Friday, April 08, 2011

Review: Israel Nash Gripka- Barn Doors and Concrete Floors

Video stream of Israel Nash Gripka's "Goodbye Ghost"

Where my hippies at?

Israel Nash Gripka creates music that's a throwback to the Nixon era. Yet today's listeners don't need to remember John Denver or wear bell-bottoms to appreciate Barn Doors and Concrete Floors.

The new album contains the songcraft of Robbie Robertson and the bleary gypsy-folk style associated with Bob Dylan's Desire. And then there's the Stones references. "Sunset, Regret" and "Louisiana" make it clear that Gripka and his band have spent some quality time with Sticky Fingers. The presence of producer Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth insures that the album never sounds stale. Barn Doors and Concrete Floors demands to be played on vinyl with windows thrown open so that crickets can chirp along.

"Oh, Missouri won't you bless my soul," Gripka moans on "Bellwether Ballad."

Shake it on down.

I'm not entirely sold on the music, but Spoek Mathambo's "Control" is my second-favorite video of 2011. (Via BigSteveNO.)

My final Middle of the Map band of the week is Maps & Atlases: The Chicago-based band is slotted between Work Drugs and Two Door Cinema Club at the Beaumont Club on Friday.

Here's a high-quality performance video of Kristie Stremel & the 159ers.

I might have accomplished a lot more in recent weeks if only I'd been able to stop thinking about Chris Brown's "Look At Me Now". It's not a proper song, yet it's one of the year's biggest hits. How does that happen? Brown is going out of his way to make everyone in the world hate him. Why isn't it working? Are his fans really that dim? Busta! Is Weezy's explicit homophobia merely a sly response to Brown's opening rap about male genitalia? And is the video an intentional homage to the sexual ambiguity of Michael Jackson's "Beat It"?

Kansas City Click: The inaugural Middle of the Map festival takes place in four venues Friday and Saturday.

The annual fundraiser for Kansas City Youth Jazz is Sunday at the Madrid Theater.

Hermon Mehari hosts Monday's jam at the Blue Room.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

1 comment:

bigsteveno said...

I listened to the whole Spoek Mathambo album (Mshini Wam) last night. The term 'township house' is a misnomer. The tracks are very sparse, and the influences are more hiphop and dancehall, with the tempos all over the place. If he's not consciously influenced by MIA, he will be put in that box by others. I think you might dig this. Any album with a track called Douchebag Club is worth a listen.

And btw the video makes more sense if you know that his stage name 'Spoek' means 'ghost' (ie spook). Good background info in this review: