Calling all local bands: The 12th Annual Great Cover-Up is a couple months away, and submissions are being considered from bands and performers who would like to participate. This year's event will take place at its traditional home, Club Congress, from Thursday, Dec. 17, through Saturday, Dec. 19.
The gist of The Great Cover-Up, from a previous column: "Local bands that normally perform original material gather to perform a 20-minute set of songs by another band or artist. Simple enough, right? And best of all, every penny of the proceeds from the event is donated to TAMHA, a local service organization that connects local artists and musicians to health care and health care resources. Of course, that means that no band will receive any compensation for slaving away at practice for a month or two, only to learn a set of songs they'll probably never play again. But look at it this way: It's probably about the most fun you'll ever have doing charity volunteer work."
(A quick note: The Rialto's Curtis McCrary and I, who have been among the event's organizers for the past decade or so, are taking a break this year. Don Jennings, former host of KXCI's "Locals Only," is working with Club Congress' David Slutes and Dan Hernandez to put it all together.)
If you're interested in participating, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: your band name, what type of music you normally play, your top three picks for bands you'd like to cover, and a contact name and number and/or e-mail address. Additionally, if you have a scheduling conflict with any of the three nights (legit ones only, please), let 'em know as far in advance as possible, as this sucker is always a scheduling nightmare. Deadline for submissions is Nov. 1!
We reported a while back that local synth-punks Digital Leather—OK, it's really just one synth-punk, Sean Foree—signed on the figurative dotted line with Fat Possum Records. This week the fruit is ripe for pickin', as Foree brings his live unit to Club Congress for the release party for his Fat Possum debut, Warm Brother.
I don't mean to sound like a cheerleader for the local team, but goddamn! This album's awfully good.
DL's first album, Sorcerer (Goner, 2008), was a half-live, half-studio affair, with Foree recording the studio side on his own, and the live side with his band. Warm Brother, on the other hand, is pretty much entirely the work of Foree. While the debut was a gritty, lo-fi hodgepodge of electronic-aided punk rock, Warm Brother is a bit more varied, more dynamic. There are plenty of acoustic guitars—'nuff said.
Hell, "Homesick for Terror" resembles nothing so much as Sebadoh's "Truly Great Thing," both in vibe and melody, while other tracks, especially "Kisses," are something like a punkish take on '60s girl groups. "Hurts So Bad," meanwhile, is genial acoustic indie-pop—though Foree would probably cut me up for saying so. In the same way that Jay Reatard, who just happens to be Digital Leather's manager, has largely dropped the sleazy punk stuff in favor of hook-laden tunes that are, for lack of a better way of putting it, a bit more grown up, Foree has followed suit. Almost every song on Warm Brother is hummable.
Digital Leather celebrates the release of Warm Brother by performing at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Sunday, Oct. 25. Lenguas Largas and Bullet open the proceedings at 9 p.m. Admission is a mere five bucks. For more information call 622-8848.
Two Tucson expats bring their current bands to town this week for a sort of homecoming.
First up, Lagoon, as you may remember, relocated to Boston a few years back. The group, which once traded in Brit pop influences and evolved into something a bit more original and dynamic, is hard at work on a new, as-yet-untitled album. A sneak peek at a couple of the songs, the highlight of which is the decidedly '80s-guitar-pop-influenced "Heater Rabbit," reveals further progress still. To its credit, the group continues to defy expectations.
Lagoon will perform at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, Oct. 24. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. with opening sets from Umbrella Bird and Rescue Lights. Admission is $5. Call 798-1298 for further details.
Then, next week, it's Mark Matos' turn to show us what he's been up to since relocating to the Bay Area several years ago. Matos released a trio of albums with his former outfit, Campo Bravo, which was highly influenced by Howe Gelb's Giant Sand. His new band, Mark Matos and Os Beaches, comprising Matos and "a collection of regulars of the bars, stages and alleys" of San Francisco, according to a bio, will release its debut album, Words of the Knife, next month on Porto Franco.
The disc is a largely subdued, countrified affair—there's weepy pedal steel all over this thing and the tempo is decidedly down on most tracks. There is a notable lack of Gelb's influence here, and it seems to have been replaced by an affinity for the recent output of Conor Oberst. Which isn't a bad thing at all. On Campo Bravo releases Matos came off a bit self-conscious in his Gelb worship, but the Americana in which Oberst trades these days is a bit more open-ended. Oberst himself steals from the best Americana songwriters, so it's a short jump for Matos to use those same influences and churn out this fine, sleepy album.
Mark Matos and Os Beaches perform a pair of shows in upcoming days. They'll play on the patio at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Oct. 29, and then the following night, Friday, Oct. 30, at the Red Room at Grill, 100 E. Congress St. Both shows are free. Call 622-8848 for info about the Congress show, and 623-7621 for details about the Red Room one.
It's pretty common for nationally touring bands, as their stature and draw grow, to graduate from playing clubs to playing theaters like the Rialto. So, what to make of the fact that indie-rock royalty Built to Spill, which played the Rialto its last time through town, is this week performing at the far smaller Dry River Collective?
BTS frontman Doug Martch apparently came across an online documentary, Radical Resources: The Story of the Dry River Collective, and was duly impressed by the organization—enough so that he contacted the folks who run it and asked to play there.
To accommodate the crowd (get there early or be shut out), the band, which earlier this month issued an excellent new album, There Is No Enemy (Reprise), will perform in the venue's outdoor courtyard. The show is open to all ages, and alcohol is strictly off limits.
Catch Built to Spill in the smallest venue in which you'll ever see it on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Opening at 6:30 p.m. are Disco Doom and Doctor Dinosaur. Dry River Collective is located at 740 N. Main Ave. Admission is a suggested donation of $15 to $20 at the door, and is cash only. For further details head to dryriver.org.
Once again, there are more great acts performing this week than we've got space to tell you about. But be sure to check our club listings for info about these fine shows, among others: Peaches; Art Brut; Brother Ali; The Low Anthem and Blind Pilot; Joan Osborne, Paul Thorn and the Holmes Brothers; the Tucson Bluegrass Festival; Heart; Rob Thomas; Ezra Furman and the Harpoons; Tech N9ne; Cowboy Jack Clement and Marley's Ghost; George Lopez; Colbie Caillat; the Ditty Bops and Silver Thread Trio; Rebelution and Passafire; Kraak & Smaak; Warbringer; Koffin Kats; Chirgilchin and the Lian Ensemble; the Tucson Musician Club's Music of Woodstock.