The Bloodthirsty Lovers is a nearly-unimaginable assemblage of virtuosity. Just consider the lineup of this genuine Memphis supergroup and let it sink in deep. First and foremost (in every way), there is Dave Shouse, the multifaceted musician and songwriter from indie stalwarts the Grifters and critical darlings Those Bastard Souls. Add to the mix Jason Paxton, the Satyrs' sweetly maudlin frontman whose sweeping classical aspirations were revealed on the final track of the Satyrs' first (and possibly last) album. And let's not forget DDT's mad genius Paul "I swear you can turn a tree into a violin played by the wind" Taylor. Doesn't it all sound too good to be true? If Shelby Bryant of the Clears and Cloud-Wow Music fame -- and a charter member of the Bloodthirsty Lovers -- wasn't leaving town for parts unknown (a terrible blow to the Memphis scene), it would have been too good to be true.
But even without Bryant's brilliant whimsy and weird math, this group of amorous vampires is composed of so many brilliant sonic chefs that any musical stew from their collective kitchen seems doomed to arrive DOA. Far from it, friends, far from it. Though each of these Memphis legends-in-the-making have their moments to shine, Shouse is clearly taking the lead here. He has blended the explosiveness of the Grifters with the pop-meets-prog sensibility of one of his earliest musical endeavors -- the all-but-forgotten Moroccan Roll (with Easley Studios' producer extraordinaire and maestro in his own right Davis McCain). Shouse abandoned "head" music for flat-out rocking in the '80s when he had the great revelation that "working people don't go out on the weekends to seek enlightenment, they want to shake their ass." With the Bloodthirsty Lovers he may have proven, after two decades of experimentation, that these two musical byproducts are not mutually exclusive. The Bloodthirsty Lovers will be at the Young Avenue Deli on Friday, March 1st, with Tristeza, and if you have a lick of sense you will be there too. -- Chris Davis
London's Andy Dragazis, aka Blue States, is a semimajor electronica and trip-hop figure whose debut album, the subtle, jazzy Nothing Changes Under the Sun, was released in the U.S. last year on a label run by Washington-based club stars Thievery Corporation. The touring version of Blue States, which will appear at the Young Avenue Deli on Saturday, March 2nd, will find Dragazis attempting to replicate the sample-driven textures of his recorded music with full rock-band backing. An atypical show for the Memphis club scene and definitely worth a listen.
Othar Turner and The Rising Star Fife and Drum Band made a triumphant appearance last month at Richard Johnston's record-release party at the New Daisy. If you missed that, this week provides another increasingly rare chance to hear the octogenarian hill-country icon do his thing. The Church of the Holy Communion will hold the Bamboo to Buzzsaws: Two Worlds, One Beat benefit Thursday, February 28th, at the Buckman Performing & Fine Arts Center (tickets: $15; show: 7:30 p.m.). Turner will be joined by the New Hampshire-based Recycled Percussion, who, as the name indicates, use recycled and found materials to create percussion-based music. n --Chris Herrington