CATCH THE WAVEPeople ask me all the time, "What are you listening to right now? What should I check out?"
My usual response is to freeze up, draw a blank and respond that they should listen to Warren Zevon or the Temptations. (Note: These recommendations change from day to day.)
Catch me on a good day, though, and I'll have something to spring on you. A few years ago, if you had caught me on the right day, I would likely have recommended a band that's headed our way this week.
The band of which I speak is Rogue Wave, the brainchild of one Zach Rogue, nee Zach Schwartz, aka the guy who plays everything on the first Rogue Wave album. In 2004, I told anyone I could that they should run out and buy Out of the Shadow, the band's Sub Pop debut. In my humble opinion, it was one of the best albums of the year, a jaunt among all forms of modern, poppy indie-rock music without borders or pretention--a really solid album of catchy songs, but not so catchy that you wanna vomit. To boot, they were even better live when I saw them in Austin at South by Southwest that year.
After Rogue brought another musician or two on board to record the follow-up, Descended Like Vultures, that album sounds a bit more like a collaborative effort instead of a high-tech bedroom recording. (OK, so maybe the songs weren't quite as good as the ones on Shadow, but at least the experiment yielded similar results, albeit a bit more smoothly.)
Last year, Rogue Wave switched labels to Brushfire and issued Asleep at Heaven's Gate, which was described as "dreamy" and "loud," but also as an album that started strong but ended in a heap of unfulfilled promise. (For the record, I haven't heard this one.)
Still, as someone who's seen Rogue Wave perform live a couple of times, there's no denying that Rogue and the band he's assembled are immensely talented: You won't regret paying your cover charge.
Rogue Wave performs on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Midnight Movies open at 9:45 p.m. Admission is only $8. Call 798-1298 for more information.
SCARY AT SURLYHow scary can any band that declares itself "The Scariest Band in the World" be? Find out for yourself this week, when San Diego's Deadbolt pulls into Tucson, one of its very favorite tour stops. (To find out why, inquire as to where the afterparty is.)
Perhaps the coolest thing about Deadbolt is that each of their full-length records--all released on Headhunter/Cargo, save one--is a concept album. While the band starts with a base of creepy rockabilly, they also alter their sound according to whatever the current album's theme is (e.g., Voodoo Trucker, Tiki Man and Tijuana Hit Squad). According to our crack research team, their latest is 2005's I Should Have Killed You.
Catch 'em at the Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave., on Saturday, Jan. 26. The show kicks off around 9 p.m. with openers The Mission Creeps and The Dead Tones. Cover is $10. For more info, call 882-0009.
POPPING THE PROTEST CHERRYA few years ago, I took a date to see A.J. Roach based on his 2003 release, Dogwood Winter. It was at Plush, in the lounge up front, and among the 25 or so people in the room, we were probably the only ones there specifically for the music. Like the persistent troubadour he is, Roach kept on playing his gorgeous songs--just him and his trusty acoustic guitar--until, before long, the entire room had taken note and began applauding enthusiastically after each tune. Long before anti-George W. Bush songs were all the rage, he played one that had all 25 of us exploding with laughter, while still making us realize that we were all screwed. It was the first Dubya protest song I ever heard, and it remains one of my favorites.
Don't miss A.J. Roach when he performs at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave, next Thursday, Jan. 31. Admission is $5. Call 623-3200 for further details.
CHEERS FOR CHEERThe evening of July 19, 2006, was deemed dinosaur night on Congress Street. At the Rialto Theatre, legendary Kinks leader Ray Davies was holding court for a slavishly devoted throng of fans. And across the street at Club Congress afterward, Blue Cheer--featuring original singer and bassist Dickie Peterson and drummer Paul Whaley--sought to teach the young'uns where heavy metal came from.
After seeing Davies turn in a spectacular show, it was a bit of a lark: "Yeah, I guess I'll go across the street and see what's left of Blue Cheer." But it turned out to be no lark at all. Everyone who saw them couldn't help but marvel that, at their advanced age, Blue Cheer still fucking rocked, man.
Since that appearance, the trio has released a new album, What Doesn't Kill You ... (2007, Rainman), a respectable 10 songs that will take you straight back to the era that spawned the group. Still, I wholeheartedly recommend checking them out live, where they'll remind you that although Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath may have perfected what became known as heavy metal, bands like Cream, Deep Purple, Vanilla Fudge and Blue Cheer were its earliest proponents, combining blues-rock riffs with a power theretofore unheard.
Blue Cheer perform at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Opening the show at 8 p.m. are Golden Boots and Love Mound. Advance tickets are available at hotelcongress.com for $10; they'll be $12 on the day of show. For additional info, call 622-8848.
SWEET HARMONYYou've probably never heard of Correatown, and you are forgiven for that. You may, however, have heard the voice of Angela Correa (who is Correatown) without even knowing it.
She supplied the singing voice for Jenna Fischer's character, Darlene, in the biopic parody Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. It should come as no surprise, then, that Correa is a singer-songwriter in her own right, and a darn good one at that, based on Correatown's three-song EP, Echoes (self-released). While the EP wouldn't be remarkable if Correa didn't reveal herself as a talented singer and songwriter to keep your eyes (and ears) on, the songs on Echoes benefit from stellar arrangements that incorporate extras like horns ("Pinwheels") and well-executed harmony vocals ("Racing Tides"). The hardest thing about listening to Echoes is reaching for the "repeat" button once it's over.
Angela Correa performs at Preen, 272 E. Congress St., on Friday, Jan. 25. For more information, call 628-2991.