M-Theory Pulls My Strings

M-Theory, in the lovely Mission Hills neighborhoodI’m in San Diego for the next several days — on business, not pleasure, so there’ll be no time for music shows.

But I did arrive early enough for a trek to the Mission Hills area to visit M-Theory Music, though. It’s a nifty little CD store with some nice, obscure, used jazz vinyl (which I never dare purchase — it’d be too much burden in addition to the computer bag I lug around). I love to spend an hour or so at the listening stations, trying to find new stuff. Who needs Sea World when you’ve got this?

Even with a dearth of avant-garde stuff at the store, it’s hard keeping the haul as minor as possible. Here’s the damage this time:

1. Los Campesinos!We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed. A find at the listening station. Crazed, manic pop, dense with instruments and sounds and energy. A latter-day New Pornographers, maybe, with a British accent in the lead vocal and — suddenly! — an American-accented female vocal. I’ve been in the mood for big-energy pop lately.

2. Asobi SeksuHush. The other listening-station find, a Japanese pop band apparently fronted by some classical-piano child prodigy. High energy here, too. Big, airy guitar sounds and forceful vocals, and some nice sheens of emotion. Apparently they were just in San Diego a week ago.

3. Medeski, Martin & WoodZaebos. The trio plays selections from John Zorn’s Masada Book Two, the cluster of 300 or so songs that came from an outpouring of inspiration a few years ago and is being documented on the Book of Angels CD series on Tzadik. I’ve heard mixed things about this one, and I’ve had mixed feelings about MMW, but I’ll give it a shot, to show M-Theory that people do buy this stuff sometimes (plus, it was sold at a price uncharacteristic for a Tzadik…)

4. Archie Shepp & Roswell RuddLive in New York. Replacing a copy I’d lost and never got a good listen to. A 2000 session of veterans that includes Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille, Grachan Moncur III, and a bit of Amiri Baraka.

5. Hugh MasekelaPhola. This one’s kind of for the kids, actually; they’re showing an open spirit when it comes to music, and when I spied this one filed in the wrong place, it suddenly seemed like a good direction to try out with them.

So much for play time. It’s off to work.