Friday, May 27, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 39


An Exaltation of Larks” 
 
If you follow Albuquerque's music scene, you can't help but notice the omnipresent Mauro Woody. A singular songwriter and vocalist who draws listeners into an inviting aural comfort zone. Hugely talented yet accessible, confident, vulnerable and fragile all the same. In her own modest fashion, Mauro has firmly established herself as a unique and powerful voice on the local scene. Mauro's bewitching delivery, accented with a variety of vocal nuances lends itself well to the swirling textures and precise structures of dream pop. That's not to say that she's not at home outside that genre. “Blue Flowers” for instance, rooted in Appalachian folk tradition is delivered as a comforting lilt, a tonic for anguished souls that descends into a dialogue of ghostly whispers at the end.

A stark contrast to the vocal style Mauro used with her first band, Animals in the Dark. Back then she sang with the stridency of old school punk chanteuses such as Penelope Houston or Poly Styrene mixed with vocal elements reminiscent of Cindy Wilson & Kate Pierson from the B52s. Since then her singing style has evolved. Presently, Mauro favors more refined vocals adorned with scintillating instrumental fills, alternatively switching to something that resembles the deliberately witchy voice affected by Kate Bush on “Wuthering Heights” While Mauro is also fully capable of veering off into Liz Fraser phonetic gymnastics, she rarely takes that plunge.... “Dustlands II” (the bonus live track from the five song ep, “Vulpes Vulpes”) being a pleasurable exception.

As previously mentioned, Mauro started out with Animals in the Dark, self described as “a psychedelic garage rock band with wide influences” which included her brother Brahm Woody on bass, Tianna Yazzi on guitar and drummer John Butler. Animals in the Dark toured extensively, releasing a demo “Winter Demos” an e.p. “Animals in the Dark” an album “Frozen in the Headlights” before breaking up. Mauro segued into dream pop indie rock outfit, The Glass Menageries joined by Gena Lawson, Brahm Woody and Chris Newman. The Glass Menageries have released one album to date “Edge of a Knife” Co-produced by Harry Redus-Brown (Unit 7 Drain) mastered by Carlos Jose Rafael Garcia (Carlos the Tall, YaYa Boom,Youngsville) The band is currently in the midst of an extended hiatus.

Harry Redus-Brown also makes a guest appearance, playing guitar on the seven minute opus “Foxy” a shimmering triumph, that sticks to you like a deep haunting dream. Mauro met Gena at Titwrench while performing with Milch de la Maquina, an experimental female group, one of the side projects she's involved in, which includes Lady Uranium (Mauro's solo outfit) The 5 Star Motelles “an all girl garage doo wop band” Chicharra (three female bass players and a male drummer) A new release from Chicharra is in the works. Lady Uranium, while not as radically experimental as Milch de la Maquina, does diverge from Mauro's previous works. It's a vehicle for experimentation, allowing Mauro to deconstruct the constricting concept of musical genres.

Mauro Woody is also involved in Melanthius, which she describes as “an all wizard band” with her brothers Brahm and Dhaveed w/ Eric Wellman. Psychedelic prog music that brings memories of the mid-1970s rushing back for old guys such as myself. Last but not least, Mauro also teams up with Gena Lawson as Merma & Roberta, a harmonizing duo of Jersey housewives with a taste for Alpaca butter and Designing Women. Fraser McAlpine (writing for BBC America's music blog “Anglophenia”) describes the daunting task faced by writers attempting to interpret Liz Fraser's unique vocal style “Elizabeth's voice is the kind of thing that forces music writers to reach for the thesaurus, eager to find a new word to describe things that spin and wheel around in the air like a flock of starlings” or in the case of Mauro Woody, “an exaltation of larks” Pass me some of that Alpaca butter, I'm done here.


  A to Z, women in Albuquerque are doing it. That hasn't always been the case, throughout the 1960s, 70s, 80s and into the mid-1990s women (with a few rare exceptions) were absent from the local scene. We've since witnessed an amazing turn about, women are now firmly planted at the forefront of Albuquerque's local music scene. This has brought about a shift towards more experimentation and genre bending than ever before. Events such as the Denver based Titwrench Festival, the local Gatas y Vatas festival (which expanded to Oakland, Ca. In 2015) ABQ Zine Fest and venues such as The Tannex, are all spearheaded by women bent on building not just a cohesive musical scene but an inclusive and varied artistic community. This installment of Dirt City Chronicles (the podcast) is the first of a triumvirate showcasing women's contributions to 'Burque's local music scene. Three hours that are but a sampler of the astonishing and varied music produced by our better half. Beam me up, there is intelligent life here after all.

White Horse ~ Lindy Vision
Home ~ Red Light Cameras
Blue Flowers ~ Lady Uranium
Blue Winner ~ Star Canyon
Idiot ~ Lindsay Jayne
Nose Ring ~ Weedrat
Foxy ~ The Glass Menageries
Pink and Black ~ Lindy Vision
Past Perfect ~ Bigawatt
Down by the Water ~ Chicharra
Beat on my Bones- YaYa Boom
Bogus Journey ~ Feels Like Sunday
For Shelly ~ Giranimals
Get Your Gun ~ Animals in the Dark
The Ones ~ I is for Ida
 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 38


Sugar Loaded”

Broadcasting from cheap and sunny, Albuquerque N.M.... Dirt City Chronicles. Your active rock music podcast, streaming over the interwebs, across the USA and around the world. “Nothing could be finer than a 49er” and I'm not talking about football. I make it a point not to repeat songs, but on this episode I'm throwing that self imposed rule out the window. Untethered by convention or morality, the heart of rock & roll is still beating. The product of the working class, chafing at the chains of conformity cast upon us by a polarized society that is goosestepping it's way to a bad end. I present to those who have no fucks left to give, a soundtrack for your many moods. Repeat play as often as necessary.

“Ouch! Welcome to Albuquerque” came out in 1999. That iconic double disc set from Socyermom Records introduced a grip of music lovers to Albuquerque's music scene and it introduced me to Electricoolade and Frankie Medina. Española N.M. The self declared lowrider capital of the Southwest has a rock & roll musical legacy that most New Mexicans are unaware of. Going back to the mid-1960s, The Moving Morfomen (also known as The Morfomen) guided by the totally self confident musical genius of Dave Rarick (an underrated New Mexican rock & roll icon if ever there was one) resoundingly stamped their brand on the regional music scene.

The Morfomen weren't alone, The Defiants scored a minor regional hit with “End of the Highway” and The Era of Sound earned their indelible slot on 60s garage rock compilations with “The Girl in the Mini Skirt” (Cottonmouth i.e. The Wumblies, called Española home before they set off to find neither fortune nor fame) Everybody's doing something...Soda riding like Pops was doing” Channeling the past and predicating the future.... displaying more swagger than Swaggy P... Frankie Medina burst out on the local scene with Electricoolade, an alt-rock outfit from Española that Flipside, a “legendary” punk rock magazine once compared to The Replacements & Elvis Costello's Attractions.

Flipside described Medina as having “a Westerberg-ish howl and Prince like vocals” they sorta nailed it on the Prince influence. Beyond that, the magazine's review of Electricoolade's debut album “Super Hero” is loaded with generalized comparisons. The anonymous author, having perused Cd Baby's “Sounds Like” tags for inspiration (seemingly without doing any actual research on the band) gave the album a cursory listen and not having achieved the level of smugness usually associated with Flipside, tossed in a jab at the city different. “Definitely an impressive effort from four kids from Santa Fe, a quiet town better known for its art than its music” BLAM! Santa, you got a taste of the bitch puddin.

Over at CD Universe, Electricoolade's second album “Taste Me” didn't fare any better. A house scribe wrote off Frankie's vocals as “Jovi-esque. He did however give Medina and band credit for “creating well-written music that bridges the gap between hair metal and mainstream/alternative. It appears that the band did have some redeeming pedestrian qualities. Check yo' self. By focusing on clichéd tags and comparisons, both these chumps totally missed the mark. Electricoolade was a work in progress. A hyperactive buzzsaw of guitars and influences.... fronted by one of the coolest rock vocalists to saunter down the road since Iggy Pop his self. 

 
Walking Down Congress (Sucking on a Red Bull)

  You can take the man out of España, but you can't take España out of the man. Too cool for school and Santa Fe, Frankie Medina and Calida Salazar (whom he met at a Santa Fe recording studio) set off for Austin, Tx. circa 2005. It's been their home ever since. With Frankie on guitar and Calida on keys, The Dirty Hearts honed the Española sound down to a razor sharpness.... chock full-o-attitude and swagger. Following the release of their debut ep “Five Canciones Five Pesos” and their self titled full length debut “The Dirty Hearts” Frankie and Calida became Austin's darlings. They netted scant attention from major labels, though the alternative press doted over them. 
 
Pigs” their second album on Socyrmom Records was designed with success in mind, it nonetheless failed to bust 'em out of the Austin scene. They've since gravitated back to New Mexico (though not on a permanent basis) With The Dirty Hearts currently on hiatus, Frankie and Calida are now involved in a similar project, The Angel Babies, named after Rosie Hamlin's hit tune from 1960. They have a self titled album out, available on Band Camp. Save for Frankie dabbling in his Spanish music roots, The Angel Babies are more an extension than a radical departure from The Dirty Hearts. They bring the same kinetic garage rock strut to the table that we dug about their predecessors.

Frankie teamed up with Keith Herrera (founder of Resin Records and former drummer for Albuquerque punk legends, The Drags) to form The Kill Spectors, a psyche punk duo that we can only hope we haven't heard the last from. (Their debut single Red River Street / Live Like a Dog was produced by popular Santa Fe musician, Jono Manson) Calida, a professional photographer as well as musician, has some solo recordings posted on Soundcloud. Stripped down instrumentation and vocals that echo the singing and songwriting style of obscure and mysterious Texas folk songstress Jasmine Star, a gal with a paper thin whisper of a voice and an aversion to having her face photographed. 

  
Record Store ~ The Dirty Hearts
Libertines in my Scene ~ The Dirty Novels
Blondie ~ Bring Back Dad
Don't Ask ~ Stabbed in the Back
Getting a Raise ~ Scenester
Burning Bag ~ The Gracchi
Audience Reaction ~ The Dirty Novels
U + M = Forever ~ Farthouse
High ~ Scared of Chaka
Bad ~ Scenester
Exile ~ The Scrams
No Action ~ Elevator Boys
Action Figure ~ The Dirty Hearts
Pack Your Pistol ~ The Dirty Novels
Gracchi Saturday Night ~ The Gracchi
Sweet Justice ~ Dead Town Lovers
Song ~ Farthouse
Blew One ~ Gusher
An Empty Apartment ~ Swale
Goat Throat ~ The Scrams
We Love the Burning Silos ~ The Burning Silos

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 37


Local Music at Your Fingertips

An unintentional underlying theme-o-death permeates through this episode. It's nothing to get hung about, the overall mood remains upbeat and optimistic. “The cold north wind is the bringer of winter, devouring one, strong and unruly. The Zephyr by contrast is the gentlest of winds, the messenger of spring... which we now await” Cover songs: Lousy Robot's ethereal version of “Dead Flowers” by the Rolling Stones. Steve Hammond's killer take on The Kinks' “Lazy Old Sun” A pair of David Bowie covers by Leeches of Lore (Life on Mars) and Pink Freud (Ziggy Stardust) from the David Bowie tribute show at the Launchpad in Albuquerque on March 4, 2016.

Let me tell you about Pink Freud.... as the name may suggest, they're a Pink Floyd cover band. There also appears to be two versions of the band according to their FB page. Pink Freud Southwest includes Rachel Ross, Chuck Hawley both N.M. music stalwarts, as well as Doug Bellen and Mikey Jaramillo. Pink Freud Midwest (based in Chicago) includes Carlos Del Real, Mike Marten, Julie Leuck, Gordon Patriarca. Vocalist Tony Orant ties things together by playing in both versions. There's yet another Pink Freud out there. This one is a jazz fusion band based in Poland, totally unrelated to the U.S. band(s). They don't do Pink Floyd covers.

Jen Olive splits her time between 'Burque, Los Angeles and England. Jen's latest album “The Breaks” features Andy Partridge (XTC), Mikey Rowe (keyboards, Sheryl Crow), Rob Brian (drummer, Siouxsie Sioux) just to name a few. Jen's previous venture, Warm Robot resulted in two releases, both on Apehouse Records, one in collaboration in Andy Partridge. All Music gave it a glowing review: “there's almost an echo of the lush textures and quiet elegance of early Butterfly Child (or even the Cocteau Twins!)” Boy Howdy! Her debut “Jen Olive” released in 2006 is self described as “nine poorly-recorded-but-someday-worth-lots-of-money masterpieces. A collector's item for sure”

Though we are blessed with a preponderance of talented women on the local music scene, there's always room for more... add Star Canyon's Cecilia McKinnon to the list. Multi-layered dream pop filtered through the glint of an oppressive sun reflecting off the sandy landscape. Echoing Mazzy Star/Hope Sandoval, Star Canyon consists of Cecilia McKinnon-vocals,guitar and Ben Martinez- percussion “Star Canyon is your guide to love songs for the post-apocalypse and other bad road trips” Lacking in wit, I lifted that description from their FB page. “Cheap Trick” Star Canyon's latest album was released in 2015. Their debut album, “Star Canyon” in 2013. Both are available at Bandcamp.



“Spiky Weapon of the Earth”

Anarcho Punk Folk.... is an apt descriptor for the musical trend of combining a punk ethos with unique folk instrumentation. Originally just Alex DenBaars and Beth Hansen working as a ukele and flute duo... unconventional instruments not usually associated with Punk or the Straight Edge movement. From those humble origins Arroyo Deathmatch has evolved into a five piece “hardcore-and-metal-influenced experimental anarcho folk band” Alex-vocals, Beth-flute,vocals Jett-washboard, Matt- bejota~accordion, Cameron upright-grandjo. “Evil folk for evil folks” Stubbornly acoustic, stubbornly sober, stubbornly honest... sworn to an ideal, totally committed to lighting a fire under your ass.

The music grips you. The distance between performer and audience is totally negated. Alex's fully throttled vocals force the listener to listen. No escaping or ignoring what's in your face. With every song, Arroyo Deathmatch builds to a seemingly chaotic crescendo, that is anything but. They're as tight as the Mothers of Invention. No shoe gazing aloofness, no jam band doodling. They electrify, without the use of electricity. The bejota is an instrument of their own invention. It sorta looks like an over sized banjo, but it ain't no banjo. For starters, it only has two strings. The grandjo on the other hand also looks like a big banjo, but its role within the group is similar to an upright bass.

Starting in 2009, Alex and Beth were accompanied by conventional instruments: guitar, fiddle and cello (Calen, Danny, Jes respectively) a lineup that held up through their first two albums, “Burned on Fire” and “Ballad of a Dead Dog” Their third album “Suffer the Weak” “represents the phase in history when Arroyo Deathmatch was a duo project” “May Demo 2011” saw the addition of the formidable Leon on drums and Twig on washboard. The split release w/Days N Daze kept that lineup in place. “All of Them Witches” marked the debut of Matt and the mighty bejota. “Through the Fear of It” introduced us to Jett on washboard. Cameron on the grandjo came on board for “Hidden Histories”

“Funny people making dead-serious music” Alex Denbaars also heads up The Goathead Record Collective. A “non-hierarchical, independent, folk and punk record collective” Formed with the goal of “providing access to recording equipment and sound engineers free of charge to local bands” Some local artists with Goathead connections include, Arroyo Deathmatch, The Leaky Faces, Vassar Bastards, Saugwa and Bird Friend. Chatterbox & The Latter Day Satanists from Colorado and Days N Daze from Texas. You won't find Tom Dooley hanging 'round these parts.... this ain't your Papaw's folk music. For full effect, play this music as loud as your neighbors can stand. 


 
Foster's Lager, Luc Longley, Cameron Bairstow or Hugh Greenwood.... nope. Guitarist Nathan Bickley is hands down the best Australian import to inhabit the Duke City. Bickley, co-host (alongside Ashley Veve Rammelsburg) of “Blowing Up” “the podcast about anything relevant for more than one second” arrived in Albuquerque (UNM in particular) by way of Norway, Venezuela and Australia. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in psychology from UNM in 2009. While his academic credentials are top notch, Nathan Bickley also has a knack for droning lo-fi psychedelic electronica that reminds one of an updated version of the “Dunedin Sound” associated with New Zealand's Flying Nun Records.

When it comes to music, Nathan has been busier than a one legged man at a Dance Dance Revolution contest. Constructing a timeline is difficult, on account that Bickley's musical ventures and the musicians involved often intersect and overlap one another. In no particular order here's a list of Nathan's projects: Small Flightless Birds (Nathan, James Sturgis,Will Bryne, Bon Baca) CanyonLands (Nathan, James Sturgis, Bon Baca, Adeline Murthy, Mark Campagna) Smoke Rings (Nathan, James Sturgis) The Gatherers (Nathan, James Sturgis, David Ramon, Bon Baca, Leigh Scariano) Ballets/Spice Boyz (Nathan, James Sturgis, Bon Baca, Andy Ward)

As you've probably gathered, James Sturgis is the one constant other than Bickley. Everything builds around Sturgis' mostly indecipherable vocals and the guitar interaction between Bickley and Sturgis is oh so sweet.  Ballets and CanyonLands have segued into Spice Boyz for some reason... same personnel. Bickley has also recorded under the alias of Daffodil Megasaurus. Train Conductor on the other hand consists of many of the musicians working with Nathan.... but, not Nathan. We could conclude that it's all just CanyonLands under different guises.... except there's just enough distinction between the varying projects to rule that out. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. The more Nathan Bickley and James Sturgis, the better off we all are. Music by all bands mentioned is available for streaming on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.


Dead Flowers ~ Lousy Robot
Lazy Old Sun ~ Steve Hammond
Death of Me ~ Jen Olive
I Remember You ~ Weedrat
Alibi ~ Star Canyon
Horses ~ Italian Rats
A Language That Goes Unspoken ~ Arroyo Deathmatch
Death-o-Flight ~ Icumdrums
Funky Russia ~ Alien Space Kitchen
Funeral ~ The Talking Hours
Knight of Wands ~ Anna Mall
Fool ~ Klondykes
Lozenges ~ CanyonLands
Life on Mars ~ Leeches of Lore
Ziggy Stardust ~ Pink Freud
Until it Ends, It Begins ~ Black Tie
I Can't Show You ~ CanyonLands
Failure Isn't Free ~ Arroyo Deathmatch



Saturday, April 30, 2016

Love Has Left the Building


 

The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes” or as the case be, Prince. The world mourns the passing of music's second most enigmatic celebrity (surpassed only by Jacko) He was totally fucking cool and bad ass....an exaggerated foppish mini-pimp decked out in puffy sleeves and every shade of purple imaginable. I gotta say though, I was never a huge fan. As for his status as musical genius, lest we forget, the Love Symbol formerly known as Prince, followed up “Purple Rain” (a trite, quasi-biographical musical, chock full-o- drama for yo' mama and bad acting) with the much maligned “Under the Cherry Moon” (a self indulgent, pretentious clunker, filmed in black & white, no less)

Prince Rogers Nelson was a revolutionary figure in music (less so in film) and his first five albums alone would have secured him a place in the annals of American music. “Purple Rain” however was what ultimately transformed Prince from a cult favorite into an unstoppable musical force. Burning him deep onto the psyche of music lovers worldwide. “Purple Rain” struck a nerve but after “Under the Cherry Moon” he was dishing out mediocrity as an entrée. Not that Prince wasn't on his game. He wrote chart busters for himself and others, boosting the careers of a handful of artists. (Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinéad O'Connor being the most memorable)

Prince's performance at Super Bowl XLI in 2007 was electrifying. (the bar for halftime entertainment having been set quite low..... Up With People, Tops in Blue, Aerosmith, the Janet Jackson / Justin Timberlake wardrobe malfunction) Opening with a thunderous refrain from Queen's “We Will Rock You” under storm clouds, then seguing into a muscular arena rock take on “Let's Go Crazy” The crowd rushed the love symbol stage platform in a scripted frenzy. Prince effortlessly worked in covers of Proud Mary, All Along the Watch Tower and The Foo Fighters' Best of You before closing with a rousing version of Purple Rain complete with audience sing-a-long. Shine on you crazy diamond.

It's rumored that he left enough recorded music behind to release an album per year through the foreseeable future. Here's hoping that's nothing more than wishful thinking. Prince released at least 39 albums while alive, few of those albums are still compelling. While prolific, Prince Rogers was also the king of indulgent doodling. I'd hasten to bet that hundreds of hours spent hunkered down at Paisley Park (an unyielding big box monolith jotting out of the prairie in Chanhassen, MN.) didn't necessarily result in a treasure trove of killer tunes. The Prince is dead and the lesson we should all come away with is simply this; Prayer has few if any medicinal properties. If you're deathly ill... go see a doctor.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 36



Yo!, Dirt City Chronicles, trawling (some might say trolling) the internet for music. Back with yet another edition of the only podcast dedicated to local (Albuquerque/New Mexico) music on the interwebs. Don't be fooled by imitations or knock-offs, this is the real thang. An uninitiated listener might consider the local music scene a shallow sea to fish from.... they would be wrong. If you take all 35 previous podcast episodes (this being #36 with #37 queued up) that's well over 37 hours of local music. It wouldn't be that much of a stretch to build a 48 hour plus playlist of nothing but local music with a negligible number of repeats. That's a playlist rotation on par with that of let's say..... Beatlerama, the all Beatles online radio station.

Disclaimer: I snipped and (or) padded some tracks in order to keep this playlist under 60 minutes. Some podcast episodes have clocked in at well over an hour. This resulted in YouTube advising me to trim 'em down in order to keep folks tuned in. An hour plus is asking too much, tune in, tune out... I get it. For $50 Facebook will boost my page allowing me to reach more people in the United States. No guarantees though and I have no idea how much of a bang you get for your bucks. Either way, for a non-revenue producing, labor of love venture.... any amount of money poured results in no return. That's money better spent making a dispensary run or buying tracks/albums online in support of local musicians.

Being liked gives me a sense of enormous well being. In order to drum up more likes, I did kick around the idea of emulating R. Stevie Moore's cassette club with a Dirt City Chronicles cd-r club, what with all those surplus cd-r packages gathering dust on my shelves. However, the cost of shipping nipped that idea in the bud. For those not familiar with R. Stevie Moore, he got his start in the mid-1970s by offering cassette only releases of his music by subscription. I once sent away for a “free”catalog from Floyd's Record Shop in Ville Platte, La. A process which required my mailing them a few postage stamps and a self addressed envelope. I could go that route, but seriously who out there still spins cds?


One Track Mind and Track Marks on His Arm

Few local bands of late have gained as much notoriety as Glitter Dick. Their Tom of Finland inspired record release flyer in 2012, was described by the Weekly Alibi as “borderline pornographic” it caused one UNM student to lose his shit, grousing that “the image caused him to lose his appetite” Deemed tasteless and pornographic by the administration, the flyer was banned from campus. Glitter Dick followed up with a poster featuring Tom of Finland, Robert Mapplethorpe and a few other artists.... which didn't help matters any. Posted around the UNM campus, they were quickly torn down, though the administration denying having anything to do with their removal.

In 2013, Glitter Dick then appeared on the syndicated court-tv show, “Judge Mathis” under the pretense of lead singer Kendoll Killjoy suing guitarist Magnum P. Nye. The band would later reveal that the television appearance was nothing more than a creative way of funding their debut album “Sparkling Richard” The video of that particular episode has since been pulled from YouTube. Johnny Wilson (The Gamits) conducted an interview with the band for his website “For the Love of Punk” he tried in vain to pry the details from Killjoy and bassist Dee Dee Ramen (Kenta Henmi) Ramen cut him off, advising Wilson that his wife is a lawyer while tossing in a curt “Don't Worry About It” True, she's a partner in the law firm of Maruchan, Ramen & Noodles.

Just when the whole Glitter Dick experience couldn't get anymore trite, lead singer Kendal Fortson aka Kendoll Killjoy turned up missing. The situation was serious enough that the band put out an all points bulletin asking fans to keep an eye out for their missing singer. Fortson, who had been booted from Stabbed in the Back prior to the formation of Glitter Dick eventually turned up, though his band mate were none too happy. Magnum P. Nye posting on FB: “Let's go ahead and call the search off and let this fun boy continue his quest for god/meaning of life/hamdingers/cocks/bat boy/the 4th hole/Ray Bolger or whatever it is he's doing now” he closed by adding “It's been real. Magnum P. Nye - signing off for good” Ray Bolger?

Kendal Fortson released a statement of his own: “Having nothing left in Albuquerque, I had decided it was time to move on and thought 'sneaking away in the night' would be a possibility” Amazingly, Glitter Dick was set to play at Edge Fest, on a bill that included The Killers, Cake, Bad Religion and Minus the Bear (a band that included Santa Fe's own Alex Rose) An opportunity kissed off due to Kendoll's ill timed walkabout. Magnum P. Nye now fronts The Russian Girlfriends, an onerous local band that partakes of the sacrament at the Church of The Boss. You know how Dread Zeppelin was once a Led Zeppelin parody band and now they play it straight. Well I'm not sure if Russian Girlfriends are seriously aping Springsteen, a Springsteen tribute band or just a Springsteen parody band.... Note to self: Suzi de Sade, drummer for Glitter Dick served in the same capacity with The Teenage Werewolves.


If music be the food of love, play on

Get Action! play what they refer to as “burrito rock” others may slap them with whatever tag they please... but that works for me. These veterans of 'Burque's music wars take their name from the second album released by those wacky, incomprehensible Japanese punks, Teengenerate. It all makes sense once the needle drops. Scott Brown, Bill Bunting, Ashley Floyd, Ben Levine and Zac Webb cut their teeth with some solid local bands: The Gracchi, Ten Seconds to Liftoff, The Foxx and Scared of Chaka. You know them and they know what you like, crackling garage rock, vented without inhibitions or mercy. Check 'em out May 7th at The Launchpad (w/ Russian Girlfriends) and June 24th at Burt's Tiki Lounge (w/ Dying Beds, Weedrat & Alien Space Kitchen)

Kewl (that's how you spell it nowadays) cover of Tommy James' “Crimson and Clover” from Steve Hammond. He's simply the best Kansas has sent us since Gen. Kearney planted the stars and bars in the Santa Fe plaza. Steve's version of that epic classic comes via Lorchestral Recording Company's “Cover of the Month Series” featuring covers of Miles Davis, Wire, Melvins, Hank Williams, They Might Be Giants, Beach Boys, Kinks and others. Steve Hammond really needs no introduction around these here parts, seeing how he's the man behind Leeches of Lore, not to mention his work in Retard Slave, Tenderizor, Knife City, Filthy Jim, Black Ale Sinners. The man has an extensive catalog to back up my glowing attaboys. Don't take my word, see for yo'self.

I'm not even sure if the Teenage Werewolves “Your Cure for the Cramps” are still active. Though touted as a Cramps tribute band, their live shows went beyond that. The Wolves were (are) fronted by Los Angeles based singer, songwriter, sound engineer, music producer..... Jack Atlantis (the Show) who “has worked in practically every genre of music from 'Qawwali Pakistan Punjabi' to 'Greek Punk Rock” (i.e. The Barb Wire Dolls, who set up shop in Deming, N.M. for a few months back in 2012) Jack produced their breakout single “Revolution” You may just recognize one of the Werewolves as none other than the hardest working man in rock & roll: Billy Miles Brooke (Tragic Romance, The Dirty Novels, Pan!c, Loving the Alien and so much more)

Albuquerque's legendary garage rock combo, The Drags clock in with two tracks of their own and I've also included a cover version of “My Girlfriend's in The FBI” by New Kind of Mambo, a Portuguese duo who sing in English and copped their name from a single by Big Maybelle. How do you like them apples? Given their extensive discography and worldwide acclaim, I must admit that I've sorta taken The Drags for granted (same with The Eyeliners) Not anymore. I recently delved deep into their catalog and fuck me, I love this band, and to think.... I still have a copy of “Dragsploitation...Now! that I've maybe played twice. Charging from the bass knives to the treble, Dirt City Chronicles, keep those cards and letters coming in... all suggestions are welcomed and duly ignored. We're done here, peace out homies.

Instantly Recognizable ~ Get Action
Audiophile ~ Glitter Dick
Monday Night Raw ~ Weedrat
Psycho Punk ~ The Dying Beds
Crimson and Clover ~ Steve Hammond
Cars ~ Bring Back Dad
Surfin' Dead ~ Teenage Werewolves
I Like to Die ~ The Drags
Johnny T's O.D. ~ Glitter Dick
Lucky Boy ~ Alien Space Kitchen
The Scratch ~ Mother Queen Death
Why ~ Red Light Cameras
Life is a Gift ~ Colin Robinson
BTSD ~ Klondykes
Ghost ~ Weedrat
Quitter ~ The Talking Hours
My Girlfriend's in The FBI ~ New Kind of Mambo (Drags cover)
Except You ~ Get Action
Tastes Like Poison ~ The Drags


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles Podcast Episode 35


I knew you'd understand what looks good with a black armband”

First post of 2016.... it being three months into the new year and all. I plead guilty with an explanation. Dirt City Chronicles, after 16 years exiled to the bootheel country of SW New Mexico is now back in Albuquerque. With turnarounds to Amarillo and Deming and a 24 hour motor trek from the Duke City to Appleton, Wisconsin out of the way, I can finally settle back into my regular routine of gutter sniping. From the desolate outbacks of New Mexico to the outskirts of Albuquerque's westside, Dirt City Chronicles is back up and streaming in glorious, compressed stereo. Boy Howdy!

As a rule of thumb, post rock i.e. emo/screamo/math rock bands drew the ire of local music aficionados. Looked upon as a blight, the boys of angst never received their due nor garnered praises worthy of their respective musical talents and recording output. The locals didn't warm up to them, maybe it was the indecipherable lyrics or the swirling racket over which they screamed. Whatever it was, you can't unring that bell. Oh! Ranger, Kid Crash, Your Name in Lights, Pilot to Bombardier, Dear Oceana, The City is the Tower..... we can sing their praises now, it's ok. As a whole, they combined to create a definitive Albuquerque sound that went shamefully unnoticed. Archabald belatedly carries on that tradition.

Revolving around the talents of vocalist Randy Bowen and guitarist Andy Othing (who moonlights as Lowercase Noises, an ambient music project that he's fronted since 2010) Archabald brings to mind Soular, one of the Duke City's many under the radar bands. Bowen and Othing break much of the same ground. Randy Bowen sounds enough like Marsh Shamburger to cause a trained listener to wonder where they've heard that voice before. If you're not familiar with Soular, search for 'em on YouTube. “Relativity” and “Cannibal Heart” were first released as teaser tracks for Archabald's latest long player, “Relativity” released in Feb. of this year. It's Archabald's third album and their most fully realized to date. Don't just take my word, stream it at Bandcamp and perhaps purchase a copy.

I've also slotted in two tracks from The City is the Tower.... described on last.fm as “4 drunk dudes from Albuquerque, New Orleans, Boston and Denver” Humor is in short supply in this genre, The City is the Tower understood this and worked it, tongue firmly planted in cheek. Some members of The City is the Tower went on to form Dead Cousins, a loud band, lacking most of the subtle nuances of its predecessor. “Party Ideas” The City's “chart bending debut” is still available for download at Media Fire as a zip file. The link can be found on the band's Facebook page. By the way, James Whitten, mixed and mastered The City's 2010 split 12” release (w/ Thou) “Dwell in The Darkness of Thought and Drink the Poison of Life”


All this weirdness goes by just like a parade”

A Not Quite Perfect Film” and “Fragile” presented here in modified form, were culled from the “last postcard from Chateau Marmont” aka “Oddities, Obscurities & Obscenities” a well timed retrospective collection from Lousy Robot, partially compiled by Jim Phillips, completed by Dandee Fleming and John Dufilho. Spill no tears, though meant as a tribute to Jim Phillips, who passed away in May of 2015, “Oddities, Obscurities & Obscenities” isn't a solemn affair. It's a joyous collection of long forgotten demos, alternate versions and covers. This addition to the Lousy Robot discography (their fourth album and the first since 2011) brings closure to fans of the band. “You give the longest compliments that I've ever heard, but not me I sing and murder my days one at a time”

Chicharra's “Are You” is arguably the best recording by local musicians this year, my favorite for sure. The same can be said about their just released album “Chicharra” a cassette and digital release that delivers a spongy yet muscular beat that slithers in and out of your headphones. A triumvirate of bass players and vocalists (Mauro Woody, Monica Demarco, Marisa Demarco.... John Butler sits behind the drum kit) make Chicharra unlike any other band around these parts (what with the troika of bass guitars and all) You don't see or hear that every day. Two videos accompany “Are You” (one features dancer Reba Heloise doing the Sand Dance on a sand bar, on a below freezing day) Watch them.

Short bursts of sustained anger are the best form of expression.“Who the hell are you to tell me how to feel?” Weedrat is punk rock distilled in its purest form, as potent as Pappy's corn squeezins “Fuck your stupid job and life, Fuck your dog and fuck your wife” is a mantra that we can all live by. You feel me on this.... Weedrat gets in your face in order to deliver a message. We all take a big bite out of the same shit burger.... but we don't have to like it or keep quiet. Given your turn at the podium, grab the opportunity and fuck things up. If it's too loud, you're too old or already dead. “It's just a bad day, it's not unusual, I just need some sleep” They're preaching to the choir, but no sleep till peace.


A Not Quite Perfect Film ~ Lousy Robot
Worry Don't Worry ~ Jen Olive
Pastel Daydream ~ Azula
The Warnings ~ Sad Baby Wolf
Snacktualize it ~ The City is the Tower
Are You ~ Chicharra
Relativity ~ Archabald
Tectonic ~ Starsky
Don't Tell Me ~ Weedrat
The Quiet Few ~ Beard
Tangled Threads ~ Litter Brain
Bad Day ~ Weedrat
Meeting Monsters ~ Kid Dinosaur
Fragile ~ Lousy Robot
Cannibal Heart ~ Archabald
Well...aaa...wumpapum ~ The City is the Tower
Tin Ceiling ~ Starsky


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dirt City Chronicles, Year in Review: 2015


Year In Review: October 2015

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 29

An old fashioned “battle of the bands” takes center stage on this edition of Dirt City Chronicles, the podcast. The combatants in this instance represent New Mexico's polar opposites. North vs. South. It's an imaginary rivalry for the most part, made up by the state's broadcasters in order to drum up interest whenever the Aggies and Lobos face off in athletics. Other than that, it's doubtful that the average New Mexican gives the idea much thought. The very definition of what divides Northern and Southern New Mexico is not very well defined. New Mexico doesn't always lend itself to a clean North/South division. It's far more complicated than that. For instance, Clovis is further north than Socorro, yet Clovis is solidly in the southern camp and Socorro staunchly sides with the North.

When a community was first settled and by whom, plays a big part on what side these “border” communities identify with. Belen is firmly aligned with the north, though its located just a bit further north than Clovis. Vaughn, Duran and Yeso are south of Belen, yet are culturally Hispano communities that identify with the north. Fence Lake, Pie Town & Quemado are north of Socorro and they're culturally connected to the south. If I were to draw a boundary across the state separating the north and south, I would start at the Arizona border, north of Fence Lake, continue north of Alamo, jot down to include Magdalena in the south, skirt south of Socorro and San Antonio, swing north to include Corona in the south, northeast to Ft. Sumner continuing northeast to House and then east to the Texas border.
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/10/dirt-city-chronicles-podcast-episode-29.html



Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 30

Due to the success of Norm Petty Studios, West Texas got off the starting line early compared to the rest of the region. In 1957, both Buddy Knox and Jimmy Bowen (who had played together in The Rhythm Orchids) hit the national charts with million selling singles. Bowen's “I'm Sticking With You” and Knox's “Party Doll” coupled with Buddy Holly's #1 single, “That'll Be The Day” set off a stampede of musicians headed to Clovis, N.M. As Goldust Records founder, Emmit Brooks put it: "After Buddy Holly and the Beatles, there was a feeling out there that anyone could get a hit and make a million dollars," El Paso caught the fever and before long a burgeoning local rock & roll scene was starting to bubble up from the dusty landscape.

The arrival in 1957 of itinerant blues guitarist, Long John Hunter (who set up shop at the Lobby Club across the river in Juarez) helped to kick things off. Much like Al Hurricane in Albuquerque, Hunter was grounded in another genre, yet still played a part in helping rock & roll gain a toehold. His single “El Paso Rock” released on Calvin Boles' Yucca Records in 1961 helped spark El Paso's pre-Beatles infatuation with instrumental rock. Countless El Paso musicians made nightly treks across the border to the Lobby No. 2 Cafe and Night Club to watch Long John lay down some rattlesnake moan. A disciple of the East Texas blues guitar tradition, Hunter would often allow young musicians who could work up the nerve, to take the stage with him (including a very young and nervous Bobby Fuller) http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/10/dirt-city-chronicles-podcast-episode-30.html


Star Mountain Babylon

Then in 1963 a funny thing happened... El Paso went bonkers for surf music. No easy way to explain this. The Gulf of Mexico is 700 plus miles away (though the closest beach to El Paso is actually Puerto Peñasco in Mexico...about 500 miles) Almost overnight, every band worth a lick in El Chuco, started playing like Dick Dale and The Deltones. A period well documented by Norton Records' compilation series “El Paso Rocks” Having tossed aside his aspirations towards emulating Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran. Bobby Fuller planted himself firmly at the forefront of this curious turn towards instrumental surf music in the desert. “The Bobby Fuller Instrumental Album” compiled by Rockhouse Records (a label based in the Netherlands) adds further credence to this strange turn of events.

I realize that historically, El Paso has ties to Cali, specifically Los Angeles. But this is fucking nuts. If not for the British Invasion, who knows how far this “sand surfing” craze may have gone. One thing for certain, this odd mix of borderland bands produced instrumental surf music roughly the equal of what was streaming out of SoCal at the time. Bobby Fuller's “Thunder Reef” “Our Favorite Martian” “Wolfman” and “Stringer” The Pawns “South Bay” The Sherwoods “Tickler” The Impostors' Surfaris spoof “Wipe In” Four Dimensions “Sand Surfin” The Four Frogs “Mr. Big” The Chandelles “El Gato” The dichotomy of “surf in the desert” was resurrected in 1978, when for some strange reason “Big Wednesday” John Milius' coming of age surf movie filmed several scenes in El Paso.
 http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/10/star-mountain-babylon.html



Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 31

Frogdeath Records definitely reflected the personality of Steve Crosno. From the label imprint which depicted a bullfrog listening to a phonograph (ala RCA's Little Nipper listening to his master voice) with a heavy boot looming overhead, to the puns and mispronunciations printed on the label. It all added up to the work of a smart ass genius. Frogdeath had a limited run, probably no more than a dozen known releases. Working on the fly (and on the cheap) with Crosno wasn't easy as Danny Parra (Danny & the Counts) recalls: “ We recorded “For Your Love” b/w “It’s All Over” in a single live take in Steve’s home without a drummer! Unbelievable! The recordings were meant to be a dry run but Crosno decided to put them on vinyl since he could promote them on KELP”

After that initial haphazard session, Danny & The Counts butted heads with Steve over the direction their music was taking. “We ultimately made it clear to him, that we wanted to pursue the English music trends as a group and abandon R&B. He wasn’t happy about this because his whole market niche was R&B …. so we had an eventual parting of the ways.” said Parra. Crosno's radio show and “Crosno Hops” a mobile sock hop that hit every podunk burg within driving distance of El Paso, revolved around r&b/soul numbers. Fuzzy, hyper, garage be bop don't cut it on the dance floor when you're looking to rub up on a gal. The homies in Segundo Barrio pined for Tex Mex Soul, James Brown and golden oldies... Steve Crosno delivered the goods and in their eyes he could do no wrong.
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/10/dirt-city-chronicles-podcast-episode-31.html



The Plural of Aggies

In the early 1970s, bags in hand and tongue firmly planted in cheek. Calvin Boles closed up shop in Alamogordo and took off to Nashville with the idea of recording and promoting country artists. He already had one client... his son-in-law, Robyn Young (Faron Young's son) To mark his arrival in the Mecca of country music, Boles released a novelty single that will forever rank as one of the rankest, musical endeavors of all time. First a little background info. Break-in records, were made popular by Dickie Goodman with his hit recordings of “The Flying Saucer, Pts. 1 & 2. The basic premise has an official sounding interviewer (Goodman) asking questions, which are answered by brief snippets of POPULAR songs (note the emphasis on popular) Even at its best, it's pure cornball.

For “Calvin Boles in Nashville” b/w “Calvin on Stage” Boles hired Johny (Single N) Caraway, who Paul Pearson of Dead Horse Radio points out “was no Dickie Goodman” Caraway in a serious “radio voice” asks a series of questions to which Calvin answers with break-ins from his own vast repertoire of “unknown to the world” songs. It's cringe worthy right up until Ernest Tubbs breaks in at the end with “Go on home, you don't belong here with me” followed by a round of canned laughter. Paul Pearson: “A break-in comedy record featuring nothing but Calvin Boles tunes as break-ins....probably wasn't the most effective strategy” Calvin's Nashville venture flamed out quicker than Kingsford Match Light briquets. A thousand guitar pickers in Nashville and Calvin wasn't meant to be one of them.   http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-plural-of-aggies.html




Year in Review: November 2015

Dirt City Chronicles_Cassette to MP3: Best of, Bobby Fuller Four

Throughout the Mustang recording sessions Bobby Fuller agonized over what was becoming of his music. Accustomed to calling the shots, he found himself butting heads with Bob Keane. This ate away at Bobby's self confidence. The egocentric Fuller had always plotted his own course, now it dawned on him that by signing with Bob Keane, he had conceded that right. The most glaring example of this was the band's new name “The Bobby Fuller Four” changed at Keane's insistence. “Let Her Dance” the band's near breakout single was also a source of friction. Bobby felt that Keane had taken liberties with his original composition “Keep on Dancing” when in fact Bob Keane had transformed Fuller's clunky original into a pulsating, bass propelled radio friendly ditty.

Next, Keane's A&R man, session musician, arranger, producer Barry White (the make-out music maestro) was brought in to work the sessions for “The Magic Touch” and “I'm A Lucky Guy”, John Barbata (of The Turtles) sat in on drums, replacing DeWayne Quirico who had been unceremoniously shit canned. Bob Keane felt that lacking a strong follow-up to “Let Her Dance” song mills such as The Brill Building were his only viable option. Written by Brill Building veteran Ted Daryll, “The Magic Touch” was an Motown-esque number that should have been a big hit. It failed to launch. Bobby was unhappy with the final mix, which he deemed as “too thin, with not enough oomph” He bitterly vented to his brother Randy "It doesn't even sound like one of our songs"
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/11/dirt-city-chroniclescassette-to-mp3.html




Your Ever Loving Punks_The Standells

Though touted as the “Godfathers of 60s punk” The Standells lineage stretches well beyond the “garage rock” era. For starters, though The Standells helped launch a thousand garage bands, they weren't a “garage band” at all. By the time “Dirty Water” hit the charts and made them the standard bearers for U.S. 60s punks, The Standells had put in work and were in fact, accomplished professional musicians who knew their way around a studio. The band clearly went through two phases during their prime, the pre-Dirty Water period and the post Dirty Water, 60s punk period. Almost overnight, The Standells went from being a talented plug 'n' play rock & roll combo to snarly trend setting raconteurs. Though in truth, their punk persona was as fake as the hippies & beatniks on “Far Out Munsters”

Larry Tamblyn, co-founder of the band is the younger brother of actor Russ Tamblyn. Russ had worked in movies since 1948, he was nominated for an Academy Award in 1957 for his work in “Peyton Place” He's the father of actress Amber Tamblyn and is still active, having appeared in relatively recent movies, “Drive” and “Django Unchained” Larry had been active in music since 1958, having released a string of doo wop singles on Faro and Linda records. In 1962 he formed The Standels along with Tony Valentino (Emilio Bellissimo, who had arrived in the US from Italy in 1958) bass player Jody Rich and drummer Benny King (aka Hernandez) Larry came up with the name “Standels” as a tongue in cheek take on the long hours spent standing around waiting for auditions at record companies.
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/11/your-ever-loving-punksthe-standells.html


Dirt City Chronicles Cassette to MP3: Best of The Standells

Another exemplary compilation from Rhino Records. As I've mentioned before, nobody does it better. Audio quality, liner notes, track selection... it's the bees knees. Not everyone feels the same way about Rhino's efforts. Larry Tambyln, who coined the name “Standells” and co founded the band has voiced his displeasure with Rhino's description of the band as “a clean living fun bunch of bananas” Larry likes to point out that The Standells were indeed hip and happening. They were after all, the first SoCal band in the 1960s to have long hair (which they promptly cut in order to land a gig at PJ's, notorious for its “no long hair” and matching suits dress code) Larry doth protest too much, the band's pre-Dirty Water recordings and publicity shots do present a clean cut, albeit lame bunch of bananas.

Larry Tambyln especially had a bone to pick with Harold Bronson, who researched and composed the liner notes. Stating that Bronson never met with him or any members of the band to verify any biographical info. Bronson noted that “The band included one guy who spoke with a very unhip broken Italian accent” That would be Tony Valentino, fresh off a pasta boat and as evidenced by Dick Clark's interview after The Standells performed “Help Yourself” Valentino spoke in a monosyllabic manner that brought Balki Bartokomous, Bronson Pinchot's immigrant character on the television sitcom, Perfect Strangers to mind. Harold Bronson also pokes at them for having “a Mouseketeer in the band... that's Dick Dodd, though Dick was cool, upping the band's “cool” quotation by a 100%
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/11/dirt-city-chroniclescassette-to-mp3_27.html



Year In Review: December 2015

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 32

“May we never part” was the rallying cry. The search for one true love, the crusade for which all were destined. In Southern New Mexico nobody wrenched a heart like the goosestepping maestro of teener heartache, Frank Thayer. A Senior at NMSU, Thayer in collaboration with homespun producer and music engineer, Dennis Adams recorded a series of teener pop ballads that distilled sadness in the same manner that a bootlegger distills spirits from sugar and corn grain. Standing atop the burning pyre of unrequited love, Thayer pined for the women that he obviously scared off with his moody and obsessive nature. Frank is fascinating “partly truth and partly fiction” a man ahead of his time and yet hopelessly stuck in the past. Which is why, in my opinion Frank Thayer defines teener pop so well.

Teener pop was a conscious attempt by the record industry to turn back the clock. To white wash the negroid influences of mid-1950s rock & roll with a sparkling double coat of copacetic conformity. Teener was so chock full of loneliness and despair that it's a miracle American teenagers didn't hang themselves en-mass. La douleur exquise. “I miss someone who isn't mine to miss. I dream about someone who isn't mine to dream about. I love someone, who isn't mine to love” Turn off the water works baby, that don't move me no more. U.S. teeny boppers had to grow the fuck up and two forces were combining to drag them kicking and screaming into adulthood, Vietnam and Beatlemania. The words of love fade like darkness itself at the coming day. “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/12/dirt-city-chronicles-podcast-episode-32.html

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 33

Being the inquisitive type, I like to compare the regional scenes to one another. At the time most of this music came out (1959-63) Albuquerque's local scene didn't amount to much other than The Knights and Al Hurricane. By comparison, El Paso was blowing up. A couple of factors were in play. With Ft. Bliss shuttling in draft era troops by the thousands for basic training, there was always a demand for entertainment and literally speaking, the music would never stop. (Long John Hunter was working 13 hour shifts at the Lobby Club) As far as the number of venues available to local musicians, El Paso, had the Duke City beat by a country mile. El Paso also fostered a long reputation as a rough and tumble “bordertown” while Albuquerque in the early 1960s was basically Des Moines, Iowa with Mexicans.

Ooh! I meant to say Hispanos, my bad. The rocking side of the border gets the Dirt City royal treatment on this go-round. This episode comes fully loaded with both the familiar and the obscure. The fifth installment in a six part series covering the local scene in El Paso, Las Cruces and beyond.... but no further north than Clovis N.M. Call me provincial, call me archaic, I don't really care. Let's see what the cat drug in: It's a shame that Lloyd Nash's “The Quiver” didn't start a national dance craze, sounds much sexier than the Twist or The Mashed Potato. I did manage to sneak one Albuquerque band in,The Knights' “Cut Out” made the cut, mainly because I couldn't fit it into any of my other playlists. It's a rocking little number that I want my jockey to play...
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/12/dirt-city-chronicles-podcast-episode-33.html



Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 34

Chuco got soul..... that sweet soul music, enunciated by the disciples of James Brown, powered by horns sections that washed away the gloom. Beautiful friend, this is the end.... of a six part series covering the El Paso/Las Cruces, borderlands music scene in the 1960s. I feel like a time traveler, having been deeply immersed in 60s culture for weeks on end.... Farfisa organs rattling 'round my brain. I thought that I knew 60s rock and soul music, but I knew nothing. “Can't see a thing till you open your eyes... clear my eyes, make me wise” and a tip-of-the hat to YouTube, our great, infinite smorgasbord of musical gluttony. Nothing expands your musical knowledge like knowing where music has been. “The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”

For reasons lost to time, El Paso Mayor Judson Williams declared July 9th 1967 “Steve Crosno Day” A high honor for a young man at the very pinnacle of a career that would span six decades. Indisputable evidence that Steve ruled the local airwaves, broadcasting on KELP, El Chuco's Top 40 juggernaut. Local entrepreneur, Bernard Tanchester, perhaps sensing an opportunity to make a quick buck, lured 4,000 loyal Crosno fans and “the seven hottest R&B bands in the area together under one roof” to a steamy El Paso Coliseum for the landmark event. The evening's proceedings were recorded for posterity and resulted in an iconic album “Steve Crosno Day, July 9th 1967” a veritable time capsule of a time and place, long ago, but not so far away. “The best thing I can do is shut up and play music”

http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/12/dirt-city-chronicles-podcast-episode-34.html

Dirt City Chronicles, Year in Review: 2015


Year in Review: August 2015

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 25

I'm a miner searching for that mother lode of 'Burque's rock & roll gold. I've searched the world wide web, compiling a playlist that includes every 1960s Albuquerque/New Mexico band that I could dredge up. It's a fairly comprehensive look at an under appreciated period of 'Burque musical history. This is good stuff... fuzz laden garage punk rave ups, teener bop and moody sixties psychedelia. All products of homespun Albuquerque record labels, Lance, La Vette, Hurricane, Delta, Mortician. Mid-Sixties garage bands are now most often described as "garage rock," sometimes as "garage punk," "'60s punk," though at the time it had no specific name.

It wasn't until the release of the 1972 compilation album, Nuggets, compiled by Lenny Kaye, that music fans and collectors began to define the style. Garage rock peaked commercially and artistically around 1966-67, which coincides with the period most of 'Burque's garage bands thrived. Gilesi over at the amazing music blog “Cosmic Minds at Play” once mused about the Duke City garage band scene in 1960s: “I have no idea what Albuquerque, New Mexico was like as a place to live in the mid 60s but it certainly seems to have had more than its fair share of top class garage bands, so I can only assume that there was a wild scene going on among its young denizens.”
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/08/dirt-city-chronicles-podcast-episode-25.html





'Burque Garage: Original Artyfacts from Albuquerque's First Rock Era 1964-69

The term “garage band” (not to be confused with Apple's music making software Garageband) grew out of the notion that many of these groups started out rehearsing in the family garage. While true to a certain degree, that wasn't always the case, many were formed by professional musicians who had already cut their teeth playing varying styles of music. Frat rock's city cousin and the precursor to psychedelic rock. Garage was characterized by a snarly vocal delivery, distorted guitars and carefully cultivated rebellious posturing that was in reality.... mundanely conformist when compared to flower power and the hippie culture that eventually supplanted it.

Garage rock peaked commercially and artistically around 1966-67, which coincides with the period most of 'Burque's garage bands thrived. Gilesi over at the amazing music blog “Cosmic Minds at Play” once mused about the Duke City garage band scene in 1960s: “I have no idea what Albuquerque, New Mexico was like as a place to live in the mid 60s but it certainly seems to have had more than its fair share of top class garage bands, so I can only assume that there was a wild scene going on among its young denizens.”
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/08/burque-garage-original-artyfacts-from.html






Burque Garage: Original Artyfacts from Albuquerque's First Rock Era 1964-69

Had it not been for “We're Pretty Quick” a certifiable monster 60s garage punk classic. The Chob could have easily slipped into oblivion. Written by bass player Keith Bradshaw and lead guitarist Quinton Miller, “We're Pretty Quick wasn't a chartbuster, it didn't resonate with the teeny boppers at the time of its release. It didn't go national and rocket The Chob to fame, no major labels clamoring for a bit of the action, no inquiries from Brian Epstein. What is arguably one of the best songs to come out of New Mexico in the mid-sixties failed to rise above the regional level. Yet today, “We're Pretty Quick” is one of two songs (the other being “I Wanna Come Back, From the World of LSD” by The Fe Fi Four Plus 2) that garage punk fanatics worldwide identify with Albuquerque. (“No Silver Bird” is a distant third)

If you thought that Española rock & roll didn't exist before Electricoolade/Frankie Medina/The Dirty Hearts... guess again. The Morfomen also known as the Movin Morfomen were repping España long before Frankie was but a glimmer in his daddy's eyes. The band consisted of multi-talented Dave Rarick, Danny Gavurnik, Eddie Valdez, Anthony Martinez and Rudy Maestas. The Morfomen recorded on Lance, Nel-Ric, Goldust, Delta, scoring a handful of regional hits including their version of “Try It” (originally recorded by The Standells) which they called “We Tried, Try It” produced by R.C. Nelson, engineered by John Wagner on the Nel- Ric label.
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/08/burque-garage-original-artyfacts-from_13.html



Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 26

Disclaimer: I know no more than the guy that knows next to nothing who knows less than the guy that knows everything. The band info and recordings I've compiled are from various online sources: Dick Stewart and The Lance Record website. Vintage Bands of Albuquerque's Facebook page, Vinnie G's YouTube channel “mrmusico1000” 60sgarageband.com., the curiously named YouTube channel “puppetmastertoday” Vic Gabrielle who was there as it happened. Garage Hangover.com. and Sweatsoked.com. Having spent countless hours scrolling through microfilm archives and digging through bins searching for “local” music. I can attest to the fact that the internet makes the job much easier. Visit these sites, subscribe, comment, or in Dick Stewart's case... buy something.

I'm saving up to buy the Lance Records newsletter collection on cd-rom for $39 U.S. Dollars or 800 Mexican pesos at the current rate of exchange. Not one aircheck from any Albuquerque radio stations in the 1960s seems to have survived to the present day. Forcing me to substitute 1966 radio excerpts from Danny Clayton at Denver AM rocker KBTR and British born, Tommy Vance on KOL, Seattle's AM powerhouse during the mid-1960s
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/08/dirt-city-chronicles-podcast-episode-26_13.html




From 'Burque to Blackpool, The Classic Era of Duke City Soul

This was a different scene, one that the displaced mid-westerners of the heights could never get hip to. Down here the music was emotionally charged, majestic in scope, musically supreme. The music communicated a will to escape the limits of ordinary life and the constraints of a city built on the false premise that if you're white, you're right... If you're brown, stick around and if you're black, get back! “Pride in the face of prejudice” is how the Austin Chronicle's Margaret Moser describes the brown eyed soul that flowed out of the American Southwest in the 1960s. Self expression in the face of oppressive racial prejudice in a city where whites make up just over half of the population... it comes like fire. It becomes something that you summon from deep within your soul.

Once a man reaches that boiling point, you hand him a horn, guitar, drumsticks or a microphone and stand back to marvel what is man. This would explain why James Brown was deified in the barrios of Albuquerque. Brown's raw emotive pleas such as “Please, Please, Please” “Try Me” “I Won't Plead No More” “I Want You So Bad” were tailor made for Hispanic audiences. Kenny Burrell on guitar, George Dorsey on alto sax and Clifford Scott on tenor sax essentially invented the sound that would become the inspiration for every brown eyed soul band that ever played. James was all in, no half measures, he was relentless and that somehow struck a nerve among 'Burque Chicanos, because there's just no quit in the Duke City hustle. Hit Me!
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/08/from-burque-to-blackpool-classic-era-of.html


Year in Review: September 2015

Viva Las Vegas!

For all its glitz and glamour, Las Vegas is a factory town. It's a city of clock punchers, everyone from dishwasher to horn player is a working stiff keeping one eye on the clock and one foot pointed towards the door. “Lost Wages” “Sin City” “Vegas” whatever your sobriquet of choice is, you're talking about the entertainment capital of the world... Las Vegas. Thanks to a questionable “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” marketing scheme and that shitty trilogy of Hangover movies, a Vegas vacation without self degradation and scandal is no vacation at all. So you would think. That's the Hollywood version of course. In reality the average visitor drops a few hundred in the casinos, drinks too much and fends off time share salesmen at every turn. Every solo artist that hits Vegas needs a band as does every dance troupe and revue. Not everyone playing on the strip travels with their own band like Elvis did. Most have to rely on the venues to supply musicians capable of playing that artists' songs and music exactly as recorded.

Elvis had been scorned and lambasted after his very first Vegas appearance in 1956 "He stands up there clutching his guitar, he shakes and shivers like he is suffering from itchy underwear and hot shoes," wrote Ralph Pearl of The Las Vegas Sun. "For the average Vegas spender or show goer, [Elvis is] a bore," wrote another of the Sun's critics, Bill Willard. However, “Viva Las Vegas” in which Elvis co-starred with Ann Margaret changed all that. Two years hence, Elvis would play his first sold-out Vegas show at the International, where he would hold court, posting a record 837 consecutive sold out performances over seven years, drawing a total of 2.5 million paying customers to his shows. Over that seven years, Elvis is said to have sold $43.7 million in tickets alone. Cue..... Also sprach Zarathustra, the dawn of a new era was upon us.
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The Decline and Fall of Prince Bobby Jack

Prince Bobby Jack's purported association with the Ink Spots opened doors for him, though upon closer examination, his claim to fame was paper thin. Bobby Jack would tell folks that he was an “original” member of The Ink Spots as opposed to being a founding member. It's a fine line that hundreds of “Ink Spots” impostors have walked upon going back to the World War II era. The history of The Ink Spots is well documented, perhaps more so than any other musical act prior to the “rock” era. The Ink Spots formed in the early 1930s in Indianapolis. The founding members were Orville “Hoppy” Jones, Ivory “Deek” Watson, Jerry Daniels and Charlie Fuqua.

Near the height of their popularity, Hoppy Jones collapsed on stage at the Cafe Zanzibar in New York City and died in October, 1944. This ignited a series of disputes over the rights to use the Ink Spots name. The original group was a partnership, not a corporation, thus Hoppy Jones death effectively terminated the partnership. Over the next ten years, various founding members found themselves locked in court battles for control of the brand. This led to a succession of impostors striking out across the country. By the time Prince Bobby Jack came along in the mid-1950s, The Ink Spots were several degrees removed from the founding members and bore little resemblance to the real Ink Spots other than the fact that they performed some of the same music.
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Acid Visions: Best of The 60s Texas Punk & Psychedelic_Vol. 2 _ Cassette to MP3

Acid Visions: Best of The 60s Texas Punk & Psychedelic Vol. 2 was originally released as part of the Priceless Collection on the Collectables label. A series of low budget compilations, that true to their nature, could be found in cut out bins at music stores across the country. Collectables is a reissue record label founded in 1980 by Jerry Greene. It's the largest independently owned reissue label in the U.S., maintaining a catalog of over 3,400 active titles, mostly on compact disc, but also available on vinyl.” The CD versions usually combine at least two volumes on each disc. Collectables releases have been criticized for their poor recording quality and Acid Visions Vol. 2 is no exceptions. The audio is heavily processed, which gets rid of the pops inherent with 60s vinyl, but it renders the music dull as dishwater in the process.

Since the mid-1990s Little Walter DeVenne has remastered and restored many of the label's reissues to good results. (Acid Visions Vol. 2 was released in 1991, pre-Little Walter) A popular Boston radio personality, Little Walter DeVenne was also the host of the syndicated oldies program “Little Walter's Time Machine” on Clear Channel “Real Time Oldies Channel” The Acid Visions series clocks in at a half dozen volumes with diminishing returns. It's a strange and spotty collection of tracks. A few gold nuggets salted into a slag heap of dubious material. Not for the casual listener for sure. However, it you have a thing for trashy 60s garage/psyche/punk from Texas, this will surely punch your ticket.
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Plastic Fantastic Vinyl

The third installment of 'Burque Garage, clocks in with twenty five tracks designed to keep your Tote-a-Tune portable stereo bumping for well over an hour. Have those D-cells handy, these tunes will have you cutting a rug like a Veg-O-Matic. You'll slice and dice like a Feather Touch Knife, you gotta hear these songs. They'll change your life, I swear. Albuquerque's music scene in the mid-1960s was prolific and what's even more amazing is that a high percentage of what was recorded is actually pretty damn good. I'm three installments in and there's been little drop off from the first installment. Albuquerque, while lacking a big “breakout” act during the 60s nonetheless holds up well when compared to other cities in the region during the same time period.

As is my custom, I've interspersed DJ platter throughout the mix. In this case the interruptions come courtesy of Tommy Vance, The Monkees (appearing on Bob Shannon's show on KRUX in Phoenix, Az.) and Steve Crosno doing his “Cruising with Crosno” thang on KVLC in Las Cruces. “all accordions all of the time, night & day, day & night” The Monkees work their shtick, improvising a farm report and commercials for Beeline Dragway while keeping the wackiness to a minimum. At one point Mickey Dolenz reminds listeners to come out to their concert the following night, adding a snarly aside “and if you don't believe we play our own instruments, come and find out”
http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/09/plastic-fantastic-vinyl.html



KOMA Oklahoma City Jan 5th 1964 (restored audio)

This aircheck was originally posted on YouTube by Ryan Scriver, whose description reads; “recorded on to reel to reel off the radio in South Shore, South Dakota on January 5 1964” In its original form, frequent signal drops render it largely unlistenable. Not one song is spared the wrath of static, signal pollution and volume drops. Nonetheless, the original aircheck is amazing, as it was surely recorded during daytime hours under less than optimal ionospheric conditions. For KOMA's signal to reach South Shore, S.D. Located in the northeastern corner of the state, near the Minnesota border, wasn't out of the ordinary. KOMA had a tremendous reach with its directional antenna array and 50,000 watt transmitter. To do so during the day, was in fact quite impressive.

Music and radio were both undergoing a number of changes in 1958 when Storz Broadcasting Co. bought KOMA, Todd Storz, owner of Storz Broadcasting, was of course the man who invented the “Top 40” radio concept. He introduced the same format at KOMA that he had used at all Storz stations, though two other OKC stations beat KOMA to the Top 40 format, (KOCY and WKY) leaving KOMA the odd man out. In 1961 KOMA went to a totally automated format. This January 5th. Aircheck in all likelihood captures an early moment during KOMA's return to “live” programming, which would have taken place on or about New Year's Day 1964

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