Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Dust City Chronicles

Given the similarities between latin music and ska, it’s easy to see why this style has caught on in the border region. While ska is the foundation that Liquid Cheese uses to build its sound, this El Paso/Las Cruces outfit is more of a throwback to the frat house party bands of the 60’s. By bringing the party to the people and giving them what they want, Liquid Cheese has become the best known and most successful of all Las Cruces bands.
After iconic Las Cruces punk band The Answer Lies broke up, their lead singer Chris Mason resurfaced with Shang-A-Lang.  This new band follows the same punk formula with a hint of radio friendly pop, "Someday We'll Get There" could slot right into most rock station's playlists. But don’t worry, Shang-A-Lang stays true to its punk roots.  Where Mason seems satisfied, to carry on the good fight for punk fanatics everywhere, self professed musician, business man, recording engineer and producer" Travis Manning has set his sights just a little bit higher. This homespun rock entrepreneur founded Nasty Cactus Music, a Las Cruces based indie record label. He then stocked it with bands he sings or plays guitar in, like New Mexican Erection, The Dirty Clydes and his most recent band, Worm Hole.  The label's impressive catalog also includes hard rocking local bands, Space Truckers, Delgado and El Paso's Third Edge.  Travis Manning has cast a large shadow on the Las Cruces rock scene, and if anyone can say "We Built this City" Nasty Cactus Music & Travis Manning sure can.!

Las Cruces based solo artists My Genuine Find and Forever, In The End follow a distasteful new trend of marginal solo musicians giving themselves band names. While up to their ears in angst, these whiny poseurs are devoid of talent. It’s just fluff, no feelings or substance, derivative and trendy musings from guys who spend too much alone.  Like a hamburger without any meat, it has no flavor, unless you just love the taste of catsup and mustard. It's the condiment of musical genres with the shelf life of a jar of mayo left out in the sun on a hot day.  By comparison when Chance Coates of the Moonshiners sings about tracking down his cheating girl and killing her, you can picture him with a bottle of Jack and a pistol in his hand. When Carlos Trujillo lead singer for Janos sings about kissing a dead girl and writing his name on her eyelids, you start thinking that he may have done just that.  I know that songs about killing your girlfriend and burying her in the backyard are acceptable (Guns 'n Roses comes to mind) But Carlos seems determined to turn it into art. I get the dark humor, I really do, however with the memory of David Parker Ray and the mass burials on Albuquerque's West Mesa still fresh on the minds of most New Mexicans, Carlos is walking a fine line between being on the cutting edge and perversity.

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