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No, I am Shelby Lynne

| October 26, 2011 | 0 Comments

Shelby Lynne

Helpless. That’s how we feel about suppressing her Grammy anecdote when we hear Shelby Lynne’s name mentioned. But this time, the story’s oddly useful. She’s in town this weekend, along with Secret Colours’ psychedelic Halloween, Spank Rock, Ollabelle, Tabi Bonney, and Dashing Assassins.

If you weren’t aware, Shelby Lynne won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1999 — for her sixth album. That the record was called I Am Shelby Lynne might have confused the Academy, though it was certainly a timely title with which to greet a wider audience. Six albums later, however, and she might’ve done well to save it for what became this year’s Revelation Road, her third on her own label. The reason is that she wrote and performed every note herself, and also addresses a horrifying truth about her life: that she and her sister, Allison Moorer, watched their father kill their mother and then himself. “Heaven’s Only Days Down The Road,” written from her father’s perspective, arrives late in the sequence to avoid stealing the spotlight. The 10 others, however, harbor their own pains — mostly of a romantic origin — carefully penned with Lynne’s graceful, yet emotionally precise approach. (Friday@Lincoln Hall.)

This weekend’s Halloween affairs will have a tough time matching what local outfit Secret Colours have in store before Friday even dawns. They’ve planned Spookedelic, which will feature a ’60s-style oil-projection show, free silk-screened posters (with advance ticket purchase), a photobooth, and more. For their part, they’ve expanded their lineup and will begin showcasing some newly written, assuredly Anglophile songs. (Thursday@Subterranean with The Vacant Lots, Radar Eyes, and Troubadour Dali.)

Spank Rock‘s presence on the Kesha/LMFAO tour made some fans optimistic that the five-year wait between albums hadn’t ended the band’s own party-rockin’; the title of the then-forthcoming Everything Is Boring & Everyone Is A Fucking Liar (Bad Blood) gave cause for concern. The good news is that Everything can be just as dirty and gonzo as its predecessor, and will load you up on enough dick jokes to last your next 4th-grade reunion. The beats rest less in XXXchange‘s hands than Berlin-based Boys Noize, which gives the whole album a disconnected feel. Part of that gets exacerbated by the willingness to go in an LMFAO direction (“#1 Hit”), while clinging to their reps as Baltimore outliers liable to run noise-punk (“DTF DADT”) in your face. When things get dumb — and believe me, they can get fucking dumb — older fans might be wondering what they signed up for. Newcomers will notice Spank Rock’s reluctance to go full retard, and everyone will have to wait another five years to see how this turns out. (Friday@The Mid with Big Freedia, Pictureplane, The Death Set, and Franki Chan.)

One look at this shot of Ollabelle standing on the city sidewalk, playing their acoustic instruments, and smiling tells you most of what you need to know about this NYC-based folk/soul ensemble. Neon Blue Bird (Thirty Tigers) finds them in full voice: splashes of breezy Appalachia and road-weary blues that pan out best in “One More Time” and the haunting “Butcher Boy.” (Friday@Old Town School Of Folk Music with Dom Flemons.)

Reggie’s will be upside-down and beside itself after Friday night, with a pair of shows that couldn’t be less compatible. Part of the Hip-Hop & Love tour starring Murs, Tabi Bonney floats in on what you might call happy-go-lucky hip-hop. The Summer Years‘ opener, “On Jupiter,” sounds like it was recorded with him in the backseat of a convertible with the top down. His Fiasco-like flow sticks like velcro to rhythmic shifts, though he can cut himself loose above the bass and snaps of “Frontin'” or the wobbling dubstep of “Hello & Goodnight.” (Friday@Reggie’s Rock with Murs, Ski Beatz, and McKenzie Eddy.) Upstairs, Dashing Assassins (former members of (Waste, Trading Brains, Misguided Youth, and Humboldt Lagoon) bring their knives and guns to the kitchen table. Their grinding, black T-shirt-and-jeans Midwestern pummelling lies somewhere between the scruffy classic-rock blasphemy of the Sex Pistols and the haymaker, metal-tinged punk of Effigies. (Friday@Reggie’s Joint with The Inspector Cluzo, Makahiya, and GnFnR.)

— Steve Forstneger

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