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Rock Picks: Sly & Robbie, Johanna Kunin, White Rabbits, Daniel Francis Doyle 

Also, Blue Jungle, A Camp, Neko Case, Jay Reatard and others

Wednesday, Jun 10 2009
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FRIDAY, JUNE 12

JAY REATARD AT THE ECHO
Jay Reatard has come a long way in the decade or so since he first crashed the Memphis scene as a 15-year-old fan and got himself discovered and mentored by garage-rock icons the Oblivians. His bratty, insolent, noisy punk rock has evolved into bratty, insolent, noisy pop that is more tuneful than ever, while still retaining a lot of the old punk drive. His upcoming Matador album, Watch Me Fall (due in August), will apparently broaden his sound further, with poppy harmonies and even the occasional mandolin and cello. “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me,” an advance cut from the CD, is typically short, manic and frantic, but there’s also a newfound chiming guitar and cycling backup vocals underneath the traditional old-school punk chords. Until the new full-length comes out, desperate fans will have to make do with earlier, minimalist Wire/Urinals/Eater/Adverts–inspired rants like “Hiding in My Hole” and “You Mean Nothing to Me” from the Reatard compilation Matador Singles ’08. (Falling James)

 

click to flip through (4) REUBEN COX - Jay Reatard
  • Reuben Cox
  • Jay Reatard
     
 

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NEKO CASE AT THE GREEK THEATRE
If ever there was a performer whose vocals were meant to soar and sink like a high-flying bird over the canyons and hillsides by the Greek Theatre, it’s Neko Case. Her fiery singing has a pure and searing intensity that moves seamlessly from intimate confessionals to supremely powerful country-rock belting. Her vocal delivery is so captivating, it often overshadows her songwriting, which marries strains of atemporal Americana with unexpectedly untraditional, surreally poetic imagery. For all of her daydreamy melodicism, there’s a palpable earthiness and fablelike violence to the lyrics on her recent CD, Middle Cyclone (Anti- Records). “Carved your name across three counties/Ground it in with bloody hides/Their broken necks will line the ditch ’til you ... stop this madness,” Case warns on “This Tornado Loves You.” On “Vengeance Is Sleeping,” she declares, “I’m not the man you thought I was/My love has never lived indoors/I had to drag it home by force.” Animal metaphors lurk throughout Middle Cyclone on such jangling tracks as “People Got a Lotta Nerve” and “I’m an Animal,” as well as on the album’s similarly enchanting 2006 precursor, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. Case’s songs are made even more haunting onstage by her crack band, which features the celestial steel-guitar embellishments of Jon Rauhouse and the honeyed close harmonies of Kelly Hogan, both underrated solo performers in their own rights. (Falling James)

 

Also playing Friday:

DEL THA FUNKEE HOMOSAPIEN, MIKE RELM, BUKUE ONE, THE SERENDIPITY PROJECT at House of Blues; FLOSSTRADAMUS at Avalon; NIKKA COSA at the Troubadour; SHARON CUNETA at the Shrine Auditorium; LOVE IS ALL, STILL FLYIN’, SHARK TOYS at the Echoplex; EL MANIFESTO, LOS MYSTERIOSOS, BELLA NOVELA at Alex’s Bar; THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP, SURFING WITH AN ALIEN, DOUG DOPPLER, INTENSITY at the Canyon; JON BRION at Largo at the Coronet; GREED, ARE YOU A COP, KALIFORNIA TALEBAN, A BUCK SHORT at Relax Bar; THE MAE SHI, KENAN BELL, ROBERT FRANCIS at Spaceland; DJ VADIM at the Grand Star Jazz Club.

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 13

CLIPSE, B.o.B., PACIFIC DIVISION, DIZ GIBRAN AT CLUB NOKIA
It may not be the alleged Jeezy & Weezy & Jay-Z tour that the Internuts keep talking about — or even the Jadakiss & Cam’ron set of dates — but Saturday’s show at Club Nokia is a thoroughly impressive undercard of underdogs. Virginia brothers the Clipse are the night’s big draw, who’ve made it out of major-label purgatory with two classic albums and a spattering of unmistakable mixtapes. Their brand of coke-specific verbosity over ominous production from the Neptunes will take a new turn after signing to Rick Rubin’s Columbia Records, featuring beats from guys not named Pharrell and Chad for the first time. Elsewhere on the bill, Bobby Ray, a.k.a. B.o.B — the latest ATLien to blend Southern soul and dirty-South crunk — will definitely provide boatloads of energy and blog hits with cuts as disparate as the piano ballad “I’ll Be in the Sky” and rave rap burner “Haterz Everywhere.” For local flavor, the Native Tongues–channeling Pacific Division and streetwear wordsmith Diz Gibran will set up the outsiders with some hometown love. None of these artists may ascend to the heavyweight division of hip-hop, but they surely do pack a mean punch. (Brandon Perkins)

 

BLUE JUNGLE AT THE SMELL
Blue Jungle are a new local band with an intriguingly shadowy sound on their full-length CD, Baby Don’t Cry. Songs like “Bombay Sapphire” marry Velvet Underground guitar sparkle with lead singer Lately Blu Blu’s druggy vocals, evoking the charming haziness of early Mazzy Star. “Loser” juxtaposes girl-group pop with primitive Cramps/X–style riffing, while “Oh Suicide” seethes with baleful echoes and fuzzy explosions, as if Lydia Lunch were fronting the Jesus & Mary Chain. On “Mean Things,” Blu Blu begs her lover to be cruel to her, while Nosebleed’s guitar rides the rails like a clattering ghost train. Despite all of their classic influences, Blue Jungle somehow retain their own style, with Nosebleed’s churning guitars elevating Blu Blu’s decadently bohemian lyrics into even stranger, more hypnotizing territory. Lately Blu Blu also performs around town as a solo act, but her feverishly harrowing vocals have more melodic impact when they’re twisted together with Mr. Nosebleed’s gauzy, reverb-drenched chords. (Falling James)

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