Weird, tasty nuggets
Some guys have all the luck: Over the last few years, Unknown Mortal Orchestra has experienced a swift rise to fame. First, the band enjoyed success in 2010 after anonymously releasing the track, “Ffunny Ffrends” via Bandcamp. The song went viral, thanks to various music bloggers, which led to record deals, first with Fat Possum Records, and later with Jagjaguwar. This, in turn, led to a 2012 tour with Grizzly Bear. Now, the group headlines its own world trek, capitalizing on the success of its second album II. The New Zealand-Portland, Ore., retro-funk trio will stop at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub (2708 J Street) come Wednesday, September 25. Stop in to see why Pitchfork has called UMO’s song “a bouncy, distorted, off-kilter psych-pop nugget.” Tickets are $15-$18 and available via www.harlows.com. (J.B.)
How you like them apples?: On Thursday, September 19, Bows & Arrows (1815 19th Street) will team up with Eat Better to present its first Bites + Beats + Beer event featuring affordable plates made from local, seasonal ingredients. There are plans for the event to be monthly, and this go-around, the foodie focus is apples. Eat Better is a Sacramento-based group that hosts pop-up dinners, educational events and more. For this, a crew of gourmand pushers will take over the Bows kitchen to create the bites, available for as little as $4. Meanwhile, behind the bar, the folks from the Track 7 Brewing Co. will work the taps while local electro artists provide beats. The goodness runs from 6 to 10 p.m., and admission is free. Check out www.bowscollective.com for more information. (J.B.)
The golden age, redux: The ’40s and ’50s were the golden age for Cuban music, an era cut short by the Cuban revolution of 1959, which left the national sounds to linger in locals’ memories rather than the grand and decadent dance clubs of the past. Then, some 50 years after one such club’s closure, American guitarist Ry Cooder arrived in Cuba to record music by some octogenarian musicians who’d been active in those bygone days. The resulting album, 1997’s Buena Vista Social Club, went platinum and led to the 1999 Wim Wenders’ documentary by the same name. Both album and film put Latin music back in the forefront and made the old-timers, once again, superstars. Today, an ever-evolving 13-member group of Cubans tours under the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club name. See the group perform on Saturday, September 21, at the Mondavi Center (9399 Old Davis Road in Davis). Tickets are $35-$65; see www.mondaviarts.org for more information. (J.B.)
The Jet Life: If you can’t tell from the title of his 2012 album The Stoned Immaculate, then Curren$y will remind you over and over: He likes to smoke weed. He also constantly utters the phrase “Jet Life”: It’s the name of his collective and label imprint with Warner Bros. Records, and the phrase represents the life the rapper claims to be living, one filled with four houses, diamonds and a Scrooge McDuck-ian mountains of money.
Given that “Jet Life” peaked at No. 62 on the Billboard rap songs chart and Curren$y’s stable of artists is largely obscure, it’s a dubious claim.
Then again, The Stoned Immaculate debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s rap album chart and at No. 8 on Billboard 200—largely to critical acclaim. The album is woozy stony and makes for pleasant background music. There are many star-studded collaborations here, including ones featuring 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa, and a track with Pharrell Williams produced by the Neptunes.
Two of these collaborations are unusual in that they feature female singer-songwriters Estelle and Marsha Ambrosius, formerly of the British group Floetry. This makes for something of a contradiction: The album’s themes cover the requisite money boasts and marijuana worshipping, yet the record also has a gentle tone, and is only medium-grade sexist—a feat in itself given the current climate of rap. Curren$y performs at Assembly (1000 K Street) on Thursday, September 19. The show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are $23. Learn more at www.assembly sacramento.com. (B.G.)