Friday, February 12, 2010

Black Jake & the Carnies - 2-24 - Elbow Room; Ultrasounds - 2-18 - Lager House

It’s rare, I know, that we cover bluegrass on DC - Now, this isn’t your average barefooted jug-blown unkempt straw-chewing affair – Black Jake & the Carnies (pictured above) bring such a rich flavor to their yarn-spun ballads, a majestically heaving humming accordion, a bobbing violin waltzing and splashing through the brook, the pickin’ honk of a banjo intertwined with the golden toned strum of mandolin – and all coming from an Ypsilanti-based collective of musician. The key to their charm is the character their sound is given, not just through the barn-dance twirl of their Americana-ringing instrumentation, but their embrace of the aesthetic, from the playfulness of “Kiss Me Deadly” to the more macabre, edge-of-the-swamp feeling full-moon romps “No Diamond Ring.” “Sundry Mayhem,”…indeed – see ‘em live at the Elbow Room (Ypsi) with Jim Roll and Theodore).

And, in the space left, I’ll just say: Ultrasounds (one of whom, pictured above)– yes, another Ypsi-band, but a power-trio teasing and trouncing atmospheric-pop/rock, spacey-guitars, sonorous pianos, tumbling drums, an affirming, tight, young cast forming textured experimental rock, but with an ear for pop, playing PJs Lager House, 2/18.

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