Obligatory Tipper Gore Warning: this video contains artistic PG-13 nudity!
Quite possibly catching Okkervil River, Crooked Fingers and Black Joe Lewis at Republic New Orleans tonight for little more than the price of three Verti Marte side dishes is, at the very least, the years best concert value. As Alison Fensterstock notes in the current issue of Gambit Weekly, Okkervils The Stage Names vaulted the group from regional darling to bona fide buzz band in 2007. But I suspect 2008 will belong to tourmate Crooked Fingers. The Appalachian folk/rock outfit fronted by former Archer of Loaf Eric Bachmann is no unknown quantity; its latest offering, Forfeit/Fortune (CAI/Red Pig), due next week in an unusual, strategic rollout, will be its fifth this decade. The 11-track record is a new benchmark for the band, however definitely its best since 2003s Red Devil Dawn, and potentially its best, period. Bachmann continues his exploration of exotic international sounds most notably on the flamenco dance Phony Revolutions (above), mariachi march No Me Lo Des and feedback-draped Sinisteria but its on two hard-charging anthems that close the album where the singer really takes control. Modern Dislocation packs a pulsing, hair-raising hook, and Your Control pairs Bachmann's clay-pot vocals with the gilded pipes of Neko Case (enough said). Its a remarkably strong finish to one of the years strongest LPs.