Weezy vs. Farren

Ground Chuck and his painted face front MDL at R5 Records in the eve on Tuesday.

Ground Chuck and his painted face front MDL at R5 Records in the eve on Tuesday.

Photo By Shoka

The little death: Mondays suck, but they suck less because of Ross Hammond and his Monday night jazz series at Javalounge. Last Monday, the Mitch Marcus Quintet played with Hearts+Horses (formerly Park Avenue Music). The latter, I hadn’t seen before. Jeannette Faith (vocals and piano) and husband Wes Steed (synthesizer) create ambient, acid jazz that would likely make a killer soundtrack to a scary video game with hot chicks and sexy monsters. Their set was nestled on top of beats created by a drummer so funky that he looked as if he was perpetually in the midst of orgasm. Check out Hearts+Horses at www.heartshorses.com, and watch their Javalounge set on YouTube. And don’t worry, the camera is far enough away that you can’t see the sexually perverse drummer’s face, so it’s safe for kids. Go to Javalounge next Monday to watch Alex Jenkins’ Sound Immersion and Nonconformist Muffin, 8:30 p.m., $5, all ages. (Josh Fernandez)Show me! Let’s take a look at the month of March: Rapper Random Abiladeze is on tour, but will make two Sacramento stops: The first stop is at Sacramento City College on March 10 (free, spoken word in the reading lab at noon). The second Sac stop is on March 25 at The Press Club (as The Other Poets, 9 p.m., $5, Sammies nominees announced at this show).

Dance for Destruction will play on March 17 at Javalounge (7 p.m., $7). Club Pow!’s four-year-anniversary party is on March 30 at The Press Club (price, acts TBA).

Oh, and Lil Wayne plays Arco Arena on March 30 (7 p.m., lots o’ $$$). (Nick Miller)

Speaking of Lil Wayne: There’s an interesting music study done by Virgil Griffith, a 25-year-old California Institute of Technology grad, who plotted musical taste against SAT scores and stirred them up in a pot. The outcome was a humorous, semi-scientific, statistical graph that tells you how smart you are by what kind of music you listen to. Not surprisingly, at the top of the list is Beethoven, followed closely (and curiously) by Sufjan Stevens. At the very bottom of the list, however, is our friend Lil Wayne. So, for those of you who actually listen to Lil Wayne, that just means you’re stupid as fuck. Which also means that when Weezy comes to town on March 30, Arco Arena will be like a scene from a Mensa convention. But the exact opposite. (J.F.)

Smaht people music: If you’ve been to a Justin Farren show, you’ve probably been treated to a night of funny banter, laughter and exceptional songwriting. Farren is an observationalist in the truest sense. Which is where his latest album, Songs From Spare Rooms, begins: “I’ve been eating lunch with chopsticks, I’ve been singing to myself.” And he continues, singing, storytelling with an easy voice that is just as good at rendering a tale as it is carrying a tune. But underneath Farren’s wise-assed, self-deprecation is an adept musician who is as quick with a guitar and a melody as he is with his wit and intellectual charm. Whereas “Hey Bear” is a quietly beautiful reflection (with Andre Fylling helping out on the piano), “I Try to Make Good Decisions” is a less quiet, less beautiful story that begins: “I used to work a job at Papa John’s / dressed up like a pizza slice / out on the lawn / and I would wave to the passersby / who would sometimes flip me off.” Some songs act as vehicles to tell an engaging story, while others are simply songs—charming songs, that is. And when a hilarious tune ends on Songs From Spare Rooms, a chillingly beautiful one is sure to begin. An example is “Song for Will,” where Farren exchanges his lively children’s storytime voice for a crystal clear tone with a Cat Stevens clarity and Paul Simon tenderness. With a sweet, sad melody, the song ends just as poetically as it began: “Just waiting on some sturdy wind / to blow us someplace we might belong.” (As a side note, Farren might be one of the few folk musicians who can turn a song called “The Toilet Paper Song” into one of the most introspective and pretty on the 16-song album.) With additional help from Brian Rogers (drums), Ken Burnett (mandolin), Adrianne Devitt (trombone), Eric Talley (cello), Kerry Marshall (vocals) and Jesse Jones (production), Songs From Spare Rooms sounds fuller than we’re used to hearing from Farren—the storyteller with an impeccable voice, a guitar and a head full of funny, tender and engaging observation. To check his show dates, listen to some tracks and buy Songs From Spare Rooms, check out www.justinfarren.com. (J.F.)