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The Short List


By Jess Harvell | Posted 6/14/2006

WEDNESDAY: A decade after his last records of any note, debate still rages as to whether Rakim is still the G.O.A.T. among MCs; you can judge for yourself tonight on Sonar’s main stage. Meanwhile, for something completely different, Philadelphia’s Matt Pond PA brings its swoony, cello-driven indie rock to Sonar’s club stage with locals the Seldon Plan if you’re less of a microphone fiend and more of a cardigan rocker.

THURSDAY: The Talking Head shimmers with reverb and shudders with echo tonight as local shoegazers Thrushes make love to their effects pedals and wide-screen guitars. Wax and Wane, Bébés d’Oeufs, and Koshari provide the sympathetic noise-pop accompaniment. Lace up your boots and break out the braces, the Slumlords defend the spirit of hardcore at the Ottobar against the invading hordes in fauxhawks, black eyeliner, and girl jeans. They’re joined by fellow no trend stalwarts the Spark, Deep Sleep, and Supreme Commander.

FRIDAY: Indie hip-hop at the turn of the millennium was a glorious thing: dense, disorienting, virulently anti-commercial, and with beats that sounded like they had been faxed over an 80-baud modem from Mars. Mr. Lif keeps that cyberpunk spirit alive tonight with a solo turn at Sonar, with backup from Cage, Camu Tao, and Yak Ballz. Maryland label Insubordination Records has been putting in work in the pop-punk underground for a long time, and this weekend it holds its 10th Anniversary Festival at the Sidebar. The first night features a mix of locals and out-of-towners: the Prozacs, Steinways, Varsity Weirdos, Johnnie 3, Geisha Lightning, A/V Club, Apers, and Zoinks. The Copycat Building groans and poings like the insides of a dying Tokyo arcade when Death Set, Jones, Shawn Phase, and Prog Dogs splutter, fuzz, spazz, and generally do things to machines and musical instruments that their inventors didn’t intend. It’s another fine display of the bent circuit terrorism and whacked pop smarts that Baltimore specializes in.

SATURDAY: The second day of the Insubordination Records 10th Anniversary Festival is at the Sidebar with Hot Cops, Vents, JSP, Stabones, Peashooter, Team Stray, Sick Sick Birds, Peabodys, Copyrights, and the Ergs. Fans of buzzing three-chord power pop, they salute you. The long-lived, if slightly obscure, Swiss jazz band Day and Taxi come to the Red Room at Normals Books and Records with their dry, lyrical, and conceptual swing. House of Style it ain’t: Wham City holds a fashion show featuring local thread merchants and grinding, shrieks, and splurts from Death Set, Fascist Fascist, and more. The drolly named White People are part of Boston’s aptly named Twisted Village family of noisy nogoodniks, and tonight they scorch the True Vine alongside the avant-garage of Scarcity of Tanks.

SUNDAY: Sunday is the Lord’s day, a day of rest, but not at Charm City Space, which hosts a bajillion-band bill of punk/hardcore/other. Say hello to the work week with Iron Lung, Insect Warfare, Triac, Endless Blockade, Gruk, Akkolyte, Spoonful of Vicodin, Chainsaw to the Face, Deceiver, and the Cult Classics. Special shouts to Chainsaw to the Face, a name we can appreciate these days. The Are We Not Men?! party at the Depot flips a middle finger to queer gentrification with Washington synth-punk duo Hott Beat and DJ Stace of Bass. Non-queers or the merely confused also welcome.

MONDAY: If you’re into the jam-band thing, you can check out ALO at the 8X10 with June Star. If you’re into the punk rock thing, you can check out 451, Lucy Grave, Skyflowers, and First Person View at Charm City Space.

TUESDAY: From dime-store Erasure to sodomizing a bull with a blowtorch, Al Jourgensen and Ministry paved the way for industrial music to take its rightful place in the pantheon alongside Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Gwar. Tonight, Jourgensen and Co. are joined at Sonar by the Revolting Cocks. Woolly Mammoth hails from the wild tundra of Washington and stomps with a heavy hoof of crushing doom metal at the Talking Head with Yearlong Disaster and the Expotentials.

WEDNESDAY: For more than 16 years, Massachusetts’ New Radiant Storm King has been waging a war between noise and pop. Tonight, the band takes the fight to the Talking Head with Dr. Powerful, featuring members of Polvo, another ’90s band engaged in the Sisyphean struggle between feedback and melody, and Elder Statesmen. Baltimore’s first lady of musical particle acceleration and personal Short List hero Carly Ptak hears more and sees further tonight at the True Vine with Nora Keyes, Madame P., and Larkin Grimm.

IN THE WINGS: At the turn of the millennium, when the buoyant good times of the late Clinton era seemed like they would never end, the orchestral, doom-mongering rock coming from the Godspeed You! Black Emperor camp was way out of place. What a difference six years makes, eh? On Aug. 1, you can celebrate the continuing decline and fall of Western civilization under Bush II with Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band at the Ottobar. (For more info call [410] 662-0069 or visit

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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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