LOOK AT THESE BOOTSBefore there was a Galactic Federation of Love or a Sugarbush, there was Golden Boots, which comprises those bands' Dimitri Manos and Ryan Eggleston. The duo this week celebrates the release of a new mini-album, Bland Canyon (Soild Gold).
If there's one thing the bands of Manos and Eggleston share, it's a certain artfulness in every facet of their endeavors. True to form, the Boots sent along the new disc in a package made from an old thrift store album cover that boasts the contents inside constitute a "DANCE PARTY." The accompanying letter was typed on an actual typewriter (seriously, think about it--when was the last time you saw anything typewritten that didn't come from a computer?) and had taped to it a Camel Light cigarette butt and part of a label from Red Hook beer, edited by handy scissor work to read "ook." And it was signed by both band members (with pseudonyms listed below: "Winter 8's" and "S. Crow"), as well as their "manager." The sense of whimsy carries over to the duo's music, too.
With seven songs in about 20 minutes and opening with a spoken introduction ("Welcome to Golden Boots in the Bland Canyon adventure"), complete with easy-listening background music and whistling, Bland Canyon doesn't get any less curious from there. The album is separated into three sections--Acts One, Two, and Eight--and the logic in the numbering makes about as much sense to me as the fact that it's separated into parts in the first place. But then you don't exactly listen to Eggleston and Manos' bands for a sense of logic, do you? No, you sign up for an infectious quirkiness that comes with every project these guys lay their hands on, and Golden Boots are certainly no exception.
Stylistically the duo sounds more like Galactic Feds than Sugarbush, but it's its own ramshackle entity; the Boots are not ebullient like the former, but share a certain sensibility. The shades of psychedelia in GFOL are more pronounced on Bland Canyon, but shot through with a dose of desert-fried country a la the Meat Puppets or Giant Sand. There are '60s-psych harmonies and production, off-kilter hooks everywhere and a sense that the wheels could come unhinged at some point. But just when you think they've lost their way, another hummable section smacks you upside the head. "Lose the Tension" could be a mid-period Flaming Lips outtake if they had an office in the Brill Building, but beyond that, most comparisons are too far reaching to make. This is highly original, intoxicating stuff.
Golden Boots hold a release party for Bland Canyon at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, May 28. They'll be sandwiched between an opening set by Electroshockbox and a closing one from George Squier Orchestra. Things get underway at 9:45 p.m. Cover is a paltry $3. For more information, call 798-1298 or log on to plushtucson.com.
Also releasing a new CD this week are locals Love Mound, who play pummeling boogie-blues rock at deafening volume, and as Martha Stewart might say, "It's a good thing." The release party goes down at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., at 9 p.m. on Friday, May 27. Openers are Tom Walbank and the Ambassadors, Phoenix's Stepchild and Play: Alpha. Admission is $4. For further details, call 622-8848 or log on to hotelcongress.com.
KICKOFF CASENeko Case has no problem keeping busy these days. In between stints recording her long-awaited solo studio follow-up to 2002's Blacklisted at Wavelab Studios, she's managed to record two albums with her other band, the New Pornographers (including a new, as yet unreleased one set for release later this year on Matador) as well as tour with them, and embark upon two tours with backing band The Sadies, the first of which yielded the fantastic live album The Tigers Have Spoken (2004, Anti-). And to top it off, somewhere in there, she found the time to help install a fence at her home, too. (Does this woman ever sleep?) This week, she takes that transcendent set of pipes of hers on the road once again, with the tour's kickoff date taking place right here in Tucson. Also on the bill: Case's Seattle pals Visqueen, who include the Fastbacks' Kim Varnick as well as Rachel Flotard.
Neko Case and Visqueen perform at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Advance tix are available for $12 at hotelcongress.com. They'll be $14 on the day of the show. Questions? They've got answers at 622-8848.
DRAMA QUEENSHaving wrested the title of "thinking man's hard rock band" from previous purveyors such as Blue Oyster Cult via four stone-solid albums since 1998 (and adding the adjectives "dark" and "sexy" to the equation like no band before), Queens of the Stone Age return to the newly renovated Rialto Theatre this week in support of their latest triumph, Lullabies to Paralyze (2005, Interscope).
The band rose from the ashes of Kyuss, the band that made stoner rock cool for a new generation, with singer/guitarist Josh Homme, drummer Alfredo Hernandez and bassist Nick Oliveri all moving from that band to the Queens. While Oliveri left for a spell to join Dwarves before the band completed their first album, he rejoined soon after. But in typical dramatic, fashion he once again left the fold a year or two ago, this time in a rather acrimonious firing by Homme, to rejoin Dwarves, who quickly issued a song lambasting QOTSA as "Queens of the Trust Fund." (Nasty!) These days, Homme is the sole remaining founding member, but the band still includes fellow vocalist Mark Lanegan (ex-Screaming Trees), who joined up in time for the recording of the Queens' 2002 album Songs for the Deaf (Interscope).
Homme will do double duty at the Rialto show this week, as he's the drummer for openers Eagles of Death Metal, whose 2004 album Peace Love Death Metal (Rekords/Rekords), despite the band's misleading name, is a pastiche of '70s rock memes. (The album includes a cover of Stealer's Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle," recast here as "Stuck in the Metal," and "San Berdoo Sunburn" is a near carbon copy of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky.")
Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal perform on Saturday, May 28. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the all-ages show. The Rialto Theatre is located at 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available at rialtotheatre.com for $22.50. For more information, call 740-1000.
ON THE BANDWAGONA few other shows worth consideration this week:
Howe Gelb wraps up his stint of early cabaret benefit shows at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., this week before heading out for a lengthy European tour with his Giant Sand bandmates. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 27, for the all-ages, non-smoking performance. Admission is $7. Call 622-8848 for further info.
Oakland trio Giant Haystacks headline another early bird gig on Sunday, May 29, at the Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave., that also includes The Cuntifiers, featuring Greg Petix of the late, great Weird Lovemakers, and Staircase Wit, who kick things off at 7 p.m. On their brand new album Blunt Instrument, the Haystacks come off like A winning merger between the Minutemen and Mission of Burma. For more details, call 882-0009.
After seeing them compared to The Replacements and Cheap Trick--two of my all-time favorites--man, was I excited to hear Truckless' 2004 self-released EP. After hearing it, I'm still fairly excited, even though it hardly reminds me of either band. Rather, it's a decidedly indie-rock affair with songs boasting some nifty but uncomplicated guitar work, even if they go on too long and aren't exactly loaded with hooks. Catch Truckless at The Red Room at Grill, 100 E. Congress St., at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31. Call 623-7621 for more info.