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The Short List

Mark Gross

By Jess Harvell | Posted 6/28/2006

WEDNESDAY: Sunderland, England’s finest, the Futureheads, play Washington’s 9:30 Club tonight. We’re probably guilty of overrating these guys, but their mixture of sharp little new wave guitars and ecstatic Boy Scout yelps is just so . . . adorable. It’s like being bitten by a puppy or something.

THURSDAY: It’s the last Thursday of the month, and for Baltimore’s hip-hop community that means another installment of Style Warz at 5 Seasons, the 2-year-old freestyle competition that has become the best way to judge up-and-coming MC talent in the city. This month’s edition features Frontline and E-Won, as well as the usual winner-take-all competition where whoever brings the most heat walks away with both the prize money and the dap. And remember: “rude and/or sexual gestures are frowned upon, but not totally prohibited.”

FRIDAY: What sounds like a schoolyard bully kicking down the steps a boom box playing a varispeed cassette of Damaged? Except when it doesn’t? Why, it’s Human Host, our Best Live Band of 2005, redefining both confrontational and random every time it plays. The Host is joined by Dracula Mountain, which features expatriates from both Fascist Fascist and Universal Order of Armageddon, Night Wounds, Hot Girls Cool Guys, and Hex Screw at Charm City Space. The four local indie-pop cutie pies in Karmella’s Game play songs from their brand-new album, The Art of Distraction, at Sonar as well as the old tunes you already know, along with fellow local indie rocker Faster Faster Harder Harder, which feature less pretty keyboard and more propulsive guitar in the time-tested Superchunk tradition. Them is not Van Morrison’s first band but an all-star lineup of local Baltimore jazz musicians, including Mark Gross, Josh Ginsburg, Eric Kennedy, and Lafayette Gilchrist, at An die Musik.

SATURDAY: The Good Anna offers the intriguing proposition of two twentysomethings on guitar and “prepared drums” and “amplified objects” following a conversion experience to the sound of North Indian tabla, ecstatic jazz, and nonidiomatic improvisation. The two are joined by Blizzards, which mix up noise, drones, deep-fried electronics, and minimalist pop moves at the Red Room at Normals Books and Records. Brooklyn girl-boy punk band Art of Shooting pulls up to the Supreme Imperial with Siouxsie moves for a post-Yeah Yeah Yeahs world, plus Heavens to Metroid (kudos, seriously), Plans Plans, and the Nurbs. The John Ellis Quartet burns through a mix of classic New Orleans jazz, spidery New Thing melodicism, uptown funk, and downtown experimentation at the New Haven Lounge.

SUNDAY: Another Are We Not Men?! night at the Depot brings in Finally Punk from Austin, Texas. Any band that includes Mariah Carey, the Raincoats, and the Butthole Surfers in its MySpace influences list is all right by us. The Punks are joined by Kiosk from further to the southwest in Australia, offering more neo-riot grrl for B-more’s queer (and not queer) kids standing “in opposition to sexism, racism, and homophobia”—which, call us old-fashioned, is still more important than how your emo haircut looks.

MONDAY: You can’t walk down the street these days without catching sight of another flier for a freestyle rap night. The Unison Collective of Tislam the Great, E.Q., Mzery, and E.T. have been running Season of the Microphone Mondays at the Yabba Pot for a minute now, following the demise of Spit Fire Mondays at 5 Seasons. This week features Alevan and Gem Powerz, along with two open-mic sessions, an early bird cipher special, and post-show DJs, for well over four hours of rhymes.

TUESDAY: Well, it’s the Fourth of July. Most of you will be stuffing your face with picnic foods, gazing dreamily at fireworks, or plotting the overthrow of the Great Satan. The rest of you can say happy birthday to America at Wham City with the buzz-saw guitars, dying-sheep saxophone, video fuckery, booming drums, and screams of Blood Baby, Coughs, and Video Hippos.

WEDNESDAY: Caleb Stine and Brakemen celebrate the day after the Fourth of July with what they call “working class American music,” which sounds like alt-country mixed up with folk and other traditional forms to us, at quiet music venue Lemon Hill with Adam Arcuragi, Monarch, and Relugion.

IN THE WINGS: If you think hip-hop took a wrong turn some time around ’96, if you’re gonna rock a bubble goose jacket and unlaced Timbs until New York rises again, if you think BET and MTV Jams would be greatly improved by more black and white videos of guys mean mugging in the subway, well, the whole damn Boot Camp Click comes to Sonar Aug. 15 with Buckshot, Smif N Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, and Sean Price. (For more info call [410] 327-8333 or visit www.sonar.us.)

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The Short List archives

More from Jess Harvell

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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