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Monday, November 25, 2013

Tonight in Music: Howe Gelb, Levon's Helmet, Freedy Johnston

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM


HOWE GELB, HOUNDSTOOTH
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Howe Gelb is one prolific fella. Throughout his nearly 30-year career, he's played with his band Giant Sand, solo, and with a clutch of talented musicians. The Americana legend collaborated with Bonnie "Prince" Billy, KT Tunstall, and M. Ward on his new solo record The Coincidentalist. Don't miss him! COURTNEY FERGUSON


LEVON'S HELMET, ACID FAST, NERVOUS, ABOLITIONIST
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Don't let the ludicrously "punny" name deter you. Upstart duo Levon's Helmet have produced one of the best, bona fide power-pop EPs this city has seen in some time. Clocking in at the impossibly succinct length of 12 minutes, each cut is a certified fresh, hook-laden jammer—from the pre-"Stacy's Mom" Fountains of Wayne-ish opener "I've Had It" to closer "Night Train to Memphis," which references band members Gordon Keepers and Jason Oppat's folk-punk roots (both members previously played in the acoustic-based outfit Water Tower). But it's the third track, the stiffly titled "My Life Is Going Nowhere," that is the truly exceptional selection here, akin to Robert Pollard's greatest. While Levon's Helmet may lack stylistic stability for the time being, their pop prowess is totally undeniable. Follow them closely. MORGAN TROPER


FREEDY JOHNSTON
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) Freedy Johnston is one of those highly skilled singer/songwriters who exists somewhere between major stardom and starving artist, where making records and touring builds a big enough fanbase to simply sustain itself. In the early 1990s, Johnston appeared to be on the verge of a breakout with his brilliant back-to-back records Can You Fly and This Perfect World. Those led to a deal with Elektra Records, which produced three albums of Johnston's likeable, gentle folk-pop featuring a disarming blend of catchy melodies and downcast stories. Since then, he's been padding his catalog, releasing demos, a live album, a collection of covers, and a collaboration with Jon Dee Graham and Susan Cowsill. Johnston's website says he's "finishing up" a new album, though that was back in January. In the meantime, he continues a weeklong residency at Al's Den. BEN SALMON

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