Omar Rodriguez Lopez Xenophanes
(Rodriguez Lopez Productions)
Releasing: 28 September (Europe) / 10 November (US)
The Mars Volta guitarist offers up another solo album in Xenophanes. This one is a concept album that with grand ambition depicts the life journey through birth, death and re-birth. Lopez sings the whole record in his native Spanish and it’s the first album to spotlight lead vocals from the man Rolling Stone labeled as one of the “Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
02 Mundo De Ciegos
03 Ojo Al Cristo De Plata
04 Amanita Virosa
05 Sangrando Detrás De Los Ojos
07 Asco Que Conmueve Los Puntos Erógenos
09 Perder El Arte De La Razón Sin Mover Un Sólo Dedo
10 Flores De Cizaña
11 Maria Celeste
Walking into the Silent Comedy show at San Diego’s Casbah on September 11th, you might have felt you’d stumbled onto the craft services table on set of a remake of Paper Moon. Every other guy in attendance looked like a particularly roguish Depression-era hobo or the piano player at a Chaplin film festival. A sampling of the look can be found in the video for the band’s 2007 song “Bones”, except these aren’t costumes—these dudes dress this way 24-7. To take advantage of sartorial similarities with opening acts Mississippi Man, Skyline Union and River City, the gig was christened “Mustache Mayhem”.
In fact, the guys in the Silent Comedy love facial hair so much that they’ve turned it into a way to finance their next CD. You too can be a patron of the arts if you sport a mustache (real or faux) and give a donation on the band’s website. Talk about music industry innovations in the tech age!
The band had reason to celebrate, having won a San Diego Music Award for Best Pop Group the night before. Frontman Joshua Zimmerman (aka J. John) displayed a newfound confidence and swagger that was palpable as the band launched in the song “Poison” with all the fervor of a tent revival meeting. There was no sign of the hellacious hangover that photographer Rich Cook said followed Thursday night’s totally unexpected win—but that might be due to the very liberal hair-of-the-dog flowing throughout the set.
Mississippi Man was the only non-San Diego band on the bill, and their sound, while certainly as sepia-toned as the rest, had the most modern flair, if your idea of modern is the 1960s. Sure, they look just as breadline-ready as their compatriots, but their music is decidedly more Brian Wilson than Al Jolson. And River City, playing in the back bar known as the Atari Lounge during breaks in the main stage sets, might have been the sleeper hit of the night. Their mustache ratio was strong (three out of five), and they rocked a Maid Rite washboard to boot!
September 11th is a time of somber reflection for most Americans. But the crowd at the Casbah that night got a welcome break from the cares of the day with the help of some great music, and some truly inspired facial hair.
On Wednesday night at Santos Party House, Portland’s Starfucker and Deelay Ceelay had the know-how to bring it hard. Through swells of energy and artificial smoke-clouds, they churned out three hours of electro-pop that kept each work-weary body in motion. With that distinctly odd feeling of concurrent skepticism and enticement, the two members of Deelay Ceelay took the stage and sampled everything from reggaeton to polka to T.I.’s “Whatever You Like,” all whilst a synched visual projection performed as a psychedelic backdrop to their performance. Markedly fierce tempo changes, clever, bassy transitions, and ample cowbell proved their art to be the perfect compliment to that of Starfucker. It was a jam session I felt inspired to be a part of.
Efterklang & the Danish National Chamber Orchestra Performing Parades
Releasing: 20 October
Performing Parades will be released with the 55-minute live concert film, a behind the scenes documentary, video clips for six songs from Parades as well as the video for “Mirador”. Check out videos for “Caravan” and “Cutting Ice to Snow” below; they’re bizarre and delightful, and the image of the band playing and marching among the orchestra, outnumbered and battling with bigger sounds, is quite the spectacle.
03 Him Poe Poe
04 Horseback Tenors
06 Frida Found a Friend
07 Maison de Reflexion
08 Blowing Lungs Like Bubbles
11 Cutting Ice to Snow
If you’re anywhere remotely close to Chicago, you should be happy to know that Tortoise is doing a free (free!) in-store performance at Reckless Records, at 5 P.M., Sunday, October 4th. I suppose there’s a 3% chance they just saw Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and are going to do a bait-and-switch with some obnoxious man named Randy, but I’m 97% sure that it is a blessing from the music gods and we shouldn’t question it. In the meantime, enjoy the video for “Prepare Your Coffin”, and maybe even download the MP3. You deserve it.