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Friday, June 26, 2009

Music Menu: Stump Dickens, Marah, Polvo

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Stump Dickens "Formed on the assumption that Herbie Hancock, not John Hancock, signed the Declaration of Independence," C-towners Stump Dickens will probably not make sense to those Bible-belters still stumped by (Charles) Dickens. Talk about evolution: a mix of Anticon/Def Jukie thesaurus rap combined with a live backing band just as likely to kick out a banjo riff as a big bass bumper, Stump Dicky's backpack-'n'-a-sack wraps should be on more shoulders than Jansport right about now. Well worth your time, and one of the best "new" bands around, whatever the genre. With Eyes of the Elder and Inflowential. The Evening Muse (Timothy C. Davis)

Marah The brothers Bielanko have seen their star rise and fall with some regularity over the past decade. Their ramshackle debut, Let's Cut the Crap and Hook-Up Later On Tonight, was a gem lost in the alt-country miasma of the late-'90s; 2000's Kids in Philly was acclaimed as a worthy heir to mid-'70s Springsteen but under-performed at the register. So Marah dumped The Boss-meets-Mummers Parade-banjo thing and hired Oasis' producer, releasing the bloated Float Away with the Friday Night Gods, which nobody liked. The Bielankos returned to rootsier sounds and critical kudos after that, but suffered band implosion in early 2008. So with a new cast in tow (minus Serge Bielanko, a first-time papa, for the time being) and a record on the way, Marah soldiers on. With Boone wildmen the Naked Gods and locals Foxchase. Milestone (John Schacht)

Polvo Isn't it weird talking about Polvo in the present tense? A dozen years ago the Chapel Hill quartet called it quits, and you'd have made good money betting on a reunion since relatively few took notice of them the first go-round (excepting all the musicians who, VU-style, formed bands after hearing them). But with Merge celebrating its 20th anniversary – another long shot back then – and a few festival appearances under their belt, three-quarters of the original band (plus new drummer Brian Quast, ex-the Cherry Valence) headed into Echo Mountain with Brian Paulson earlier this year and, presto, a new Polvo record, In Prism, due out in September. If history holds, it'll be a hypnotic mix of fractured melodies, semi-tonal guitar skronk, and metronome-defying time-sig shifts. With electric Des Ark and locals the Junior Astronomers. Visulite Theatre (John Schacht)

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