After a solid show last year at Last Place on Earth, one of the best "indie-rock" bands around, Seattle's Modest Mouse, returns to the area with a show Monday, September 24th, at Proud Larry's in Oxford. Modest Mouse released two of 2000's best rock albums in the form of indie farewell Building Nothing Out of Something and the major-label debut The Moon and Antarctica, records that showcase songs that don't have choruses so much as mantras, with singer/guitarist Isaac Brock driving his songs with fidgety, circular guitar riffs that shadow his alternately whiny and screaming vocals. It's rock-and-roll as a never-ending math equation. And this obsessiveness extends to ideas and images that are repeated song to song, album to album. Brock rhapsodizes a sense of entrapment and futility that comes off more stoic and bemused than depressive, a sense of constant motion on a road to nowhere. This is a band that once named an album The Lonesome, Crowded West to describe the isolation they felt in their home region and then moved on to The Moon and Antarctica, two barren places that imply a more universal malady. Few bands around can make it hurt so good.
The local chapter of the Recording Academy will host their annual Urban Music Forum at the New Daisy Theatre on Wednesday, September 26th. Admission is $10 for the general public and $5 for academy members. Local R&B and hip-hop artists scheduled are Backwoodz Rootz, Jahn Jahn, Stacey Kaid, King Ellis, and Spaide R.I.P.P.E.R.
Finally, on Saturday, September 22nd, at the Overton Park Shell, there will be a tribute concert for late local bass player Craig Shindler, who passed away last year. Among the scheduled performers are Big Ass Truck, Neighborhood Texture Jam, Clanky's Nub, and Papa Top's West Coast Turnaround.
-- Chris Herrington
You have to wonder if the youngsters fully understand what it means when those yellow posters start appearing around town bearing the letters NTJ. Oh, sure, they know it's a band. That's pretty obvious. But do they have any idea what a monster of a band it is? For all my sweet kiddies out there in the twentysomething set who were learning long division back when Rolling Stone raved about how Neighborhood Texture Jam was the best unsigned band in America, here's a quick rundown: NTJ is a collective of jock- punk pioneers with a political edge that makes Henry Rollins look like a civics class dropout. Whether commenting on Rush Limbaugh's dirigible-like girth or telling some corporate drone at the drive-thru, "If I'd wanted a damn pie, I'd have ordered a damn pie," they manage to criticize the lemming-like behavior of consumer culture without ever seeming pedantic. On the flip side, tunes like "I Fell Into the Borax Factory of Your Love" are frenzied fun that will make the most "over that" dude out there forget how cool he is and slam-dance like it's 1989. But don't take my word for it, check out their semiannual reunion show at the Hi-Tone on Saturday, September 22nd. -- Chris Davis