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May 26, 2005

The Hum


Photo and headline -- Boys Only Club

EUREKA RESIDENT RUSS SPIVEY SAYS HE WAS INSPIRED TO record a collection of tunes by local bands after hearing an album called Punk Goes Acoustic. The result is The Acoustic Comp, a soon-to-be-released CD with 15 songs by 11 Humboldt County bands and one solo artist from San Francisco.

"I kind of wanted it to be more than punk, to include other styles too, so it's like a local punk/emo/indie goes acoustic compilation with mostly young bands, but I decided to include some solo acts, individuals who used to be in bands, like Andrew, who's on the compilation. He used to part of Beautiful and Broken, and The Musical Diaries of Eric Burrows, [Eric] used to be in Elk River Etiquette."

Spivey is a member of Boys Only Club [photo above], a band represented by two tracks on the comp. "We're a `satirical folk-pop band with punk influences,'" said Spivey, explaining that the description was a group decision. "We're actually going on tour next week to Oregon and Washington for three weeks. That's one of the reasons I wanted to put the comp out now, so I could sell it at our shows."

Spivey also plans on selling CDs to the other bands (at a slight mark-up) so they can sell them at their own shows. He recorded all of the music in his home studio (actually his bedroom) with two microphones routed through a mixing board into his computer. He says he intentionally left in some of the imperfections in performance that arose.

"You can seriously feel the difference between these songs and the overproduced jingles on TV and radio. There are tons of mistakes on this comp, and that's what I like best about it," he notes.

There is a certain intimacy in the sound, and in keeping with the "emo" concept, a degree of emotional intensity.

"Emo is a newer phrase," says Spivey. "It's a genre that came from punk, but it's more of an emotional kind of music instead of just playing loud, hard and fast, which is what punk is all about. Emo is generally more complex. It's kind of starting to get popularized by big labels and they're messing it up like they did grunge. It's kind of on its way out in that sense, with the bigger labels turning it into a pop genre when it really wasn't originally."

Spivey rolls out The Acoustic Comp with an all ages CD release show Friday evening, May 27, at Hot Brew in Fortuna, including acoustic sets by Boys Only Club, Nobody's Star, Priority Forward, Stereo Chromatic, The Small Time, The Musical Diaries of Eric B., Andrew, Sounds of Serenity and Propel, the musician from S.F. who is the only non-local on the compilation.

Friday night at the Schooner it's the premiere of Scotch Wiggley, a rock/lounge act formed by Stevo Vidnovic, former frontman for Yowling Zygotes and Groovy Imbeciles and guitarist for Invisible Circus and The Widdershins. Vidnovic promises, "This new blend of hard-edged rock with intolerable lounge music breathes life into otherwise predictable musical choices." The band also includes Widdershins founder Frank Mancinelli and a rhythm section consisting of bass man Dave "The Dude" Giarrizzo and drummer Zach Lewing, both of Widdershins. Hmmm, does this smell like a Widdershins spin-off?

Kids For Sale continues their string of benefit shows with one at Six Rivers Brewery Friday night, this time with proceeds going to Six Rivers Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile at Rumours it's Melefluent, a funky indie rock trio driving down from Coeur D'Alene, Idaho in their Econoline van.

Out in Manila at Placebo catch The Ebb & Flow, an indie rococo trio visiting from San Francisco. The band is just about to release their first full length CD, Time to Echolocate, on Three Ring Records. It's an impressive debut full of interesting textures with darkish melodic hooks and guitarist/bassist Sam Tsitrin and Moog/Farfisa/melodica/vibes player Roshy Kheshti providing eerie harmonies on vocals. Two local acts, Symbiote and Megan Weckerly, share the bill.

Redwood Community Radio throws its annual KMUD Block Party Saturday in Redway at the KMUD studios. It's an all-day affair starting at 11 a.m. and running `til dusk with a massive CD and record remnants sale plus artisans booths, fun for kids, a barbeque, and of course music, music, music. Among the sonic delights: SoHum jazzers Humboldt Time, the melodious, tropical sounds of Lost Coast Marimbas, psychedelic "temple grunge" band, Skyepipe, funky ambient grooves by Something Different, humorous freestyle rap by Fatty Eddy and the Fallopian Warriors, Trinidad Goodshield's "indigenous soul," conscious folk by Cory Hanna, and psychedelic pop from the power duo Witch Doctor Dave and the Feast with KMUD operations manager Dave Myers and his wife Emma.

Poets Jerry Martien and Mark Shikuma read their work at the Red Radish Saturday evening in a show called Words With Strings, with jazz bassists Shao Way Wu and Geoff Daugherty providing string accompaniment. Martien explains that the show is a benefit for the Humboldt Committee for Conscientious Objectors GI Hotline and counseling network (826-0165), "a cause that is becoming urgent as we send young men and women off to kill or be killed without justification or even knowing what their rights are."

Elsewhere Saturday: Ponche plays AfroCuban salsa for dancers at Six Rivers Brewery. Karen Dumont and Bob Ebenstein sing and play blues at the Jambalaya. And around the corner at the Alibi, Portland-based I Am the Arm plays wild compositions drawing on punk and jazz elements, and Wolves in the Throne Room, from the woods near Olympia, play dark, intense metal with industrial overtones.

Sunday afternoon at Arcata High it's the Roots Rock Reggae Music Festival, offering conscious music with an anti-violence message by Creation and the Ta-Mu International African Rhythm Band.

And speaking of reggae, I'm told they've sold over half of the tickets to the upcoming Reggae on the River, Aug. 5-7 at French's Camp. Of course, there are too many performers to mention all of them here and now, but among them are: Maxi Priest, Lyrics Born, Transglobal Underground and Ponche on Friday; Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Buju Banton, Tony Rebel and Prezident Brown on Saturday, and Lost Coast Marimbas, David Kirton, Alma Melodiosa, the amazing Daara J, Ozomatli and Anthony B, on Sunday with Alpha Blondy closing the show playing into the wee, wee hours. No word yet on the future of Reggae at French's Camp; I'm guessing (and hoping) that the concerned parties will come to some sort of compromise so that this will not be the last blast on that particular bend in the Eel.


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