Funniest lyric of the past week? My money's on: "When I'm dried up, with nothing to say / I can make some pussy-ass music, just like the Fray."
Those lines, or something very much like them — they rap fast, I type slow — were delivered by Wandering Monks, a Denver trio who drove down Sunday to join the CD release celebration for Che Bong's Sleeping While You're Awake at the Black Sheep.
The show also featured some pretty impressive sets from Che Bong's Sound Powered Engine labelmates, including Milogic, Made Up Minds and Bullhead*ded — whose infectious "Breakdown" deserves to be a hit when their own album is released early next year. (You can read last week's cover story on Che Bong at bit.ly/u2LKHv.)
As for the Wandering Monks, I don't think I've ever seen a live hip-hop act with lilting three-part harmonies before, let alone one whose sharply written, politically conscious material would make a great soundtrack for the Occupy movement. The group's self-titled debut album came out just a few weeks ago, so expect to hear more about them in 2012.
But hip-hop wasn't the only live music in the Land of Reverb this past weekend. On Friday, I stopped by Zodiac to see Dave Mansfield & the L.A.M.F.'s, whose glam-punk set was lots of fun but way too short. The Evilettes also did their spacegirl go-go dance routine, complete with rayguns and mile-high beehives worthy of the intermission act at an Ed Wood double-feature.
Then on Saturday, the club hosted the debut of Sandusky Youth, an amalgam of Lo-Fi Cowboys and Lazy Spacemen whose post-punk repertoire ranged from Mission of Burma's "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" to a revelatory rendition of "Do It Clean" that made me reconsider my longstanding disinterest in Echo & the Bunnymen. The set also included a guest appearance by Erin Caitlinn Moore — who played Exene to Collin Estes' John Doe on X's "Johnny Hit and Run Paulene" — as well as bonus Lazy Spaceman Rick Hyde, who handled vocals on Joy Division's "Transmission" and Guided by Voices' "Teenage FBI."
Clearly the perfect prom band for some postmodern alternative universe, the Youth also took on "September Gurls," which was actually the second Big Star cover of the night. The first came from altered-country duo Wild Hares, who went on to close with "When Worlds Collide," a supremely catchy power pop song that frontman Tracy Santa told me he learned in a previous band. Unfortunately he has no idea who did the original, so if you do, let us know.
As for upcoming shows, the looming holidays have really thinned out the live music schedule, but not for local trio Adam Lopez & His Mighty LoCasters. The Tulsa transplant will bring his rockabilly-influenced originals and eclectic covers back to SouthSide Johnny's on Thursday, and then make his Crystola Roadhouse debut on Friday.
Pretty fast work, considering the fact that the Oklahoman moved to town in late October. "I had about six gigs booked when I got here," he tells me, "before the three of us had all even met at the same time."
Elsewhere, Chris Forsythe's thundering new side-project Tree of Woe is headlining the Black Sheep Friday. And then there's Texas roots act Possessed by Paul James, who play the Triple Nickel that same night along with The Ghost of Michael Clark, TIDES, and Disguise the Spy.
And finally, local death-carolers Unikord have posted yet another Xmas tune to their bandcamp site. Entitled "Soylent Night," it features the mellifluous Unikordettes as well as less-than-holy lyrics like "You taste so good / So tender and mild." Sure to become a holiday standard.