Upcoming Concert Reviews of Kid Congo Powers, Silversun Pickups and More...

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New York Night Train Recordings


Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds



Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds

Friday · The Comet

With one of the longest and most impressive curriculum vitaes in Rock history, it doesn't seem possible that Kid Congo Powers has never fronted a band under his own name. That odd truth is rectified with the creation of Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds and the release of their debut album, Philosophy and Underwear. Given Kid's incredible breadth of experience — The Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Angels of Light, Die Haut and Diamanda Galas, to name a very few — it's not difficult to understand the schizophrenically compelling sounds emanating from his Pink Monkey Birds. If Tom Waits and Lou Reed collaborated on the soundtrack to a David Lynch film about seedy carnivals, Philosophy and Underwear would be the fascinating result.

Kid Congo Powers came to the underground's attention when he and Jeffrey Lee Pierce formed The Gun Club in 1979, but his profile rose considerably the following year when he was offered the plum guitar slot with The Cramps after the departure of Bryan Gregory. Kid left the Cramps in '84, toured with The Gun Club and then moved to London, where he gigged with the Legendary Stardust Cowboy and started the band The Fur Bible. He eventually relocated to Berlin and accepted Nick Cave's invitation to join The Bad Seeds, where he remained for the rest of the '80s, occasionally playing with Die Haut and Magazine/Visage alumni Barry Adamson (who also joined The Bad Seeds). In the early '90s, Kid moved to New York and teamed with actress Sally Norvell for their inventive duo Congo Norvell, which led to a number of side gigs, including stints with Mark Eitzel, The Vanity Set and Angels of Light. Kid also hooked up with guitarist Jack Martin, ex-Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert and Honeymoon Killers' Jerry Teal to form Knoxville Girls, which resulted in a trio of acclaimed albums before the band dissolved in 2001.

After projects with Electroclash star Khan and Twin Peaks vocalist Julee Cruise, Kid formed the Pink Monkey Birds with his old Knoxville Girls bandmate Martin.

Throughout his quarter century-plus career, Kid Congo Powers has fully understood the dark underbelly of music's underground scene and successfully integrated that understanding into his darkly twisted and completely unique guitar ministrations. (Brian Baker)

The Psalters

Friday · Rohs Street Café

You've been working hard, doing the 40-hour week. It's not fun but, hey, it's stable, and you like having a roof over your head, a semi-reliable car and insurance in case you get sick. This is how we make it, right? This is how we survive.

Then these crazy musicians come to town in this black school bus, come pouring out of it in all their dreadlocked glory bearing guitars and African drums and other instruments whose names and countries of origin you can't even guess at. They sing songs about being refugees or lepers, watching slavery and luxury fall away, and they sing these songs full-throated, letting their instruments crash and wail like at any moment the walls of Jericho will come tumbling down. The sound is wild and mysterious, the music of Sufi mystics crossed with Israeli folkdance and Gypsy harmonies anchored by bass vocals out of a Russian monastery.

These Psalters might have nothing at all — no security, no safe 40-hour-a-week cushion between themselves and catastrophe, but somehow they seem not to care. You just know they've spent way too much time together in that bus (it's even denoted as their "hometown" on their MySpace page: www.myspace.com/psalters), but you also know this vision of life they're sharing — a vision informed by traveling light, searching the world's hidden corners, identifying with the marginalized — is doing something to you. All it takes is one song. You hear one song, and suddenly you want to run away to join their circus. (Angela Pancella)

Silversun Pickups with Viva Voce and Bad Veins

Sunday · Southgate House

Epic Shoegaze shredders My Bloody Valentine have been spawning progeny for nearly a decade after folding up their crisp sheets of feedback and apparently calling it a day. Los Angeles' Silversun Pickups are among the latest contemporary outfits to lace their fuzzy guitar-drone atmospherics with equal amounts of plaintive Emo sentiment and Prog-like density on their debut full length, Carnavas, the follow-up to last year's incredible Pikul EP. Originally conceived as little more than an unofficial escape from a band that frontman Brian Aubert had outgrown, the Pickups distinguish themselves from MBV and subsequent tributers with a subtle and sinewy Pop melodicism that infiltrates the quartet's propulsive and evocative songs, especially evident on wall-of-Eno buzzsaws like the album's opener "Melatonin," the Smashing Pumpkins-swing-the-Blues-hammer sprawl of "Well Thought Out Twinkles," the dreamy/screamy melancholia of "Three Seed" and the buzzy Pop grandeur of "Future Foe Scenarios."

Much of the Pickups' frenetic sonic texture is provided by frontman Brian Aubert, whose guitar histrionics are matched only by the similar approach he takes to his often throat-raking vocals but who also wisely knows when to dial it back to serve mood or song. Equally important are bassist/vocalist Nikki Monninger, keyboardist Joe Lester and drummer Christopher Guanlao, who provide Aubert with the perfect tension-laced soundscape to weave his alternately ephemeral and pummeling guitar magic and lyrical obfuscation within and around.

With a burgeoning reputation within their home scene for spectacular live shows and a pair of impressive releases over the past year and a half, it's little surprise that Silversun Pickups have been anointed as one of the bands to watch in 2006 by Rolling Stone, Filter and any number of Internet observers. (BB)

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