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COVER THIS!

A bit of business to start off this week: The organizers of the 2011 edition of The Great Cover-Up (of which I'm one), during which local acts each perform a 20-minute set of songs by a particular artist for charity—specifically, the Tucson Artists and Musicians Healthcare Alliance—are now accepting submissions.

If you're interested in participating, email greatcoveruptucson@gmail.com with your band name, what type of music you normally play, your top three picks for bands/artists you'd like to cover, and a contact name and number and/or e-mail address. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 14.

The 14th Annual Great Cover-Up will be held at three venues over three nights: Thursday, Dec. 15, at Plush; Friday, Dec. 16, at Club Congress; and Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Rialto Theatre.


THIS WEEK'S FESTIVALS!

While our own Fall Club Crawl® will be pimped in these pages next week, here's the lowdown on two festivals happening this week.

When you're putting together a one-day festival with as many biggish-name acts as "new rock" radio station KFMA FM 92.1/101.3 does for its annual KFMA's Fall Ball, which is set to take place on Sunday, Sept. 25, there are bound to be some casualties in booking. Unfortunately, the casualties usually seem to affect the biggest bands on the bill.

We all remember the year Metallica was going to play, then they weren't, then they did. This year, the original headliner, Stone Temple Pilots, dropped off the bill about three weeks after being announced due to "unavoidable scheduling conflicts," according to a band press release. However, check the station's website, and it would appear the station is carrying something of a grudge: "With the announcement that our previous headliner decided to not play the show, Korn stepped in to show some love to Tucson."

"Decided," huh?

So, yeah, Korn, who just "showed some love to Tucson" at the Tucson Convention Center in March, is the new headliner for the show (they're scheduled to hit the stage at 8:30 p.m.), which also will feature performances by Staind (7:05 p.m.), Five Finger Death Punch (5:50 p.m.), Chevelle (4:35 p.m.), Asking Alexandria (3:35 p.m.), Middle Class Rut (2:35 p.m.), Falling in Reverse (1:45 p.m.) and Redlight King (12:55 p.m.).

Gates open at noon, Sunday, Sept. 25, at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way. Advance tickets are available for $36 at all Domino's Pizza locations (yes, they'll deliver your tickets along with a pizza) or online at smithstix.com. For lots more info, head to kfma.com, or call 407-4500.

Meanwhile, Phat Entertainment presents PHATfest, an EDM (electronic dance music) festival on two consecutive nights, at two different locations: Friday, Sept. 23, at Hotel Congress, and Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Rialto Theatre. Each venue will feature both an indoor and outdoor stage.

Here's what the schedule looks like:

Friday, Sept. 23, at Hotel Congress: Indoor Stage: RUN DMT (1 a.m.), Donald Glaude (midnight), Cowboy Mike (11 p.m.), Ms. Sparks (10 p.m.), Electric Feel DJs (9 p.m.), Disko Bomb (8 p.m.).

Friday, Sept. 23, at Hotel Congress: Outdoor Stage: Phabulous Phunk (1 a.m.), Dirtyphonics live (11:30 p.m.), DJ MLE (10:30 p.m.), Blank (9:30 p.m.), Ghast (8:30 p.m.), PC Party (7 p.m.).

Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Rialto Theatre: Indoor Stage: Infected Mushroom live (12:30 a.m.), Autoerotique (11:30 p.m.), Thee-O (10:30 p.m.), Squarzan (9:30 p.m.), Whiteboi (8:30 p.m.), Sonario (7 p.m.).

Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Rialto Theatre: Outdoor Stage: DLO vs. Estefex (1 a.m.), At Dawn We Rage (midnight), DJ Hart (11 p.m.), Tranceducer (10 p.m.), Zev (9 p.m.), Blakeland (8 p.m.).

Advance tickets for PHATfest are available for $30 per night, or $55 for a two-day pass, at both venues, Razorz Edge on Fourth Avenue, or online at phatfest2011.com, where you'll find lots more information. VIP packages are also available. Those 18 and over are welcome, but you must be 21 or older to drink.


FULL HOUSE

If you don't have tickets in hand for the Emmylou Harris show at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., on Friday, Sept. 23, it's time to start hitting Craigslist. The show, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is sold out. The number to call with any questions is 547-3040.


GROWTH AND HEART

When Alan Palomo's Neon Indian performed in Tucson two years ago, he sat at what seemed to be the pinnacle of hype with his debut album, 2009's Psychic Chasms (One Label), one of chillwave's greatest successes.

His second album, Era Extraña (Static Tongues), was released earlier this month, and it shows a lot of growth over a mere two years.

Palomo worked with producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Weezer) on the new album, and it shows. Gone, for the most part, are the charming lo-fi bedroom recordings, replaced by expansive layers of sound, slightly more-defined song structures, and more-memorable hooks. The sound is still mostly created by instruments without strings, but there's room on the album for a song like "The Blindside Kiss," which sounds like a Jesus and Mary Chain joint with a few blips and chirps here and there. Above all, the heart contained in Palomo's early work, which is the reason so many signed up in the first place, remains intact on Era Extraña.

Neon Indian performs at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Monday, Sept. 26. Doors open at 7 p.m. for this 18-and-over show, and Com Truise, who recently had to cancel an opening slot for Active Child at Solar Culture Gallery, opens. Advance tickets are available for $12 at ticketfly.com; they'll be $14 on the day of the show. For more 411, head to hotelcongress.com, or call 622-8848.


AMERICANA ON DISPLAY

On her second album, Driftwood (2011, Little Knickers), San Francisco's Nicki Bluhm traverses a landscape littered with several forms of Americana—soul, folk, blues, country and pop—and emerges with something that sounds at once fresh and familiar.

The lore is this: Nicki performed an impromptu blues song at a New Year's Eve party one year and caught the ear of producer and musician Tim Bluhm, the singer, guitarist and primary songwriter of the underrated Mother Hips. With his encouragement, Nicki began writing her own songs and performing live. They worked together on her debut album, 2008's Toby's Song—and Nicki caught Tim's eye, too: The pair was married shortly after the album's release.

Now comes the follow-up. Released in February, Driftwood culls the best elements of American roots music and sounds absolutely timeless. Album opener "Carousel" is a lovely slice of soulful singer-songwriter fare, but it sort of misleads regarding what follows: "Before You Loved Me" is a sparse and gorgeous country-soul ballad before it blows up into a chorus of slow-burning blues; "Mountain Out of Nothing" reminds of a time when Olivia Newton-John was marketed as a country artist; and the whimsical "Barbary Blues" recalls old-timey music in the same way Mary Hopkin's "Those Were the Days" did, but adds some boogie to the mix.

Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers perform at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Monday, Sept. 26. The all-ages show begins at 8 p.m. with opening sets from The Awkward Moments and the Gramblers' guitarist, Dave Mulligan. Admission is $8. For further info, check out solarculture.org, or call 884-0874.


ON THE BANDWAGON

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones at the Plaza Palomino Courtyard Concert Series on Friday, Sept. 23; SpaceLAB Recordings presents the 4 Deep in a Honda Tour featuring Ciphurphace, Ollie OX, Jake Palumbo, C-Zar Van Gogh and others at Vaudeville next Thursday, Sept. 29; Special Head CD-release at La Cocina next Thursday, Sept. 29; A Fall to Break and CCS Crew joint CD-release party at The Rock on Saturday, Sept. 24; Men at Work frontman Colin Hay at Club Congress on Wednesday, Sept. 28; The Hillbenders at Suite 147 in Plaza Palomino on Saturday, Sept. 24; Michael Grimm at the Rialto Theatre on Friday, Sept. 23; All Souls Procession Fundraiser with Key Ingredients of African Soul and Flam Chen at The Hut on Saturday, Sept. 24; Serene Dominic at Plush on Tuesday, Sept. 27; The Goddamn Gallows, Jake Orvis and the Broken Band, The Furys and James Hunnicut at the Surly Wench Pub on Friday, Sept. 23; Green Revolution Records Launch Party at Sky Bar on Sunday, Sept. 25; The White Panda at The Rock next Thursday, Sept. 29; the Mystic Roots Band and Planet Jam at The Hut next Thursday, Sept. 29; Iration and Tomorrows Bad Seeds at Club Congress on Sunday, Sept. 25; The Swigs at Sky Bar on Thursday, Sept. 22; Muddy Bug and David Rose at the Red Room at Grill on Thursday, Sept. 22; Tom Walbank and the Ambassadors, Amy Rude and Chris Black at Plush on Saturday, Sept. 24.

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