Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 50



The Subject was Alex Rose

"Crescit eundo," our state motto, a Latin phrase which translates as "It grows as it goes." could also apply to a slew of talented musicians who've fled our fair state. It's no secret, if you're going to “make it” you've got to get out the hell outta Dodge. Episode #49 touched on a pair of such musicians (Amy Linton-Henry's Dress and Lucia Garcia-Electric Grandma) This time around the focus is on Santa Fe's own Alex Rose... the musician behind noteworthy Santa Fe / Albuquerque bands Mistletoe and The Bum Out Patrol. Simultaneous to his role as front man for the aforementioned bands, Alex also made a name for himself both in Santa Fe and Albuquerque due to his work as a studio engineer and producer. This led to his moving to Seattle in pursuit of a career in music production.

Mistletoe was a project formed by high school friends Alex Rose, Javier Romero and Mark Heyman. This version of the band recorded an album 'Sorry It's Been So Long' in 1999... Self released, well realized.... bold ideas delivered via adequate resources. Seven intelligently infectious songs about girls and other hazards. The lyrics exhibited an underlying bitterness and yearning beneath a sweet exterior while focusing on the emotional fallout of missed opportunities and unrequited attraction. The musical similarities between early Mistletoe and early Weezer are glaring, but keep in mind that in 1999 it was de rigueur among the rock & roll set to draw on River Cuomo for inspiration. Mistletoe worked that formula. Oh! Ranger aping Weezer was good for three decent albums. Starsky did it to good effect.

Mistletoe's stock shot up with the addition of Westin Glass on drums and Brian Rains on bass. A move that allowed Alex Rose to switch from drums to guitar. This totally changed the dynamics and fortunes of the band in ways they never would've imagined. “The band started to develop a bigger, more rock sound as we became a tighter live band and started touring a lot,” says Rose. “That was really fun, but I also wanted to do something smaller.” This growth spurt led to Mistletoe appearing on the same bill as The Breeders, Superdrag, The Shins, Pedro The Lion (just to name a few) Another change that took place was a move to Albuquerque. Cracking the 'Burque scene gave Alex Rose an opportunity to showcase his studio skills by working on a number of recordings with local bands. 


Alex and Westin began honing their songwriting skills “I usually walk around with songs in my head that don’t exist yet.” said Rose. “I finally started capturing a handful of them around this time.” Some songs didn't quite fit the Mistletoe mold. This led to the formation of The Bum Out Patrol. Alex and Westin shared front-man duties with one singing and playing guitar while the other played drums and vice versa. B.O.P. grew beyond being a mere side project, performing shows with Enon, Limbeck, The Decemberists and The Frogs. More of a live band, Bum Out Patrol's recorded output was sparse. Three hard to find demo tracks released online is all you'll find (Through the Windshield, Until the Summer, Before You Drive Away... which was later included on the Model Photographer album)
 
Mistletoe 2.0 released 'This Is Evidence' in 2003. The new album went a step beyond “Sorry It's Been So Long” the growth and maturity evident from the opening track. Driven by muscular guitars, adorned with a few subtle unexpected chord-progression shifts and keyboard textures, the combination of which packed a marvelous rock 'n' roll punch. It's a triumph of musically pleasant, lyrically fascinating songs, tight and vibrantly on the emotional money with the band demonstrating an instrumental expansiveness comparable to the acts that influenced them. (Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Death Cab for Cutie, Big Star etc.) If a mash-up of 1970s influenced power pop, indie alt-rock, shoegaze and emo is what you’re buying, “This is Evidence” was an easy sell.

In retrospect “This is Evidence” was a platform for Alex Rose to show off his production and recording skills. The added depth of production makes the album a sweeping local epic. That being said, this is not the type of album that’s trying to change your life. It somehow manages to achieve a seamless time warp that reflects brilliantly on the past, the present and all concerned. Adventurous yet familiar. “Towards the end of three years in Albuquerque, Rose had two thriving bands and had become a sought-after recording engineer, making records with many of his favorite local bands. Despite this success and the admittedly charming southwest locale, there remained a growing desire to escape the home state for the greener pastures of the Pacific Northwest” 

 
Relocating to Seattle in early 2004, Alex Rose began working on a solo act that included songs from The Bum Out Patrol's repertoire as well as newer songs that would later turn up on “Model Photographer” (“We Stayed Home,” “Cassette Tape” and “Don’t Be A Moper.”)“Most of the songs were written right before or after I moved from Albuquerque to Seattle,” says Rose. “I was thinking about the future a lot, but I often felt unable to escape the past.” Alex soon found himself playing guitar for Heather Duby and keyboards with Minus the Bear (having worked on their album, Menos El Oso) A reunion with Westin Glass (who also relocated to Seattle) and the addition of bass player John Bagley, proved to be the impetus that led to Alex's solo act evolving into Model Photographer.

Sonicbids bio: “It is an album of honest and direct songs that give the listener a glimpse into the internal world of a musician entering his mid-twenties”One would be tempted to say that “Model Photographer” was either Mistletoe's third album or The Bum Out Patrol album that we never got. Either way, it wouldn't be a far fetched assessment. The album was well executed, the result of Alex Rose having meticulously tweaked the tracks over the course of two years. Completed in 2007, the album was initially released for free online prior to its proper release on June Records. “When I was young and discovering music, I wanted to believe my favorite songs were about real experiences” said Alex Rose. “Since I began writing songs, I have always wanted them to feel like that.”

Versus Magazine wrote: “Sans braces and a Led Zeppelin t-shirt, Model Photographer was much like my first date: young, talented, nervous, and about to steal my heart ... With melodies that promenade hand in hand with sultry vocals, each tune was sweet and sour with tales of almost love” Sonicbids bio: “Much like the contradictory conditions during which they were written, the songs themselves display a certain duality: they are both expansive and intimate, bold and delicate, detached and eager. Rose’s bittersweet vocals and fuzzy guitars blend dreamily with the propulsion of John Bagley’s bass, Westin Glass’ drums and the occasional keyboard overdub.” Due to circumstances, a follow-up album slated for release in 2008 never came to fruition and Model Photographer fell by the wayside.


Alex jumped at a chance to become a full time member of Minus the Bear, a Seattle based indie rock band he joined in 2007, replacing keyboard player Matt Bayles. Having worked with the band on “Menos el Oso” in 2005, Alex contributed to “Planet of Ice” in 2007 and all their subsequent album releases. He eventually took on a more prominent role in the composition process, even taking over lead vocals on a few songs. Minus the Bear's sound is described by Paste Magazine.com as "Pele-esque guitar-taps, atmospheric keyboard textures, quirky odd-time signatures and electronics with sophisticated time signature composition. It’s fresh, frantic, uproariously fun stuff - and ferociously well-played” I'm not sure if “Pele-esque” refers to the Brazilian soccer legend.

In 2006, Westin Glass formed The Reformation which primarily consisted of Westin (playing all the instruments) though it came to include ex-Model Photographer bassist John Bagley and drummer Patrick Huerta. This resulted in two albums “Floral War” in 2007 and “Living the Dream” in 2008. Drawing on influences ranging from late-90 s post-punk to shameless alternative radio hits both drew comparisons to The Foo Fighters, Nada Surf and Kings of Convenience. Concurrently, Glass was also tour drummer for Say Hi To Your Mom. Based in Seattle, Say Hi is Eric Elbogen, who records at home playing all of the instruments and providing vocals. Since 2008, Westin Glass has been a member of Portland based indie band The Thermals, a band formed in 2002 by Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster.

Minus the Bear is still going strong after sixteen years having just released a new album “Voids” Alex Rose is currently taking time off in London. Affording him time to work on his solo project, Nghtblnd (a reference to retinitis pigmentosa, an affliction that renders him blind at night) “It’s rare, and nobody really knows about it. As a kid, it caused me some turmoil. I grew up in Santa Fe, NM. A lot of my friends liked to go on night hikes in the woods, but I couldn’t do it. There were no street lights in a lot of areas; it was pitch black and I couldn’t see” Alex has posted a handful of Nghtblnd demos on Soundcloud as well as tracks he's worked on including: Slowbirdband, Minus the Bear, Rusty Maples, Nouela and there's even a remix of Britney Spears “I Wanna Go” Click play and enjoy.


The shiny roadsters of today will fill the junkyards of tomorrow”

Alive ~ Constant Harmony
Arsonist ~ Manuka Piglet
Don't Be a Moper ~ Model Photographer
Lordymine ~ The Haptics
Patty Mayonnaise ~ Mistletoe
Brighton ~ Firstone
Lipbiter ~ Pancakes
Gold ~ Electric Grandma
Through the Windshield ~ Bum Out Patrol
Hollywood Happy ~ Hurdle
Rise and Shine ~ Pilot to Bombardier
Hover ~ Mistletoe
Gone ~ Model Photographer
Loveless ~ Constant Harmony
What the Wonders ~ Electric Grandma
Until the Summer ~ Bum Out Patrol
Radio On ~ Full Speed Veronica

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Off the Rack: Henry's Dress


There's a bend in the wire, I can't ring you today.

I'm sure ya'll remember Henry's Dress, they were Albuquerque's great rock hope prior to the Shins. Formed in 1993, Amy Linton and Matt Hartman effortlessly shared lead vocals and took turns playing guitar or drums, accompanied by Hayyim Sanchez on bass. Long before experimentation came to define the Duke City music scene, Henry's Dress created a cutting edge sound unlike anything else. Noisy little songs played with an appealing DIY sloppiness. Screechy feedback masking an underlining pop sensibility. A muddy mix meant that Amy's vocals (more so than Matt's) were usually buried in the din. Making it a chore to try and discern just what was being said. All this only added to the band's appeal as they banged around 'Burque for the first few months they were together.

Before their hometown could warm up to them, Henry's Dress relocated to the Bay Area following Amy Linton's acceptance to the San Francisco Art Institute. Once there, they were signed to Slumberland Records, releasing their first single “1620 b/w Stumble” in 1993. “Henry's Dress were that rare band for us - a group that we discovered through a demo tape, and then only through Amy Linton's heroic perseverance in getting a very busy Papa Slumber to listen” Papa was label manger Michael Schulman, who left Amy a phone message “Wanna do a record?” Slumberland Records started out as a collective effort formed by band members of Velocity Girl and Big Jesus Trash Can in Silver Spring, Md. Under Schulman's direction Slumberland relocated to Berkeley, Ca. in 1992.

Plenty of hoopla surrounded Henry's Dress when they signed with Slumberland, leading some in Albuquerque to believe that they would be the band to finally bust out of what was rapidly becoming a fruitful local music scene. After the move Matt offered this observation on the local scene: “When we lived in Albuquerque, most of the popular bands there were of the Amphetamine Reptile school of Jesus Lizard. But I guess we left kind of on the cusp of an expanding scene of music that began to at least loosen up and get into different kinds of things. It's been kind of interesting to see how that's evolved. Last year, I spent a good two or three months in Albuquerque, but I didn't really see much music. Some good bands there are The Drags, and this band Flake that we did a split single with.”


This set the stage for their eponymous EP release “Henry's Dress” which was well received. “This EP documents the band's middle period, branching out from their initial interests in Loop-meets-MBV pop heaviness into the more mod/punk sounds that would fuel their later efforts. Anyway you slice it, this record is a smash. The band would go even further down the mod/punk route with their subsequent album "Bust 'em Green," but this EP represents a raw, immediate document of a band finding their footing and their own unique sound. And best of all - it still sounds freaking great. Their fantabulous (sic) first ep that set a new standard for LOUD. Smashing MBV-meets-Who-flavored mod/punk/sonic pop. Perfect.” (in case you're wondering, MBV stands for My Bloody Valentine) 

Trouser Press weighed: “Henry's Dress is simple, gentle garage pop carpeted wall-to-wall with an excess of surly feedback. The easy tempo and the heavy guitar wash place the songs midway between Psychocandy, Loveless and some of the early Creation catalog, but the mass of sound often eclipses the fragile melodies. The entire effort is likable on a general drone level, but the band's real promise is barely hinted at. The full-length Bust 'Em Green is eons ahead of its predecessor, marking a much more distinct territory for Henry's Dress. The band had grown by leaps and bounds, “The feedback still lingers in places, but it's been restrained to blend rather than blanket, a progression thankfully in tandem with the band's vastly improved and thoroughly impressive pop instincts.”

Trouser Press: “Nearly every song here is a gem in its own right” Despite the critical acclaim, by the time their full length album “Bust 'Em Green” came out in 1996, Henry's Dress was on the cusp of a break up. The band's rigid adherence to the noise pop formula left them little room for progression and Amy was rapidly outgrowing her band mates... musically speaking. Henry's Dress like so many 'Burque expats before them, faded from the scene. Matt Hartman and Hayyim Sanchez moved on. Amy however, was just getting warmed up. Their quick departure from Albuquerque probably explains they're better known in San Francisco than in their hometown. Which is a shame because Amy Linton is easily one of the most talented and accomplished musicians to ever come out of the Duke City. 


Post- Henry's Dress, Amy formed The Aisler Set, a band characterized by its jangling guitars and melodic power pop song structures. Signed by Sumberland and doted over by music scribes, Amy's new project quickly rose to a level of success barely imaginable with Henry's Dress. The Aisler Set's first album “Terrible Things Happen” was released in 1998 and garnered glowing reviews from CMJ. The album's success led to a tour of Japan in 1999. Their second album “The Last Match” made it to Spin.com's Top 20 for the year 2000. declaring “Linton has cleared the cobwebs off the Pop conundrum and dolled them up in a perfect dress.” Greil Marcus at Salon.com wrote: "They make dream pop feel as easy to make as a can of soup, and as dangerous: Watch that jagged edge."

More praise followed from The New York Times, NME, Gear and Alternative Press. The Aisler Set then toured in support of Sleater Kinney and Bratmobile. A 2001 European tour resulted in an invitation to record a session for John Peel. In 2002 following an East Coast tour opening for Belle and Sebastian (Stevie Jackson was quoted as saying: "They are one of the best groups in America as far as I'm concerned") The San Francisco Chronicle included The Aislers Set in its list of “Young Artists on the Verge”.... "The Aislers Set's reinvention of '60s pop resurrects walls of garage guitars and rich, Spector-esque sound, insouciance combined with insightful lyrics. But this quintet makes the past feel contemporary, borrowing from punk and pop to create a 21st century cool sound"

As The Aisler Set ran its course, Amy collaborated with Stewart Anderson of Sumblerland label mates Boyracer (formed in Leeds, England, Anderson was the only constant member of the band. There's an iconic photo of Amy playing drums for Henry's Dress while wearing a Boyracer jersey) The lo-fi, shoegaze idie duo recorded a single in 2000 as Linton & Anderson (“The Lights are Out”) on Sumberland. They kept a low profile until 2015 when “Looking For a Stranger On The Shore” was released on Emotional Response Records. Amy now living in Brooklyn was mentioned in 2012 by the Riverfront Times (a St. Louis weekly publication) after her home was burglarized and her extensive vinyl collection was cherry picked of hundreds of her most valuable records.

While still a member of Henry's Dress, Amy Linton also played drums for Go Sailor, a Berkeley based band that included Rose Melberg (Tiger Trap & the Softies) Go Sailor released three singles and one full length compact disc (on Lookout! Records) AllMusic noted that: “The band and Melberg's songwriting are as keen as ever, and Go Sailor does nothing but deliver on the jangling four-chord structures and indie pop hooks her fans have come to expect” Two of Go Sailor's songs were later featured on the motion picture soundtrack for “But I'm a Cheerleader”a 1999 satirical comedy directed by Jamie Babbit and starring Natasha Lyonne as a high school cheerleader whose parents send her to a conversion therapy camp to cure her lesbianism. Boy Howdy!






Friday, January 27, 2017

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 49


"Mission to Albuquerque"

“Nothing could be finer than a 49er, start a fire with an old spare tire and a few pieces of coal....” Here's the skinny on Episode #49, Dirt City Chronicles, the podcast. Brought to you by the fine folks at Dirt City Chronicles, who's motto is: “If it ain't from New Mexico, it ain't shit” Forty nine episodes in and the irrepressible Henry's Dress make their Dirt City debut. My bad. Also, Pilot to Bombardier checks in with a nifty version of The Cars “Just What I Needed” Pilot to Bombardier, in my opinion (and that of others, just ask Brett Maverick a.k.a. Capt. America) was one of the best Albuquerque bands ever. They're reuniting on Jan. 28th. 2017 at the Launchpad. (w/Leeches of Lore Holy Glories & Nuzzzle) If you missed them the first time around, here's a chance to atone for that mistake.

Pilot to Bombardier evolved from Roman Candle Choir and Fever Hot (one of their songs is included on Socyrmom's “Ouch! Welcome to Albuquerque “ compilation) The core of the group consisted of Travis Williams, Sean McCullough and Miguel Villareal “Migs” augmented by a rotating roster of bass players (Rhian Batson, Liam Kimball, Forest Agee) Two former members of Fever Hot (Jack Sparacino & Rhian ) moved to Chicago and formed the South of No North (don't mistake them for the darkwave band from Greece or the band from Brussels that go by the same name) Rhian eventually returned to 'Burque, teaming up with Sean McCullough, Chris Moffatt & Nate Santa Maria in The Oktober People. Described by the Dallas Morning News as “a well-oiled Albuquerque outfit"


Pilot  To Bombardier's discography begins in 2000 with the five song demo ep otherwise known as “The Pilot demo” (Sean, Travis, Migs w/Liam Kimball) That was followed by a split 7” with a Chicago based band, the South of No North, a band that took its name from South of No North a collection of short stories by Charles Bukowski, the so-called "Poet Laureate of Skid Row", originally published in 1973. (“Valentine” featuring Migs on bass being Pilot to Bombardier's contribution) Between 2002-03 Pilot to Bombardier recorded three tracks for a Science Project Records compilation album. On the previously mentioned Cars cover “Just What I Needed” (recorded in 2003,w/Migs on bass) they worked with the Santa Fe wunderkind, Alex Rose, who handled the basic tracking.

A demo version of “Moving Day” was recorded at Stepbridge Studios in Santa Fe in March, 2003. To my knowledge, Pilot to Bombardier never released a full length album and unlike so many other local bands of yore, they're not available on Bandcamp or Soundcloud. Thankfully, the band does have a website that's still active, complete with audio tracks http://www.pilottobombardier.com/audio.html
Can I get a woot woot? Beside The Oktober People, Sean McCullough is or has been a member of Sad Baby Wolf and The Bellmont. Not sure what became of the other members of Pilot to Bombardier, though their web page does make mention of Travis moving to Dallas to pursue his medical degree and Miguel traveling to Bolivia “to witness firsthand the production of coca plants.

 
I'll wait til the weekend saves us all

Lucia Garcia in her own words is a “singer, songwriter and inter-dimentional super deva” as opposed to “diva” an operatic term used to describe a distinguished female singer i.e. prima donna. Deva is a divine being or god in Buddhism. A member of a class of divine beings in the Vedic period, which in Indian religion are benevolent and in Zoroastrianism are evil. Lucia is described as a renaissance woman, a creator and traveler from the mysterious mesas of New Mexico. A musician on a mission with a passion for creation. Ms. Garcia, Electric Grandma if you please, explains her pseudonym: "I'm very like a grandmother. I have traits that you would think a grandmother would have. I have a very old soul." Lucia's recipe for creating music is firmly planted in the thoroughly modern electric rave culture of today's millennials, with a tip of the hat to the glittery disco divas of yesterday.

Hailing from Albuquerque, Lucia is now based in Savannah, Ga. along with her fiancé and musical collaborator, Matt Duplessie- designer, songwriter and producer. A trained pianist (check out her 2013 release, Piano Compositions Vol. 1, available for streaming on Bandcamp) Lucia also plays keyboards with eight-member Savannah band Word of Mouth. Bill DeYoung writing for Connect Savannah, an arts & entertainment weekly publication describes Word of Mouth's music as “an amalgam of styles, including hip hop, electronica and straight-ahead rock” and Electric Grandma as “synthesizer-driven dance music, soundscapes created from a nuanced balance of software-crafted beats, an arsenal of keyboards, guitars and other instruments, and Garcia's airy soprano vocals”

Lucia has released a series of solo recordings on Bandcamp beginning with the aforementioned “Piano Compositions Vol. 1” and a single “Gold” in 2013. Her solo album “Electric Grandma” also released in 2013, was written, played and recorded by Garcia and Matt Duplessie. Music scribe, Bill De Young cut to the chase: “She's not nearly old enough to be anyone's grandmother, but Lucia Garcia — who calls herself Electric Grandma — certainly crackles with electric energy” "I really wanted to make it dance-y, because I feel that dance is one of the strongest forms of prayer that we can give," is how Garcia explains it. "You're just fully immersed in the feeling of the dance. And I think when you take your mind out of it, that's what really brings you closer to God."


Since the release of “Electric Grandma” Lucia has followed up with a pair of ethereal electronic dream pop singles “Living in a Dream” and “What the Wonders” Lucia continues to evolve as an artist.... "Growing up in New Mexico there were so many outdoor raves and parties. My brother is really big in the rave community out there. Electronic music was part of my upbringing. It was a dream of mine to learn these electronic programs, because they looked so alien to me, literally. It just looked so foreign. And then when I met Matt, he'd already been producing for a while. He really knew the programs. So he really helped me delve into it, and start learning the intricacies. It goes so deep, I'm barely scratching the surface of what these programs can do." 

Here's an interesting tidbit: “Born in the mysterious mesas of New Mexico, Lucía García has always been inspired by the vast and colorful textures of her homeland. Since an early age, Lucía has always had a heightened awareness to subtle energies, and through this gift has made it a mission to help raise the vibration of the planet through the sacred frequencies of music, with analogous lyrics carrying a positive message of evolution, human/god potential, and the science of spirituality.” Ain't nothing but a party ya'll.... just with an evolved consciousness and an unwavering sense of spiritual commitment. In Lucia's hands dance becomes an avenue of atonement. That being the factor that separates Lucia Garcia from the Cuylear sisters of Lindy Vision, with whom she shares a musical genre if nothing else.

Wherein (stylistically speaking) the ladies from Lindy Vision go down a hedonistic road to ruin, jaded and faded. Lucia works a similar vein seeking spiritual enlightenment. Making the world a better place with electronic music as a vehicle of change. They're both living for the weekend, but Lucia preaches that facing yourself in the mirror after tossing aside all your inhibitions and giving in to your deepest desires is easier to do if you're spiritually grounded. Either way it's all about perception and image. Both Lucia and Lindy Vision favor slick music videos, high end production adorned with glossy effects. Its an approach looked down on by those who perceive themselves as “serious artists” Not that there's anything wrong with using all the tools at your disposal. We live in the digital age, get wise bubble eyes. 


En serio homies, do yourself a favor, give this native Burqueña a listen. Lucia isn't very well known in her home state and that's a fucking shame. She's cutting edge, innovative and absolutely adorable.... how can you go wrong? Lucia Garcia is available on Bandcamp, CD Baby and YouTube (check out Lucia & Matt live on Connect Sessions, which includes an interview conducted by Bill De Young of Connect Savannah) 

Ralph Rook ~ The Scrams
Heartless Death Machine ~ Rock Jong IL
Fantasma ~ Iceolus
Five Years ~ MHTH
Selfish ~ The Dying Beds
And Remember If I Attack You (It's Nothing Personal) ~ Fukrot
Giant Green Ants ~ Black Maria
Held Whole ~ Lilith
Sugar Bowl ~ Henry's Dress
Barnstorming Sleight of Hand ~ Roñoso
Brink of Reality ~ Electric Grandma
Roll On ~ The Blackout Disciples
I Wanna Be Your Dog ~ Sweet Nothin
Just What I Needed ~ Pilot to Bombardier
Down Again ~ The Elevator Boys
Romantic Minds ~ Abandoned Mansions

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dirt City Chronicles, Year in Review: 2016 Oct.- Dec.


Death metal is much maligned, due mostly to its inherent preoccupation with subject matter such as; death, suffering, destruction and mayhem..... did I mention death and suffering? The primary characteristic of Death metal that sets it apart from other sub-genres are the vocals. Typically, lead singers will employ a hoarse roaring grunt, sometimes referred to as death growls, which should never be confused with vocal fry, a technique used in other forms of black metal. “The vocal fry register (also known as pulse register, laryngealisation, pulse phonation, creak, croak, popcorning, glottal fry, glottal rattle, glottal scrape, or strohbass) is the lowest vocal register and is produced through a loose glottal closure which will permit air to bubble through slowly with a popping or rattling sound of a very low frequency” Though unproven, growled vocals may have been a part of Viking music.

The difference between the genres is in the details. What primarily separates Black metal from Death metal is the former's adherence to ideological Satanism (not necessarily practical Satanism) Defining the term 'black metal', Euronymous (a founder and central figure in the Norwegian black metal scene) said that it applies to any heavy metal band who are theistic Satanists and write Satanic lyrics. Such extreme ideas repeated by other scene members, eventually caused it to implode upon itself. Not all the musicians and fans were mother loving Satan worshipers, many were bandwagon believers who dropped all pretenses of allegiance to Beelzebub once the shit hit the fan with a pair of highly publicized gristly murders involving key figures in the Norwegian black metal scene.


The entire charade ends with an emphatic chant of “Who's Walmart is this?” to which the now frothing associates yell back “My Walmart!” They should just hand out amphetamine pills at the start of every shift. Wash them down with those Little Hugs fruit drinks that Walmart sells by the millions. Not all stores do the cheer anymore, mainly because it scares the shit out of customers. All in all, Walmart radio isn't that bad. It's a carefully formatted station that mixes Contemporary Hit radio with the that old format warhorse, Good Time Oldies.... sprinkled with just enough country music hits to keep the redneck associates happy. No actual commercials are played, just Walmart ads and friendly reminders designed to keep associates productive and focused. Walmart has licensed tons of music since the days of Walmart Music, so the playlist varies more than that of your average “Hot mix” station. Plenty of hit songs, lots of Beatles, Stones, classic rock, classic oldies and what have you.

Do you have any idea how surreal it is to hear “Sold in a market down in New Orleans, Scarred old slaver know he's doin' alright, Hear him whip the women just around midnight” played overhead in a Walmart at 3a.m.? It gives me the whammy. I still say that the song selections are meant to carry a subliminal message. The Beatles “Don't Let Me Down” plays at crunch time, just as associates are struggling to complete their daily tasks. “When Will I Be Loved” kicks in just after that (I've been cheated, been mistreated) Paul Revere's “Hungry” comes on right before the lunch break and The Guess Who's “No Time” just as the lunch hour comes to a close. Invariably associates will call in with requests for “Proud Mary” ..... “Workin' for the man ev'ry night and day and I never lost one minute of sleepin' worryin' 'bout the way things might have been” or “Working in a Coalmine”.... “Five o'clock in the mornin' I'm already up and gone Lord, I'm so tired How long can this go on?”


The city's music scene also has an inspired progressive side, which we'll be exploring in this episode. I'm partial to DAMN Union a collective of musicians anchored by Danny Graves and Aaron Ransbarger, both formerly of The Rawdogs. Build around jam sessions referred to as The Dona Ana Music Night Union (DAMN Union) the lineup is fluid. I'm reading this off their Facebook page... the current touring roster consists of Graves, Ransbarger, Larry Ramos, Tucker and Andrew Levi Hiller. Other notable members include: Audra Rogers, Neeshia Macanowicz, Joe Hecker, Mike Granado, Ben Cantrell, Chuck Drexler. A variable super group of sorts, especially so when Sean Lucy joins the proceedings. Casting egos aside for the betterment of music, a collaborative effort that sparkles like the starry skies of Southern New Mexico.... the results speak for themselves. 

Sean Lucy is the last of the cosmic cowboys, taking up where Gram Parsons (the original cosmic cowboy) and legendary troubadour, Townes Van Zandt left off. Michael Murphy, another singer/songwriter with New Mexico ties describes cosmic cowboy music as “The cross pollination between Hippie and Cowboy. Early 70s hippie stuff combined with kind of the red-neck mentality. Texas accents and Country music” Boy Howdy. DoStuff Media: “This blonde cowboy hails from Texas, where lots of good things come from.... and then they stay gone” We'll stake a claim on the technicolor cowboy, Texas' loss in New Mexico's gain. Sean is a prolific songwriter with an extensive discography, Eleven albums starting with “The New Vulgarity” released in 2006 leading up his two latest releases, “King Clone Creosote” and “Pearl Snaps & Blunt Wraps”


Pickin' On is a series of tribute albums recorded by studio musicians in a bluegrass style. The series logs in at over one hundred albums, running the gamut from Three Doors Down to Hank Williams Jr. plus everyone and anyone that you can imagine in between. It's hit or miss. When it's good, (Van Halen's “Ain't Talking 'Bout Love” or The Offspring's “Gone Away”) it's really good. The bad stuff amounts to little more than the bluegrass equivalent of a square peg being forced into a round hole. “The Pickin' On series isn't alone in this world. Iron Horse a bluegrass band from Killen, Alabama has perfected the same formula for turning alt-rock songs into bluegrass tunes. It's the Sound-a-Like marketing technique of the early 1970s reinvented for the Americana set. The local tie-in? both Iron Horse and Pickin' On have covered The Shins, with good results.

I will without the least bit of hesitation, admit to crying whenever I hear either Fast Heart Mart or The Handsome Family's original version of “My Sister's Tiny Hands” It's a song that fucks with my emotions. “We came in this world together, legs wrapped around each other. My cheek against my sister's, we were born like tangled vines” We all know the feeling of having someone ripped from us. Such pain being the vehicle that drives this heart rendering tale of sorrow and vengeance. “Every creature casts a shadow, under the sun's golden fingers” Makes ya' wanna grab a sharpened stick and start killing snakes. Fast Heart Mart (Martin Stamper) having completed a series of concerts in Germany and Finland, is still based in San Diego, with his most recent performances taking place at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass held in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.


It took ten years for Kyroburn to drop their first album “Enigmatic Existence” on the Continental Entertainment label in 2005. Recorded at Krank Studios in El Paso, produced by Eddy Garcia (Pissing Razors, he also produced the 6-track N-Cyde demo for the band. Which included a cover of the Simple Minds, Don't You Forget About Me) “Enigmatic Existence” is triumph of crisp, clean production, strong, muscular instrumental performances, and the barking vocals of Todd Brashear. While the exact parameters of this organically appealing sound have been explored before (Fear Factory, Strapping Young Lad) It doesn't detract from the album's overall appeal. Kryoburn carefully culled their influences from the very best of the alt-metal rockers from that period with highly effective results.

AllMusic's take: “This 2005 release is generally decent, at least if one enjoys a big dose of crushing brutality. Not every artist who comes along is obligated to be groundbreaking or innovative” Kyroburn wasn't having any of that “trendsetter” bullshit and once they dropped the hammer on their audience, it's not likely that anyone had any fucks to give about innovation. It's nothing but a party ya'll. Whatever momentum Kyroburn may have garnered after “Enigmatic Existence” quickly dissipated as the band suffered a number of setbacks including a round of personnel changes which left them pondering their own enigmatic existence. “When artists who wear their influences on their sleeves, function as followers rather than leaders, the question becomes, Are they good followers?” 



Behold Boar Worship's oozing sludge emanating from anguished speakers already tortured beyond repair by repeated plays of Inappropriate Necessity. For those who love sludgy stoner rock, Boar Worship is the musical equivalent of comfort food. A relentless static charged sound so dense and heavy that you could cut through it with a knife. This experimental doom outfit was formed in Albuquerque (2009) relocated to Oakland, Ca. and is currently based in Denver, Co. The release of their debut album “The Decline and Fall of the Christian Empire” in 2009 introduced us to their droning rock of ages and a Brahman inspired dogma designed to lift the curtain to those seeking enlightenment. I'm reading between the lines, but hear me out anyway. “Pro Death” an ep released in 2012 touches on the rejection of lower worship by the militant faiths as a way of explaining why they have conquered and kept a permanent dominion over the world's god fearing masses.

This search for profound spiritualism culminated with the release of “Boar Worship” in 2015. “The interior truths, the divine secrets, the real way of salvation are known only to a few. The great majority of men, being timid and ignorant are concerned mainly in propitiating the powerful and malignant influences by which they fancy themselves to be surrounded” The supremely dominant principle of modern times is that the world is on a course of continual evolution... though the current political climate in our nation leads one to think that Devo got it right, devolution not evolution is our destiny. As we gear up for the coming apocalypse, my soundtrack of choice for end of the world warfare shall be this beastly sound. Beats Wagner’s “Ritt der Walküren” every single time. “Boar Worship” is not for the weak-kneed or faint of heart. If you suffer from delicate sensibilities or are easily offended just stick with Slipknot or some other equally cartoonish band


Many have tried to compose a complete history of Albuquerque's music scene and many have failed. The downfall of most music scribes attempting this is that they fail to grasp the complex nature and immense depth and variety within the Duke City's local music scene. A little over a year ago I took on this challenge and set out to write as complete a history of 'Burque's garage / punk / soul beat scene in the 1960s as has ever been written.... I'm leaving it up to you to determine whether I failed or not. While not on the scale of Doctor Zhivago, it is of epic proportions. The size of which led my older sister (a retired librarian and school marm) to say that there were too many words. Well, powder my fuse. Imagine that, a librarian complaining about too many written words.

When writing pertains to historical facts, leaving something out for the sake of brevity is akin to writing a history of the Civil War and ignoring The battle of Gettysburg. If there's anything that I've learned from years of reading Rolling Stone, Creem, Goldmine, Bomp and Trouser Press, it's that pertinent facts such as recording labels, session players, release dates etc. are the holy grail for a music completist. Leave them out at the risk of killing your music nerd street cred. I blame Twitter for this aversion to reading. That social networking service favored by none other than Donald Trump has conditioned users to peruse snippets of text enhanced with emojis. Anything longer than a single line of text is too fucking long. Shortened attention spans, the bane of writers. Fuck Twitter.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles, Year in Review: 2016 June - Sept.


 July  2016

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” 

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” Jenny Clinkscale's sole album “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.


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”


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. 

August  2016

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.


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. 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.


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.

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)

  September 2016
 
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 Archive.org. Unlimited uploads, no file size restrictions and little if any copyright hassles. The internet is forever and these links will never go dead.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles, Year in Review: 2016 Jan.- May


March 2016

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.


April 2016
 
“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'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.


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.


May 2016

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.

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.


“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.

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. 


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



Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 48


An Addiction to Origins
Record collecting is an infinite journey backwards”

Many have tried to compose a complete history of Albuquerque's music scene and many have failed. The downfall of most music scribes attempting this is that they fail to grasp the complex nature and immense depth and variety within the Duke City's local music scene. A little over a year ago I took on this challenge and set out to write as complete a history of 'Burque's garage / punk / soul beat scene in the 1960s as has ever been written.... I'm leaving it up to you to determine whether I failed or not. While not on the scale of Doctor Zhivago, it is of epic proportions. The size of which led my older sister (a retired librarian and school marm) to say that there were too many words. Well, powder my fuse. Imagine that, a librarian complaining about too many written words.

When writing pertains to historical facts, leaving something out for the sake of brevity is akin to writing a history of the Civil War and ignoring The battle of Gettysburg. If there's anything that I've learned from years of reading Rolling Stone, Creem, Goldmine, Bomp and Trouser Press, it's that pertinent facts such as recording labels, session players, release dates etc. are the holy grail for a music completist. Leave them out at the risk of killing your music nerd street cred. I blame Twitter for this aversion to reading. That social networking service favored by none other than Donald Trump has conditioned users to peruse snippets of text enhanced with emojis. Anything longer than a single line of text is too fucking long. Shortened attention spans, the bane of writers. Fuck Twitter.


Compleat: (the archaic spelling of complete preferred by persons who obsessively pursue a philosophy which includes the completeness of something) In this case, something being every recording ever made by which ever artist your mind is tangled around at the time. In the mid-1970s, I was lucky enough to be stationed just outside the Bay Area (Travis AFB) which gave me access to two of the greatest record stores ever conceived. Aquarius Records at its original store in the Castro District and Recycled Records in San Francisco's North Beach ("I'll buy anything." owner Bruce Lyall once declared, in jest) Both shops survived well into the next century. Aquarius finally gave up the ghost earlier this year, while Recycled Records having diversified, transitioned to online sales.

I started out in the mid 1970s, a crate digger obsessively seeking out every record put out by The Flaming Groovies. To this end I navigated San Francisco's bus routes, all but invisible to the Castro clones congregating along Clone Canyon. Aquarius Records was an isle of normality in an ocean of strange. Known for its commitment to unique and rare releases, Aquarius originally opened in 1970 and had two storefronts on Castro Street. The shop moved to Noe Valley in 1983, before settling at its final location in the Mission District. My biggest scores at Aquarius? “Sneakers” an ultra rare Flaming Groovies ep from 1968. I also scored a copy of “Spunk” the Sex Pistols' de facto alternative debut album, released prior to “Never Mind the Bollocks” both for the ghastly sum of $19.99 each.

Truth be told, collecting is not really about music. Collecting is about collecting. The principle of delight, the quest for a positive emotional reaction upon discovering something unexpected. Here's the kicker, having carefully curated everything I could find, I wound up selling or giving it all away. I know, I know..... a real collector does not sell. I might be a collector, but I ain't no fucking pack rat. Having ditched vinyl in the early 1980s, my collection was top heavy with cassettes, a format that was rapidly in decline. I welcomed the advent of compact discs with open arms. The first compact disc I ever bought?.... “Flyin' the Flannel” fIREHOSE's first album after signing with Columbia Records. Described by Greg Prato at AllMusic as “one of the great lost rock gems of the '90s.” 


"Gunter Glieben Glauten Globen" Gather 'round, I got something to say. A quick rundown on Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode #48..... beginning with another dose of stoner doom from ABQ expats, Boar Worship. Just can't get enough of this band's enrobing wall of sludge. Sun Dog's “Share Your Love” flows with a majestic cock-of-the-walk swagger not heard since Robert Plant's Led Zep heyday. It's refreshing to hear a local band draw on such classic influences. Colin Roxford's vocals have got me all teary eyed and shit.... I just may go out on a limb and declare Sun Dog the best band currently active on the local scene. Nod your head up and down if you agree. Sun Dog is Colin Roxford, John Deyhle, Maxwell Graves & Luz Allison. They work with Will Byrne at Juniper Lab Studios in Sandia Park.

Naturally my opinion is pliable and liable to change at any given moment. These are the salad days for Albuquerque's legion of metal/grind/crust/noise fans. No shortage of talented local bands to be sure. Hanta (named after the virus) describe themselves as “4 boys making loud fun” I'll be blunt, there's nothing truly distinctive about their relentless grind. It's a bit derivative though not without some redeeming qualities. Gnosis is far more experimental. “Simulacra” their 2015 album is a disjointed journey into sound. The basic tropes: a heady mix of shape shifting experimental noise augmented by rock and jazz instrumentation, coupled with cryptic lyrics delivered with the effect of someone whispering into your ear. It's a bit jarring at first, but it grows on you like mold.

It's damn near Christmas and in all likelihood this will probably be my last podcast episode for 2016, a year derided by most as the worst year ever. I beg to differ, I've been around long enough to have seen worse, 1968 for instance. MLK and RFK were assassinated and Richard Nixon was elected. That was a bad year. Some advice on how to survive the Trump years.... when life throws you curve balls, you bear down and learn how to hit a fucking curve ball. In case you missed them the first time around, I present for your reading and listening pleasure: 'Burque Garage: Original Artyfacts from Albuquerque's First Rock Era 1964-69 (in two parts) and From 'Burque to Blackpool, The Classic Era of Duke City Soul. Keep those cards and letters coming in. Feliz Navidad y próspero Año Nuevo. Boy Howdy!

Black Wizard ~ Boar Worship
Share Your Love ~ Sun Dog
Contact High ~ Weird A
Corn Dogs to Carbon ~ Hanta
Daedalus in Velvets ~ Gnosis
Eat the Rich ~ Constant Harmony
Bad Vibrations ~ The Flossies
Riding ~ Litter Brain
Red Riding ~ Big Girls
Zip It ~ Gods Got a Gun
Don't Tell Me ~ Weedrat
10,000 Miles to Graceland ~ Colour Me Once
Shit Down All Throats ~ Boar Worship
Unsanitary Coral Extraction ~ Hanta
Walk My Way ~ Sun Dog
Highway 64 ~ Italian Rats
Apocrypha / Other Planes ~ Gnosis