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Pelusa, Chuck Pyle and others

Volcano critics tell you where to go

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Friday, May 11

Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities

I think I’m pretty darn clued-in about music, as I listen to almost everything and have soaked in data about pert near every genre there is over the years. However, while I pride myself on having a vast Rolodex of musical knowledge in my head, nothing could have prepared me to write a show preview on Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities.  The band formerly known as Skeletons and Girl-faced Boys is an eclectic and eccentric band of gypsies who march to the beat of their own drum.  The Queens-based crew of no less than 15 rotating members is guided by the genius of Matt Mehlan whose textural approach parallels the Flaming Lips. Yet unlike that legendary noise pop band, Skeletons incorporates funky horn riffs, freestyle jazz and lazy drum beats to their ambient soundscapes, while Mehlan’s airy vocals melt into the dreamy synthetic grooves.  The motley crew released its latest disc, Lucas, last month, on which the band experiments with middle-Eastern funk grooves — complete with joyful hand claps, jazz freak outs and jam band explorations.  While Mehlan does rely on electronic textures for atmosphere, the use of traditional instruments gives the songs an organic ambiance.  — Tony Engelhart

[Le Voyeur, 10 p.m., no cover, 404 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.943.5710]

Friday, May 11


Pelusa is a Seattle duo that performs acoustic music that transports listeners to the center of America. These bittersweet songs convey both intimacy and gritty realism, while staying true to the roots of old time country music. The band’s influences are Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Moe Provencher and Mike McDermott take turns at lead vocals. This duo gets extra points for having a chick named Moe in the band. She’s a suburbanite girl, gone cross country bicycle/guitar girl, who somehow turned Seattle country girl; and if that isn’t fresh then I don’t know what is. She’s also one of them multi-instrumentalists. No, that’s not a church that worships organs or even pianos, it means she’s mega talented and plays acoustic guitar, harmonica and mandolin. Oh yeah, and her day job is being a studio engineer.

Kick ass!

Old Mikey’s an OK dude too. He was her studio engineer teacher when they first met. He’s from Iowa, but don’t hold it against him. He’s a multi-instrumentalist too. It must be contagious, like a cult or something. He plays bass and acoustic guitar in this project. Check them out at or — Angela Jossy 

[Mandolin Café, 8-10 p.m., no cover, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, 253.761.3482]

Saturday, May 12

Chuck Pyle

As you are probably aware by now, I have a real issue with mainstream country and crave artists who perform in the old-school way of Hank Williams Sr.  If you feel the same way, check out Chuck Pyle at Traditions Café on Saturday, as he can satisfy your hankering for some home-cooked country. However, while Pyle is slotted in the country isle he’s no one-trick-pony, as he fuses country and folk with a Jimmy Buffett-esque pop timbre.  His unique finger pickin’ style is often accompanied by a yearning fiddle while his poetic lyrics touch on subjects rarely heard in modern music.  Sure, he can pen a great love song with the best of them, but his insights on life are his stock and trade, and his tapestry portraits have been welcomed additions on albums by John Denver, Suzy Bogguss, Chris LeDoux and Jerry Jeff Walker. Dubbed the Zen Cowboy, the Colorado resident has a rich history that dates back to the late ’70s but didn’t begin recording until the early ’90s. Of his nine recordings, his latest, 2006’s True Unity, proves to be his most ambitious disc to date as he flirts with swing and Cajun. The music is complimented once again by his poignant songwriting. — TE

[Traditions Café, 8 p.m., all ages, $10-$15, 300 Fifth Ave. S.W., Olympia, 360.705.2819]

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