By and large, Memphis hip-hop is divided into two camps: There's the identifiable post-gangsta, Dirty South stylings of artists such as Three 6 Mafia, Yo Gotti, and Gangsta Blac and an emerging underground scene of more Native Tongues/backpacker-style hip-hop from artists such as Tunnel Clones, Fathom 9, and Kontrast. On his album The Southern Slur, rapper M-19 doesn't quite fit in either camp. He's recognizably Memphis but seems to owe almost exactly as much to more "conscious" Southern rappers such as Goodie Mob. The result is a hip-hop depiction of "life in the South" that pulls no punches and offers plenty of insight. M-19 will be joined by Pahco and Iron Mic Coalition members MOS Friday, April 9th, at Precious Cargo.
And for something completely different, head to the P&H CafÇ Saturday, April 10th, for a reunion show from Crawpatch. Crawpatch formed in the early '70s from the merger of two existing bands, Crawdad and Briarpatch, and released one album, Trailer Park Weekend, in the late '70s on Sid Selvidge's Peabody label. The band was a fixture on the Midtown scene at the time and has gotten back together in anticipation of a CD release of their album later this year. Catch original members Don McGregor, Dane Layton, Jimmy Newman, Brandy Parks, Andy Morton, and David Luttrell for this Midtown homecoming show at 8 p.m. -- Chris Herrington
I've occasionally compared Memphis' quirky, often silly pop band Vending Machine to the extremely silly raunch-rockers Ween. And, to some degree, it's a fair comparison. Now, Vending Machine's Robby Grant, who cut his teeth playing with Big Ass Truck, hasn't really sounded like Ween since he released his first solo record, Unleavened Bread. With subsequent Vending Machine discs such as The Chamber from Here to There and 5-Piece Kit, Grant's sound has changed quite a bit, though it remains as quirky and lo-fi as ever. Like Ween, Vending Machine recordings rely heavily on studio tricks, but, as is the case with Ween, the live shows are straight-ahead rock-and-roll. Performances capture the spirit of the recordings without ever replicating them. It's like getting two great songs for the price of one (plus a cover charge). Borrowing sounds and ideas from such disparate influences as Led Zeppelin and Jonathan Richman, Grant really has learned how to make guitars sound like they were made of chocolate. If you don't know what that means, you'll just have to catch Vending Machine when they play Young Avenue Deli on Saturday, April 10th.
If you're looking for a rootsier sound, Amy & The Tramps will be at Young Ave. Deli on Friday, April 9th. If you liked the Gabe & Amy Show, the unofficial house band at Murphy's during the first few years of the new millennium, then you'll love Amy & the Tramps. Playing a blend of classic country, rockabilly, and rock-and-roll, Amy & the Tramps keep your lips grinning and your feet stomping till the last chord fades away. Andy Grooms and Phosphorescent share the bill. Grooms borrows a little bit from Tom Waits and a little bit from Bach and mixes it all down with lyrics that are folksy and sophisticated. If Carroll Cloar had painted Nighthawks instead of Edward Hopper, Grooms would have already used it for an album cover. Phosphorescent is a one-man band with a Neutral Milk Hotel fetish, and that's about all I know about that. --Chris Davis