MUSIC BOX: TV on the Radio: Imaginative as the name

By on March 25, 2015
A wave of top-notch talent hits town theaters and listening rooms this week. (Photo credit: TV on the Radio)

A wave of top-notch talent hits town theaters and listening rooms this week. (Photo credit: TV on the Radio)

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – The formula of art + rock + soul = TV on the Radio—a beacon of light in a tidal wave of bands that don’t fit neatly into any one box. The Brooklyn quartet’s fifth studio album in 2011, Nine Types of Light, hit this listener in all of the best ways, earning a rotation within an ongoing playlist of mine dubbed “Best Albums of the Decade.” The predominantly mid-tempo music is patient, yet wittingly sharp and positive, mixing electronics, indie guitar rock, free jazz, funk, soul and a cappella doo-wop vocals—elements that don’t always jive together with such conciseness.

It must also be understood that early TV on the Radio breathes beyond the latter, perhaps using that freedom of experimentation and thus reaching counterpoints of a driving punk rock aesthetic followed by a Brian Wilson-esque softness, while dabbling in a Funkadelic foundation.

Opening the show is Nostalghia, the moniker for California-Iranian native Ciscandra Nostalghia. “Post-apocalyptic gypsy punk” is the tag that keeps surfacing while jamming to Nostalghia’s music. It sounds like primal pop and avant-garde smoldering in an environment in which demons are exorcised and intensity is birthed via a cinema of sound.

TV on the Radio with Nostalghia, 9 p.m. Friday at the Pink Garter Theatre. Sold- out. PinkGarterTheatre.com. 

Foxygen brings their frenetic, off-killer energy to Jackson on Sunday. (Photo credit: Foxygen)

Foxygen brings their frenetic, off-killer energy to Jackson on Sunday. (Photo credit: Foxygen)

KHOL reaches fundraising goal, celebrates with Foxygen 

Jackson Hole Community Radio (KHOL 89.1 FM) has not only blossomed into an integral part of our local music scene, but also as a community resource, a representation of local culture, and a somewhat unpredictable dial ranging from advice on how to pair your wine with your meal, to two hours of live Phish.

To celebrate KHOL’s recent fundraising membership drive—in which they raised more than $35,000 and had more than 350 donors—the station will present indie rockers Foxygen, which just announced its farewell tour. There’s a frenetic, off-kilter energy about Foxygen that makes them both weird and engaging. I immediately think of an expanded, contemporary version of Velvet Underground or Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, complete with backup singers, horns and a confidence that only swells in Los Angeles. What began as a classic rock-leaning experimental pop project of multi-instrumentalists Sam France and Jonathan Rado has also developed into an act with a reputation for antagonistic and sometimes violent stage antics.

“KHOL is making strides in its service in terms of streaming and programming due to the support from our listeners,” said KHOL’s community affairs director Brielle Schaeffer.

Those who received a complementary Foxygen ticket with their donation will be placed on a guest list at the door. Tickets are still available to the general public.

KHOL presents Foxygen, 9 p.m., Sunday at the Pink Garter Theatre. $15. PinkGarterTheatre.com. 

Dowling releases his tenth album with Dornan’s show

Mike Dowling’s guitar playing is a delicacy. His brand of vintage blues, ragtime and bottleneck is not the raw slide attack of 1930s-era Elmore James or Robert Johnson, but a rather refined, virtuosic approach that comes from his six string in a subtly smooth fashion. It’s no surprise then that his recordings are essentially as natural as the early style recordings—as in, minimal reverb, virtually no overdubbing and occasional accompaniment.

For his new LP, Tracks, it’s all about his resonator guitars, which are featured in 10 of the 11 tracks ranging from instrumental tunes to his own vocal accompaniment. It’s a solo acoustic set with self-penned tunes matched to a variety of songs by Mississippi Fred McDowell, Irving Berlin and Bobby Charles.

Mike Dowling album release concert, 8 p.m., Friday at Dornan’s. Tickets cost $20 at Valley Bookstore, The Liquor Store and Dornan’s (733-2415). 

Socially conscious lyricist Ani DiFranco plays Center Theater on Wednesday. (Photo credit: Shervin Lainez)

Socially conscious lyricist Ani DiFranco plays Center Theater on Wednesday. (Photo credit: Shervin Lainez)

DiFranco still percussive, socially conscious 

Though lifestyle has drastically changed for Grammy-winning folk singer Ani DiFranco, becoming a parent has not changed her outlook as a politically charged, socially conscious lyricist. Now 45, DiFranco won a Grammy for 2003’s Evolve and published a book of poems and paintings, Verses, in 2007. Her lyrics tend to tackle topics like war, corporate greed, sexual assault and gun control, and she’s backed that further by founding the Righteous Babe Foundation, which has supported various causes, including aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina, abortion rights and gay equality. DiFranco received the Woman of Courage Award at the National Organization for Women Conference in 2006.

Opening the show is Brooklyn trio Pearl and the Beard, which passionately intertwines three distinct voices amidst a powerfully delicate orchestra of cello, guitars, keyboard, bells and percussion. The band offers songs that speak to joy and sorrow, love and loss.

Ani DiFranco with Pearl and the Beard, 7 p.m., Wednesday at the Center Theater. $47-$52. JHCenterForTheArts.org. 

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About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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