It’s a wobbly, husky, mopey, Autumny week.
Baby dubsteps: Local producer Jae Synth has a new dubstep mix tape. If you don’t know anything about the genre, his mix is both a good primer and also gets you up to speed with how deejays like Diplo have helped dubstep blow up in the past year.
Track one is Rusko’s remix of Kid Sister’s “Pro Nails,” which is about as accessible as modern dubstep gets: that inimitable, funked-up, even psychedelic wobbly bass that’s taking over hype deejay sets. It sounds like Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and his lady humping and moaning on top of the washing machine.
Righteous Movement’s Skurge emcees on “Night & Day” and a few other tracks and does a solid job. But what’s most interesting about rapping to dubstep—and Jae Synth pointed this out—is that you really can’t tell if it’s East Coast, West Coast or Southern. Dubstep’s beats per minute, around 140, mixes up with a lot of rap (like hyphy), which makes it easier for emcees to adapt but also harder to discern the styling.
The second half of the mix is darker, with the occasional ridiculously deep, and awesome, bass, but less interesting samples, including Snoop Dogg’s “Snoop Dogg Millionaire” to Chase & Status’ “Eastern Jam,” which has that wobbly bass again.
The mix is worth getting your hands on. Throw your money in the air. (Nick Miller)
Does fairy dust mess you up?: Husky and wistful, Autumn Sky’s voice is not quite that of an angel. And thank God, because without that touch of weary roughness, Sky’s songs would be too sugary, too precious. As it is, the 14 neo-folk songs on the Carmichael singer-songwriter’s new album still sometimes dangerously tread into overly sweet waters.
All Which Isn’t Singing is bookended by its two strongest tracks, “Katie, You’re a Hero” and “Our Little Boy.” The first, with its vaudeville saucy piano melody, is cheery testament to a girl who bakes tasty pastries and keeps the boys “comin’ round.” In contrast, the latter song is a mournful story of love lost. Both songs are smart and sophisticated, but the tracks between them are largely uneven, primitive even, with their connect-the-dots narratives. Tracks such as “The Library Song” and “Can Opener” (about a boy who promised he’d always be the singer’s, well, can opener) reveal Sky’s greenness as a songwriter.
Still, the occasional gem offers a glimpse of a grown-up, stylish artist—one who, mercifully, doesn’t sound as though she traffics in fairy dust and angel tears. (Rachel Leibrock)
Sanctuary?: Autumn Sky and others played at the new all-ages venue The Refuge last Friday. Upon entering I could literally feel my expectations lowering.
The bands couldn’t really play their instruments, including headliner Autumn Sky’s “full band,” and seemed unaccustomed to feedback, falling victim to screeches that deafened everyone.
The venue is essentially a church youth-group room turned music venue with sparsely placed Ikea furnishings—an unsuccessful attempt at “hipness”? But if you take into consideration what The Refuge actually is—a glorified church media room where folks can listen to wholesome music—the owners/promoters did a good job. And it’s understandable, then, that musicianship might be compromised: They’re kids. But when compared to most Sacramento music havens, The Refuge is anything but. (Lindsey Walker)
King of the mopes: This Charming Band has the best press agent a Smiths cover band could ask for: Morrissey’s ghost. Morrissey isn’t actually dead, but as Smiths fans know, he’s always holding a torch in the corner of your room. Can’t you hear him?
I couldn’t last week, when I lay on my bed sighing about the discrepancy between dreams and reality, so Morrissey’s ghost possessed my iTunes and cued up “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.” One chorus of his hilariously self-deprecating lyrics cheered me right up, after which he told me to wipe the snot off my face and directed my attention (via MySpace) to Record Club’s Smiths Tribute Night.
DJ Roger Carpio warmed up the 100-plus crowd last Friday at Blue Lamp with two crates of Smiths vinyl, but This Charming Band had everyone singing along through a 90-minute set and a lengthy requests-only encore. The fans waved fresh flowers overhead and climbed onstage to sing into the mic or execute spidery ’80s dances around the drum kit.
Morrissey, forever pegged as the king of the mopes, is truly one funny bastard. And the longer you live, the more times your heart breaks and mends and breaks again, the more amusing the Smiths become. So when we’re dancing and laughing and finally living, we hear Morrissey’s voice in our heads and think of him kindly. (Becca Costello)
Santa Cruz dispatch: On Saturday night in Santa Cruz, the Old Blind Dogs (www.oldblinddogs.co.uk) taught a roomful of mutts some traditional, folky tricks. The capacity-and-then-some Don Quixote International Music Hall was an absolute sauna, but margaritas and draft beers helped; the only palpable heat was the intense strumming, fiery fiddling, peppery pipes and blazing beats of the four Scotsmen. Not even the perspiration on the hard plastic folding chairs could keep derrières down, and songs of unrequited love and drunken revelry were met with more of the latter and much to the contrary of the former. (Kimberly Brown)