Keytar heroes [with audio and video]

Keytar heroes [with audio and video]

At Straight Punch to the Crotch‘s last show, Billy Hunt battled the Devil in a keytar duel. After bringing the fiend to the ground, Hunt aimed his keytar and shot a stream of fire. Then the Devil played drums and the band covered 50 Cent‘s "In Da Club" with a calypso beat.

Direct hit: Straight Punch to the Crotch will play a raucous, love-filled show on October 15 at Outback Lodge.

This seems to be a typical evening for Straight Punch, a 1-year-old band that uses a wide array of instruments (including keytars, of course) to create a unique, entertaining brand of synth-folk-pop. "It’s mostly all about the love," says Hunt. "Our love for one another really comes through on stage," adds guitarist and singer Gene Osborn. "That’s what people say."
If Hunt and Osborn were joking, they certainly didn’t let on when Feedback met up with them to chat at the Tea Bazaar. Over cups of tea they earnestly cited their mothers as major influences on the band and describe how they rigged a mannequin that makes noises when punched in the crotch and other places.

A video of Straight Punch to the Crotch performing "Take Off All Your Clothes."

Straight Punch began as Osborn, Kathy Compton and Marita Delgado but soon attracted Hunt and Zach Snider. "Billy saw our first show at a pancake breakfast and it was an instant fit," says Osborn. "Yeah," says Hunt. "I was scheming to get into it from the beginning." While Hunt had previously played mostly drums, he picked up a keytar when he joined Straight Punch. "It was embraced early on in this project," he says with a straight face, "because of its glory."

The other key (pun intended?) to the band is that anything goes. As their first show was at a pancake breakfast, it’s no surprise to hear that they have other unusual gigs in mind. "We really want to play at the recycling center," says Osborn. "You know the newspaper bin? We’d like to play a show in there."

Well, if that happens, Feedback will be there. This week, though, you can catch the band in a more formal setting when they join Murder Mystery and Birdlips for a show at Outback Lodge on November 15, and when they compete in a Battle of the Bands at 330 Valley St. in Scottsville on the 16th

Dropping in: Cass McCombs stops through town on October 16 to play at Satellite Ballroom.

Going his own way

Cass McCombs spent time in a number of different cities, including New York City, Baltimore, San Francisco and Los Angeles before arriving at his current residence in Chicago. But now even the Windy City is in his rear-view mirror. When Feedback caught up with McCombs via e-mail, he was embarking on an East Coast tour with eccentric LA musician Ariel Pink that will come through Satellite Ballroom on November 16. "I haven’t really ‘lived’ anywhere," McCombs says. "It’s not important to me to have a homestead to come back to, but maybe it will be one day."

Take a listen to "That’s That" from Cass McCombsDropping The Writ:
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Courtesy of Domino Recording Company – Thank you!

McCombs will be supporting his latest album, October’s Dropping The Writ, and both McCombs’ and Pink’s backing bands will take the stage to play with each other. "It’s interesting to play someone else’s songs and understand their sense of melody and structure and everything," McCombs says.

Critics have compared McCombs’ musical stylings to everything from Velvet Underground to Echo and the Bunnymen, but he doesn’t see it that way. "Yeah, that’s a bunch of garbage," he says. "I don’t care about any bands. I don’t have time to be a fan of any band. I’m working on my thing all the time, and it has immediate return. The music that still influences me the most is the music I grew up with."

Dropping the Writ has been McComb’s largest project to date, and it shows in the record’s cohesiveness. "I had plenty of time to write it because I had no label for a couple of years," he says, "so I wrote sacks of songs. These aren’t necessarily the ‘best.’ They were just chosen because we all thought they went well together."

While the show won’t be exactly like Dropping the Writ ("Some of it is close-ish," McCombs says, "but we’re not using the recordings as a rule of thumb whatsoever"), Feedback thinks the team of McCombs and Pink will make for a great show, so come see these two intriguing musicians on Friday night.

Encore: News notes

Last week speculated that the physical release of Radiohead‘s In Rainbows on Coran Capshaw and Dave MatthewsATO Records will hit shelves on New Year’s Day. The New York Post reported that former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has signed with Capshaw’s Red Light Management. Local heavy rockers Under The Flood signed a deal with Koch Records. Trees on Fire and Robin Wynn both won in the music category at last week’s First Amendment Writes competition. Congrats!

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C-VILLE Playlist
What we’re listening to

"The Irish Rover," by The Pogues (from If I Should Fall from Grace with God)—On this banjo- and accordion-driven bonus track, singer Shane McGowan and his band join Irish act the Dubliners to rip through a traditional tune about an ill-fated ship and her crew.

"Do What You Gotta Do," by Nina Simone (from ‘Nuff Said)—Nina’s voice shivers and quivers with heart wrenching beauty while horns and organ sail swiftly along behind her.

"Barnes," by Pinback (from Autumn of the Seraphs)

"The Game," by Motorhead (from Hammered)

"Love Will Tear Us Apart," by Calexico (Joy Division cover)

"Needy Girl," by Chromeo (from She’s in Control)

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