Remember how I told you all summer to be patient? That, despite the driest music summer in, like, forever, we'd be swimming in awesome shows come fall?

Well, just in case you haven't been paying attention ... it's fall, bitches! (Well, close enough, anyway.)

Sure, the HoCo Festival kicked things off in grand style. But if this week's extensive tally of kick-ass shows doesn't convince you that things are heating up around here, even as temperatures are dropping, you, my friend, are a Negative Nelly.

As Perry Farrell once wailed, "Here we go!"


Two longstanding and rightfully lauded local acts are releasing new CDs this week, and, yes, celebrating those releases with parties--on back-to-back nights at Club Congress.

The Tucson institution that is Greyhound Soul is up first, performing on Friday, Sept. 14, in honor of their Tonight and Every Night. Details about that show can be found in our Rhythm and Views section, where you'll find a review of the new disc, courtesy of Gene Armstrong.

The following night, it's Namoli Brennet's turn. The release of her sixth (!) CD, Singer Shine Your Light, will be celebrated at Congress on Saturday, Sept. 15.

The disc is another fine outing from folk-rocker Brennet. "California," the album's first song, is a sunny slice of shuffle-pop that pays homage to its namesake state in sound as well as in its lyrics. "Just Like Falling" features a strummy indie-pop guitar and some vintage synth that doesn't detract from its homespun charm. "Rebel Sun" is an atmospheric little creeper that somehow calls to mind the Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks era of Fleetwood Mac.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Singer Shine Your Light, for those of us who thought Brennet was merely a fantastic singer/songwriter and guitarist, anyway, comes via a perusal of the liner notes: Aside from a trumpet part on one song and an acoustic bass on another, Brennet played and sang everything on the entire album. Her credits, as they appear here, include: "vocals, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, bowed guitar, electric guitar, ebow, piano, synth, vocoder, rhodes, drums, shakers, tambourine, cajon, harmonica, banjo, mandolin, bass and glockenspiel." Perhaps most remarkable of all, you'd never guess it from listening to the album, which has the warm feel of a band hashing it out in the studio, as opposed to the "home recording project" that sometimes results in similar situations. With Singer Shine Your Light, Brennet has once again furthered her reputation as one of our musical treasures.

Namoli Brennet performs on Saturday at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. with a set from opener Liz Stahler. Cover is $5. More info: 622-8848.


Along with Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, there may be no act more totemic of what's been termed freak-folk than New York's Animal Collective.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Animal Collective is that they're able to coax infectious pop hooks from the whole mess of folk, psychedelia and twisted noise excursions. Simply put, no one else sounds anything remotely like Animal Collective.

Earlier this week, the group released their latest confection, Strawberry Jam (Domino), which, much to my surprise, was recorded right here in Tucson, at WaveLab Studio. As with past Animal Collective ventures, there's an overriding sense of giddy fun; one gets the sense that everything here is happening accidentally, that inventive discovery is just part of the process in arriving at cosmic bliss. These guys know exactly what they're doing. Imagine the poppiness of the Shins or Skylarking-era XTC meeting up with a pack of plushies banging on garbage just to hear what it sounds like, and you still can't approximate what's going on here: pure ebullient brilliance.

Animal Collective redeem those rain checks issued after last year's cancelled local performance by performing next Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. The all-ages show begins at 8 p.m. with an opening set from Wizard Prison. Advance tickets are available for $17 at the Rialto box office, online at or by calling 740-1000.


We haven't heard anything from local rockin' rockabilly outfit Last Call Brawlers in a while, so we were most pleased to get a recent e-mail which alerted us to the following: The Brawlers have just completed recording a new album, Pointing Fingers, which will be released in November. Better yet, they're giving us a sneak peek (sneak listen?) of all 16 tracks--which guitarist Justin Valdez describes as "different than ones in the past"--at a gig this week.

Check out the new stuff from Last Call Brawlers at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., on Saturday, Sept. 15. The show begins at 10 p.m. with openers U.T.A. , Blue Collar Criminals and Tempers Flare. Cover is $4. For answers to those burning questions, call 622-3535.


The preliminary round of competition for the Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation's Blues Challenge takes over Club Congress on Sunday afternoon. The cream of the crop will go on to next Sunday's finals, with the first-place finisher earning an all-expenses-paid trip to Memphis, Tenn., to compete in the nationwide International Blues Challenge contest.

Here's the lineup of competing acts: Mojo Gumbo (1 p.m.); Southwest Blues Project (1:35 p.m.); Only Revolutions (2:10 p.m.); Rocky Perryman and the Cure (2:45 p.m.); break; Ken Tucker and James Swafford (4:20 p.m.); 56 Deluxe (4:55 p.m.); Train-Wreck (5:25 p.m.); Total Disaster (6 p.m.).

Blues fans, head to Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Sunday, Sept. 16, to lend your support. Admission to this all-ages extravaganza is a $5 donation. For more info, call 622-8848.


It's always nice to see a critically lauded performer's star on the rise, and this week, the Rialto Theatre hosts two shows by two artists whose popularity seems to be catching up with their reviews.

First up is folk-pop songstress Brandi Carlile, who we've watched graduate from the relatively cozy confines of Plush to opening slots, then headlining gigs at the far larger Rialto. She'll be performing this week as part of VH1's You Oughta Know tour, an extension of the channel's "Artists You Oughta Know" program of exposing artists they deem worthy of adulation to the masses. Opening the show is A Fine Frenzy, aka 22-year-old singer-songwriter and self-taught pianist Alison Sudol, who recently released her debut album, One Cell in the Sea, on Virgin Records.

They'll hit the Rialto Theatre at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15. Tickets for the all-ages show are available for $20 for general admission and reserved balcony seats. General admission tickets will be $2 more on the day of show.

Similarly, soulful Scottish crooner/songwriter Paolo Nutini performed in Tucson in March, at Club Congress, as part of the WXSW festival, and this week graduates to the Rialto as well. (Coincidentally, both he and A Fine Frenzy were on the bill for Esquire magazine's SXSW showcase this year, along with Spoon and Iggy and the Stooges.) The gravel-voiced Nutini released his acclaimed debut album, These Streets (Atlantic), last year, and to top it all off, the dude still isn't old enough to drink a beer.

He'll be at the Rialto Theatre, which is located at 318 E. Congress St., on Wednesday, Sept. 19. An opener TBA will start things off at 8 p.m. Advance tix for the all-ages show are $20; they'll be a buck more on the day of the show. Call 740-1000 for more info on either of these shows.

Plush is hosting a pair of shows from singer/songwriters who began their musical lives as part of well-respected bands.

Anders Parker is a longtime Soundbites favorite. We've been a fan ever since the debut album by his vaguely psychedelic folk outfit Varnaline, and if anything, his songwriting has only gotten better over the years. There's nothing fancy going on here, just a guy who writes killer songs and has a gorgeous voice through which he conveys them. Your cover charge also allows you to see two killer local acts, openers Loveland and headliners Little Sisters of the Poor. $6 gets you in the door, and things get underway at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15.

Even though it's been a dozen years since he departed his position as co-leader of the now-defunct alt-country giants The Jayhawks, Mark Olson will probably forever be tagged with the "formerly of" tag. In fact, Olson has never stopped creating music since he left, first with his wife, Victoria Williams, in the Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers, and now, with the recent release of the highly praised The Salvation Blues (2007, HackTone), as a true blue solo artist. He'll be at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Dead Rock West opens at 9 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $10 via; they'll be $12 on the day of show. For further details about either show, call 798-1298.

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