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Boris

By Jess Harvell | Posted 5/31/2006

WEDNESDAY: The four cuddly Scottish mop-tops in Snow Patrol scored a few minor hits on this side of the Atlantic in 2004 with “Spitting Games” and “Run.” Like a The O.C.-friendly My Bloody Valentine, the band mixes swoony, atmospheric guitars with brokenhearted laments from very sensitive boys. It’s probably not something you’d want to admit to liking in public, but thankfully we live in the shame-free world of the iPod. You and a few hundred indie-rock gamines can enjoy Snow Patrol tonight at Washington’s 9:30 Club.

THURSDAY: In the early 1980s, ABC admirably extended the Roxy Music tradition of faux-opulence and arch lyrics about love and money. In his gold lamé suit, Martin Fry pushed his awkward croon to ecstatic heights over the Nelson Riddle strings and synthesizer stabs concocted by ’80s superproducer Trevor Horn. Unfortunately, its parody of upward mobility became horrible yuppie reality later in the decade, as that arched-brow relaxed into a smug celebration of the good life. Still, you can’t fade its classic album The Lexicon of Love, and tonight a reconstituted ABC milks the still-lucrative ’80s nostalgia circuit at Rams Head Live.

FRIDAY: California grindcore band Phobia has released records on a label called Deathvomit. You might think that tells you about all you need to know. But rather than just grossing you out, Phobia reaches back to the earliest days of grind and crust, when bands’ members still sported Crass patches on their denim jackets and wanted to affect social change by grunting about interest rates. Not quite as tight or varied musically as the mighty Pig Destroyer, Phobia still radiates a negative energy live that’s positively toxic—and that’s a good thing. Expect folks in dreadlocks with dogs on strings outside the Sidebar tonight.

SATURDAY: Soul Position, the indie-rap concern of producer RJD2 and MC Blueprint, brings its mix of low-protein social comment and old-school grooves to Sonar. RJ lays down horn riffs, funk bass lines, and ’70s soul samples like a cleaner, less blunted Madlib, and Blueprint adds a bit of much needed self-deprecation on the mic. Also tonight the Supreme Imperial space reopens after a layoff, with a graphic novel release party for local cartoonist Neal Shaffer. Plans Plans, Bo Lee Da, Johnny Beverly 1989, and DJ Sweet Potato provide the musical accompaniment. And at An die Musik, a trio of Jack Wright on reeds, Reuben Radding on bass, and Denman Maroney on “hyperpiano” splits the difference between fractured jazz and the classical avant-garde. “Hyperpiano” basically means Maroney sticks a bunch of crap between the strings, upending the pitch and timbral qualities of the piano itself.

SUNDAY: Put on your pink leather jacket: Japanese metal legend Boris is at the Ottobar. From its earliest days playing nearly immobile drones—memorably described by Earth’s Dylan Carlson as “the soundtrack to two slugs fucking”—Boris has evolved into the world’s greatest biker band, mixing up thrashing, three-minute garage-rock blasts with celestial shoegaze that reeks of gasoline fumes. Plus the bass can unclog toilets and flatten unsuspecting dogs.

MONDAY: Your ears are going to need a bit of a rest after Boris.

TUESDAY: Hey, go take a look at your calendar. Tonight is 6-6-06. Spooky, eh? Well, if we don’t wake up in the middle of the rapture, you can enjoy the bonkers barbershop of the Lexie Mountain Boys at a special 666 party at the Talking Head. What better way to celebrate impending doom—or, uh, Tuesday—than a bunch of women mixing up field hollers, performance art, and general weirdness?

WEDNESDAY: A few years ago, brass band culture was one of New Orleans’ best-kept secrets. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, however, brass bands have been forced to take it to the road almost continuously, just to stay afloat. Tonight the Rebirth Brass Band once again visits Baltimore at the 8X10. Rebirth is one of America’s greatest party bands, mixing up classic New Orleans hot jazz, the stomp of a marching band’s front line, the percussive attack of go-go, the attitude of hip-hop, and the raunch of a Redd Foxx record.

IN THE WINGS: Releasing somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion records over the past few years (which puts them ahead of Sun Ra but still behind Merzbow), Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice take a willfully naive approach to folk, jazz, and noise, a sort of “once you learn how to properly play, you kill the spirit of the music” kind of thing. Yeah, yeah, you’re sick of neo-hippies and their limited-edition cassette masterworks, too. But while Wooden Wand’s music is often oblique, it can also be beautiful. Probably best heard on a porch, the Wooden Wand collective camps out at the Talking Head on June 22. (For more info call [410] 962-5588 or visit talkingheadclub.com.)

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Keeping Up (12/2/2009)
Nearly 20 years after his death, Arthur Russell finally gets the biography he deserves

Human Architecture (7/29/2009)
The protagonist isn't the only one obsessed with capturing life in two dimensions in Asterios Polyp

The Unseen (11/5/2008)
Catherine Pancake and Jai Brooks Capture a Slice of Black Baltimore Lesbian Life in Jay Dreams

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