Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 43

If I was where I would be, then I'd be where I am not
Here I am where I must be, where I would be, I can not

Nostalgia is the flavor of the day. “I'm glad I grew up doing this instead of this” the mantra for those more accustomed to looking back than looking forward. I got to experience the “good old days”, not just for myself but for every consequent generation after me. Those days are overrated. Not being one of my generation that continually pines for the past, I embrace change. Having spent part of my youth on a farm that still had an outhouse and no hot water. I have since grown accustomed to porcelain bathroom fixtures and electricity.

Change is good. The arrival of television to our household was a momentous day. (1964, just in time for the Republican and Democratic conventions that gave us LBJ vs. Barry Goldwater) Television got us up to par. It exposed us to a world that we rarely ever got to see (the fifty seven miles to the nearest “big” city, may as well have been a thousand) We now knew all about Ronald McDonald, Slush Puppies, Montgomery Ward and a place called Pancho's, that let you eat all the Mexican food that you could ever hope for.

Dirt City Chronicles was born of an idea that a radio station playing primarily local music could be feasible. It wasn't, although the advent of online streaming made that a mute point. Terrestrial radio, hampered by the FCC's archaic adherence to rules and regulations (in place since the early days of radio) simply can't compete with streaming apps such as Pandora, Slacker, Spotify etc. All of which allow users to program their own tailor made streams. After exploring possible online broadcast apps such as Shoutcast (too expensive, complicated) I determined that podcasting was the obvious choice.

Thus Dirt City Radio was born.... with a slight hitch, a local band was already using that name. Radio became Chronicles and there you have it. All I lacked at that point was a file host. After some research, I settled on Pod Bean, a competent app that provided cool embedded players, though overall the process of posting episodes was rather tedious. There was one major drawback to Pod Bean, initially you pay $29.99, after that Pod Bean essentially holds your audio files for ransom. Forcing you to renew at their escalating rates or your links go dead. Dirt City Chronicles is a not for profit undertaking, leaving me to explore whatever free options the internet had to offer. YouTube was the obvious choice.

It's free, you can upload files of any size (once you register your mobile number) and as long as you don't run afoul of YouTube's copyright restrictions, the sky really is the limit. Another option for those working on the cheap is Unlimited uploads, no file size restrictions and little if any copyright hassles. The internet is forever and these links will never go dead. I've recently rediscovered a couple of free and reliable options for posting podcast episodes: Dailymotion and Vimeo. Dailymotion limits uploads to files under sixty minutes. Vimeo's free version allows you upload up to 500mbs or approximately one podcast episode per week. Far less draconian than YouTube, both take a laissez-faire approach to copyright restrictions.

Editing previous episodes of Dirt City Chronicles down to under an hour left me with several hours worth of music that I've re-purposed as new episodes. New and improved, with enhanced audio (no more volume drops) I'm posting all previous episodes of Dirt City Chronicles on both Dailymotion and Vimeo.... for those that have no use for YouTube.

A grab bag of local music, alternative country, modern surf music, homegrown reggae, dream pop, goth pop, experimental and Americana..... yes, Americana. Tune in, turn up and drop me a line, Dirt City Chronicles, your choice for local music, Boy Howdy!

Swimming in Alcohol- Youngsville
Vertigo- Dead Town Lovers
As We Ascend- Before This City
Burts Tiki Tear Drop- The Surf Lords
Let the Morning Come- Mondo Vibrations
King of Whiskey Throne- Lousy Robot
Hello Again- The Black Disciples
I'm Your Huckleberry- The Giranimals
The Revelator- I is for Ida
Oh No- Jenny Wren Sounds
Spider Walker- Javelina
Locked In- The Porter Draw
Moses Stuttered- Todd and the Fox
My Revolver- Lowlights
Myra Joyce- The Porter Draw

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 42

C'mon in, the water is fine
After sixteen years of self imposed exile in New Mexico's Bootheel Country, I've now been back in Albuquerque for eight months. This has allowed me to view the city from a different light. Burqueños proclivity for running red lights (especially on the Westside) is fucking scary. Bring back red light cameras already. Unser north of I40 is a speedway, on most days Unser south of I40 resembles a Baghdad highway. I've seen guns flashed, fights on the side of the road and a pitbull pup nearly strangled when he jumped out of a pick-up bed in traffic. The fifth most dangerous city in the U.S. continues to live up to its dubious ranking. A vicious series of brutal murders, drive by shootings and road rage fights have turned 'Burque news into the north-of-the border version of tawdry Mexican crime tabloid Alarma!

Albuquerque is a quizzical mix of open hostility and open armed bienvenidos.... meted out in equal increments that can be both puzzling and maddening. Bad things happen to good people here and bad things happen to bad people with alarming regularity as well. The prevalence of Spanish spoken throughout the city, is perhaps the biggest change that I've noticed. The line separating the homogeneous white heights from the rest of 'Burque is almost blurred beyond recognition. What were once good neighborhoods are now bad and what were once bad neighborhoods are now gentrified. Albuquerque as I once predicted has become more like Los Angeles or Phoenix. Though to be honest, the entire southwest has become more like Los Angeles or Phoenix That's life in the big city.

The one thing that has remained constant in the Duke City is the music scene. It continues to thrive with an upsurge of creative and talented musicians heading up a growing list of bands and projects that rival those of any other major metropolitan area that comes to mind. No shit. Albuquerque music makes Albuquerque a better place to live, it's proof positive that there's intelligent life here. Bring back the Punk Rock Flea Market, I need more music. Mac's Steak in the Rough and Bob's Burgers are overrated, Chicharron Burrito Express on 4th St. is the bomb. The Frontier and Golden Pride are as good as advertised and the best bakery goods in town are at El Super Mezquite on 98th. They also carry genuine Mennonite cheese straight outta Chihuahua. 

Fort Hobo (ex-Giant Haystacks) kicks things off with a track from their album “Michael” recorded at the Train Yard in Las Cruces by Chris Mason (The Answer Lies, Shang-a-Lang, Low Culture, Dirt Cult Records) which Chris founded in 2006, in Las Cruces... “to release his band Shang-A-Lang’s first 7″ record” 15 Polk St. allegedly had a small army of fanatic “Polksters” following them and they also claim to have “created an entirely new genre of rock music” it's a shame they never got around to recording “Polk Salad Annie” Austin Morrell (previously of Gusher, You, Austin Morrell & The Alchemists, Nightsnake, Brothers, Yoda’s House, Braillist, Abraham the Poor, Heyisayfuckyou, The Crystal Thimble and High Priest) serenades us with “Bad Heart” off his latest album “Albuquerque”

Retard Slave is one of Steve Hammond's side projects “Mow Down Mow Man” comes from
“Cool A.M. Party Sweat” a compilation album released in 2011. Nick Voges is a member of The Haptics..... who are still active, having played at Burt's Tiki Lounge as recently as March, 2016. In case you're wondering, Haptics (pronounced HAP-tiks) is the science of applying touch (tactile) sensation and control to interaction with computer applications. I didn't know that. Tracks by Seahorn, The Haptics and Nick Voge are from “The Music Lab- ABQ” a compilation album featuring local bands that ranks right up there with “Ouch! Welcome to Albuquerque” Socyermom's iconic compilation as a must-have local music companion. Melanthius is Mauro Woody (Animals in the Dark, Lady Uranium, The Glass Menageries, Chicharra, Five Star Motelles) her brothers Brahm Woody, Dhaveed Woody, and Eric Wellman.

Let's cut to the chase. Faster than a stray round! More powerful than an Española lowrider, Able to leap raging arroyos in a single bound. Look, up in the sky! It's the Creamland cow!, It's Wayfarer 515!, It's Dirt City Chronicles, strange visitor from another planet (Southern New Mexico) who came to 'Burque with a music collection far beyond those of your average joe. Don't touch that dial. Dirt City Chronicles is available on Facebook, YouTube (Dirt City Chronicles channel) Google + and at the original source: Blogger, Dirt City Chronicles. I don't do Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram and I never respond to any correspondence. All music posted on Dirt City Chronicles is available at various internet sources for streaming or sale. Boy Howdy!

Part 1 of 3 ~ Fort Hobo
Horsecops ~ Black Fando
Mow Down Mow Man ~ Retard Slave
Moon Pt. 1 ~ 15 Polk St.
Puritans on a Boat ~ Cloud Lantern
Captain Trips ~ Steve Hammond
Bad Heart ~ Austin Morrell
News ~ Italian Rats
All and All ~ Seahorn
Moon Spirit ~ Ballets
So Much to Blame- The Gatherers
Escapism (Markdown Coyote Runner) ~ CanyonLands
The Door ~ Melanthius
Another Day ~ The Haptics
You're So Cool (extended mix) ~ CanyonLands
Canary ~ Nick Voges
Behind Your Smile ~ Ballets

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 41

The third installment in a three part series showcasing the women involved in Albuquerque's music scene is cued up and ready to spin. Until the late 1990s few women were involved in the local music scene and only a handful managed to release any recordings. Prior to that it was strictly a boy's club with a few rare exceptions. Beverlee Brown joined future husband Sidro Garcia in The Sneakers shortly before they relocated to Las Vegas, Nv. in 1964. The Feebeez ('Burque's legendary all-girl 60s garage band) recorded legacy consists of one scratchy self-released vinyl 45) Kid Sister w/ Victoria Woodworth are a bit of mystery. Bandmine lists them as being from Albuquerque and having been signed by MCA records. Yet, I haven't found much evidence that they actually were from 'Burque. Kid Sister rose to become a regional favorite based in Denver, Co. Could be they hooked up with Victoria Woodworth (raised in Denver) after they relocated.

Who of course, doesn't remember Femme Fatale, fronted by Lorraine Lewis (also lead singer for Babe Ruthless) they found success on a national level that few thought attainable for a local band. That success would prove to be short lived and bittersweet. Lorraine remains one of the most recognizable musicians to hail from the Duke City, becoming somewhat of a cult figure with heshers hellbent on reliving the 1980s. While we're on the subject. Twenty five years after the fact, Femme Fatale's aborted second album for MCA has seen the light of day. "One More For The Road" released this year on F n A Records. (compact disc only, no plans for a vinyl release) Lorraine, Bobby, Rick, Bill and Maz.... it's like they never left us. A time capsule from an era of Albuquerque's rock history that often gets neglected or lampooned. “One More For the Road” appears to have been released in limited quantities, check online for availability.

I would be negligent not to mention some other pioneering women on the local scene. Linda Cotton, blues/jazz/gospel singer was a local fixture for more than twenty five years. One of New Mexico's best known female vocalist, Cotton passed away at just 55 years of age in 2006. Hillary Smith, a native of Hobbs, N.M. and a contemporary of Linda Cotton, has been wowing New Mexico audiences for a quarter century. Best known for her work with Soul Kitchen (w/Chris Dracup of The Muttz & The Rattle Cats) and hONEyhoUSe (w/Mandy Buchanan and Yvonne Perea) Seriously, if you've never listened to Hillary Smith.... you need hit up YouTube and check out some of her videos. Some other notable female vocalists from the same era: Joanie Griffin (Cadillac Bob and the Rhinestones) Denise Brissey (The Planets) Denise Wollman (The Clams) 

Sometimes work and such gets in the way of posting new episodes, but at long last here we go; Dirt City Chronicles, podcast episode 41, featuring the women that make Albuquerque rock. Boy Howdy!

Voice 7 ~ Lady Uranium
Dustland II ~ Lady Uranium
Sleep With the Lights On ~ 5 Star Motelles
Brickspit ~ Star Canyon
Like a Prayer ~ The Rondelles
All Burned Down ~ Paint Me Purple
Less Okay Than Yesterday ~ The Hollis Wake
K is for Killers ~ I is for Ida
Jukeboxx Button ~ The Foxx
Sugar ~ YaYa Boom
I'm Your Huckleberry ~ Giranimals
Mellow Kin ~ Feels Like Sunday
What About Me? ~ The Jenny Clinkscale Band
You Killed Private Pyle ~ Foma
Whalebone ~ The Glass Menageries
Sitting on my Hands ~ Holiday Sail
Fil ~ Hit By a Bus

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wall of Voodoo

Twisted Pop Music

Well, I'd say it now sounds like background music for vast urban barbeques, metropolitan rodeos, something along those lines. I've always called our music twisted pop music” Bruce Moreland

Wall of Voodoo came together at Acme Soundtracks, Stanard Ridgway's film score company. Located across the street from The Masque (Hollywood's infamous punk club) Acme Soundtracks became a magnet for aspiring local punk musicians. Marc Moreland, guitarist for The Skulls, was drawn in and from that collaboration came Wall of Voodoo. Bruce Moreland joined on bass, Chas T. Gray, also from The Skulls was enlisted as keyboardist and veteran drummer Joe Nanini rounded out the original line up. The band's name was derived from a comment made by Joe Berardi, a fellow musician whom upon listening to some of Ridgway's Acme Soundtrack recordings, declared “Phil Spector has his Wall of Sound, but you've got a Wall of Voodoo. The name stuck. It's an L.A. thing, I suppose.

Question: which of the following genre tags best describes Wall of Voodoo.... new wave, post punk, alternative rock, dark wave, cowpunk? It's a trick question, they all apply, unequivocally. How many times did you try and play Wall of Voodoo at a party only to be met by belligerent bellows of “Take that punk shit off!” Lead singer, Stanard “Stan” Ridgway drawled with jaded detachment.... a flowing river of abstract pronouncements, delivered with an unmistakably American west coast accent that echoed western movie heroes and any number of their nasalized sidekicks. “Cause I can tell at a glance you're not from 'round these parts, Got a green look about ya And that's a gringo for starts” Stan had the necessary tools: a shitload of confidence combined with an endless reservoir of arrogance.

After parting ways with Wall of Voodoo, Ridgway launched his solo career. He's recorded eight solo albums (“Big Heat” his solo debut still remains his most successful) Delving more and more into movie soundtracks while cultivating a narrative vocal delivery that  blurs the line between spoken word and singing, it's not for everyone. Stan's split with Wall of Voodoo wasn't all that amicable. Bruce Moreland still holds a grudge (Stan was instrumental in his being booted from the band prior to “Call of the West”)With Wall of Voodoo, it had a lot to do with Stan’s ego getting a little too big. People assume that the lead singer is the songwriter and leader of a band. But in Stan’s case he wasn’t. And I think it became obvious on his solo records that Stan wasn’t the creative force behind Wall of Voodoo” 

Guitarist, Marc Moreland specialized in big rich rolling tones, shamelessly lifted from Morricone spaghetti western soundtracks and spiced up with some Dick Dale inspired surf licks. Stan would introduce “Morricone Themes” by announcing: “Here's a little film music for you” Marc Moreland, one of the truly underrated guitarist from the 1980s. On stage Marc and Chas T. Gray gave off an underlying sense of hostility. Two So Cal bros ready to stomp your ass into a mud puddle at any moment. “If it's the rough stuff ya want You can point yer finger at me” Gray's encyclopedic arsenal of keyboard riffs gave Wall of Voodoo a “new wave” sound not unlike that of “Duty Now for the Future” era Devo (Can't Make Love and pretty much the entire “Call of the West” album)

Marc Moreland's roots went back to one of Los Angeles' very first punk bands, The Skulls. A band that both Marc and brother Bruce would later return to. (Bruce was asked to leave Wall of Voodoo following the release of “Dark Continent” due to his heroin addiction) Marc, Bruce and Chas T. Gray were also instrumental in keeping Wall of Voodoo afloat after Stan Ridgway and Joe Nanini left the band in 1983. Ridgway was replaced by Andy Prieboy, Nanini by Ned Leukhardt (this resulted in the “Seven Days in Sammy's Town” album) Post-Wall of Voodoo, Marc Moreland collaborated with Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde) in Pretty and Twisted. He moved to Las Vegas, Nv. and put together a new band, Dept. of Crooks, which released one album “Plan 9 from Las Vegas”

Marc also released a solo album “Take it to the Spotlight” credited to Marc Moreland's Mess. (Marc on lead vocals w/ John Parish and Jean-Marc Butty, both of whom toured with P.J. Harvey) He's rumored to be the subject of Concrete Blonde's “Joey” a song about being in love with an alcoholic. (Johnette would admit as much in later interviews) An unabashed alcoholic, Marc Moreland died in Paris, France of renal failure following a liver transplant in 2002. Prior to joining Wall of Voodoo, Bruce Moreland had played bass for The Weirdos. He put together Black Cherry with Paul Black of the L.A. Guns. He teamed up with Wall of Voodoo band mate Chas T. Gray in Nervous Gender and also worked with Johnette Napolitano and The Skulls.

Drummer Joe Nanini maintained a workman like resolve even as his band mates resorted to surly on-stage shenanigans and drunken audience baiting. A veteran of L.A.'s punk scene, Nanini had played with Black Randy & the Metrosquad, The Plugz and The Bags. Following his stint with Wall of Voodoo, Nanini helped co-found The Lonesome Strangers, in (1983 w/ Randy Weeks, Jeff Rymes & Nino Del Pesco) A country rock/roots band much ballyhooed by critics, beloved by a small core of fans and and an utter commercial failure. Nanini left the band shortly after their first album “Lonesome Pine” was recorded in 1986. An ever inventive percussionist, aptly schooled in all genres, Nanini passed away from a brain hemorrhage in 2000. 

This modern world deserves a Modern attitude”

Ultimately, it would dawn on me that Stanard Ridgway fashioned his drawling vocal mannerisms after those of flaming asshole and proto-typical So Cal white guy.... Beach Boy, Mike Love. It all makes sense....these two variables (Beach Boys and Wall of Voodoo) have a linear relationship with each other. Both sought (in their own fashion) to promote the SoCal lifestyle as the American ideal. Brian Wilson painted sunny beach side landscapes and doted endlessly on the pleasures of fast cars, nice girls and surfing, Wall of Voodoo chose to expose the darkside of SoCal life, preferring America's fast lane to sandy beaches and surf boards. The post Ridgway version of the band (w/ Andy Prieboy) actually covered The Beach Boys' “Do It Again” on their final studio album “Happy Planet”

Wall of Voodoo's lyrics could easily have come from a Jay McInerney novel. “Mexican Radio” transports us to the land of barbecued iguana and easy virtues. “I'm on a wavelength far from home” “Lost Week End” is set on Interstate 15, a satiated couple returning to L.A. after a weekend of gambling debauchery, during which Sin City lived up to its other sobriquet: Lost Wages. “You can take any exit that you happen to feel is the right one." “Tomorrow” addresses the stress brought on by sudden fame and growing expectations. “Can't understand what happened to all the plans I made” “Call of the West” draws inspiration from Sergio Leone's epic spaghetti western, Once Upon a Time in the West "Son this ain't no western movie matinee and you're a long way off from yippee yi yay”

“Long Arm” finds the boys preoccupied with menial jobs and corporate headhunters “this business needs a strong arm. some new part to clear out all the deadwood” “Factory” hits close to home “Now I know I had something to say but the problem is to say something, gotta say it” The factories of today come with piped in music. It could be a big box retailer, a fast food restaurant, a convenience store. All the same, you grind it out, then go home to take stock of your prized possessions “I got a little rubber pool in the backyard for the kids to wade in and I got a little backyard, pink mustang, fenders chrome” It's all a facade “an average joe from the grand design” caves in to the pressure and can't always hold it together “Just lately now when my wife talks back to me I slap her around”

Just like Brian Wilson in the 1960s.... Ridgway, the Moreland bros., Joe Nanini and Chas T. Gray had their fingers on the jaded pulse of 1980s Southern California. Which as it turns out, was quite a bit different from Wilson's era. They'll be wearing their Mexican poncho vests and even if they could surf, the locals wouldn't let them go near the water.... I feel a hot wind on my shoulder or maybe that's just the cholos in  that lowrider staring intently at me. I hear the talking of the Dj.... but you can bet it's not Wolfman Jack, who built his rep in the early 1960s broadcasting on XERB, just across the border in Rosarita Beach. Even though, the son of a bitch was actually working in Minnesota at the time and his shows were pre-recorded and the tapes shipped by courier from Minneapolis.

"I've never seen so many corndogs in my entire life"
Stan Ridgway scanning the crowd at US Festival, 1983

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Muscle of Love

There’s nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fuck-yeah.” 
Much like Alice Cooper, Molly Hatchett, Bettie Serveert etc. Jenny Clinkscale wasn't an actual person. The band, described by its label as “equal parts glam, cock and shock rock” took its name from singer/guitarist Jen Sincero's first name and singer/guitarist Amy Clinkscale's last name. Formed in 1997, Jenny Clinkscale started blowing minds almost immediately... leading the Albuquerque Journal to praise them in this manner... "the group has a power that few bands are willing to wield these days." Jenny Clinkscale came together during a period in 'Burque's musical history that Journal music writer Kenn Rodgriguez once described as “atrophied” and mired in “musical doldrums”

Naturally, it was anything but. “Lack of middling bands makes it seem as if nothing new is coming up on the local scene” Kenn lamented, while naming off a list of “big bands” working the local scene: Giant Steps, January's little Joke, Flake, Scared of Chaka, Naomi and Hazeldine, Jenny Clinkscale, The Honeys, The Gluey Brothers (who were hanging around Santa Fe at the time) That's not a shabby roster and he left out more than a handful of excellent bands: The Withdrawals for instance. It all comes down to perception, it's hard to take in the big picture when you're gazing at your shoes, “You raise up your head and you ask, "Is this where it is?"

What the Jenny Clinkscale band brought to the local scene was entertainment value.... you put down your hard earned moolah and in return you witnessed a rock and roll testimonial unlike any seen before or since. Jen Sincero, the self anointed “rock goddess” had cut her teeth in NYC with Crotch (Sara Rotman and Mike Mellett) Crotch dropped one epic tongue in cheek video for their single, “Power Tool of Love” in 1994, then dropped from sight. The video includes a cameo by Adam Ant, Jen's mother and a hair bikini. Dear old mom gets catcalled by construction workers and Jen has no recourse but to take matters in hand. “and then something happened, I felt the biggest burning hunk of man muscle I ever felt in my life” 

  “You're here. I'm here. I love you. I'm gonna pee all over the floor about it.”

Naturally..... Jenny Clinkscale revolved around Jen Sincero and Amy Clinkscale, accompanied by a revolving cast of local musicians (at least 15 different musicians according to Jen & Amy) this included: Leonard Apodaca, Dead Leonard, owner of The Atomic Cantina and co-founder of Socyermom Records. Elijah Mink, a drummer from Seattle who responded to Jen's best selling book: “Don't Sleep With Your Drummer” by stating, “I don't know what I did to her” By the time Jenny Clinkscale hit the studio to record their one and only album “Mind if We Join You?” the line-up consisted of Marcos Garza and Freddie Weinstein.

Additional musicians included: Justine Flinn, David Cragin and Ronnie Wheeler. Produced by Stacy Parish, Art Direction by Jen and Leonard Apodaca. A local classic, “Mind if We Join You?” is a skillful mix of mid-90s alternative rock influenced heavily by Liz Phair and P.J. Harvey (obviously, seeing how Jen's other band from this period, 60 Foot Queenie derived its name from Polly Jean's song “50 Ft. Queenie” 60 Foot Queenie, formed in Los Angeles is not to be confused with 50 Foot Queenie, a P.J. Harvey tribute band) 60 Foot Queenie wasn't much of a departure from Jenny Clinkscale. Not long after that, Jen ditched the rock & roll lifestyle, declaring herself a failed rock star goddess.

“When my plans to become a world-famous rock star didn't pan out, I decided to try being a lesbian instead, didn't pull that off either” Jen set about becoming a writer (of books and such) She's since authored several tomes starting with “My Life as a Rock Goddess” 2001, “Don't Sleep with Your Drummer” 2002, The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping with Chicks” 2005 and “You Are a Badass: How to Start Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” 2013. As a success coach, sex advice columnist and New York Times bestselling author, Jen has found the success and acclaim that eluded her as a rock musician. (The Huffington Post describes her as a “motivational cattle prod” who's goal in life is to encourage people to live “lives of unbridled awesomeness”)

  “Rub Till It Bleeds”

Sincero also hosted of her own nationally syndicated sex advice column, Living in Sin. “the sexpert with the carnal knowledge you need. Ask her your question. Cuz there's no such thing as being too good in bed” A NSFW endeavor with entries such as one titled: “Taking it to the Rim” it went like this, Dear Jen, I have recently discovered that I love rim jobs, both giving and receiving them. Yet, no matter what I try, I can't seem to get anyone to try it. How can I convince them? Jen's response? “Leave it to the human being to evolve into a species that's terrified of its own butthole. But don't despair, As you said, you only recently discovered how much you love having your butt licked. Lord only knows what other undiscovered delights are out there”

Jen's advice was always insightful and compassionate. Cuz, people got problems: “Dear Jen, I love to watch porn and have fantasized about group sex with my wife and this is causing a problem in my marriage” Dear Jen, I’ve been in love with my neighbor. We recently hooked up a couple of times - he kissed me for the second time and I blew him twice. Dear Jen, I'm a 20 year-old, bisexual-leaning lesbian who has not done anything sexual with either gender. I get turned on easily and love to masturbate all the time. One titled “Holes and Poles” is worth sharing: Dear Jen, I have a question that's been driving me NUTS. I can't decide between boys and girls. It's killing me. Have you ever felt this way?

She also appears on The Blog at The Huffington Post “Without your questions, she is like a flip with no flop, tuna with no mayo, a columnist with no column” Some of the highly entertaining entries included: Don't Let the Holidays make you their Bitch, The Tao of Houseguesting, Watch Your Mouth Dude, Live Like Your Life Depends on It, How to Stop Dating the Wrong People, Threesome's a Crowd and Merrily Skipping into the Unknown. In 2011, Jen packed all her belongings in storage and traveled around the world as a member of the NPA (No Permanent Abode) promoting the Zen of Jen “We humans can get used to anything. The problem is that we often use this glorious ability of ours to stay stuck in mediocrity. Oh the years we waste adapting to lousy marriages, soul sucking jobs, being friends with people who are rude to waitresses...” 

Your Brain is Your Bitch
Dear Jen: I'm sleeping and right in the middle of a good dream, like all at once... I wake up from something that keeps knocking at my brain. Before I go insane, I hold my pillow to my head and spring up in my bed screaming out the words I dread.... I think I love you (I think I love you) You are fucking awesome. What is wrong with me?_ Cosmic Cold Cut
Dear Jen: I wanna be a bad ass too, I want to move out of Loserville and into a penthouse in Awesome City.... am I capable of overcoming my weeny dog tendencies and becoming a pitbull? I want to take a bite out of life._ Last Guy in Guyville

You can keep up with Jen Sincero at Online, Jen has more memes than Bad Luck Brian and more quotes than Winston Churchill, here's some of my favorites:

“You are loved. Massively. Ferociously. Unconditionally. The Universe is totally freaking out about how awesome you are. It’s got you wrapped in a warm gorilla hug of adoration. It wants to give you everything you desire. It wants you to be happy. It wants you to see what it sees in you.”

“You are responsible for what you say and do. You are not responsible for whether or not people freak out about it.”

“It sucks being in love with someone and never being allowed to show it.”

“If you work with great people, it will be a great experience. Even if you're shoveling shit.”

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

“Faith is the muscle you use when you decide to blast outside of your comfort zone and transform your life into something that’s practically unrecognizable to you in your present reality.

If You want to Kick Ass, You must first pick up your foot

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 40

Vision Quest
 The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world”

Hello Visionary! We now have the technology at our fingertips allowing us to better gauge the popularity of local artists. Two readily available yardsticks by which to measure the adoration of our hometown idols are Facebook and You Tube. Using this criteria, it's no contest.... Brokencyde (yes, those butt pirates are still out there) reps the Duke City better than anyone else. It's not even close, their FB page clocks in with over half a million likes. These standard bearers of bad taste also reign supreme on You Tube. Their video for “Freaxx” has over 10 million views, “Booty Call” w/E-40 claims over 4 million views. “Get Crunk” over 12 million views. “40oz.” over 3 million views.... etc.

How do you like them apples? Love 'em or hate 'em (I lean towards the latter, though I do begrudgingly tip my hat to them) Brokencyde have achieved a level of success matched by just one other band with Albuquerque roots... The Shins. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. This however isn't about the sultans of screamo. I'm just using them as a barometer by which other local bands can be measured by. With this in mind and with The Shins no longer associated with the land of enchantment, who comes in second? That would be Lindy Vision (formerly known as Black Natives) who are closing in on 4,000 FB likes, though on You Tube they lag far behind (just one video “Pink + Black” has pulled in over 1,000 views) That's a crying shame. 

You almost wouldn't expect Lindy Vision to hail from Albuquerque. Visually they present a stunning and exotic image not normally associated with 'Burque or New Mexico for that matter. The three Cuylear sisters, Dorothy (Dee-Dee) vocalist, songwriter, keyboards. Natasha (Na)- guitar,vocals and Carla - drums are strikingly beautiful in a head turning, jaw dropping sort-a-way. Equal parts K-pop divas and new wave rave queens. Raised in Southern New Mexico now making their homes in Albuquerque. Their mixed heritage (Native/African American) sets them apart.... but it's the music that seals the deal. Disco beats for millennial shoegazers. A soundtrack for the debauched rave set. Stripped down intelligent synth pop loaded with sex appeal and danceable rhythms.

I've got the white noise it drives me insane” Lindy Vision's name derives from a passage in Malcolm X's autobiography where he (along with co-author Alex Haley) describes the “Lindy Hop” dance culture (a predecessor of the modern dance club scene) “The spotlight would be turning pink, yellow, green and blue, picking up couples lindy-hopping as if they had gone mad” In this sense, using modern vernacular, Lindy can be defined as "turnt up " Positive/Negative... as the party rages on, we feed off the contradictory nature of a world divided into either fun or serious things... pink + black. Innocence pitted against the relentless need for a stimuli, be it sex, drugs, music. All the while, facing a dilemma: that eventually those turnt up must turnt down “You want the white horse to come save you now”

The Cuylear sisters are far from random, they have a vision. They've built a template for success and are now in the process of tearing shit up. Their presentation is slick, professional and visually stunning. Their fans, referred to as Visionary or Visionaries, (in the same manner in which Lady Gaga refers to her fans as Little Monsters) “You are a Visionary if you believe in us and what we are doing OR if you are doing what you believe in regardless if it is the norm or not” The key to simplicity is divine. Dorothy gets this “People think that we're going to sound like something, and we surprise them and sound like something completely different so I think that's kind of the beauty of being ethnic and being in this profession and being from New Mexico”

To be realistic today is to be visionary. To be realistic is to be starry-eyed” Lindy Vision's discography is short and sweet. All their music is self-released. “Pink + Black” a five song ep was released in 2014 followed by their debut album “Luck + Life” in 2015. On “Luck + Life” Lindy Vision jettisons the baggage that accompanies associations with genre tags and categories. Dee Dee skillfully navigates “the perils of contentedness and the possibilities within despair” as she guides us through a pulsating emotional landscape singing in a voice that betrays a weary young soul with time worn problems. “Daybreak, don't want to know about the mistakes, don't want to know where your hands have been” If you're a fan of local music, you can't do without it. Currently, the band has finished work on their second album, “Lindy + Vision” which will be available on July 22nd. 2016.

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 40, the second in a three part series spotlighting the women involved in Albuquerque's local music scene. Boy Howdy!

Meet in Air ~ The Glass Menageries
Resident ~ Bigawatt
Stop Moving ~ Lindy Vision
Wild Night ~ Lady Uranium
Disco ~ The Foxx
Orale ~ 5 Star Motelles
Get Away Smooth ~ The Jenny Clinkscale Band
Headache ~ The Eyeliners
Fort Surrounded ~ The Rondelles
Bastard Son of Medora ~ Hazeldine
Lake Havasu ~ The Grave of Nobody's Darling
Oh No ~ Jenny Wren Sounds
Holy Ghosts and Holy Smokes ~ Animals in the Dark
Secret Spy ~ The Eyeliners
Getting High Off the Lows ~ The Jenny Clinkscale Band

Friday, July 1, 2016

I'm Queen

I find it hard to articulate... I find it hard to pronounce these words”

She was 12 or 13 when it started, a victim of bullying at a middle school in Denver. One particular boy liked to tell her she was fat — "piggy," to be exact. Without thinking, she grabbed the nearest lunch tray, swung it and connected it to the boy's face. "He was knocked down to the floor, I kicked him in the stomach. I kicked him. I kicked him and screamed at him. The teachers came up to me and pulled me off. "From that day forward people would say, 'You don't want me to pull "the Teri" on you.” An alter-ego was born.

Take Liz Phair's cocksure sexual self awareness, give it a garage punk beat, filter it through the experiences of a young Chicana growing up in Denver, before being abruptly uprooted to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mx...... mold it into unruly three minute discourses on alienation, displacement and the never ending war against misogyny (in this case the machismo culture that infects Mexican society) and you have Teresa Suarez, aka Teri Gender Bender, the clever, sensual and mesmerizing musician behind Le Butcherettes. She's a unique musical bi-product of clashing cultures, who rages against the machine with rancor and honesty. Teresa sings in her native language... English, though she's equally proficient in Spanish. Her unmistakably American vocals, give away her extensive musical influences.

The Tapatio whirlwind wields a guitar like a cleaver.... all down strokes and slashing riffs (Teri asked her father to buy her a guitar at 10 years old after she had dreams about playing the guitar) On stage she demands your attention. Seeking to satisfy her need to feed your soul, punishing her instruments.... smashing her keyboard, then tossing it aside like an inattentive boyfriend. The uninitiated are taken aback. The divide between her and the audience melts away, Teri stage dives backwards into their midst, arms outstretched. She begs for punishment and finds only admiration, love and an occasional call to “show us your titties” Teri builds to a raging orgasmic climax. The fans eat it up. It's a mental health balancing act not seen since sullied Mexican pop diva Gloria Trevi was titillating the masses. 

"There's so many demons I have inside — they're little gods," she said as she mimed the act of holding a baby when asked about her songwriting approach. "There's a god of evil, the god of good, the god of sex, the god of lust. With music, I tap into those god demons. It's therapy" Los Angeles Times, Todd Martens

Born in Denver to an Hispano American father and Mexican mother, Teri's life changed dramatically when her father died of a heart attack and her mother decided to move back to Mexico. “They considered me different, like a weirdo, because my Spanish was not Tapatío; I had an accent. They called me gringa (slang for American) I felt alienated.” You can only smash so many boys in the face with a lunch tray, Tori quickly learned to channel her seething rage into other outlets such as music. Formed in 2007, Le Butcherettes gained notoriety using visual elements such as meat, pig heads, and blood. “It was a metaphor of the people’s perception of women as pieces of meat, when in reality, they’re the pigs” Teresa's intense demeanor isn't for the faint of heart and eventually it led to tension with her drummers starting with Auryn Jolene, who formed one half of the original Guadalajara duo.

Distressingly, their differing views on radical feminism led to Auryn treating Teresa in an abusive manner. At one point Auryn went so far as to declare to the Mexican media that the band was over.... all of which came as a surprise to Teri, who had no intention of putting Le Butcherettes on hiatus. Teresa may have languished in Guadalajara had it not been for a chance encounter with Omar Rodriguez-López (originally from El Paso, Tx., of At the Drive-In and Mars Volta fame) Omar just happened to be present at a dive club in Guadalajara where Le Butcherettes were one of five acts playing. Just before the proceedings were to get underway, there was a power outage. The bands scheduled to preform opted not to play with one exception.

With bullhorn in hand, Teri Gender Bender literally dragged her drummer onstage. Le Butcherettes played a complete acoustic set. This caught Omar's attention, who was drawn in by the Teresa's "dedication to the spirit of the moment." Rodríguez-López, wasted little time signing Le Butcherettes to his own label. This first break brought about a series of changes. Lia Braswell, blonde and lanky, a drummer from Southern California (she also plays with Gothic Tropic) replaced Auryn Jolene. Lia fit in well, but eventually it was a bit much (Lia admits having been "frightened," when Teri would suddenly start urinating on stage. Onstage their chemistry was captivating, a bit like The White Stripes if Meg White had fronted the band and played guitar with Jack White behind the drum set. 

Next up was Normandi Heuxdaflo. A rather odd fellow, Normandi performs in what resembles a luchador mask made from a leatherhead era football helmet. (Teri claims the mask represents men oppressed by feminism) Heuxdalfo was brought in on a temporary basis after Auryn's departure, but he quickly made himself at home. Teresa explained in an interview how he came to see himself as not just a permanent member of the band (which he wasn't) but also as its front man. While their relationship was contentious, on stage they clicked like clockwork. Normandi's beefy beat propelling the band at break neck speed. After the sessions for the “Sin Sin Sin” album, the palpable strain took its toll and Normandi was sent packing. The split, same as with Auryn Jolene was not amicable to say the least.

Following the band's discovery by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and their signing to Nadie Sound. Le Butcherettes relocated... first to San Diego and then to Los Angeles, Teri's current home base (her mother left Guadalajara and now lives in El Paso, Tx.) Teri then teamed up with bass player Jonathan Hischke and drummer Gabe Serbian for a series of concert dates, though she's currently backed by drummer Chris Common and bassist-guitarist, Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez, Omar's younger brother. He is best known as the keyboardist and percussionist of The Mars Volta and the drummer for Zechs Marquise. Bosnian Rainbows, a collaboration between Omar and Teri resulted in a well received album release in 2013 and a subsequent tour.

And while the band's fame is of the cult variety, Le Butcherettes has a host of influential fans, including Garbage's Shirley Manson and Henry Rollins of Black Flag notoriety. Rollins, a master of rock intensity himself, praises, Suarez's "powerful intellect" and compares her stage presence to that of Iggy Pop. "She's something," he said. "She's a star. It's like a great character in a movie. You want to know what happens when the movie is over. You want to know the rest of the story with her." Los Angeles Times, Todd Martens

Le Butcherettes' discography is a mixed bag of rage fueled, garage punk inspired rock and self indulgent oddities, combined with Teri's brand of modern feminism... all presented with a decidedly American slant. One thing is for sure, Teresa Suarez has shown a growing maturity and sophistication both emotionally and in her music. This could be the result of Teri finally finding her rightful place in this world. From my own experiences, living between two cultures and two languages has its rewards and pitfalls or as many folks caught in that predicament will attest to: You're neither here nor there. Too gringo for the Mexicans and too Mexican for the gringos. Seeing how Teri is hard wired, nothing comes easy, not for her nor her fans. But, don't be afraid homies, dive right in, she won't hurt you.

“Kiss & Kill” ep. recorded in 2008, released for download on Bandcamp in 2015 is the only recording available from the Guadalajara period when Le Butcherettes was a duo consisting of Teri Gender Bender and Auryn Jolen. “Sin Sin Sin” was the band's first fully realized album, recorded after Teri joined forces with Rodriguez-Lopez Productions. It's also the only recording featuring Normandi Heuxdalfo. “Cry is for the Flies” released in 2014 is another Rodriguez-Lopez Production, features Lia Braswell on drums, Henry Rollins spoken word on “Moment of Guilt” and Shirley Manson (Garbage) vocals on “Shame, You're All I've Got” “Chaos as Usual” is a split ep w/The Melvins released on the Amphetamine Reptile label in 2015 and last but not least “A Raw Youth” produced by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and featuring Chris Commons, Jamie Aaron Aux, Iggy Pop, John Frusciante, Deantoni Parks(Mars Volta) and Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez, is Le Butcherettes latest release.

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