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A Merry Olde Weekend In Jolly Houston Town

I confess I am not much of a record collector, and less a geographer, but have you heard of a place called London? Apparently, it is chock-ful of magic. And according to people from there, it has a really promising local scene. On one hand, London is a country from which we’ve borrowed so much, but most of us go around knowing nothing more about its people and its culture than “Put another shrimp on the barbie, mate.” I’ve even been there a few times, yet I remember almost nothing. What we know is this: it rains frequently, the streets change names every 15 feet, and literally every person there is either a comedian, an aspiring regular bloke who's just taking the piss, or a pop star.

The best part is that — like those enterprising subway-riding dogs in Moscow — a few of London’s most promising bands have gone further than the rest of the pack. They’ve tapped into the commercial potential of an interconnected marketplace, going so far as to tie into the international touring circuit, which places the creme de la creme on jets which zoom from place to place, including Houston!

You probably already knew that the surviving members of TLC (Tender and Care, if we’re not mistaken) will be creeping into the Arena Theatre this Friday.

It’s the talk of the town that the Young Mammals are releasing a terrifying new album titled Jaguar this Saturday at Fitzgerald’s with a positively pataphysical anatomically-themed line-up including Buoyant Spirit, Narrow Head, and Milk Leg.

Sunday evening, B L A C K I E, Mouthing, The Aspiring Me, and Show Me the Body pop into Rice University for a combustible night of art and music in the Matchbox Gallery.

And good for you if you’re already a ticketholder to see Kris Kristofferson at the Redneck Country Club on October 9, except that you’re going to be hard-pressed to make it to the Studio at Warehouse Live in time to see The Legendary Pink Dots that same night.

THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS
Maybe it’s the name, maybe I’m just a sucker for a name that positively dribbles talent, but I agree with the wags and the scalawags alike when they say that The Legendary Pink Dots are a band to watch. They hail from London, smack-dab in London Central, surrounded by a series of concentric rings of shops called Camden Market, which are themselves surrounded on all sides by its countryside filled with sheep farms and druidic temples. Singer Edward Ka-Spel has a distinct voice, a gentle voice, a mystic voice, and a knowing voice. When he sings it seems to suggest that he has put his nose into almost everything. The levees of licentiousness, each house of yarn and bricks and sticks and gnosis, the backdoor donut stops, the chartreuse chop-shops of the night. Many find his voice similar in expressiveness and timbre to to that of Genesis P-Orridge of the slightly more famous groups Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle. Both of them have at least one vertebral segment stuffed full of Burroughs’ horror, and another crammed with Lewis Carroll. They’re both psychedelic to the core, uneasy talents flung at the windshield eyes of the imperial juggernaut, but I find Ka-Spel’s voice and what he has to say gentler, more humane. He’s got a touch of Syd Barrett’s disassociative simplicity, but with an expanded scope and range of motions.

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The Legendary Pink Dots have cast a long shadow, and they are nothing if not prolific. Of course, the gatekeepers to the inventory of this world and its treasures are marketers, if only at heart. And the myth of scarcity is hardly served by artists of abundance. Prince had a similar problem, or so he said at the time when he changed his name to a symbol. The record labels didn’t like the rate at which he produced records. Record labels and their henchmen in government, television production, and the arts prefer scarcity. A few big names doing big things keep the monoculture pure and untroubled by details, difference, or variety.

On the other hand, if you must have strictly American music, Bobby Blotzer’s Ratt (featuring Bobby Blotzer) will land on the Proof Rooftop Lounge October 12. Singer Stephen Pearcy won’t be there. Nor will be guitar player Warren DeMartini. Nor guitar player Robbin Crosby. Nor even bass player Juan Croucier. But the smart money is putting it pretty plainly when it says, “You know you want to lay it down, right now, and how.”

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