soundground #123 this week in music

Breaking news: post-punk quartet and Mabel’s mainstay The Vertebrats will reunite in Champaign for one concert the weekend of Sept. 16. The Vertebrats were together from 1978 to 1982 and are remembered best for the songs “Diamonds in the Rough” and even more so “Left in the Dark,” covered by The Replacements, Uncle Tupelo, and Courtney Love. This is not their first reunion, but likely the last. The Vertebrats are: Roy Axford, Matt Brandabur, Ken Draznik, and Jim Wald. The Greedy Loves appeared as The Vertebrats at The 15th Annual Great Cover Up in January.

Henry Frayne of Lanterna is in Ventura, today playing the fifth of six California tour dates on behalf of fifth album Desert Ocean. Of it, he shares: “Desert Ocean has some of my favorite guitar tones I’ve ever recorded. It’s great to think that 40-year-old amps and guitars are still cranking it out after all these years. I like to think that some garage band was using my amps back in the ’60s … and the spirit lives on.” Lanterna will return to Pages for All Ages in Savoy for a free show May 6 at the cafÇ there, Steep & Brew. Lanterna then will have two official record releases with opener Hector Zazou: May 16 at Abbey Pub in Chicago and May 26 at Cowboy Monkey in Champaign. The latter will include an additional opener: Pulsar47, who May 23-25 will record at Great Western Record Recorders in Tolono with Matt Talbott (HUM, Centaur).

Credit where due: late night spACE at Independent Media Center was an almost magical multimedia experience. Brandon T. Washington, post-performance, likened it to a ’60s happening without the sinister sugar cubes. As Nu-Orbit Ensemble drew to a close, marching band Environmental Encroachment led its parade into the room and up to the stage, merging without missing a beat, all the while in tinfoil attire and strap-on bunny ears as bystanders sipped wine. At the midpoint of the Triple Whip set, two guys made a giant Lego golem glide past the purple Christmas lights across the floor in front of the band. Then twelve-piece Alma Afro-Beat Ensemble took to the stage and headlined for hula-hoopers and dancers late into the night.

Sunday night (technically Monday morning) at Mike ‘n Molly’s, a who’s-who of downtown denizens bunched under blankets until 2:30 a.m. for the premiere of Serrated Friend and Werewolf Cemetery Episode 2 starring Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Ucherek. Most were dressed for the idyllic spring afternoon with temperatures in the mid-70s, which had dropped to the mid-40s by showtime. Editing was ongoing up to showtime, which made for a more exciting premiere, while Mike ‘n Molly’s owner Mike Murphy jovially provided propane heat and did not throw everyone out until the show was over. Murphy portrays the corrupt mayor of Amnesia Falls in Werewolf Cemetery.

Todd J. Hunter hosts WEFT Sessions and Champaign Local 901, two hours of local music every Monday at 10 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM. Send news to Support your scene to preserve your scene.

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