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Extended play 2.28.07

by Jordan Green

House of Fools’ first full-length recording, Live and Learn, hits stores on March 6. The following Saturday, they’ll be having a CD release party at Greene Street. With serious promotional backing from their California label, Drive-Thru Records, the Fools may be the best hope for Greensboro rock and roll. Songwriting talent, instrumental chops, stagecraft, hair and attitude – they’ve got it.

The new CD is a little overproduced for my tastes, polishing off the rough edges of their cathartic live show, and the band’s sound is eclectic to the point of obscuring avowed influences such as My Morning Jacket, Elliott Smith, Tom Petty and Pink Floyd. Still, unstoppable vehicles like the shimmering “My Life Before Today,” the emotionally messy and delightful “Coke and Smoke” and the operatic “Live and Learn” give this project a transcendent burnish.

At the other end of the sonic spectrum, Clement Mallory’s The Future of Poetry – a product of Greensboro’s Collective Recording Studio – is now in circulation. It begins with “Black Poets,” which, clocking in at 1 minute and 30 seconds, name-drops Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou and Sonia Sanchez and features militant, edgy tracks produced by Maurice Wiggins that recall the thrilling synthesis of late ’80s Public Enemy. The album unfolds with an old-school funk groove that hints at Isaac Hayes’ movie soundtrack work and sounds organic while crackling with energy around the edges.

Not quite hip hop, Mallory’s poetry seamlessly interweaves with the instrumental tracks nonetheless. His meditations on money, power and family reveal a wide emotional range matched by the broad sonic palettes wielded by Wiggins and fellow trackmasters JG and Walter Jones.

And speaking of new releases, the Triangle’s David Karsten Daniels held his CD release party for his new masterpiece, Sharp Teeth, at Local 506 in Chapel Hill earlier this month. Somewhere between sad and transcendent, the songs are nothing short of beautiful. Beginning with a Southern folk storytelling premise, Sharp Teeth features tender acoustic guitar laden with layers of instrumentation, including mournful Dixieland horns, angular shards of electric guitar and the ethereal guest vocals of Des Ark’s Aimee Argote.

Here are the essentials for the Triad’s week in live music:

The Bo Stevens, Lowlands, Mitchell Snow & 40 Hounds of Hell and Susan Snow play the Garage in Winston-Salem on Thursday.

On Friday Boys II Men make their rite of passage at the N Club and International Bluegrass Music Association entertainers of the year Cherryholmes bend the strings at the Carolina Theatre. On the same night and in the same town Unknown Hinson and the Tremors materialize at Greene Street.

Saturday Bloodjinn celebrates the release of its new CD release party at Greene Street, while the Cyril Lance Outskirts of Infinity Collective Experience Arkestra, featuring Dave McCracken, Steve Clarke and Dan Davis, conduct intergalactic transport over at the Blind Tiger.

Down the road in Winston-Salem, Sister Hazel rocks Ziggy’s on Saturday, while the garage-glam outfit the Malamondos headline the Garage.

Multi-instrumentalist Frank Gratkowski and keyboardist Dave Fox play Guilford College’s Finch Chapel on March 4.

Looking ahead, tickets go on sale Friday for Old Crow Medicine Show’s March 29 appearance at the Carolina Theatre.

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