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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v7n18 (05/01/2008) » Section: Calendar Spotlight

Secret Machines (May 2)

Originally from Texas, the founding members of New York City-based band the Secret Machines have done time in a series of psych-rock outfits. Brothers Ben and Brandon Curtis and Jeff Garza splintered from Dallas-based groups such as UFOFU, When Babies Eat Pennies, and Captain Audio (which included all three). Moving to Brooklyn, the trio eventually landed a record deal with Reprise and released their full-length debut, Now Here Is Nowhere, in 2004. Ten Silver Drops followed, with its opening track “Alone, Jealous, and Stoned” setting the tone for the band’s kind of woozy space rock. Now playing as a two-piece (since the departure of Ben Curtis), the Secret Machines come to the Town Ballroom on Friday (May 2). Co-headlining the show is the sardonic French pop trio the Teenagers, who skewer American MySpace culture with razor sharp continental wit, set to the boppiest tunes around. Doors open at 7pm

Caribou (May 4)

The Canadian one-man band Caribou (a.k.a. Daniel Victor Snaith) works magic all by himself in the studio, yet still performs with a live band when playing gigs (where he usually takes on the role of dummer/percussionist). His hyper-intelligent indie-pop electronica (Snaith is also a bona fide mathematician, with a Ph.D. from London’s Imperial College) takes sounds and chords apart and rearranges them into complex and beautiful melodies. His latest release on Merge Records, Andorra, takes cues from Flaming Lips and Polyphonic Spree, the swirling, sunshiny pop moving along on its own journey into the forest of psychedelia. The single “Melody Day” is a sure shot for summer listening with dramatic full band sound and fun, groovy hooks. Andorra is a terrifically well conceived album from one of the whiz kids of the modern recording studio—with less math this time, more melody. Caribou comes to Soundlab on Sunday (May 4), with British experimental noise duo Fuck Buttons. The show starts at 9pm

Reverend Horton Heat (May 6)

Jim Heath, aka the Reverend Horton Heat, has been ripping up clubs with his explosive brand of country-fed punkabilly for the past twenty years. In the process, his fiery sermons of blazing rock-n-roll have won him a legion of fans, making him one of the most popular underground American musicians of his time. While his records—like the humorously titled Liquor in the Front—are great fun, it’s the live show that seals the deal for his devoted followers. Never canned, over-rehearsed affairs, there’s always a sense that the whole room is in on an adventurous ride that may, at any moment, careen wildly off the rails. The thumping slap of longtime standup bassist Jimbo Wallace is always right there, driving home the crazed beat that is sure to send worshipers into fits of ecstasy when the band hits the Tralf Music Hall on Tuesday (May 6) at 8pm.

Gordie Johnson (May 8)

Canadian musician Gordie Johnson, formerly of Big Sugar and now of the blues/rock trio Grady, somehow epitomizes his current home in Texas despite his northern roots. After 13 years and much success with Big Sugar in his homeland, Johnson—a staunchly patriotic sort—grew frustrated with Canadian radio for its mainstream tactics. Citing a need for a “more welcoming environment,” Gordie (now known as Grady) ex-patriated to the states and formed this twangy blues-rock band out of Austin, Texas. Sounding like a punk version of “cowboy metal,” Grady/Gordie has said that they sound “like Motorhead just got the job of backing up John Lee Hooker.” Grady’s debut album, Y.U. SO Shady?, dropped in 2005, followed up by 2007’s A Cup of Cold Poison, recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales studio in Texas. The “Red Headed Stranger” himself has a guest appearance on the album. Grady comes to the Tralf Music Hall next Thursday (May 8). Doors open at 7pm

Looking Ahead...

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