JAPANESE PUNK | Otonana Trio / Sex Wax
Sat. April 2
9 p.m.
The Sparrow

When Kentaro Saito left Japan to study jazz at a Hollywood music school, we doubt he foresaw the creation of a three piece punk-funk band that would tour dive bars and festivals across the U.S. and Japan. Slowly evolving from solo guitar performances in a French New York City restaurant to the avant-garde punk band Otonana Trio, led by Saito himself, the musician kept exploring until he found his niche. After some moderate success, the group disbanded, and Saito returned to Japan. But after the tragedy of Japan’s 2011 earthquake, he decided it was time to rethink his musical priorities. He brought in slap-funk bass player Kazuhisa Maekawa and female drum slayer Hikari Kuroda. The group has undoubtedly found their groove amongst new wave funk-fusion bands, but they also bring an element entirely their own. Otonana Trio’s new album The Lost Ramen Generation, which they are currently touring in support of, pairs a masterful use of instrumental funk with oddball lyricism and a high-energy performance. Each song is humorously simple and to-the-point but is performed with the kind of spectacle that’s totally unique to Otonana Trio. Joining them at the Sparrow will be local surf band, Sex Wax, who is known for their danceable ska, punk rock, reggae style. —Madi Kois SATURDAY


w/ Secret Guest, My Brother My Sister, The Francis Vertigo, and Alarm Drum
Thurs. March 31
6 p.m.
$5 donation
Palmetto Brewing

On their new album Accent, the Athens, Ga. trio Glàss creates music that’s both massive and basic. Skeletal guitar work creates fragmented but haunting melodies that float over pulsing rhythms. The songs unfold slowly but never seem unfocused. Blissfully languid verses blend with jarring, jagged instrumental passages with pinpoint precision. The lyrics are more impressionistic than narrative, like a Morse code of disassociated phrases surfacing throughout. There’s a feeling of distance in singer/guitarist Aaron Burke’s fragile, echoing vocals, and it’s a feeling the 21-year old Burke came by honestly. Much of the album, from the title on down, was inspired by his move from Scotland to America four years ago. “When I went into American high school, I felt so disconnected from everything,” Burke says. “I was so nervous that someone would start talking to me or asking about my accent, and I didn’t even want to be here in the first place. It was very easy to write about.” Burke immersed himself in recording music as an escape, and it was his experiments with four-track recording that made him want to release a cassette-tape version of Accent, which he’s teamed with the Academia Tapes label to do. “I really wanted to get tapes made, and this seemed like the best option,” he says. “It’s something I’ve always kind of liked. The four-track made me super-interested in cassettes in general, and how you can do whatever you want with them. I think the format is really cool.” —Vincent Harris THURSDAY


JAZZ-SOUL | Zandrina
w/ Lee Barbour, John Helenko & Peter Kfoury
Fri. April 1
8 p.m.
Hungry Monk Music

Jazz-soul singer Zandrina Dunning will have 30 minutes to make her case when she hits the stage at Hungry Monk Music this weekend, so she’s working hard to make every minute count. “It comes down to your creative mindset,” she says. “You think about the things you’ve done as an artist: What do you think people want to hear? What do you think they want to take away from this? What do you think people like the best when they hear you sing? So I’m going back to my archives to try to gather some things and make them my own and even trying to write some original songs for this performance. So it’s a cool process, and it really forces you to be creative in a short period of time, to make it a complete production in 30 minutes.” The show, which is called World Music Café, will also feature 30-minute, listening-room sets by local musicians Lee Barbour, John Helenko, and Peter Kfoury. Dunning says she’s thrilled to be playing a venue with few distractions. “When Peter approached me about the idea of the listening room, I was so excited because there are times when you’re simply background music,” she says. “People who want to hear can hear you, but they can also look elsewhere. But for this, they have no choice. They come here for that purpose.” —Vincent Harris FRIDAY


Sun. April 3
5 p.m.
St. Johannes Lutheran Church

We are fast approaching the time of year when all the sounds of spring will be drowned out by the amplified drawls of hopeful indie-rock vocalists looking some of that sweet music-blog buzz. Local classical guitarist Gregory Guay, though, is approaching his new concert series from a novel direction. With the introductory event of the Holy City Guitar Series, he hopes to compete with his better-known competition for local music fans’ dollars from within the confines of a church. “I was looking to create a new performance experience,” explains Guay, “and really the acoustics are absolutely incredible within the sanctuary.” The first in what is planned to be a continuing series, the HCGS will showcase the instrumental skills of those artists performing, rather than the vocals that tend to overshadow the talents of many local musicians. “I think there is a growing interest and appreciation for instrumental music,” he says. “I’m not completely opposed to vocals, but with my classical guitar training, I feel that being detached from the emotional value of words and just appreciating the music in its purest form is an amazing thing.” —Isaac Weeks SUNDAY

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