So, yeah, I know I say this a lot these days, but this week is totally batshit crazy with the rock. Feast, brothers and sisters!
Tucson became blessed with yet another talented singer-songwriter when Tracy Shedd moved to town a couple of years ago. For those unfamiliar with her previous three albums, released on Teenbeat--the label owned by Unrest's Mark Robinson--and Devil in the Woods, her early local performances were somewhat revelatory. Shedd, who sang and played straightforward guitar chords, was backed only by guitarist James Tritten, who provided a noisy distortion- and feedback-addled guitar attack that set her apart from traditional singer-songwriters. Recently, her shows have featured a full backing band which, surprisingly and thankfully, has only improved her live performances.
This week, Shedd will release her fourth album, Cigarettes and Smoke Machines, on Teenbeat. In true Tucson fashion, the album was recorded with Craig Schumacher at Wavelab Studio and features a guest spot from Calexico's Joey Burns. The sonic oddities have been tamed this time around; instead, it's a pretty direct singer-songwriter album, and a damn good one. Teenbeat has always had a fondness for jangle-pop, and Cigarettes and Smoke Machines falls squarely and comfortably into that category. Not so much a comparison as a reference point: Fans of Tegan and Sara, or those who love Liz Phair but hate what she's become, will find an awful lot to love here.
Tracy Shedd's CD-release party takes place on the patio at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., starting at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 26. The evening includes both a DJ set and a live performance from Shedd, as well as giveaways, raffle prizes and cake. A hotel-room package is also available. Admission is free. For more information, call 622-8848.
Eight years ago, we were all introduced to French expat Marianne Dissard via her guest-vocal spot on Calexico's "Ballad of Cable Hogue." Since then, Dissard has played around town and elsewhere with a rotating cast of Tucson's finest. This week brings forth her first proper solo album, though it's solo only in the loosest sense.
On L'entredeux, which was co-written and produced by Calexico's Joey Burns, we find Dissard branching out in a number of ways. The speak-sing thing she did on "Cable Hogue" is mostly a memory, relegated to the "getting her feet wet" file. Even when she's doing something close to that, as she does on several tracks here, her voice is more musical than before; she can't help but sing these days.
The album is mostly acoustic, which suits her just fine. It shouldn't come as a surprise, given the circumstances, but a song such as the album opener "L'Embellie" almost perfectly splits the difference between Southwestern noir and acoustic French pop. It sounds, well, exactly as if Calexico were backing a French chanteuse. (In addition to Burns, who is all over the album, Dissard's band here also includes Calexico drummer John Convertino, as well as a host of local musicians including Naim Amor, Matt Mitchell and Nick Luca.) The lush strings and arrangement of "Cayenne" are simply gorgeous, but aside from some jaunty detours like the accordion-abetted "Les Draps Sourds," the album is a pretty moody affair, ideal for Sunday-morning listening. And it should probably be mentioned that, unless you're fluent in French, you won't understand a lick of the lyrics--not that you'll need to; Dissard's voice conveys perfectly whatever mood she's aiming for.
Marianne Dissard's CD-release party for L'entredeux begins at 9:15 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Opening the show are Will Elliott, Mike Wise, Courtney Marie Andrews and Acoustic Terror. Admission is $5. Call 798-1298 for further details.
If you're expecting the new CD from Sand Rubies guitarist and Luminarios frontman Rich Hopkins and Lisa Novak, his Houston-based significant other, to be a mellow vanity project, you're in for a surprise.
Loveland, named for the Tucson studio where it was mostly recorded, bears that desert-rock stamp that imbues pretty much every project Hopkins is involved with. His trademark crunchy, soaring guitar work (and alternately, his way with the jangle) is all over the album, and that's far from a bad thing. Hopkins and Novak, whose Southern drawl is awfully charming, split the vocals, often within a single song. In the end, the album sounds a lot like another fine Luminarios record, with a prominently featured female vocalist.
Rich Hopkins and Lisa Novak celebrate the release of Loveland with a CD-release show at 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27, on the patio at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The Static Session and Mudwagon open. Admission is free. 622-8848 is the number to call with questions.
The second annual Shorty Stubbs Memorial Concert commences at 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 28, at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave. Performers include (but are not limited to) The Last Call Girls, Cochise County Allstars, Al Perry, the Determined Luddites, the Wayback Machine, Cadillac Mountain and Gary Alan Durrenberger. Admission is free, and the number to call for more details is 623-3200.
Fresh off the release of The Stand Ins, yet another fine album in their canon, Austin's Okkervil River hit Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Friday, Sept. 26, with openers Sea Wolf and Zykos in tow. This one's $12 in advance, $14 on the day of the show. 622-8848 will have the answers to your questions.
Gravel-voiced literary singer-songwriter Greg Brown will return to Tucson on Friday, Sept. 26. Bo Ramsey opens the show, which takes place at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd., at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $27 at Antigone Books, Plaza Liquors, Enchanted Earthworks and rhythmandroots.org. They'll be $30 at the door. Call 440-4455 for more info.
Get a dose of authentic roadhouse blues when Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King hit Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave., at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27. Admission is $12 in advance or $15 at the door. (Southern Arizona Blues and Heritage Foundation members pay the advance price at the door.) Call 690-0991 with questions.
The horny funk of Tower of Power hits the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 26. Tickets are $38 and $40, and you can call 547-3040 for more info.
Bay area hip-hop collective Living Legends gather onstage at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Saturday, Sept. 27. The Bayliens and Grayskul open the all-ages show at 9 p.m. Tickets are $21 in advance, $24 on the day of show. Call 740-1000 for further details.
KFMA Day, which this year features the motley lineup of Pennywise, Atreyu, Bullet for My Valentine, Hawthorne Heights, Atmosphere and Alkaline Trio, hits Tucson Electric Park, 2500 E. Ajo Way, on Sunday, Sept. 28. Gates open at noon, and music runs until 10 p.m. Advance tickets are available at all Catalina Mart locations for $29. Head to kfma.com for additional info.
Grab a dose of politically charged hip hop 'n' soul when Michael Franti and Spearhead head to the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Sunday, Sept. 28. The all-ages show begins at 8 p.m. with an opening set from Federico Aubele. Tickets are $28 in advance for general admission, $32 for general admission on the day of the show, or $31 for reserved seated balcony. Call 740-1000 for details.
Academy Award winners The Swell Season, with the fabulous Iron and Wine opening, hit the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., at 8 p.m., next Thursday, Oct. 2. Advance tix for the all-ages show are $36 for general admission (the balcony is sold out). 740-1000 is the number to call for details.
Also at the Rialto this week: gypsy punks Gogol Bordello on Monday, Sept. 29. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. with local openers Feel Good Revolution. Tickets are $18 in advance, or $20 on the day of the show. That number again is 740-1000.
And last but not least, two shows take place at AVA at Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road: a double bill of Earth Wind and Fire and Michael McDonald on Wednesday, Oct. 1, and Alicia Keys on Sunday, Sept. 28. Call (877) 840-0457 or head to avaconcerts.com for full details.