Ken Maiuri's Tuned In: Music on tap this week in the Valley

  • Puddles Pity Party

  • Beth Orton Tierney Gearon

  • Marc Ribot Marco Zanoni

  • Pamela Means Courtesy of Pamela Means

  • The Weepies Courtesy The Weepies/Facebook

Published: 12/1/2016 3:03:31 PM

Beth Orton feels like an old friend, because people always asked about her during my late-’90s days of working in a record store. She was an artist with buzz, whose CDs were oft-played by employees and flew out the door in the hands of happy customers.

Orton is still going strong and put out her sixth album, “Kidsticks,” back in the spring. She’ll appear at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke Friday at 8 p.m. Winterpills — in its duo formation of Philip Price and Flora Reed – will open the show.

“Folktronica” is how Orton’s music was labeled in the beginning, as she collaborated with artists like William Orbit and The Chemical Brothers, weaving together acoustic folk/pop elements and dance beats.

Over the last 20-odd years, her music has sometimes delved deeper into the stripped-down acoustic side of things, but “Kidsticks” leaps adventurously in the other direction, experimenting with keyboard loops and using them as the starting point for her new songs.

“Kidsticks is to me the sound of kids playing with sticks on bottles or walls, anything they can find to make a little racket, to express joy,” Orton said in a recent interview, and you can hear a freedom and looseness in songs like the album-opening “Snow,” which builds on circular grooves (think early-‘80s Talking Heads) as she makes mesmerizing chants out of lyrics like “I’ll astrally project myself into the life of someone else.”

Recent set lists find Orton mixing tunes old and new for a show that should please, whether you were a fan from the start or a curious newcomer whose ears and feet perked up hearing Orton’s recent dance-friendly, pulsing single, “1973.”

Meat for Tea, the locally produced quarterly arts and literary journal, celebrates the release of its new “Silver Needle” issue with an event titled “Le Cirque de Pain au Levain.” It features live music from Pamela Means and Shokazoba, with art on exhibit curated by J. Andrew World and films screening at the nearby Abandoned Building Brewery. Also on hand will be homemade sourdough bread and other goodies. At Sonelab in Easthampton Saturday at 7 p.m.

Puddles Pity Party doesn’t ring a bell? If you’ve seen the viral videos featuring a tall, sad clown singing versions of hits by Leonard Cohen, Lorde, Sia, Coldplay and others — that’s Puddles, aka Georgia-based entertainer Mike Geier, whose work with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox thrust him and his crooked crown into the spotlight. He appears at the Iron Horse Saturday at
7 p.m.

Robert Robinson’s production company Acorns In the Blender offers up another night of diverse experimental music, starring Sunburned Handof the Man, Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura (a psych band from Manchester, England), Gnaw and finally Weeping Bong Band at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence Saturday at 9 p.m.

Expect some funky sounds when Free Range Cats return to one of their favorite haunts, bringing along special guests singer/songwriter Lisa Palumbo and Dave “The Weather Nut” Hayes to the Luthiers Co-Op in Easthampton — a warm and inviting place to be on a cold winter’s night — Saturday at 9 p.m.

Endless Mike, The Capitulators (a self-described “sad, loud band” featuring Peter Sax and Noam Schatz from the long-gone but still-great Mobius Band, plus Anand Nayak and Josh Levy) and The Awful Din join forces with special guest Bob Von Ferdinand Wilson for a big gig at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton Monday at 8 p.m.

NYC alto saxophonist Erena Terakubo makes a return appearance as guest soloist with the Green Street Trio at the Northampton Jazz Workshop at City Sports Grille at Spare Time Northampton Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. If you want a good seat, get there early. The place fills up fast. As always, the open jazz jam session follows at 8:30 p.m.

Guitarist Marc Ribot — even if you don’t know his name, you’ve heard his unique guitar playing on classic albums by Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Sam Philllips, John Zorn and many others — is the featured artist for this season’s final edition of the Solos & Duos concert series at Bezanson Recital Hall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Thursday at 8 p.m.

The Weepies is the popular indie pop-folk duo of Deb Talan and Steve Tannen. They’re a married couple who sweetly harmonize, and their sound has inspired deep feelings — fans travel long distances to see them, about-to-be-newlyweds walk down the aisle to their songs. Talan and Tannen are their “Completely Acoustic and Alone” tour and have a new album called “Sirens.” The twosome will appear at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton Thursday at 8 p.m.


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