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When Black Friday comes




No matter how much you've accomplished lately, Alex Koshak can still make you feel a little less smug about it. Not intentionally, mind you, just through example.

Here's just a glance at the local musician's daily planner for the days ahead:

• Tonight (Nov. 27) at Ivywild, the former Flumps drummer will be playing with Inaiah Lujan's Dog Days, who are opening for former Anniversary frontman Josh Berwanger.

• On Saturday, Nov. 30, he'll be fronting his own band Charioteer, featuring Grant Sabin, Sam Erickson and Chris Davis, at the MAC's Gods and Monsters closing reception.

• On Sunday, Dec. 1, you'll find him sitting in with Chela Lujan's as-yet-unnamed country project, who are opening, along with Desirae Garcia, for Katie Sleeveless' new band Eros & the Eschaton at Shuga's. (See feature story, p. 41.)

• Next Wednesday, Dec. 4, Koshak's Charioteer will share a Triple Nickel bill with prodigal accordionist Rence "Dear Rabbit" Liam and Iowa band River Monks.

• And the following Thursday, Dec. 5, he and Sabin will be playing a stripped-down set at Ola Juice Bar on Kiowa Street, east of Tejon.

OK, kind of a slow week by Koshak standards, but all that downtime will give him a chance to pursue his new recording project with the aforementioned Davis.

"I've been listening to LCD Soundsystem and the Talking Heads a lot," says the musician, "and Chris and I have been talking about how much fun it would be to make music like that. It'll be music for dancing, but it's also got that rock 'n' roll spirit."

Moving on to our next topic, this past weekend found ice skaters and local music fans gathering in Acacia Park to hear Moonhoney, the Hereafter and Grass It Up kick off the "Skate in the Park" season. Held in a heated tent that prevents the onset of frostbite and hypothermia, the series will include upcoming shows by the Jake Loggins Band on Dec. 13, Mango Fan Django and Edith Makes a Paper Chain on Dec. 14, and a closing performance by the ReMINDers on Jan. 4. There's tons more, so check out the full schedule at

While we're still on the subject of Grass It Up, I should mention that the three-time Indy Music Award winners, whose members include Indy staffer David Jeffrey, have posted a 15-minute live video on their ReverbNation page. Beautifully shot by local musician/filmmaker Ian Gott, it's a medley of "Telluride," "Mama Don't Allow" and "Ode to Earl" that finds the group, including newest member David Siegel on violin, dressed as members of the Village People. (Just FYI, it's not nearly as disturbing if you avert your eyes and just listen.)

I should also mention that you can go to Gott's YouTube page and check out footage from Gott Seoul (heh), the pilot episode of the travelogue series he's shooting. Episodes will focus on South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, India and Turkey. Be sure to keep an eye out for the praying Ronald McDonald.

And finally, let us not forget Black Friday. This year, you might want to steer clear of Walmart, the home of holiday season trampling whose new motto is, "Before Knockout Games, There Was Us!" Better to forgo the $10 TVs and free concussions by opting for Record Store Day's Black Friday celebration. (Check to find participating stores.)

This year's Black Friday exclusives range from an acoustic Band of Horses live 7-inch to a vinyl Cheap Trick box set. There's also a 10-inch single featuring two brand new U2 songs and a double-vinyl Live at KCRW package from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, as well as new releases from the Flaming Lips, the Fleshtones, Tegan & Sara, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and the Silversun Pickups.

As for my personal choices, I'd have to go with the Soul Fire box set, which contains eight 7-inch singles' worth of rare soul grooves; the instantly collectible 10-inch Michael Hurley single with two newly recorded songs, "Watertrain" and the sure-to-be-classic "Black & Yellow Bee"; and of course the Lady Gaga picture disc that finds her posing semi-nude in what may or may not be an homage to Led Zeppelin's short-lived Swan Song Records label. Holiday shopping worries solved!

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