Posted inMusic

Local Record Roundup

Local Record Roundup ABILENE Two Guns, Twin Arrows (54¡40′ or Fight!) Bassist Craig Ackerman and drummer Scott Adamson’s uncluttered, looping grooves leave plenty of space for singer-guitarist Alexander Dunham and trumpeter Fred Erskine (both of the early 90s Dischord band Hoover). Unfortunately, those guys don’t do much with it: sometimes they play forgettable unison lines, […]

Posted inMusic

Gems in the Slush Pile

Like most of the songs on the radio these days, most of the books about music that land prime placement are pure fluff. This season’s most hyped tomes include Kurt Cobain’s Journals (an ethically questionable release) and Bill Wyman’s tales of life as a Rolling Stone. But there are books out that provide history, analysis, […]

Posted inMusic

Musicians Without Borders

When Wei Yang and Betty Xiang left Shanghai for the U.S. in 1996, they couldn’t wait to collaborate with Western musicians. Members of the prestigious Shanghai National Orchestra since the early 80s–Yang on the lutelike pipa and Xiang on a two-stringed relative of the violin called the erhu–the husband and wife were tired of a […]

Posted inMusic

The Visa Limbo

The Visa Limbo Last week, as the Bush administration redoubled its efforts to whip the nation into a war frenzy, Bahman Ghobadi’s Marooned in Iraq screened here as part of the Chicago International Film Festival. The Iranian director’s second feature is a searing critique of Saddam Hussein and his use of chemical weapons on Kurds–you’d […]

Posted inMusic

Let’s Get Small/Postscripts

Let’s Get Small Frank and John Navin, the brothers who lead the Aluminum Group, will be touring behind their forthcoming Happyness by plane–so they wanted to travel light. Your average band lugs an assortment of instruments, amplifiers, cords, and pedals across the country in a lumbering Econoline, but the Navins have no bulkier baggage to […]

Posted inMusic

Playing With Themselves

Listening to the radio in rural Madison, West Virginia, in the late 40s, an eight-year-old Hasil Adkins heard the DJ credit some songs to Hank Williams and assumed the country great had played all the instruments. He tried to replicate those sounds with an old water bucket and other household objects, progressing to toy guitars […]