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items tagged with RIBCO

Jumping Off a Cliff and Landing on Your Feet: Retribution Gospel Choir, December 31 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-12-22 11:47:16

Retribution Gospel Choir. Photo by Chelsea Morgan.When I interviewed Alan Sparhawk in 2007, the singer/songwriter/guitarist touched on the idea of a “golden moment ... when you’re sort of just struggling with some instrument and you sort of have just figured it out, and you are just figuring out the first possible ideas and melodies on it; it’s really exciting.”

He was talking specifically about Low’s Drums & Guns, in which the Minnesota trio (featuring Sparhawk, his wife Mimi Parker on drums, and bassist Matt Livingston – who has since left the band) experimented with instruments they weren’t comfortable playing.

In an interview last week promoting Retribution Gospel Choir’s December 31 performance at RIBCO (supporting the Meat Puppets), that concept re-emerged in slightly different form. He cast it as freedom – but it’s critical to understand that it isn’t a natural state of being but the result of work and getting rid of ego. “Those are everything,” he said. “‘There was a moment where I was not in the way.’”

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Sugarcoating Dark Cores: Mini Mansions, December 11 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-12-02 15:47:44

Mini Mansions. Photo by Dustin Rabin.

If you want a sense of what Mini Mansions sounds like, interviews and reviews often reference the Beatles’ experimental side and the late singer/songwriter Elliott Smith. But you’re advised not to raise the comparisons with Michael Shuman, the Queens of the Stone Age bassist who formed Mini Mansions in early 2009.

Shuman has previously been up-front about the influences of and his love for the Beatles and Smith, but when I asked him about Mini Mansions’ new self-titled album compared to the Beatles, he responded curtly: “I don’t think it sounds anything like them.” A lot of writers have repeated the comparison, he said, but “I just think it was the wrong bandwagon.”

A trio that primarily employs keyboards, bass, drums, and voices, Mini Mansions – performing at RIBCO on December 11 – plays pop music that immediately grabs you but is also streaked with oddity and darkness. The Beatles comparison is frankly inevitable because of the vocal style and harmonies, and the spirit of Smith is undeniable as well. (For the record, outside of a closing scream and vocal flourish in “Monk,” there’s barely a hint of Queens of the Stone Age.)

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Perfect Palette: MathGames, November 27 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-11-20 16:54:41

Fareed Haque

The Moog guitar looks like a standard electric guitar.

But Fareed Haque knows from unpleasant experience that its innards are anything but standard.

“There’s an incredible amount of technology inside that instrument,” Haque said in a phone interview last week. “I was flying with the instrument, and ... I feel that airline security ... looked at my name – Fareed Haque – and looked at the guitar.” He paused here, letting the implication settle. “I don’t know they took it apart, but I know that when I got it, it wasn’t all put back together. Which presented great difficulties for our performance that evening. It looked okay, and I sat down to play it, and all the guts just kind of fell out on stage.”

He related this story with good humor, in part because it’s understandable that transportation-security officials would be suspicious of the outwardly benign guitar with the unusual stuff inside.

Haque will be demonstrating that inner weirdness of the Moog guitar on November 27 at RIBCO, when he performs with his new trio MathGames, which also features drummer Greg Fundis and bassist Alex Austin.

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Piecing Together the Puzzle: High on Fire, October 8 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-09-30 15:21:08

High on Fire. Photo by Travis Shinn.In 2007, Rolling Stone named Matt Pike one of its “new guitar gods,” and the High on Fire frontman is notable for being among the two or three least-known people on a list that included John Mayer and members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wilco, Tool, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, and Radiohead.

Pike is certainly a luminary in the world of metal – both the heavy and the stoner varieties with which he’s associated – but he’d probably prefer to keep his appeal selective. High on Fire – performing at RIBCO on October 8 with Kylesa and Torche – is for metal purists, fans of Metallica’s Master of Puppets who think that band has been pandering and floundering for the past two decades.

There’s none of that desperation for acceptance with High of Fire, partly a function of its method. The songs are less organic than constructed out of often-disparate parts, and therein lies the key to both the music’s appeal and difficulty.

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Ferocious Sensitivity: Kylesa, October 8 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-09-29 11:59:46

Kylesa. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson.In a genre that stresses heaviness, riffs, chops, and menace above all else, Georgia-based Kylesa is something of a rarity.

The five-piece psychedelic-metal band is most notable for its strong sense of melody and dynamics within undeniable heaviness, and that’s partly a function of having three vocalists (including a woman!) and two drummers. But Kylesa is greater than the sum of those parts, commanding a wider range of feelings and textures than most metal bands even attempt, let alone pull off. They caress listeners while still bludgeoning them, often at the same time and rarely straining.

Playing RIBCO on October 8 as part of the Sanctioned Annihilation Tour with High on Fire and Torche, Kylesa is poised to release the majestic, thunderous Spiral Shadow on October 26, and it might be my favorite metal album in years.

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