The singer, once signed to Sub Pop, now with everyone's favorite songwriter-centric indie (or, at least, my favorite) Secretly Canadian, has been compared to Springsteen, Gillian Welch, and drug addiction for storytelling that rewards without leaving you particularly content or even happy.
That's no mean feat. It's easy to hook people with depressive likeability when you're using melodica and banjo and synths to build an upbeat break against a gale of gloom. When you offer no such break against elemental moroseness, the kind of fan base that Jurado sports is much harder to come by. "Rewarding" is perhaps the best word for what his music does, then. It's difficult work that satisfies by and by.
-- LUKE BAUMGARTEN
Damien Jurado at the University of Idaho SUB Ballroom on Thursday, March 29, at 8 pm. Free. Call (208) 885-4636.
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & n a perfect world, genre mash-ups yield postmodern genre-on-genre commentary. Stressing salad bowl over melting pot, the idea is to elicit strange synchronicity from the seemingly incongruous. It's a way for bands to think outside boxes, a musical parallel to broken, but loving families. In this spirit, GENGHIS TRON fashions a ruthless marriage of hardcore metal and dreamy electronics.
The Philadelphia band revels in extreme loud-soft dynamics, aiming to drizzle trancey techno over bracing noise. They elicit excitement by way of soft, loopy seduction and all-out audio assault, digging for drama and leaving nothing but scorched earth. That their new album, Dead Mountain Mouth, is on a label called Crucial Blast should tell you something. The album art tells more. A burning geodesic dome on top of Mount Apocalypse signals one thing: It's a strange house, and Genghis Tron is burning it down.
-- ANDREW MATSON
Genghis Tron with Kylesea and Belt of Vapor at The Blvd. on Sunday, April 1, at 6 pm. $8. Call 455-7826.
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & O & lt;/span & utside the bluegrass world, THE GOURDS' legacy is their hyper-specific place in downloading history. After Napster became illegal but before boundless torrent sites became the norm, forgotten Websites Kazaa and Audiogalaxy supplied free music to nerds. The era's growing pains were manifest in Audiogalaxy -- a free, controlled site that eventually tried to romance its audience into paying for songs.
Prominently featured on the site was the Gourds' exacting cover of Snoop Dogg's gangsta classic "Gin & amp; Juice," always credited to alt-rock band Ween or nouveau hippies Phish. Both citations were widely understood to be incorrect, so while everybody who downloaded from Audiogalaxy in 2000 heard the cover, nobody knew who performed it. So it is that the Gourds rode the downloading wave into a brave new world of utter disposability; their hit went straight to the back of the mind, and each subsequent tour cashes in on this unconscious capital.
-- ANDREW MATSON
The Gourds at John's Alley in Moscow, Idaho, on Monday, April 2, at 10 pm. Tickets: TBA. Call (208) 882-7531.