Damon Albarn’s Monkey opera coming to Charleston’s Spoleto Festival

After weeks of sold out shows in Europe, Damon Albarn’s opera, Monkey: Journey to the West, makes its way stateside for a brief run at Charleston’s Spoleto Festival May 22 – June 8. Tickets range from $25 to $65 and the opera will be held at the Sottile Theater at the College of Charleston.

Here’s a preview of the opera, for which Blur/Gorillaz frontman Albarn wrote the score, artist Jamie Hewlett designed the visuals, and Chen Shi Zheng directed:

What are you listening to – April 08?

Yesterday, a friend asked what I had been listening to lately. My mind went blank. We had discussed Crystal Castles earlier, but I couldn’t think of anything else. Of course, it wasn’t for lack of listening that I couldn’t name anyone in particular. I listen to music all the time. A lot of which falls through the cracks or doesn’t make it into my head in time to share with friends.

Anyhow, here’s what I’ve been “spinning” the past week or so. Perhaps others will chime in. I know last.fm provides this sort of service, but sometimes it’s nice to just hear from folks directly.

K’s rotation:
She & Him (still can’t stop listening to this. I think I have a crush on Zooey)
Los Campesinos
Crystal Castles
Thao Nguyen
The Notwist
The Replacements (re-releases inspired a re-visiting of their catalog)

Murder By Death: Staying Alive

Dwindling record sales of artists big and small doesn’t elicit a lot of sympathy from consumers these days. In an age when typing in your favorite artist into your favorite Bit Torrent engine is the de facto response to having to pay actual money for music, being in a band is more of a gamble than ever, particularly if you want to make any money at it. The most common complaint I hear from touring bands is that people don’t buy CD’s anymore. Bands make their money off t-shirts and specialty hoodies as opposed to the actual art form their trying to promote.

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Foals “Red Sox Pugie” live on MTV sessions

This is my favorite song off my favorite record of the year so far (Foals’ Antidotes). No matter what else I get my hands on, I keep coming back to (and consequently cannot stop listening to) this record. I know the post-punk/dance-punk flavor is wearing thin for many, but Foals just do it exactly right. It’s catchy as fuck. It rocks. And you can dance to it. Eat shit, naysayers.

SELLOUT: Chris Knox? WTF

I had the surreal pleasure of helping book Chris Knox at a Hot Dog stand in Columbia, SC way back in 1995. We picked him up at the airport, and he was wearing flip flops, short soccer shorts, and a tank top, which quickly let us know that he didn’t give a fuck- not in a patronizing pseudo-punk affront, but in a genuine couldn’t-care-less demeanor. He played a phenomenal in-store at local record shop, Manifest, before the requisite vegetarian dinner. His show at the hot dog stand was amazing. The crowd was mesmerized by his one man bag of tricks, his impromptu audience toe sucking, and, of course, his infectious barrage of crafty pop songs. When I saw this ad for Heineken (which features his song “It’s Love” off 2000’s Beat) my reflex double take was quickly overtaken with curiosity. In a strange turn of events, I’m honestly happy for him. He’s a great songwriter and deserves not only the accolades but also the cash. It’s just unfortunate that his music has to find an audience through a cheesy beer commercial.