The Roots, Hilary Hahn, The Urinals 

Also, Barbara Lynn, Stalley, Active Child and others

Thursday, May 24 2012

fri 5/25

The Internet


click to flip through (2) PHOTO BY TIM SOTER - The Clean: See Wednesday.
  • The Clean: See Wednesday.

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Syd the Kyd and Matt Martians, who make up this soulful Odd Future offshoot, are relocating to Atlanta for the summer in order to "get away and just sort of change our outlook creatively on things," as Syd puts it in a Kickstarter video designed to raise money for a documentary about the move. Before they go, though, The Internet are playing the Echo, where they're likely to throw in some new tunes among cuts from last year's Purple Naked Ladies. Admittedly, the album didn't grab me straightaway; some of it still sounds like N.E.R.D. minus the hooks. But there's something bewitching about the duo's best stuff that makes me want to hear what effect Atlanta's gonna have. Up-and-coming New Yorker Kilo Kish, who reportedly is set to open, just released an Internet-produced EP, Homeschool. —Mikael Wood

Barbara Lynn


Critic (and Creem editor) Dave Marsh said she was a better blues singer than Janis Joplin, and anyone who's ever stared desolately into the desert night with Barbara Lynn on the turntable knows well the truth in that statement. She was a young girl with a voice that went on for miles and a guitar she played left-handed, and with the help of Huey Meaux, she put "You'll Lose a Good Thing" — a heartbreaker poem she'd written about an ex-boyfriend — at the top of the charts in 1962 and followed it with a string of songs about love and other crimes. (They called her "Lady B.B.," she told one writer.) Some might call her a legend and others might call her an inspiration; both are correct forever. With opener Gizzelle, deployer of many a Barbara Lynn original in her own affecting sets. —Chris Ziegler

Nikos Syropoulos


Nikos Syropoulos is 23, and though his name sounds like a James Bond villain, his depravity is limited to being a wicked-sharp composer and a total badass pianist. He honors his Greek grandmother, Rozalia, by naming his debut album after her, a beautifully arranged work for piano, voice, trumpet and strings. He funded his recording through Kickstarter, not by stealing. His only crime is making you feel lame for not realizing your potential as he has. Some of you now probably want to hurt him, but don't beat Nikos, become Nikos. —Gary Fukushima

Hecuba, Dreamers


Echo Park's Hecuba are hardly your typical boy-girl synth-pop pair. While the roots of their arty electronic songs certainly lie in the '80s, they lace their surging keys and burbling beats with Teutonic- toned '60s experimentalism, coiffed American '50s cool and the smart deviance of Steve Reich in the '70s. What's more, their new album, Modern, is thematically fascinating — an intensely personal and easily universal exploration of the pair's relationship (Isabelle Albuquerque and Jon Beasley are also a couple) as they aim to merge their identities across nine tracks. Hearing them chant, "We are together, but we are apart," over a surging pile of frosted keys and drums is downright spooky, while dubbed-out soul number "Devotion" seems to both celebrate and call into question its titular subject. Opening duo Dreamers split the difference between minimal techno and Siouxsie-style punk rock. —Chris Martins



Talent has served Stalley well. Because it certainly wasn't his background — he's a devout Muslim who signed a Division I basketball scholarship to Michigan — or birthplace (gritty, blue-collar Masselin, Ohio) that attracted the attention of Maybach Music Group bossman Rick Ross. No, it was dude's Everyman hustle and poignant rhymes depicting a smashmouth come-up — a simplistic but time-tested hip-hop trope that, although played out, seldom fails to resonate — that surely made Ross yearn to add something real to his team. Major-label production and mentions of palm trees and lavish luxuries popped up on Savage Journey to the American Dream, Stalley's latest work. But it's the intimate chatter, those personal moments, that made last year's Lincoln Way Nights a standout, and that one hopes will continue to define the MMG anomaly's career. —Dan Hyman

Also playing:


sat 5/26

The Urinals, Avengers


The Urinals have been lying low in recent months, although guitarist-novelist Rob Roberge is releasing two new books this year, The Cost of Living and a memoir, Your Life in Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll. Roberge is actually the baby of the band, having "only" been in the local art-punk trio for the past decade. But singer-bassist John Talley-Jones and drummer Kevin Barrett still perform lo-fi gems like "Black Hole" and "Sex" from their late-'70s heyday — when their geometric chord changes and elliptical lyrics were a major influence on such bands as the Gun Club, Yo La Tengo and The Minutemen — alongside more melodic recent tracks like "Cartophobia" and "Sky-grifter." Avengers lead singer Penelope Houston just released On Market Street, a collection of soulful, new pop-folk reveries and her first solo album in seven years, but she and the band are likely to focus on the classic fiery blasts from the Avengers' self-titled 1983 debut album, which is finally being reissued after three decades. —Falling James

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