When he's not playing in his best-known band, Wolf Parade, performing as a part-time member of Frog Eyes, Canadian Spencer Krug is putting out albums and touring with his other-other band, Sunset Rubdown. This coming week, the band will release its fourth album, Dragonslayer, on Jagjaguwar.
Krug's quavering, reedy voice will be instantly recognizable to Wolf Parade fans. And while Sunset Rubdown was ostensibly formed as an outlet for Krug's more experimental music, Dragonslayer may just be more accessible than Wolf Parade's 2008 At Mount Zoomer.
The songs here are long and sprawling, but they rarely feel as long as they actually are (and that includes "Dragon's Lair," the album's 10-minute-plus closer). And though they veer all over the place—I was reminded at various points of Modest Mouse, Cat Stevens, David Bowie and Fiery Furnaces—they're also extremely listenable and not as noisy as much of Wolf Parade's output. Dragonslayer goes a long way in convincing listeners to drop the whole "side project" idea when discussing Sunset Rubdown.
Sunset Rubdown performs at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Monday, June 22. Two Montreal-based bands open starting at 9 p.m.: Witchies and Elfin Saddle. Advance tickets are available for $8 at plushtucson.com; they'll be $10 on the day of the show. Call 798-1298 for further details.
Santi White—formerly known as Santogold, now Santigold after a jewelry company threatened legal action to reclaim the "Santogold" name—is no appear-out-of-nowhere, overnight-success story. She's paid her dues.
After graduating from Wesleyan University (the same school that another 2008 success story, MGMT, attended) with degrees in music and African-American studies, she did an A&R stint for Epic Records, sang in the punk band Stiffed and wrote an album for her friend Res.
But it was her solo debut album from last year, Santogold, that really put her on the map. Drawing comparisons to the music of M.I.A., the album fused hip-hop, reggae, electronica, tribal rhythms and punk to arrive at a sound that simply hadn't been heard before. (The M.I.A. comparisons, I think, are due to the fact that both are creating unique dance music that's difficult to categorize, and—let's face it—that both are women.)
The album became that rare beast that's both praised by critics and beloved by album-buying fans, and went on to spawn a string of hit singles, including "L.E.S. Artistes," "Shove It" and "Creator." A pair of tracks were used in Bud Light Lime commercials, and Santigold toured with everyone from Björk to Jay-Z, M.I.A. to Coldplay. Following an appearance at Bonnaroo, and prior to a European tour in July, Santigold is cramming in a few headlining dates in the Southwest—one of which lands in Tucson this week.
Santigold performs at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Saturday, June 20. Opening the all-ages show at 8 p.m. are Amanda Blank and Trouble Andrew. General admission floor tickets are $21 in advance, or $23 on the day of the show; reserved balcony seats are $26. Call 740-1000 for more info.
On Thursday, June 18, it's Wilco and Grizzly Bear; this coming week, it's the B-52s.
Centennial Hall, located on the UA campus, is not known for being a rock venue. Jazz? Sure. Dance? You bet. The Vienna Boys Choir? They'll be there in March. But rock shows don't usually sound all that great there; the venue simply wasn't designed for loud shows.
But it also fills a certain niche; it's a repository for shows bigger than the Rialto can handle, but not quite big enough for the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall or AVA at Casino del Sol. (Or Arizona Stadium, for that matter.)
Still, with its permanent seats and the staff's tendency to make sure people stay in them, Centennial Hall is a rather odd choice for a band like the B-52s, who are known for campy, giddy, goofy songs about lobsters and doing the nasty underneath strobe lights—and whose primary intention is to get asses wigglin'. What does one do at a B-52s show if not wiggle one's ass? Perhaps the stay-seated policy will be loosened for this particular show. At prices like this, let's hope so.
The B-52s perform at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., at 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 24. Tickets are available for $64, $44 ($40 for students and military) and $29 ($27 for students and military), and may be purchased at UApresents.org or by calling 621-3341.
If you missed The Devil Makes Three when they were last in town, at last year's HoCo Fest, redeem yourself by catching their first headlining show in Tucson this week. The Santa Cruz, Calif., trio plays an old-time-y blend of country, bluegrass and folk, on acoustic instruments—banjo, guitar, standup bass, some harmonica, a bit of fiddle—that fans of the Avett Brothers or Deer Tick might enjoy. A new album, Do Wrong Right, was released last month and is currently climbing the country charts.
The band's show here this week is its last on its current tour; they're scheduled to play just four more shows, all festival dates, through the end of the year. (Incidentally, Weekly contributor Linda Ray e-mailed Soundbites from a Chicago trip last week to let us know she had stumbled upon a great new band that we should be sure to tell you about: The Devil Makes Three.)
The Devil Makes Three performs at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Friday, June 19. Opening at 9 p.m. are Gabriel Sullivan and The Dusty Buskers. Admission is a mere $5, and the proceeds will be donated to the Free Tiga and Hugh! fund (info at mostlyeverything.net). For more information, call 622-8848.
Father's Day is this weekend, of course, and if you're looking to take Pops out to see some live music to celebrate, here are some options for ya.
On Saturday, June 20, the Westin La Paloma, 3800 E. Sunrise Drive, will feature a trio of big names in the smooth-jazz world. Keyboardist Jeff Lorber, saxophonist Everette Harp and guitarist Jay Soto will be joined by bassist Mario Mendivil and drummer Ira King for a performance that begins at 7:30 p.m. Advance general-admission tickets are available at azentertainmentandevents.com for $35; they'll be $40 on the day of the show. A VIP package that includes reserved seats in the first three rows, a Q&A artist reception and a photo with the musicians runs $75. For further information, call 429-9803.
If Tejano music is more Dad's speed, AVA at Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, is the place to be that same night, Saturday, June 20. The Father's Day Tejano All Star Concert will feature Bob Gallarza's 12-piece orchestra featuring Ram Herrera, Jay Perez and Jimmy Edwards; Roger Velasquez and original members of Latin Breed; and Grupo Vida. The show begins at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $20; they'll be $25 at the door. Call (800) 344-9455 for tickets or more info.
Because times are tough, the fine folks at Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave., will be holding a free Father's Day concert on Sunday, June 21. From 6 to 8 p.m. the Last Call Girls will supply you with a potent dose of country and rockabilly; then, at 8:30 p.m., surf-rockabilly trio El Camino Royales take over. We did mention it's free, right? 690-0991 is the number to call for more information.
Bad Fest featuring Flagrante Delicto, Monster Pussy, Calle Debauche, Jimmy Carr's Awkward Moments and Marianne Dissard at the Rialto Theatre on Friday, June 19; CD-release party for the 17th Street Band's mastered version of Positively 17th Street at the 17th Street Market on Saturday, June 20; Esham at DV8 on Wednesday, June 24; Sky Eats Airplane, In Fear and Faith and Eyes Set to Kill at The Rock on Saturday, June 20; Bill Cosby at Desert Diamond Casino on Sunday, June 21; Xavier Rudd at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, June 23; Oak Ridge Boys at Desert Diamond Casino on Wednesday, June 24; Acoustic Alchemy at the Berger Performing Arts Center next Thursday, June 25; Breathe Carolina and others at The Rock on Tuesday, June 23.