Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Jonathan Coulton + The Manichean + My Education (Rev’d!) + Two Star Symphony + East End Toy Drive + More

On to Saturday, December 1st, and damn, it’s looking like a good day/night, at least to me. Before we get into it, though, I wanted to mention that the December 21st show at the House of Blues with Boys Noize has unfortunately been cancelled. Not sure why, but it looks like his North American tour now stops on 12/17 in freaking El Paso; sorry, EDM fans…

Anyway, here’s what actually is happening:

Jonathan Coulton @ Fitzgerald’s
Yes, yes, yes, yes. The king of Nerd-Pop is back in town, and that’s freaking awesome; honestly, when I first heard “Code Monkey” on Jonathan Coulton‘s “Thing A Week,” I never would’ve suspected the guy would be touring the country playing his songs. And yet, here we are, and that’s awesome.

There’s no official video for “Code Monkey,” sadly, but some enterprising folks made a neat little cartoon for it:

The guy’s got quite a bit more out there, obviously; check out some of his other music over here

The Manichean @ Heights Vinyl (4PM)
I’ve been listening to The Manichean‘s newly-released full-length, LOVERS, a whole heck of a lot lately; after a long, long wait, it pretty much fulfilled all my hopes for what it’d sound like, and it’s brilliant besides. Gentle-yet-dramatic story-songs about love and loss, plus elegant, gorgeous instrumentation, ethereal atmospherics, and Cory Sinclair‘s hopeful/mournful/desperate vocals — which this release showcases particularly well, I should add. Seriously, the whole thing has blown me away. Go catch an abbreviated version of the band over at Cactus right damn now for an acoustic set of LOVERS songs; you won’t regret it.

My Education (CD release)/Pleasure Shapes/Black Forest Fire/Western Standards @ Walter’s
Talk about a cool lineup… I’ve been hot-and-cold on Austin instro-(post-)rock band My Education for a while now, honestly — some of their releases I’ve liked, while others damn near put me to sleep, and the two times I’ve seen them live it’s broken down about the same way — but new album A Drink for All My Friends manages to build a slew of evocatively cinematic “soundtrack” songs that are subtle and low-key but still beautiful and ever-moving. Check out the full review over here.

Alongside the headliners, too, there’s also the promising-sounding Pleasure Shapes — I haven’t seen/heard ’em yet, but the band includes Marcus from Golden Cities & Meghan from Tyagaraja (among other things), both of whom are very cool people (not to mention excellent musicians). I desperately need to check them out, and soon… Oh, and the opener tonight is Western Standards, the electronic project of scenester/musician Major Miller — I’ve heard Energy Centre, and while it’s not strictly my thing, it’s definitely interesting.

Paola Georgudis & Two Star Symphony @ The Photobooth on Montrose (2710 Montrose; 8-9PM)
Out of all the shows going on today & tonight, this one’s definitely unique. It’s a collaboration between dancer/choreographer Paola Georgudis and avant-garde chamber-music group Two Star Symphony — whom I love to death — and it’s actually supposed to start outside of the venue, The Photobooth, with dancing and music, before Georgudis moves inside to perform live with the TSS folks. Then there’s more music from TSS after the dancing part’s over. Put all together, this promises to be an (admittedly-brief) evening of cool, intriguing art.

DesignCraft: AIGA Houston’s 3rd Annual Fair for Handmade Goods, featuring Grandfather Child, Poor Pilate, & Young Girls @ Market Square Park (10AM-6PM)
How in the hell did this sneak past me? This is apparently the AIGA Houston‘s annual craft fair, which is neat to begin with (I remember hearing about it in years past, when it was called “CTRL+ART+CREATE”), but as an added bonus, there are three very cool bands playing. I love, love, love Grandfather Child‘s rough-edged but soulful, gospel-tinged blues, and both Young Girls‘ hazy, surfy psych-rock and Poor Pilate‘s husky-voiced indie-folk-country are pretty great themselves. No idea on the schedule, but check out this post over on Houston Calling for some more info.

East End Toy Drive & Christmas Party, featuring ChangoMan @ The Orange Show (2402 Munger; 7-11PM, free w/new, unwrapped toy or $10)
Ah, yes. The East End Toy Drive is with us once again, bringing holiday cheer to the East End with cool music — from ChangoMan, this year, who’re always fun — lowriders courtesy of the Latin Fantasy Lowrider Club, tamales, a puppet show, and presents for kids who might not get any otherwise. Always a good cause, in my book; you might’ve read about some of the faux-controversy around the Latin Fantasy lowriders over in the Houston Press, but eh, who cares? The point is to bring toys to needy kids; help out however you can.

Runners-Up:
Akina Adderley & The Vintage Playboys/Nick Greer & The G’s/Jack Freeman @ The Continental Club
Patrick Holland Benefit, featuring Taste of Garlic, Ground Zero, & Fart Hammer @ Rudyard’s
Helstar/Sanctus Bellum/Metavenge/Apocalyptic/Axis in Collapse @ Warehouse Live (Studio)
Cervical Meltdown/Injurious Physical Violence (tape release)/Turbokrieg/Bound in Flesh/Wasted Saviour vs. Corrupt Bastards/Vaginal Bear Trap @ Dean’s (free!)
Ill Nino/Saturate/Trancend @ The Scout Bar (Clear Lake)
Elle Acoustique Mini-Festival 2012, featuring Michelle Cowan, Alex Dame, Laura Forster, Sarah Golden, Kari K, Paige Lewis, Nina Lombardo, Victoria Love, April Roup, & Katy Stanley @ Avant Garden (5-11PM; $1)
The Escatones/Darwin’s Finches @ Big Star Bar
Orents Stirner and the Spirit Noise Academy/Kathy+Ron @ Fitzgerald’s ($5)


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