Posted inArts & Culture

THE BLOW

Khaela Maricich, aka the Blow, wrote a blog entry a couple weeks ago explaining why her next record needs to be different from her last. “Nobody,” she said, “needs to hear another song about how it felt to get overwhelmed with love and get dumped and get over it.” Try telling that to the heartsick […]

Posted inArts & Culture

BORIS, MICHIO KURIHARA, PEOPLE

Though BORIS have been hosanna’d loud and long–and rightfully so–for the devastating heaviness of their rocking, I think they still deserve a little more praise for their flexibility. Last year this Japanese trio released Altar, a sprawling, entrancing collaboration with Sunn 0))), and in May the local Drag City label gave a stateside release to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Emile Naoumoff

Faure’s 13 nocturnes for piano span most of his life as a composer, straddling the 19th and 20th centuries. In an impressionistic current with eddies of romantic turbulence, they depart from Chopin and Schumann, heading toward Debussy and Ravel. Pianist Emile Naoumoff, here playing Nocturnes nos. 2, 6, 7, and 13, approaches them as a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

NO AGE

There’s a portal inside a garbage can that leads to Shangri-la via hell, and No Age are hanging out there eating grapes. Or at least that’s the only scene I can imagine where this LA duo might make any sense. They get their jazzy swagger from a silly little hi-hat, their scary gutter-punk vibe from […]

Posted inArts & Culture

QUI, LESLIE KEFFER

Though they’ve been acquitting themselves admirably since 2001 as a crungy guitar-and-drums duo, I bet QUI wouldn’t have landed this gig if they hadn’t bitten the bullet last year and added a lead singer–specifically the Jesus Lizard’s lead singer, David Yow. These LA guys are doing Yow a favor too, of course, by taking him […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Elmina’s Kitchen

Congo Square Theatre Company has mostly focused on African-American playwrights during its eight-year history, but it’s gone international with the midwest premiere of this piece by black British actor and writer Kwame Kwei-Armah. Elmina’s Kitchen doesn’t break new thematic ground, but Kwei-Armah’s gift for street poetry and feeling for intergenerational conflict is in sync with […]

Posted inArts & Culture

ESG

ESG first emerged in the late 70s and excels at the kind of joyous, polyrhythmic pop confections that are perfect for dancing and sampling. But as the title of one postreunion 1992 EP says, Sample Credits Don’t Pay the Bills. While a whole generation of hip-hop and indie-dance artists has amassed piles of cash on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors

Adapted from a novel by Ukrainian writer M. Kotsyubinsky, Sergei Paradjanov’s extraordinary merging of myth, history, poetry, ethnography, dance, and ritual (1964) remains one of the supreme works of the Soviet sound cinema, and even subsequent Paradjanov features have failed to dim its intoxicating splendors. Set in the harsh and beautiful Carpathian Mountains, the movie […]

Posted inArts & Culture

True Diplomacy

Artist Jimmy Baker and his wife, architect Jil Baker, reflect on Iraq in “True Diplomacy,” now at Western Exhibitions, relying for many of their images and objects on the proposed immense U.S. Embassy complex in Baghdad. Jimmy Baker strikes an ominous note in his statement, writing that the fortress symbolizes the developed world: “a sterile […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Suddenly Last Summer

The central figure in Tennessee Williams’s 1958 one-act–Sebastian Venable, poet, aesthete, sexual predator, and martyr–never appears onstage. Instead the audience hears about him from two women haunted by his mysterious death. His elderly mother, Violet, seeks to protect Sebastian’s chaste image by discrediting the ghastly account of his demise supplied by his cousin Catharine, now […]

Posted inArts & Culture

BADAWI

Born in Jerusalem, multi–instrumentalist Raz Mesinai grew up there and in New York, absorbing the sounds of both cities. Dub has been an element in his work from the beginning (as in the wiggy 90s project Sub Dub), but the music of the Middle East has played an increasingly important role. Under his own name […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Betty Lavette

On “Before the Money Came (The Battle of Bettye LaVette),” a track off the Detroit soul singer’s new Scene of the Crime (Anti-), LaVette looks back with a triumphant sneer on a career that took four decades to get off the ground. She bitterly recalls cutting a shoulda-been classic album in 1972 at Fame Studios […]

Posted inArts & Culture

BONDE DO ROLE

The haters–after all the hype about the singles, they were bound to come out of the woodwork for the first album–say Bonde do Role are irresponsible assholes who happen to be Brazilian, yelling dumb stuff over ripped-off party beats and disrespecting their own musical culture. But the band’s tossed-off hybrid of ghoulish swamp punk, dirty-butt […]

Posted inArts & Culture

MC LYTE

It’s been a solid decade since she’s released a new album, and her Web site has been hyping the same not-actually-out-yet LP for almost two years–but with any luck MC Lyte’s recent flurry of touring points to a bona fide comeback. She’s kept herself busy with UPN cameos, soundtrack work, and voice-overs, but her talents […]