Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hammerhead Insect Collection plus

I've news and a free download from long lost Cornershop, the tale of insect-collection-inpired concept album from Alamaailman Vasarat, musings about metal shows I wonder if I can stay up late enough for and much, much more this week.

First off, IT'S PINK! For all you non-local readers, we did get our sassy revamped marquee lit up a couple of weeks back, and isn't it pretty?

Of course, the neighbors across Cedar Avenue called the next day and wanted to make sure we didn't leave it on all night shining in their windows, and all the fire trucks arriving for the fire in the tower apartments next door were rubbernecking at the fire dancers performing at our little celebration, but it's all good now.

And in the "How'd She DO That Department, how about that Dobet Gnahore? In case you missed this one, HOLY COW can she do impossible things with her hips and legs and whew. The girl can DANCE ...and sing and play percussion. Here's a quick little vid of her from a couple years ago in Amsterdam. She's even better now...she was doing all these moves in jeans and cowboy boots here the other night!

You know how it goes, you're just going to look up one thing on one band's website, and six links later, you're pondering the black metal options playing at the Roskilde Festival this summer ...and it's way past bedtime on a work night. And how much would those tickets to Denmark really cost?

I think that particular online journey started at the Alamaailman Vasarat ("Hammers of the Underworld") webpage, reading about their new release Huuro Kolkko. To those not familar with this Finnish cello-trombone-organ-grunge-with-lots-of-tempo-and-key-changes band, they describe themselves as "a Finnish group playing kebab-kosher-jazz-film-traffic-
punk-music with a unique Scandinavian acoustic touch." It's complex and fun listening, but one does have to be in the mood.

Anyway, their new disc was inspired by and named after the guy who made these insect collections, an intrepid Finnish exploreer from the early 1900s. We get the whole story of his travels, from tropical islands discovered to his mysterious demise, presumably in Morocco somewhere in the nine tunes on the disc. We also get the recording debut of their new brass toy, the Tubax, a very VERY low end sax. Contrabass is the word here. Read all about it at their website. Then notice the Tubax in this photo. Whoa!

So of course, I am hot on the trail of this recording, being a bit of a Hammerhead and a big fan of their earlier work like 2007's Mahaan and their 2000 debut Vasaraasia. (Vasaraasia being the name of the mythical continent ("Hammer Asia") where their music comes from.) I email them to ask about a download or U.S. source. No download yet and neither of the U.S. sources has it listed on their website yet. Sigh. Back in the day, I used to up and order stuff from Finland once in a while. You know, now with the credit card companies charging extra for every little overseas transaction and all, I was kinda hoping for something easier. You can give the tunes a listen at their Myspace, and I'll keep bugging that company that's supposed to have it over here.

While poking around the Roskilde site because Alamaailman Vasarat is playing there, I read up on the metal band Wolves in the Throne Room. ["Nature-embracing Black Metal"] Why is that name familiar? Is it just because Cedar Operations Manager Dave P. highly recommends that 18 minute long track on their first album? Wait! Aren't they coming to town soon? Why, yes. They are hitting the Triple Rock down the street in a couple a weeks, Friday May 15. In an inspired - and LOUD -pairing, support will be provided by the mighty Zebulon Pike, in which you can see Happy Apple bass monster Erik Fratzke stretch out on guitar. It's smart instrumental prog metal. Big BIG FAT power chords all around. Should be a fun night. Might want to have some earplugs along.

Final gossip tidbit. The Candyman is really back! No, not just the "Chalk" commercial from last fall, Cornershop is really back and they've got a new 7" coming out May 26. Yep, as in 7" vinyl. So throwback! Or if you hustle, you can download a remix of it for free from their website. Full length album coming hot on its heels. So polite, their email said "It would be double pleasing if you could help us get the word out too." OK, I will! But can you wrap your tongue around the name of the single? "The Roll Off Characteristics (of History in the Making)" Tjinder Singh can and he says it a lot. Sounds like classic Cornershop; sitar-enhanced, political, and groovy with some added bouncy brass. Alas, we cannot imbed the video here, but it's there at the media tab on their site.

Racheal Unthank countdown: 19 days. Memorial Day night at the Cedar. Yes, I am as psyched for this as I am for all that loud stuff.

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