By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
By Emma Silvers
By Alee Karim
While the Bordeaux-based Les Nubians toss out Public Enemy and Arrested Development as influences, it's no accident that the only "tribute" song on their sultry creation Princess Nubiennes is Sade's "Sweetest Taboo." This is not to say Les Nubians are without the social conscience they profess. Born to a French father and Cameroonian mother, Hèléne and Célia Faussart were raised in Chad, where they learned at a young age to incorporate African syncopation and harmony into their singing. When they returned to France, a country that once reveled in its jazzy African-American expats, they were struck by the inequities afforded their dark skin. The songs on Nubiennes are a smooth, dare I say nubile, musical fusion of the African diaspora -- gospel, soul, jazz, hip hop, griot chants, blues, reggae, and funk -- that raise questions about revisionist history, ancestral memory, personal responsibility, and power -- or the lack of it. But for English-speaking fans it is the voices that hold sway; the silky, sexy, coiling voices of the sisters Faussart, who began their career singing without musical accompaniment. Lyrically, they may be as fierce as they claim. But their expression of ire is the sirens' battle cry, which gently, guilefully coaxes travelers to sleep on foreign shores. Les Nubians perform on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at Bimbo's 365 Club at 8 p.m. Ticket price is $20; call 474-0365.
The title of Andrea Parker's full-length debut Kiss My Arp is testament both to her piss-taking British sense of humor and her erudite obsession with archaic technology (she still prefers the funky-sounding Roland 808 drum machine and pre-digital analog synths like the Arp 2600 and Arp 2500). But the title gives little indication of the deep, brooding nature of her compositions. With a 40-piece orchestra and her own pensive voice added to the electro architecture, Arp conjures up a Gothic future that's more in keeping with Blade Runner than Logan's Run. Even the quirky sounds of sneezes, cats, car washes, and egg whisks leave only subliminal impressions, nestled as they are deep within the Cimmerian bedrock of Parker's blinking machines. While it's unlikely Parker will be given an opportunity to travel and perform with a full orchestra, her skills have rendered the monotonous gender debate moot: She's remixed everyone from Depeche Mode to Afrika Bambaataa, and her choices on the turntable are just as lush and varied. Andrea Parker appears on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at Ten 15 Folsom with resident DJs spinning at 10 p.m. Ticket price is $10; call 281-0544.
For day-trippers whose love of musical kitsch has them searching through French and Japanese import bins, Stereo Total is ne plus ultra: A Berlin-based band that pens songs for Kahimi Karie, boasts a German guitarist, Italian organ player, English bassist, and Parisian frontwoman who sings in all those languages, and Japanese as well. As bubbly and universally palatable as Coca-Cola -- and as heartily shameless -- Stereo Total has written odes to Holiday Inn and covered KC & the Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight." Their most recent release, My Melody, offers tributes to Ringo, Yoko, and Tokyo. Singer Françoise Cactus is currently learning Turkish so they can travel to the Middle East, but for the time being we may relish in the irresistible dance-floor diversion that is trashy Euro pop. Stereo Total performs on Friday, Oct. 29, at Justice League with Dealership and DJ Pink Frankenstein opening at 8 p.m. Ticket price is $8-10; call 440-0409.
What's more spooky than a House of Horror and a Feast of Flesh? A House of Horror and a Feast of Flesh with an AC/DC tribute band called Powerage and the unmentionable Guns 'N Corpses. Don't forget the vintage Mexican horror films, the free zombie make-overs, the all-you-can-eat animal flesh barbecue, and Bobbing for Chicken Necks. Prepare to be scared on Friday, Oct. 29, at Cocodrie at 9 p.m. Ticket price is $7; call 986-6678.
For anyone unable to find tonight's super-secret, super-cool show featuring the amazing New Orleans nightclub organist Mr. Quintron and his bewitching muse puppeteer Miss Pussycat (think past "Night Crawler" at "Lost Vegas" and you'll be in the right vicinity), I offer the horrifying, now annual, Cloyne Court Haunted Hotel as an alternative. As the name suggests, there is a haunted hotel filled with monsters and ghouls, complete with a freak-filled cemetery. You can also expect the return of Monster "Blud" Wrestling and a dungeon filled with musical horrors including The Cuts (infectious rock a la Lookout!), Captured By Robots (abject humanoid JBOT relentlessly tortured by his evil toys), Skitzo (vomit-loving rock band who recently appeared on Jerry Springer as puke-fetishist who use leaf-blowers to hurl chunks at the audience -- you've been warned), and Guns 'N' Roses tribute band Rocket Queens (apparently, the Bay Area finds Axl Rose really, really scary). The Haunted Hotel will be erected on Saturday, Oct 30, at Cloyne Court Co-Op (2600 Ridge Rd. in Berkeley) at 9 p.m. Ticket price is $5; call (510) 849-2480.