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Blender and fray 

I climbed into the jalopy and pointed it downtown. Destination: HochsteinMusicSchool. You'd think that'd be relatively simple; drive to show, dig show, split. The daily bustle 'n' grind complicates the whole procedure but that just makes the music that much sweeter.

I dodged the kamikazes and pot holes on Lake Avenue, just scraping by a radar trap by Holy Sepulchre. Waited for pedestrians as they moseyed slow-like through crosswalks. Avoided crushing a skateboarder. Searched for parking, eventually finding a spot three blocks away. Stopped and dug the zoot suits in Goldstein's window. Jaywalked through a barrage of lunchtime motorists with murder in their eyes and made it to Hochstein just in time to catch their Noon Time From Hochstein performance.

Peace. Quiet. Beautiful music. Hochstein offers these live performances (and broadcasts them in stereo on 91.5 WXXI) for free every Wednesday at noon. This past Wednesday it was woodwind quintet Antara Winds introduced by host Mordecai Lipshuttz, a man with one of the best voices (and names) in radio anywhere. There is only one Mordecai Lipshuttz.

Antara Winds played liltingly and light. The multiple melodies that they presented within each tune wove into a cohesive and beautiful strain. I didn't try to understand, just to enjoy. Besides, bassoons always make me smile for some reason. I left refreshed and ready to dive back into the blender and fray outside.

Saturday night and The Atomic Swindlers were swindlin' about 200 fans at Milestones. They played crowd favorites like "Space Bandit" and showcased a few new tunes. The fresh material still has the band's pop, wit, and groove but exhibited an emerging serious side. I guess the sign of a good song is when it sounds simple despite its complexity. And bottom line, this is just a really fun band to watch. Sure, everybody's watching singer April Laragy do her thing up front, but equally mesmerizing was guitarist Chris Yockel. Yockel braved new frontiers picking out soundscapes full of delay and phase, even pushing to a full feedback sustain reminiscent of Mick Jones on London Calling. Yockel is truly what drives this band's incredible sound.

--- Frank De Blase

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