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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Concert of the Year?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 3:59 PM

Obligatory Tipper Gore Warning: this video contains artistic PG-13 nudity!
Quite possibly — catching Okkervil RiverCrooked 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 year’s best concert value. As Alison Fensterstock notes in the current issue of Gambit Weekly, Okkervil’s 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 2003’s 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 it’s 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). It’s a remarkably strong finish to one of the year’s strongest LPs.  


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