This was a good day. I had a job interview/ test in the afternoon, at the end of which I felt 90-95% certain that I would soon have a job that 1) would put my B.A. in English to use, 2) would pay me enough to get by comfortably, 3) would involve doing work in which I could actually find value, and 4) would leave me with enough time to keep this blog going. What better way to celebrate than to head downtown and check out some new music?
Since it took place during finals week, this Atypical Tuesday didn't draw quite as large a crowd as the last one did. It certainly wasn't bad, though, and it included some familiar faces from the Boise hipster set--Wes Malvini of Evil Wine (granted, he was tending bar, but still...), Eric Gilbert, Josh Gross, etc. I was glad of this by the time that I left the Red Room: the music that I heard this night deserved a good audience.
First up was Dragons, a supercharged power trio from Arizona. They laid dreamy melodies, introspective lyrics and gentle, boyish vocals atop high-powered surf guitar, surging bass and mind-blowingly fast and precise drumming. It sounded like what you might hear inside Brian Wilson's head if he were tripping on acid, jacked up on speed and staying up all night listening to the Ramones. This marked their first time playing in Boise. I hope that I'll get to see them around here again. They could join forces with Holograms and become the freakiest surf-rock group ever.
After Dragons came Mostecelo, a.k.a. local musician Rebeca Suarez. On paper, this lady might sound like something that'd make rock-and-rollers run screaming for the hills. A folkish singer/songwriter armed with only an amplified Spanish guitar, a keyboard and a kick-drum who sings stuff about chimney-sweeps and Jude the Obscure? Excuse me while I listen to Black Flag until my ears bleed. Take it from me, though, headbangers: it'd be your loss if you missed out on her. Suarez didn't need much more than guitar and keyboard to support her clean, firm voice. Her spare melodies and sardonic, empathetic, winningly plainspoken lyrics made me think a little of Joni Mitchell's Blue and Leonard Cohen's Songs of Love and Hate. Even that Jude the Obscure song was pretty damn good. My favorite of her songs, though, was "Go," a skewed, ironic depiction of brutalities in Bosnia worthy of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.
Next up after Mostecelo was Camp, a four-man rock band from Twin Falls. I don't know what the hell is going on out there, but that city has been cranking out some hard-rocking stuff lately. This band framed strong melodies and atmospheric, filtered vocals with shimmering, piercing guitar, solemn keyboards, a hard-driving rhythm section and a trippy projection show. They sounded so powerful and together that I was just flabbergasted. I imagine that this won't be the last that we'll hear of Camp's muscular psychedelic/shoegaze rock.
I promised a friend that I'd meet her for a beer after Camp, so unfortunately, I missed the night-closing set by Hillfolk Noir, a local group whose hobo folkie shtick and arty, self-conscious take on old-timey roots music probably owe more than a little to Tom Waits and the Coen brothers. Don't take my leaving as a sign of my disapproval--I'm sure that I'll see them again another time.
You can find info about all of these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online. For details about upcoming Atypical Tuesdays and more, you can go to www.evilwine.com. And if she doesn't have it already, somebody please get Rebeca Suarez a copy of Lost In the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill. She was born to cover "Ballad of the Soldier's Wife" or "What Keeps Mankind Alive?".