By Don Allred
unpublished, they dropped an issue oops
written for week beginning 6/16/2010
The Fiery Furnaces
Wednesday @ Outland
The Fiery Furnaces' "Rehearsing My Choir" was a soulfully microcosmic
pop collaboration of TFF's central siblings Matthew and Eleanor
Friedberger with their late grandmother, Olga Santoros. "Bitter Tea"
less challengingly served up Eleanor's more sultry tones, suggesting a
ruefully surviving Karen Carpenter. She held her own in "Widow City",
a folk-metal metropolis "drunk on wormwood." The Furnaces' current
"I'm Going Away" has Eleanor channeling the early, innocent fervor of
Smokey Robinson and Michael Jackson, simultaneously foreshadowing
later detours. Matthew's cinematically edited catchiness keeps
credibility crackling, as relationships burn on.
Wednesday @ Newport Music Hall
African singer Baaba Maal declares, "The musician's role is to give
advice, to warn people, and to make them aware." News you can use, not
so far from his take on TV: "A stranger…you don't care who he is…he
just seems to come from nowhere and gives you information." So
Brazilian Girls swirl in bittersweet bliss around "Television", the
magical title track of Maal's current set. Maal's an unblinking guide,
who also points out "A big balloon/Beside the moon" while an acoustic
guitar hovers eagerly near by.
Thursday @ Axis
JD Samson projects assurance and vulnerability. As DJ, producer,
keyboard player and singer, Samson's a natural performer, both solo
and with disco-punks Le Tigre and Men, plus dance-pop combo New
England Roses. "Credit Card Babies" critiques and empathizes with
straights and gays wanting kids, while Samson's wistful musing that
"It's not so hard/To make a heart" deftly implies a rhyme with "To
break a heart." She also mixes the kind of flamboyant dance music that
doesn't seem to need mixing, until you hear what she brings to it.
Robert Earl Keen
Tuesday @ Huntington Park
Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen likes to mess with
comfortable materials. Verses keep flexing the context of his most
famous (and bumper sticker-ready) chorus, "The road goes on
forever/And the party never ends." Most of the songs on Keen's "The
Rose Hotel" also provide excellent points of departure for restless
guests. Even the citizen who nostalgically dwells on "Throwing Rocks"
with his country rock honey gets overtaken by events, smoothly
infiltrating and re-calibrating his sentiments and grooves. Vitality
rides with mortality, and a bunch of colorful maps.