If you don't have your wristband yet for Fall Club CrawlTM, which will take over downtown Tucson on Saturday, Oct. 8, what are you waiting for? There are plenty left for purchase at CD City, and if you get there soon, you'll receive a copy of Club Crawl Volume 2, a local compilation CD that goes home free to the first 2,000 lucky purchasers. Oh yeah, and you'll also save a couple bucks off the price by getting them early. They're a mere $8 if you pick 'em up soon, and $10 on the night of the event, which we, as Club Crawl's proud sponsors, should remind you is the mack daddy of local music festivals.
Also, submissions are still being accepted from local bands for participation in this year's Great Cover-Up, which will take place at Club Congress from Thursday, Dec. 1 through Saturday, Dec. 3. We're looking for a few good bands--more than a few, actually--who normally perform their own music, to play a 20-minute set of music by another band or artist. All proceeds from the event will go to Brewster Center, a local service organization that provides shelter, crisis intervention and advocacy for victims of domestic violence. Please be advised that the deadline for submissions--which should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14. For full details, check out Soundbites in our Sept. 1 issue. Thanks to those who have already submitted.
Where most power-pop relies on the fact that, the first time you hear a song, you'll be singing it before it's over, Big Star's music took a few listens to really absorb what exactly you were hearing. The hooks (which are, after all, the hallmark of all power-pop) were there in spades, but they took a while to sink in. Vancouver, B.C.'s New Pornographers follow the Big Star model of power pop, which is to say, they're more challenging than most. They're about as eclectic as any power-pop band could be, and still be labeled power-pop. The band is often referred to--and rightly so--as a supergroup, since they count among their ranks A.C. Newman and Neko Case, both of whom have successful solo careers, as well as Destroyer's Dan Bejar. But none of that would matter if they hadn't over the course of three truly fantastic albums churned out what amounts to the finest power-pop of the last 10 years.
The first time you hear one of their albums, you realize there's something special going on, but as with Big Star, you don't realize just how special until about the third spin, when the hooks become truly sublime. The band's latest release, Twin Cinema (Matador, 2005), is better than Electric Version (2003, Matador), its predecessor, and on par with Mass Romantic (Matador), the band's 2000 debut. There are killer harmonies throughout, which are aided by the combination of male and female vocalists, and the band is as tight as can be. But it's the intricacies of the songs themselves that set New Pornos apart. "Broken Beads" sounds like a long-lost Robyn Hitchcock nugget--British accent included--from when the Egyptians were still backing him. The Case-sung "These Are the Fables" starts out as a pretty, mid-tempo near-ballad, then subtly accumulates richness as it progresses, finally culminating in a lush, piano-driven swing. And on a somewhat personal note, my jaw nearly dropped when I first heard "Jackie, Dressed in Cobras," not only because it manages to spin a somewhat difficult melody into pure gold, but mostly because that difficult melody is almost identical to one by the Champaign, Ill., band Menthol, who were once signed to Capitol. Under similar circumstances, I might cry plagiarism, but since Menthol didn't sell too many albums outside of their region, I can only assume no member of the New Pornographers has ever heard the song in question. Since it's such an odd melody, shared by both songs, I am suitably freaked out by the whole thing.
But that's neither here nor there. All you need to know about the New Pornographers is that they are releasing the best power-pop out there today, and that if you have an ear for this stuff, you should not miss their show here this week. If you need a taste, check out Last Call With Carson Daly tonight, Thursday, Sept. Sept. 29, on which they're scheduled to be performing one of these tasty nuggets.
The New Pornographers perform at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Saturday, Oct. 1. Things begin at 8 p.m. with opening sets by Destroyer and Immaculate Machine. Tickets for this all-ages show are available in advance for $15 at the Rialto box office. For more information, call Solar Culture Gallery, which is presenting this show, at 884-0874, or the Rialto at 740-1000.
Motley Crue takes the stage at the TCC Arena, 260 S. Church Ave., at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Advance tickets are available for $29 to $64 at all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com, or by calling 321-1000. For more info, call 791-4101.
The Kissers play Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, Oct. 1. The measly $3 cover is made even sweeter by an opening set from Tom Walbank, who begins playing at 9:45 p.m. Call 798-1298 for further details.
This year's model of the KFMA Fall Ball features yet another underwhelming lineup of bands including P.O.D. , MxPx, Hawthorne Heights, Story of the Year and the Bled. Gates open at noon for this all-ages show at Tucson Electric Park, 2500 E. Ajo Way, on Saturday, Oct. 1. Advance tickets are available for $30 at all Domino's Pizza locations. For further details, head to kfma.com.