Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hooray for Hurray for the Riff Raff

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2008 at 3:14 AM

There's a lot of ways to become a musician. You could take out a bunch of student loans and go to some fancy shmancy university for it. You could be born into some travelling family of musicians with a whip-cracking father who beats it into you. You could snort piles of speed and sit in your garage listening to Rush records over and over again until you can play all the parts. Or you could hop trains around the country for a few years with a band of gutter-punk-cum-old-timey-musicians, playing on boxcars and street corners until your capable of knocking out the banjo part to "You are my sunshine" even when you're full of whiskey and haven't slept in two days.That's (more or less) what Alynda Lee from local act Hurray for the Riff Raff did, spending ages 17-20 (or so) traveling around with The Dead Man Street Orchestra (www.myspace.com/streetorchestra),

playing where they could.Now Alynda has teamed up with Walt McClements, accordion player and frontman for Why are We Building Such a Big SHip (and probably, like, five other bands that have formed since I started writing this), plus Misha and Aubrey also of Big Ship, playing suitcase drums and upright bass, respectively.In this new group, Alynda has shed the punk-turned-old-timey sound almost completely, opting instead to pluck out sort of melancholy lo-fi indie songs that border on the neighborhoods of Cat Power, Bonnie Prince Billie and Kimya Dawson (who, by the way, is playing at The Iron Rail bookstore, 511 Marigny, sometime on Tuesday afternoon). The songs are downright moving, which is a lot coming from me. I'm not sure what "Here it Comes" is about, but when Alynda asks plainly in her reedy voice, "Honey Why'd you wait so long?" I think damn, why did I? And when she reveals the consequence of waiting so long: "Oh here it comes." I get chills. As I overheard someone say at one of Hurray's shows, "Se's the real thing."Oh, and as anyone who's seen Big Ship can contest, the rest of the band is none too shabby either. Check 'em out at The Circle Bar this Thursday, the tenth.

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