• Mark Dawursk
  • Pelican

Having spent most of the past week taking in the Umbrella Music Festival, I’m looking forward to some quiet nights at home this week. Of course, that means I’ll be missing out on much of the action around town, which never stops. I mean, today is a Monday and there’s no mail delivery because it’s Veteran’s Day, but shows never stop. Colin Meloy, the precious leader of the precocious Decemberists, plays with the excellent Eleanor Friedberger tonight at Park West; Robbie Fulks has resumed his invaluable Monday night residency at the Hideout; and Velcro Lewis celebrates the release of its new album over the Empty Bottle. On Tuesday night raga-pop sitarist Anoushka Shankar kicks off a three-night run at City Winery, reconstituted new wave also-rans China Crisis give it another go at Mayne Stage, and visiting French jazz monsieurs Aymeric Avice and Benjamin Sanz collaborate with some terrific locals at the Whistler. On Wednesday the sensitive British dubstep crossover star James Blake plays the Riviera, Brazilian Tropicalia vets Os Mutantes return to town for a show at Lincoln Hall, and a new version of the old French jazz vocal ensemble the Swingle Singers scat away at FitzGerald’s. After the jump you can read about four more recommendations from this week’s Soundboard.

Tue 11/12: Tiger Hatchery at Burlington Bar
This chaotic, go-for-broke free jazz- and noise-loving trio was a fixture in underground circles when it formed in 2009, but in recent years Tiger Hatchery has had a scarce local presence, with two-thirds of its members now living on the west coast. “Fortunately the three of them are finally releasing their debut full-length, Sun Worship (due on ESP-Disk on November 19), which means they’ll be on the road a lot more in the near future,” I wrote this week. “Recorded in 2010, it consists of three pieces that seethe with blown-lung fury—even when the music dips in energy it’s still intense, like a simmer rather than a boil. The default setting is full speed: Forbes unleashes furious shrieks and split tones over Billington’s ultrafrenetic cymbal splashes and whirlwind snare-and-tom splatter and Young’s strident, distorted bowed notes and jagged plucks.”

Wed 11/13: Mazzy Star at the Vic
After a sixteen-year absence Mazzy Star have returned, and Kevin Warwick couldn’t be happier: “The duo of David Roback and Hope Sandoval have just released Seasons of Your Day, their first album in all that time, on their own indie label, Rhymes of an Hour. The new record stays loyal to what Mazzy Star was—though Sandoval’s voice is a bit sultrier, even bluesy at times, it remains as delicate and airy as ever (‘In the Kingdom’). The music’s grown-up darkness is still intact too, suggesting that the two of them have been through more than their share of pitfalls and hurdles in their 16 years away.”

Wed 11/13: Pelican at the Bottom Lounge
Kevin Warwick worried that the departure of Pelican guitarist and founding member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec might result in the group trying to replicate its old sound on its new album Forever Becoming (Southern Lord) its first in four years. Those fears proved unfounded. “It’s immediate, cohesive, and unflinchingly heavy in that multifaceted Pelican kind of way, sliding from ambient to thick to proggy to thundering. In their 13 years together, the band has always maintained its identity as a band—a collective entity creating a sound that everybody helps shape, with no one person more crucial than the next. This is underlined by the absence of vocals, especially given that many of the songs have verses and choruses that sound tailor-made for them.”

Wed 11/13: Yumiko Tanaka and Yoko Reikano Kimura at Bond Chapel
These two masters of the traditional Japanese string instrument called the shamisen both devote serious energy to expanding its role in contemporary music. In particular Tanaka is a committed experimenter. On her 2003 improvised album Tayutauta (Improvised Music From Japan) she delivered “twangy, brittle runs, astringent bowed tones, percussive thwacks and pings, and dissonant clusters that she might strum, pluck, or hammer,” I write in this week’s paper. “A couple years later she deployed that vocabulary on Continental Crust (Sofa), a series of knotty, empathetic duets with Norwegian acoustic guitarist Ivar Grydeland that perfectly melded their different string sounds, softening the cultural divide between the instruments—and making those moments when you can tell the instruments apart actually mean something.”