I've never been one to hide my prejudices, so I'm just going to come right out and say it: I love Brazilian singers. I love Rita Lee from Os Mutantes and could listen to Astrid Gilberto reading the phone book. These days I've got a little thing for Juju Stulbach, the actress and dancer turned sultry crooner for Mosquitoes, a band that blends amped-up bossa-nova beats with beautiful indie rock and tosses in a smidgen of retro lounge appeal for good measure. Best of all, these Mosquitoes don't bite, and their sunny, infectious songs are a perfect complement to a Memphis springtime when the monsoons have stopped, the flowers are blooming, and youngsters start prowling the night looking for fun. Mosquitoes are all about sonic sunshine, wine, and good times, and they play the Hi-Tone Café on Friday, April 22nd.
Speaking of prejudices, a recent article about Hella and Outhud, by Flyer contributor Andy Earles, chastised audiophiles who only like old music, or music that sounds old. I guess I'm ripe for the spanking. You see, in my book, if it's not about fast cars, cheap dates, and shimmy-shaking all night long, it's just not rock-and-roll. If I can't see Chuck Berry's fingerprints on it somewhere, it may be rock, but it's not rock-and-roll. The Angel Sluts, who boast a fuzzed-out retro-punk sound that nods to garage-punk ranging from the Ramones to the Oblivians, celebrate the release of their Wrecked-'Em Records EP Hot Teen Action at Murphy's on Saturday, April 23rd, with Chicago band Drip and locals The Six String Jets. It's hot rock-and-roll, and your $5 cover includes the cost of a seven-inch single. Can't beat that.
Last December I picked Shabadoo's Tantamount as one of my favorite local records of 2004. I was premature. That disc doesn't have its official release party until Shabadoo's mastermind Joey Pegram (Hot Monkey, 611, Joint Chiefs) takes the stage at the Buccaneer on Friday, April 22nd. Think of Tantamount as an audio chill room: a sonic escape from all the noisy garage rock and screamo that's been making the rounds. A gorgeous mix of beats -- real and electronic -- move Tantamount's guitar- and keyboard-driven melodies in sullen fits and lush, melancholy starts, taking it to a gently psychedelic place where Lou Barlow jams out (quietly) with Low. The opening track, "Divisible," is lovely but lyrically a little weak. It doesn't prepare you for the sublimated politics of "A brave assault, too bad you missed them all" (from "No Duh") or "Get up it's time we're on our way/All the wolves are counting sheep" (from "Wakey, Wakey!"). It's beautiful, smart pop that makes you feel like you're falling down in slow motion and loving every microsecond of it. --Chris Davis
As pop genres go, few are as sprawling and prolific as indie-rock. There are so many bands putting out so many records in so many places that even the most devoted specialists can't hope to keep up. If, like me, you're a generalist who finds the underground hype machine highly unreliable, it's impossible. So you just dive in where you can, catch what floats by on its own, and hope you don't miss too much of the good stuff. And sometimes unexpected treats will creep across your unsuspecting ears. Take Viva Voce, a husband-and-wife indie-rock duo from Oregon via Alabama that remind me a little of another husband-wife indie partnership, Yo La Tengo.
Where a lot of duo bands -- White Stripes, Kills, etc. --have an expectedly spare sound, the musical partnership of Kevin and Anita Robinson create a reasonably dense racket but without ever sounding too busy. They both sing, and both have indie-rocker voices --hers sweet, his intentionally flat, both understated. They write smart little songs with snarky titles ("Business Casual," "Free Nude Celebs"). And on their latest, 2004's The Heat Can Melt Your Brain, they find that perfect balance of sweetness and crunch that so much good indie-rock traffics in, making their version of the genre's inherent modesty one of its central charms --a charm they verbalize with the knowing "Mixtape = Love." ("I dub the tunes in perfect form/To say what I could never voice/And hope you hear right past the songs.") Viva Voce returns to the Young Avenue Deli Saturday, April 23rd, alongside locals The Natural Kicks (see Music Feature, page 37), Ron Franklin's ace new band. • --