There's quite a bit of an international flavor to the musical offerings in our area this evening, which is one of the more interesting Monday nights we've seen in a while.
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John Vanderslice and Daniel Hart at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton
Emerald City, singer-songwriter John Vanderslice's effort from 2007, is one of the more remarkable albums of the last decade. Depressed by Bush's reelection in 2004 and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, Vanderslice found that his only way to escape these blues was to write politically conscious songs -- something he had rarely done in the past. The results were pretty staggering as Vanderslice merged the personal and political in a way that hasn't been accomplished as successfully since the days of Gang of Four and The Clash. The fact that Vanderslice did this via his rather sedate electronic/folk sounds makes the achievement even more amazing.
Acrassicauda and No Scope at Trees
Thrash metal from Iraq? WMDs or not, Acrassicauda is at least one positive thing that resulted from the invasion of Iraq. After receiving death threats from Islamic militants in their homeland, the band was granted refugee status in the United States and settled in, of all places, New Jersey. Wherever they choose to reside, these guys know how to bring on the authentic thrash metal noise. What better place to cultivate urban disaffection than the streets of Bagdad? Or Hoboken.
Hank & Cupcakes and The Cush at the House of Blues' Cambridge Room
Hailing out of Israel, the duo behind Hank & Cupcakes creates a hell of a racket for just a guy on his bass and a gal on her drum set. This is trashy dance rock played with wit -- and the necessary irreverence to pull this kind of shit off without sounding pretentious. Opening act The Cush features area residents Burette and Gabrielle Douglas. Former Dallas residents who moved to Vermont and have now resettled in Fort Worth, the Douglases are probably best remembered in these parts for their involvement with the noise pop band Buck Jones. These days, the duo plays music more in the Yo La Tengo vein. And that's definitely not a bad thing.
Xavier Rudd and Honey Honey at the Granada Theater
Australian singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd is one of those one-man-band types that are always a hoot to catch at various festivals around the world. Concerning himself with the plight of the Aborigines, Rudd is the epitome of political correctness. He's a vegetarian, too. And, of course, PETA has recognized Rudd as the "World's Sexiest Vegetarian." Next thing you know, the guy will have his own sit-com. There are worse ideas: Rudd's brand of folk is earnest and delivered with an undeniable energy. He may just be the greatest guy you will ever see in person. Or not.