Local nonprofit radio station WXRY has taken it upon itself to unite and amplify the musical efforts of the monthly First Thursday on Main art crawl. Its inaugural Music Crawl binds together the gigs that already happen — the eager gypsy jazz of Flat Out Strangers at Michael’s Café & Catering, the sizzling rhythms of the Palmetto Latin 5 at Good Life Cafe — with a big stage at the corner of Main and Hampton that features the rising rock bands The Unlikely Candidates and Stop Light Observations and a bevy of mostly local groups at 13 spots along the Main Street corridor.
To help you get ready, check out these standout 2017 albums issued by three acts playing the Music Crawl.
The Art of the Song Vol. 3: Bebop (Jangly)
Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Mark Rapp, Chris Burroughs, David Ellington
Find Them: janglyrecords.bandcamp.com
If there’s one thing that sets Columbia trumpeter Mark Rapp apart — besides his top-notch chops and the cool confidence with which he leads a band — it’s his adaptability. And that strength is very much on display with the two new albums on which Rapp is featured.
The first is the third release from his group TSP (aka The Song Project), whose albums are framed as full-length explorations of a particular song form or subgenre. And as with its two previous outings, Bebop pushes from that foundation to rope in seemingly unrelated ideas.
Luckily, the mashups here are TSP’s smoothest to date. Be it the jittering stoner metal reworking of Charlie Parker’s “Segment” or the post-rock, Thelonious Monk-meets-Battles spin through “Pannonica,” the album maintains a smooth but ominous vibe that is never less than immersive — due in large part to Rapp’s hypnotic playing.
Natural History, a collaboration with elder-statesman saxophonist Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson that also features drummer Chris Burroughs and keyboardist David Ellington, shows Rapp’s touch with more traditional jazz forms. Throughout the album, Anderson and Rapp’s sprightly sparring alternately sparks and sparkles, finding just enough friction to keep their energy fresh. It’s a crisp and polished collection that proves the trumpeter doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to have a good time.
The Mark Rapp group performs from 6 to 9 p.m. at Main Street Public House.
(Pow Pow Sound)
Find It: grandrepublic.bandcamp.com
For longtime Columbia music fans, it might be easy to get caught up in Grand Republic’s resume rather than its current works. When you can rattle off locally beloved names like Blightobody, Cherry Cherry Pow Pow, Martian Death Lyric, and Iron & Wine, it can be both a gift and a curse.
But this year’s profoundly fetching Tourist Trophy, Grand Republic’s first proper full-length since emerging in 2015, establishes the band as its own force, fusing varied strains of indie rock and power-pop.
The opening “The Curse” rides a sleek rock pulse that calls to mind to The Strokes, but it refracts and bends through cozy distortion, borrowing Built to Spill’s prism. “Stab in the Heart” gussies the rough edges of Exiles on Main Street without dulling its rambunctious spirit, rivaling similar tricks pulled by the likes of Sloan and Spoon. With airy guitar tones and intensely earnest vocals, “Moon Is Loud” falls somewhere between Big Star’s Third and Weezer’s Blue Album — supple and unfailingly charming, but also distinctly nervy.
But the most impressive feat is how Grand Republic smooths these various flavors into its own distinct melange, with clever songwriting beats and melodic wrinkles that mark these songs as the work of an ambitious and vital band, one charting its own enticing course through the pop-rock canon.
Grand Republic plays at 10:45 p.m. at Main Street Public House.
Pray for Triangle Zero
(TRI CITY REC)
Pray for Triangle Zero
FREQUENCY DEATH, Pastel Seascape
Find Them: pray4trianglezero.bandcamp.com
Columbia’s Lucas Sams issues much music as Pray for Triangle Zero. These three albums, released in April and May, bring his release total to a whopping 98 since 2009. And as has often been the case across his catalog, this tryptic — each among the most clear-eyed and fully-realized albums he has yet to muster — showcases the amazing variety of sounds one can create in the arena of electronic minimalism.
On Real Angst, beats layer and increase with a thrilling sense of randomness, as a mostly modest host of samples and synthesizers melt and moan — like an artificial intelligence trying for a sonic approximation of Salvador Dalí’s surrealist visions. It’s a bright record, but one that also feels rather desperate, with clangs of dissonance suggesting an encroaching darkness.
FREQUENCY DEATH lets the darkness take hold. The compositions here hold an atmospheric kinship with the soundscapes of John Carpenter, the evocative score to the Netflix series Stranger Things and the moody, menacing soundtrack work of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Booming industrial synth lines scald and scrape, while tender melodic throughlines suggest the pain of some innocent presence lost in the merciless void.
Pastel Seascape is the most deceptive of the lot. In many ways, it lives up to its name, leaning on ambient textures and skittering beats that are definitely gentler than Sams’ two previous efforts. But like the fire that interrupts the cover art’s pristine ocean vista, the melodies and rhythms often turn grimy, a reminder of the come-down that lurks behind these more upbeat tracks.
Pray for Triangle Zero plays at 11 p.m. at Infinite Room (inside of Tapp’s Arts Center).
What: WXRY Music Crawl
Where: Main Street, Columbia
When: Thursday, June 1,6 p.m.-midnight
Full schedule and info: wxryfm.org