Thursday, July 24, 2008

[Record Crate] Doggs and Wolves Lead the Pack

The unsinkable rap icon Snoop Dogg will be appearing alongside America's longest-running act that is "no Sublime" -- 311, at the River Center this week. As of this writing, Ticketmaster still has seats to be filled by those whose capacity for summery grooves and pot anthems have yet to be sated. Snoop Dogg has never topped his debut, but each successive album over the years has shown him rolling with the ever-changing tide of hip-hop while maintaining a consistency and charm to his songs -- on his latest Ego Trippin, he invokes Johnny Cash of the rambling guitar track "My Medicine." 311, however, has never figured out what they wanted to be, whether it was the rap-metal hybrid that played a State Street house party over two decades ago, their watered-down reggae pop hits or their recent stab at 1980s alternative revivalism. Whatever, a high time is predicted at the River Center this Tuesday, July 29.

Canada of late has been taking the reins of sweet indie pop music, a style they have excelled at for years without due acclaim in the states, and Wolf Parade is one of the pack leaders. Sharing members with Sunset Rubdown and Swan Lake has not prevented Wolf Parade from honing their own sound; their latest, At Mount Zoomer, blends piano and synthesizers into their winsome melodies, laced with a delicious melancholy. They will be at the Spanish Moon on Saturday.

I've said many times the Manship Theatre is perfectly designed for virtuoso guitar music, and you'll get a chance to see what I mean Thursday. Muriel Anderson became the first woman to win the National Fingerpicking Championship in 1989, and recently contributed to Harp Guitar Dreams, an all-star album dedicated to this rare multi-stringed variation of the guitar. Joining her at the Manship will be fellow finger-picking champ Richard Smith and Thom Bresh, master of many guitar styles and son of country legend Merle Travis. Here's hoping for a down-home country/flamenco/classical harp guitar trio throw down in those immaculate acoustics.

Finally, Billy Bob Thornton has been busy with his home studio and new band The Boxmasters, shilling for Dell computers and crafting the sprawling and surprisingly good boutique country debut album. Thornton's first love was music, and his movie career has been dotted with releases, but The Boxmasters is his most cohesive configuration yet. The band will be appearing at The Varsity on Monday.

Link with local events calendar

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