663. These shows are as can't-miss as the Elvis Costello shows at the Hi-Tone earlier this year. -- Chris Herrington
"Gosh honey, this has never happened before." That is what you're supposed to say when you're premature, right? Last month I reported that Shabbadoo, a local mystery band who have been circulating wonderful homemade CDs for several years, would make their live debut at the Hi-Tone Café. As it turns out, I was about a month early. But on Friday, July 23rd, Shabbadoo, the brainchild of Joe Pegram (formerly of The Joint Chiefs, Professor Elixir, The Paper Plates, and about 1,000 other local bands) will play the Hi-Tone, and this time it's for real. Don't let the band's silly name fool you. Shabbadoo's melancholy keyboard soundscapes, fuzzy electric guitars, and sharp, introspective lyrics are about as far away from novelty as you can get. It's not exactly danceable, but it's certainly digable and well worth investigating.
Calling all out-of-the-closet geeks: They Might Be Giants are coming to Memphis Thursday, July 22nd. With their eclectic mix of accordions, woodwinds, keyboards, guitars, and off-the-wall lyrics, these dorky darlings of the literati have been making great trend-defying records since the '80s. Find out the secret us nerds have known for years when They Might Be Giants build a little birdhouse at the Gibson Lounge.
The Aims Gang, a cover band made up of employees from Aims Logistics, will play all your favorite party hits (and you know what those are) at a benefit at Sleeping Cat Studio on Sunday, July 25th. The show is being held to raise money for an employee who has been diagnosed with cancer. A number of co-workers have since shaved their heads in solidarity, and word has it there will be head shaving at the benefit for anyone who wants to get in on the action. Though I don't usually recommend cover bands, this show promises to be a good time for a good cause. --