Don’t Be Bored: Old Is New
Not everyone gets to play with their heroes. The guitarist Glenn Jones fulfilled that dream back in 1997, when his post-rock band Cul de Sac made a collaborative record with the father of American Primitive music, John Fahey. The D.C.-born Fahey died in 2001, and 10 years later Jones is paying him back for inventing the dusty yet acrobatic fingerstyle guitar technique, which has also been championed by brooding instrumentalists like Leo Kottke, Robbie Basho, and Jack Rose. Jones helped assemble a new box set of Fahey’s early recordings, Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You, and now he’s touring on Fahey’s behalf. He’s appearing twice tonight in Fahey’s hometown of Takoma Park: First, Jones will discuss the box set at the Artspring arts store; then, at a house show down the street, he’ll show why Fahey’s music—which sounded old even when it was new—still has a future. Jones speaks at 5 p.m. at Artspring, 7014B Westmoreland Ave., Takoma Park. Free. He performs at 8 p.m. at Potts-Dupre Schoolhouse, 8 Columbia Ave., Takoma Park. The show is sold out.
Epic-synthpop heroes M83 have two shows tonight at the Black Cat—but they're both sold out. It might be worth the scalper markup: M83's new double album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is the best realization of the group's high-gloss mystic romanticism to date.
Chris Taylor's project CANT excavates all the interesting stuff from his band Grizzly Bear—all the paranoia, all the awesome sonic fuckery. The band's other side-project, Daniel Rossen's Department of Eagles, keeps the moaning. CANT plays at Rock & Roll Hotel tonight at 8 p.m. With Luke Temple and Blood Orange. $12.
The U Street Music Hall has a strict no-photography policy. But Snuggies are still allowed. Consider curling up with one during tonight’s show. Swedish producer The Field recently released his third album, Looping State of Mind, following a pair of delightful ambient works, 2007’s From Here We Go Sublime and 2009’s Yesterday and Today. A few years ago, The Field (Axel Willner) regarded himself as a mere beneficiary of North American listeners’ growing appreciation of electronic music. He told the Canadian magazine Exclaim, “I think more people in North America are getting into pure electronic music where you don’t have to have the rock elements.” But was it us—craning our necks toward another ephemeral trend—or did he just make a splendid record? Deeper-digging American listeners have enjoyed atmospheric, gauzy post-rock and shoegazer music since the ’80s; before that, plenty of Yanks dug melty prog and space rock. The Field beautifully captures that glowing aura with different equipment. (Though he isn’t all digital—Willner did collaborate with Battles’ drummer John Stanier on Yesterday and Today.)Looping State of Mind, particularly its title track, is furniture music of the highest order; easy to ignore, but hard to forget. “Sheer bliss”: It’s a shoegazer cliché (and the name of a creamy coconut milk ice cream), but The Field has galvanized the term yet again. (Ally Schweitzer) The show begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at U Street Music Hall. $8.
Whoa: Saturday has a bunch of other good music options: Boris, Asobi Seksu, and black-metal dudes Liturgy at Black Cat (it's the last show ever for Liturgy drummer Greg Fox); local garage-rock faves Foul Swoops at Comet Ping Pong; dreamy electro-pop Swedes Little Dragon at 9:30 Club; and Wolf Parade side-project Moonface at Rock & Roll Hotel.
Mark Auslander signs and discusses The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family, an account of the various ways that institutions, families, and individuals interpret the history of slavery, and how the Methodist Episcopal Church came to split over differing ideas about its meaning. 5 p.m. Saturday at Busboys & Poets, 5th and K streets NW. Free.
After the Fall, the very personal Arthur Miller drama taking place just about entirely in one man's mind, has opened in previews at Theater J.
The title of The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby suggests John le Carré-esque intrigue and personal demon-squelching, but Carl Colby’s biography is more straightforward. In it, he traces the twin narratives of his father’s career (OSS paratrooper in World War II, CIA counterinsurgency specialist in 1960s Vietnam, agency director in the mid-’70s) and family life, marked by strict Catholicism and personal tragedy. As a shorthand history of American special-ops tactics and the more public failures of the CIA, the film is is effective if dense, and the interviewees are a mix of critics, close colleagues, and apologists. But it’s most satisfying when grappling with the man, and if it can’t answer its two biggest questions—Why did Colby come so clean about the CIA’s illegal activities amid the intelligence scandals of the ’70s? And what circumstances led to his mysterious death in ’96?—it’s willing to offer grounded theories. In short: Not every man can end his war neatly. The film shows all week at E Street Cinema. $11. (202) 452-7672.