"Steve Jobs, the man who invented the iPod and ignited the digital music revolution, never listened to MP3s." Thus does Tom Barnes open a terrific article titled "Science Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Music," posted last Nov. 13 to music.mic on mic.com. Read the whole thing for the physics, dynamics and audio bugaloo of it all, but the point is, hipsters, audiophiles and Tucson's best old-school DJ Carl Hanni have been right all along. Vinyl is the real deal.
You can cruise a sea of it, and walk out with a boatload, at the 2015 Vinyl Festival on Sunday, Jan. 25, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Hotel Congress, free. A whole lot of music starts right after, including Paul Collins of the Nerves, Holy Wave from Austin and, according to the Congress website, "four more touring acts for free." Sounds like a party. Don't let anyone spill beer on your new vinyl hoard.
We'll actually kick off the week on Thursday, Jan. 22 at 9 p.m., with a $5 show at the Flycatcher with popular club scene regulars the pop rock La Cerca, hard rock Saint Maybe and desert rock Joe Peña. We'll wind up there, too, but first ...
Club Congress 'til You Drop!
This is a good week to just camp out in our favorite East End venue for all things. Sweet Ghosts perform with Carlos Arzate and the Kind Souls on Friday, Jan 23, 9 p.m., free. The duo's Ryan Alfred plays bass with Calexico on tour, and Katherine Byrnes sings backup with Amos Lee. In reviewing Certain Truths, their 2014 debut, we wrote glowingly of the distinctive harmonies in their desert-dusted folk-pop. But new things are afoot: Last week Alfred announced that he and Byrnes will host a disco night at Gaslight Theatre in March. She has so got the pipes for "I Will Survive."
Club Congress debuts an open mic night they're calling Amped Up! On Tuesday, Jan. 27. Sign up is at 8:30 p.m.; performances start at 9 and end at 11 p.m. If you can read it, dance it, play it or sing it, bring it. Bring your friends, too, for moral support. Maybe buy them a round.
A living history of the Tucson music scene is born anew in Joe Peña's new Band of Angels. The project includes Bill Elm (Friends of Dean Martinez), Van Christian (Green on Red, Naked Prey), Liza Byrne (Ferrodyne), Naim Amor (Amor Belhom Duo and himself) and Luis Tavarez. The Angels open for Mark Matos' Trans Band in what the club is calling a New, Weird West Party at 9 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28, free.
And East Nashville singer-songwriter, chronicler of the common man Todd Snider hosts Americana fans at Club Congress on Thursday, Jan. 29, $22-$25. Doors are at 7. RIYL Slaid Cleaves, Robert Earl Keene and Steve Poltz.
Meanwhile, Across the Street
The March Fourth Marching Band is always a colorful, noisy mélange to look forward to, but this trip, The Haymarket Squares of Phoenix will smarten up the show and bring it home. If you don't know about the Haymarket Square Riots you may need a civics class, but that lesson might be more empowering than Gov. Ducey bargained for. Just imagine Stephen Colbert in a fast-grass band and you'll get the idea. The show's at the Rialto Theatre, Saturday, Jan. 24, 8 p.m., on the dot.
Another Day, Another Mood
We round out the week at Flycatcher with the deliciously bizarre Cult of Youth and their deep, dark folk-punk with gothic themes, human-bone percussion and currents of Tuvan throat chanting. Really. Can they do that live? Let's see, at 9 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28, $10.
News of the Random
Congratulations to post-rock and classical crossover (Chamberlab) genius Chris Black for earning the Buffalo Exchange Arts Award for 2014. And a beautifully personalized award it is, too, featuring a painting by Emma Robinson of Black playing the double bass with a pen from which musical notes drop like water to make a stream in the desert.
And the Bonnaroo lineup was announced last week. You can find details at bonnaroo.com, but for efficiency we like Spin Magazine's infographic showing the overlap between Bonnaroo, Coachella and Governors Ball. Find it at tinyurl.com/FestivalMash.