- Legitimately scary
Monday, November 16
The video for Combichrist's "Maggots at the Party" looks like a typical day in the Teller-Morrow body shop/clubhouse, complete with motorcycle revving, stripper tongue-licking and 9am whiskey shooting...and all the girls look like Kat Von D. These guys just missed the Family Values Tour. With The Birthday Massacre, MXMS, Echo Black. $22, 7pm, The Korova, 107 E. Martin St., (210) 226-5070
- Dan Walton leading his Jump Swing Imperials
Monday, November 16
Dan Walton and the Jump Swing Imperials
Following a long stint with western swing masters Asleep at the Wheel, Dan Walton became one of the busiest and most respected musicians on the Austin music scene. He has wanted to lead a band like the Jump Swing Imperials for quite awhile, to play and sing the kind of romping dancing music popularized by Louis Jordan and Wynonie Harris. $10, 7pm, Sam's Burger Joint, 330 E. Grayson St., (210) 223-2830
- Horse Head Dawn cover by Chase Babcock
Tuesday, November 17
Four songwriters trade off cleverly-crafted tunes in a Bill Callahan vein, with lyrics by Sylvia Plath and Hunter S. Thompson. Free, 7:30pm, Liberty Bar, 1111 S. Alamo St., (210) 227-1187
- Jazz chanteuse and piano extraordinaire
Tuesday, November 17
Released in February, Diana Krall’s Wallflower takes its name from a Dylan tune, first recorded by the bard with San Anto’s sideburned hero on 1971’s Doug Sahm and Band. It falls into the category of Dylan tunes that rattle
properly in the vocal chords of other artists — “Subterranean Homesick Blues” defines the other category of Dylan compositions and I pity the coffee house singers who give it a spin.
On Krall’s take, “Wallflower” is a bleak three minutes. Over funeral strings and blocks of soft piano, she wanders in the ennui, in the romantic in-between. “Wallflower, Wallflower, won’t you dance with me?” asks Krall. “I’m sad and
lonely, too.” On Krall’s eleventh record, she uses this loneliness like the saddest of all phone camera filters, swaddling every note in a cold, soft light. She’s a wallflower in the cocktail party sense of the word, taking the
compositions of admired artists into the corner to sip a non-alcoholic drink and bum them out.
That’s not to say that this is a one-dimensional collection of covers. On “California Dreamin,’” you can hear both the autumnal sadness of Mama Cass and Tupac’s summer-all-the-time shimmer. Bryan Adams and Blake Mills join in for a couple duets, adding a little warmth to the record’s melancholy. I’m gonna pretend that the Michael Bublé cut isn’t on here, but you’ve got to appeal to the coffee counter crowd somehow.
At the piano and on the microphone, Krall is known as a jazz artist. Though here, and in many past forays, she deals exclusively with the pop songbook. Like many categorizations in music, it doesn’t matter. Like Nat King Cole or Nina Simone, Krall is fluid between these forms, finding multi-platinum adornment wherever she goes. In her 20-odd years of performance, Krall’s piano work has been versed in blues, the rhythms of New Orleans and the block structures of master Dave Brubeck. Her bright contralto is search engine optimized for the word “timeless.” She has this great conversational knack between her instruments, riffing casually on the melodies she brings up on the microphone.
This slow-core pop record might be the bleakest we’ve seen Krall during her tenure at the top of the jazz charts. But, as ticket and record sales prove, there’s still a great audience that wants to dance. We’re sad and lonely, too. $59.59-$99.50, 7:30pm, Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St., (210) 226-5700
- Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán
Wednesday, November 18
21st Annual Mariachi Vargas Noche de Cultura
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán trumpeter Rigoberto Mercado will be awarded and celebrated in this year’s Noche de Cultura presentation. 7pm, Mexican Cultural Institute, 600 Hemisfair Plaza Way, (210) 227-0123