DISCOS, HOLD THE HEADSETS
The relatively new local band Discos seems to be pretty polarizing. People seem to either love them, or say something along the lines of, "They're good at what they do, but I'm just not that into it."
Maybe the naysayers can't get over the fact that they use those goofy headset mics when they perform live—but I have a feeling the group's self-titled debut album, out this week on Baby Cobra, will change some minds. For one thing, you don't have to look at those distracting mics when you listen to it. Second, it's pretty damn great.
The band is composed of veterans and members of other local acts—Ben Degain from Terraformation, Ricky Shimo from Lenguas Largas and The Jons, John Polle from Lenguas Largas and the Solace Bros., and Tommy Melchionda from Twine and Terraformation—and the sound reflects those various influences.
"Hiding on the Surface of the Sun" is a study in restraint. After an opening verse ("There's so many things that are so hard to find / So many questions, so many answers, and so little time") that sounds a bit like Modest Mouse, you expect the chorus to explode, but what comes instead is a nifty percussion-and-guitar interlude that's far more subtle, and all the better for it. "Students of the Nitetime Sky" has a brilliant call-and-response vocal and handclaps, a gauzy haze of distortion that reminds of those beautiful melodies that Yo La Tengo buries under noise and, yes, a noise section of its own. And after all that, it still sounds Californian in origin. "Circle 'Round," on which Polle takes the lead vocal throughout most of the song, sounds the most like one of its members' other projects; no one would have blinked an eye if it had appeared on a Solace Brothers EP.
Elsewhere, "Tow-K-O" sounds like T. Rex filtered through a Here Come the Warm Jets-era Brian Eno prism; "Believers" will have you convinced it's a wobbly instrumental, until a vocal fragment bearing a catchy little melody pops up; and album closer "I Am the Robot" is a slice of retro-futurism with minimal processed vocals intoning its title.
For my taste, there's really not much to dislike here, and I'd urge anyone who dismissed the band early on to give them another chance. You really are missing out.
Discos celebrates the release of its debut CD at the Red Room at Grill, 100 E. Congress St., on Saturday, May 21. The stacked opening lineup includes Shark Pants, Monster Pussy and Otherly Love. Music begins around 10 p.m., and all ages are welcome. Call 623-7621 with questions.
YOUR MISSION: BE IN THREE PLACES AT ONCE
There's a slew of worthwhile local benefits happening around town this week—although three of them happen to be on the same night. Here's a quick, handy guide to being a do-gooder while enjoying some fine live music.
Two former local bands that include past and present members of other current and former local bands (you still with me?) will reunite for the first time in seven years this weekend for a great cause.
In the early-to-mid Aughts, Innisfail and Easyco each had a substantial fan base and were both under the Suicide Lanes Productions promotional umbrella. Innisfail featured Carlos Arzate and Jesse Campbell (both of American Android), Josh Harrison (The Static Session), Matt Mortimer (You Apart) and Nicholas Fiello, along with original bassist Eric Welch, and the band played heavy but ethereal rock.
Easyco included brothers Cameron Hood (Ryanhood) and Kenyon Hood (formerly of American Android), bassist Brock Lang (Sometime the Wolf) and drummer Nadim Shehab (Ryanhood, Doubletop), and played moody rock with big, thick riffs. Both bands broke up in 2004.
The two bands will reunite for a one-time only show sponsored by the Old Pueblo Firefighters Association and Suicide Lane Productions. From a press release: "All proceeds from the show will benefit the family of Rural/Metro firefighter Dennis Bracety, who has been battling a rare and sudden onset of dermatomyositis, a cousin of muscular dystrophy, since Christmas 2010. Medical and family expenses have skyrocketed, and fellow Rural/Metro firefighter/EMT Nico Latini, a longtime friend and former promoter of the bands, has organized the event such that, 'The music I love can help my friend who I love.'"
Innisfail vs. Easyco gets started at 9 p.m., Friday, May 20, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., with an opening set by James Counts. Cover is a suggested donation of $5. For more information, head to plushtucson.com, or call 798-1298.
That same night, the Surly Wench Pub will host a special installation of the Church of Rock Revelations, a somewhat regular and revolving set of shows featuring bands that generally fall on the heavy end of the spectrum, hosted and curated by Larry Horvath, a bartender at Club Congress and member of Great American Tragedy.
At 9 p.m., Friday, May 20, three local bands—Bricktop, The Pork Torta and Pop Gestapo—will perform A Benefit Memorial for Petra "Boggie" Den Bogter, a beloved downtown denizen who recently passed away. Admission is a suggested donation of $5. The Surly Wench Pub is located at 424 N. Fourth Ave., and you can call 882-0009 for more info. R.I.P., Petra.
A benefit at The Rock on the very same night features (mostly) even heavier bands than the Surly Wench show, as well as a more globally minded focus. The Arizona Relief Concert for Japan will feature sets by Annabels Ashes, Leaving Holly, Warsaw, Flesh Factor, Silent Flux, The Hopheads and Ryan Poulson/Drout. Music begins at 6 p.m., and admission is a suggested donation of $5. The Rock is located at 136 N. Park Ave., and you can head to rocktucson.com, or call 629-9211 for more 411.
Finally, on Tuesday, May 24, La Cocina, the restaurant and hotspot located at 201 N. Court Ave., in Old Town Artisans, will feature Dinner and Dancing at La Cocina: A Fundraiser for Casa Libre.
What is Casa Libre, you ask? In their own words: "The mission of Casa Libre en la Solana is to support and enhance the creativity of professional and novice writers by providing uninterrupted time for work through residency programs; and to provide a venue for classes, readings and other professional-development opportunities. For more information, please visit www.casalibre.org."
They've assembled a fine trio of acts for the event, too: '60s girl group throwbacks Kiss and the Tells, the primal Delta blues of Tom Walbank and the eclectic pop of Seashell Radio. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. La Cocina will be donating 10 percent of all food and beverage sales for the evening to the cause. The event runs from 6 to 10 p.m., and you can point your browser to lacocinatucson.com, or call 622-0351 for more information.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Proto-garage rockers The Standells with the Lemon Drop Gang and Love Inks at Club Congress on Wednesday, May 25; the Experience Hendrix tour featuring Billy Cox, Steve Vai, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas (the latter two of which recently performed at the Rialto Theatre as part of Los Lobos) at AVA at Casino del Sol on Tuesday, May 24; Warren G at the Rialto Theatre next Thursday, May 26; Sleepy Sun, La Cerca and Louise Le Hir at Club Congress on Tuesday, May 24; Bret Michaels at AVA at Casino del Sol on Saturday, May 21; Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum as part of the Courtyard Concert Series at Plaza Palomino on Saturday, May 21; The Chop Tops, The Cowbelleros, Radio Threat and Roadrunner Gunner at The Rock on Sunday, May 22; A Faylene Sky, As Artifacts, American Mantra and Rosaline at Skrappy's on Wednesday, May 25; Mr. Boogie Woogie farewell party at Boondocks Lounge on Sunday, May 22; Dr. Dinosaur tour kickoff show with Run, Forever, Plague Party and Run-On Sunshine at Dry River Collective next Thursday, May 26; Louise Le Hir tour sendoff with St. St., Jessa Cordova, Forrest Fallows and Clay Koweek at the Red Room at Grill on Tuesday, May 24; ... music video?, Ligre and End of the World Party at Plush next Thursday, May 26; Ferrodyne, Amy Rude and Stephen Robert at Plush tonight, Thursday, May 19; the Heather Hardy Band featuring TJ Swan at Boondocks Lounge on Saturday, May 21; Hank Topless at Plush on Tuesday, May 24; A Fall to Break, Angelic to Ashes, You Apart and others at The Rock on Saturday, May 21; Whole Lotta Zep and Heartbeat at Club Congress on Friday, May 20.