A STRANGE KIND OF LOVE
Apparently, it's "write about shows happening on Friday the 23rd" week here at Soundbites, since three of the events mentioned in this space this edition fall that night (one of which is being held at a waterpark, more on that later), but hey, sometimes that's how it goes. Life is full of tough decisions.
Club Congress' contribution to that decision dilemma is the CD release show from electronic-accented-alternative-rock act St. Varela. Joshua Levine didn't seem to love their debut album, Way Up Here It's Quiet, in a previous issue of the Weekly (Rhythm & Views, March 27), but there are definitely some interesting hooks and solid songs on there, although he's definitely right that the disc would be most appealing to those who remember '90s alternative with some fondness. I'm sure there will be some of deal on the album at the show Friday night, but if you can't wait, the digital version's only $6 at stvarela.bandcamp.com and I don't regret spending the money to grab a copy.
Also on the bill that night, American Android, who are returning after a year-long hiatus to play a farewell show, and Sun Bones. The show's free and kicks off at 9 p.m. More info at hotelcongress.com or 622-8848.
YOU'RE SO CLOSE
Not on Friday, but dropping by 191 Toole for a Tuesday night affair are Nashville-via-Sacramento's Golden Youth, on a bill with Cardboard Kids, SIGNALS and Spider Cider. I might just be losing my mind, but there's something about the super-pleasant, mildly orchestral sounds of Golden Youth that reminds me of some of the slightly-edgier Christian rock I listened to around the turn of the century, sort of Sixpence None the Richer-y, if you will. I honestly don't mean that as an insult, there's just something really bright and charming about the group's music, with handclaps, strings and xylophones popping up on various tracks and Stephanie Lauren's quite beautiful vocals right up front. The band are on a brief run of dates celebrating their second album, The Cabin, which they recorded partially in, well, a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. Based only on a brief album trailer on YouTube, it sounds like the group might have gone a little more loudish-Sigur-Ros songs on this new album, but if you like pretty, seemingly sincere music, cough up the $7 and surprise yourself a bit. Doors are scheduled to open at 7 p.m. at 191 Toole and more info can be found on the venue's Facebook page (facebook.com/191toole).
CUTS YOU UP
On an entirely different note, the Rhythm and Roots concert series is bringing Roy Book Binder to town on Saturday night for an early show (well, 7 p.m., which is sort of early for Saturday) at Club Congress. Binder, a 70-year-old roots/blues guitarist originally from Queens, he returned from military service as a young man to make the right kind of friends, first becoming pals with Dave Van Ronk (the inspiration for Inside Llewyn Davis), then becoming a student/chauffeur/tour companion of the legendary Rev. Gary Davis. Binder's played with seemingly everyone in the roots community since then and still tours the country playing a mix of blues standards and his own solid originals. Tickets for Roy Book Binder's all-ages show at Club Congress on Saturday, May 24 are $16 in advance, $20 day of show. More info at hotelcongress.com or by calling 622-8848.
I guess we all grow up as time goes on, so it shouldn't be too surprising that Puerto Rican hip-hop/reggaeton act Calle 13 matured a bit over the course of the five albums they've released since 2005. While political subjects showed up a bit in their early work, their eponymous first album, which won a stack of Latin Grammys, was mostly a playful take on the generally sex-heavy reggaeton of the era. As time went on, the group moved away from the reggaeton trend towards an alternative-Latin-rap sort of thing, upped the ambition and generally broadened their sound, mixing in rhythms from outside their Puerto Rican sphere of influence.
Now, with their newest album, Multi Viral, they've ditched their major label and embarked on a more emotional lyrical tone. It's a strange and interesting record, one you wouldn't have expected from two guys who used to use phrases like "sausage sandwich" in their sexual euphemisms. Even if you're not into thoughtful, ambitious Latin music, at very least, frontman Residente sounds a lot like a Latin Eminem, so that might be enough for you to check out the show Friday night. Calle 13 are scheduled to perform May 23 at the Rialto, with Manuel Garcia opening. Tickets are $33 to $43 and more info can be found at the Rialto's snappy new website, rialtotheatre.com or by calling 740-1000.
THE SWEETEST DROP
A quick note, Che's Lounge has been putting on shows on their patio Sunday afternoons lately, so if you're too old to deal with evening shows on a Sunday night, are afraid you'll miss this week's half-season finale of Mad Men (poor Bob Benson!) or are still stumbling around after an intense brunch session, drop by for free music, snowcones and your choice of delicious beverages. This week, Loveland, featuring David Bryan's clever, poetic take on alt-country, will be outdoors for your enjoyment from 5 to 7 p.m. More info at Che's Facebook page, which you'll have to search for yourself.
KEEP ME FROM HARM
Finally, just so you know, Queensrÿche and Warrant are playing a "Wait, who is that guy singing lead?" doubleheader on Friday, May 23 at noted local area concert venue Breakers Water Park. Tickets range from $32 for general admission tickets up to $152 for "Extreme VIP" access, which includes access to the "artist's lounge" and a "special guest acoustic performance TBA." More info at breakerswaterpark.com. Something for everyone this week, am I right?