Monday, December 31, 2012

Dirt City Chronicles- Year in Review 2012

Rerun: Femme Fatale/ Lorraine Lewis      October 7th 2012

 Femme Fatale blasted out of Albuquerque, quickly landing a record deal with MCA.  They would sell 200,000 copies of their debut album, the videos for "Waiting For The Big One" and "Falling In and Out of Love" received massive airplay on MTV. Then just as rapidly it all fell apart and the band dissolved.  Femme Fatale  was best known for the big voice, big hair and sex appeal of lead singer Lorraine Lewis

Ultimately, the band was flawed and after just one fairly successful album they broke apart faster than a Yugo.  What happened? the success of the first album was enough to warrant another two albums and a few rounds of touring. Lorraine offered an explanation in an interview with a Spanish metal music 'zine "The days of the big hair metal bands were finished, it was all about timing." Their label MCA felt that they had peaked after just one album, and the band was cut loose.

Empire of Dirt      Oct. 13th  2012

Who was Ivo and what happened to him? Many links and Google searches later and I still don't have a clue. I imagine that he was a hard wired, intense guy who sported tribal ink and zubaz long before that became a cartoonish stereotype.  I could be wrong, after all for years, I actually thought that Capt America (Albuquerque's iconic zinester) was a grumpy old guy who wore a bandanna, smoked Lucky Strikes and lurked around clubs. 

The times they are-a-changing and I prefer to change with them.  The irony is that in my quest to find Ivo, I've become Ivo.  So, is it time to kill Ivo? Perhaps a sudden deployment to Afghanistan during which he's last seen hiking into the Hindu Kush  with a backpack full of hashish? LOL! Fucking Ivo gives the brass the bird, pops Tool's Undertow into his Sony Walkman and strolls off into the mist. In heaven everday is Feb. 1st. 1995. 

Sleaze Rock     Oct. 14th. 2012

Pitbull - Hotel Room Service.  Pitbull, does this thing where he arches one eyebrow and smirks, that in a nutshell is what he does.  He can't sing, rap or dance for shit and yet this human floater pops up everywhere. That recent Walmart  ad campaign (Let's send Pitbull to Kodiak,Ak!) was as fake as Joe Arpaio's hair.   Top YouTube Comment: 99% porn 1% music  0% hair   

 Girl Gone Wild (Remix) by Madonna. Flamboyant homos sans chemise (actually Ukranian boy-band Kazaky) and enough gay imagery to make Don Cathy spit out his Chik Fil A milkshake and touch himself in an inappropirate manner.  I'm in total agreement when she sings "I know I shouldn't act this way" the old skeezer should act her age. 

"Disrepect"  pairs up Dutch hardstyle DJs, Headhunterz (Willem Regergen) and Psyko Punkz (Sven Sieperda & Wietse Amersfoort) The homophobic slurs are disgusting and their phony gangsta posturing ain't fooling anyone. Hardstyle is the Euro version of the dubstep beats that we've grown to hate so much. 

Jars Of Clay's Five Candles (You Were There), tis'  bland, innocuous generic Christian rock that you be wanting? From the album "Much Afraid" based on Hannah Hurnard's  allegorical  novel , "Hind Feet on High Places" Not much to be afraid of, these boys are harmless (though pretentious as fuck) Top YouTube comment: This is a song about a really crappy parent 

Death By Misadventure- Robert Johnson        Oct. 28th  2012

Both Papa Legba and Ellegua are known as the gods or guardians of the crossroads. Thus grew the legend of "going down to the crossroads to make a pact with the devil" Blues scholars would have you believe that when African Americans in the South spoke of "selling  their soul to the devil" that they meant something other than the Satanic version that we know so well.  Maybe so, but as a church going man that he once was, I bet that Robert Johnson had the horned red devil holding a pitchfork in mind as he composed his lyrics. 

Son  House, who knew Johnson as a boy said that he "was a competent harmonica player  but  an embarrassingly bad guitarist" That would change once he hooked up with Ike Zimmerman,  an obscure musician rumored to have learned his guitar technique by playing in graveyards while sitting on a tombstone at midnight.  After a few trips to the graveyard with Zimmerman, Robert Johnson was suddenly possessed with an unearthly talent.  Johnson supposedly said that   they preferred to practice in the graveyard, so as not to bother anyone.

A churchified  man at first, Johnson set out to do things the right way, he married  Caletta Craft in May 1931 and  settled down in Clarksdale, Ms. Caletta is said to have died during childbirth while Johnson was on the road playing music. Her family condemned him  for playing "the devil's music" and blamed him indirectly for her death. He abandoned all attempts at living a normal life and took to the road as an itinerant musician. Whether or not, this  led  him to associate himself with the devil in his music or enter into a Faustian bargain is up for debate.

Old Gray Mule- Like A Apple On A Tree    Oct. 29th  2012

Now we've come full circle, with the hill country blues the past is every bit as important as the present.  A new generation of bluesmen have sprouted forth from the flood plains, hill country and beyond. Youngbloods ready, able and worthy of carrying on the legacy of R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough  

Never mind Muscle Shoals, the swampers are pickin' you up when you're feelin' blue, right in Central Texas. Old Gray Mule's "Like a Apple on a Tree" is top effort for what the Austin Chronicle calls "Mississippi thunder and Lightnin’ with Lockhart shit-kickers"  These are songs ready made for a night on Greasy Street, but what would they know about that? 

Oral tradition was vital to the spread of the blues in the 1930s, and that still hasn't changed. Facebook, Twitter and the internet are nothing more than an updated version of "word of mouth" Put these words in your mouth, go forth and spread the gospel.

Old Gray Mule is C.R. Humphrey of Lockhart, Tx. "BBQ capital of the World!" 

Sleaze Rock          Nov.  3rd.   2012

OMG! they killed Kenny!, no such luck, he's still alive, although Billy Squier should kill Kenny (Ortega) for flushing his career down the crapper with one epic video. Ortega (of High School, the musical fame) directed Squier's Rock me Tonite, which is often cited as the worst music video ever made.

Rasheeda is a thirty something female rapper who likes to get nasty. The YouTube comments were so good that I added nothing, the lyrics & comments speak for themselves. Sadly the best comments have been purged from YouTube.  As a matter of personal choice, I would prefer Kelis' Milkshakes to Rasheeda's masticated Bubblegum.

Last and certainly least, some random shirtless dudes totally screw the pooch with a cover of Sweet Child 'O Mine. The best part of the video is at the end, when the guitarist looks at his "band mate" as if to say "We fuckin' nailed it!" the drummer then gets up to turn off the video recorder and he has a look on his face that says "This one is a keeper!"

Say "Crunk" again. I dare you. I double-dare you  Nov. 29th  2012

Time to revisit Brokencyde, just in time for the holidaze and the release of  "Best of BC13" ... which is  a misogynistic, bukkake spooge fest  of "Albucrazy, Hot Topic screamo", designed to rankle the sensitive sensibilities of sensible folks, who may not otherwise give a fuck! and to separate some more suckers from their hard earned dollars. Seventeen delightful tracks from these Albuquerque gangsta poseurs  shamelessly fronting about pussy they've never had and a libertine scene that they're not really a part of.

AWWW WAIT HOLD UP!... WAIT A MINUTE!, wouldn't "BEST OF"  imply that this shit is actually good? 

It would and it isn't..... What you really have  (all in one neat package)  is a crap fest of attention grabs guaranteed to make someone threaten to kick your ass if you play them too loud. (available at iTunes, Best Buy and other distros with low standards and no qualms about selling shit like this)

Love 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em, they're not going away just yet. There are no grey areas with Brokencyde, you either hate them or despise them. This inane vomitorium of crunk and chunks isn't something that's going to grow on you without some effort.

What's the Word, Johannesburg        Dec. 2nd. 2012

At the end of Die Antwoord's "Zef Life" video, the interviewer asks Ninja what does Die Antwoord mean? Yolandi gives Ninja a look that says this guys is fokken clueless. Ninja's response "the answer" the interviewer asks "what does that mean" Ninja and Yolandi look at each other like the bloke had just shat his pants. Condescendingly, Ninja tells him "What ever man, fuck" if you have to ask, then you won't get it anway. Die Antwoord evolved out of all of Watkins Tudor-Jones different projects... throw enough shit at the wall and what sticks is bound to be some good shit. 

It's a blender mix of electro techno beats and old school gangsta rap. Ninja asks that age old question "What happened to all the cool rappers from back in the day?" By going back and rediscovering, a style a music that some had come to regard as trash, Tudor-Jones has hit on a winning formula. "Now all these rappers sound exactly the same, It's like one big inbred fuck-fest" Dregs like Lil Wayne & Kanye West is what passes for rap music now. "Just because the whole world's gone dwanky, Doesn't mean we fuckin' gonna go out like that too"

Wat Kyk Jy. ( is the website that lit a fire under the whole zef thing in the first place.  Ninja & Yolandi took their early cues from Wak Kyk Jy. The track is an ode to "die beste Afrikaanse blog en website in die heelal" Wat kyk Jy literally translates to "What are you looking at?" or more specifically (as explained on the website Kameraad Mhambi) "It's the menacing words that you hear when you walk into a bar in Parys Free State and you fix you gaze on one of the patrons for too long. In other words, it's the last words you hear before you hit the floor. 

Lucky Fun Time Party          Dec. 17th  2012

"Gangnam Style" is a geeky celebration of having it all.... youth, money, time, women, style, attitude.  South Korea is rarely noted for being cool or fashionable, but for the first time in history they set the trend. "Gangnam Style" sports a sense of swagger that cuts across language barriers and cultural differences. It's the song that launched a thousands memes, parodies and led to grown ass,  white American males trotting around like a pony.

During 2012 nothing captured the moment quite like "Gangnam Style", but does that mindlessly inoffensive K-Pop tune signal  the apocalyptic end of all ends?  In a world where too many people have too much time on their hands, someone did the research. Nostradamus, who's predictions are always on the mark when viewed in retrospect, predicted that the calm morning, a dancing horse and nine zeroes would beckon the end of the world.

That worldwide dance craze known as "Gangnam Style" is infectiously appealing, thanks mostly to Korean pop singer PSY's "horsey dance" One plus Nine zeroes equals a billion, the number of views that the song (already the most viewed video ever) will soon have on YouTube.  If that's not enough to make you think... WTF?..... Korea, the birthplace of  "Gangnam Style" is also known as the "Land of the Morning Calm" 

Relate this to the apocalyptic prophesy of the Mayan Calendar (the end will come on Dec. 21, 2012) and you have a zany shitstorm of end times conspiracy fodder.  Just think, YouTube is now the ticking clock that's counting down towards the end of life as we know it.  All along, we thought that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the devil, when in fact it was PSY, a bland, dorky K-Pop rapper. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dirt City Chronicles- The Year in Review 2012

Sleaze Rock     July 4th   2012

I neglected to post Sleaze Rock last month, so those of you who thought the feature was discontinued... rejoice!  Sleaze Rock will never die, there's too many crappy videos out there for that to happen. Stand by to have your sensibilities assaulted....

This sleaze rock special "Moonlight" is brought to us by that old witchy girl Stevie Nicks. A blatant attempt to reach out to  Twihards. Stevie looks a little long in the tooth and her voice is nothing more than a thin warble. That she's crazy as fuck is beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Phantom Blue's Time to Run, it features Gigi Hangach, who is the best female rock vocalist you've never heard of. Michelle Meldrum (r.i.p.) and Karen Kreutzer blast out blowtorch guitar riffs just like the guys. Top YouTube Comment: "This band has more balls than Poison and Mötley Crüe put together" toodrunktomakelove

Saraya and "Back to the Bullet", executives at Polygram envisioned Sandi Saraya as a sex symbol, the "Next Bon Jovi". Problem was, Bon Jovi was prettier.  The producers pulled out every cheesy 80's hair band trick in the book for this one.  Top YouTube Comment: "Brotha please, you're opinion is waaaaaaaaaaaaay off base" gornhorror

This sleaze rock special is the double entendre ditty  "Hard on Me" by Bonfire. Lead singer, Clauss Lessman coined the term "does this make me look gay?" Originally known as Cacumen, they were the heavy metal equivalent of those black & white generic products popular in the 8o's. Top YouTube Comments:  "i miss my hair and snake skin boots" johnnysilverheels

(Radio is) A Sound Salvation  July 10th  2012

At heart Pete Myers was a beatnik, he was hipper than Alan Freed could ever hope to be. Myers was younger and had the lingo down pat. His amazing ability to spontaneously create rhymes through an entire four and a half hour show. (including commercials) set him apart from the average joe. Remember this was in the days before pre-recorded jingles, commercials or sound effect carts (cartridges similar to 8-track tapes) were in common use. It was inspiration born of desperation, with the "Big Break" within reach Myers went for broke, his credo became "A fella'd have to be mad, mad, mad... to do what I do!"

He was the Wizard of Oobladi (Ohio) and his fans were Oobladoodians. ( a term he lifted from "In the Land of Oo-bla-dee," a bebop fairy tale spun by Dizzy Gillespie) "once upon a time in the land of Oobladi"    He would open the show with a countdown: fiver, four, three, two, one...  followed by his theme song "Night Train" and immediately his listeners were emerged in a world of kooky jargon, annoying echo, madcap laughter and off the cuff rhymes. "Welcome little stinkers to the land of winky blinkers, we've boiled up wavy gravy and it's ready to flow, so hang loose Mother Goose, here comes the show."

Death By Misadventure: Sam Cooke     July 16th   2012

Conspiracy buffs always ignore the most obvious evidence or facts in front of them. Sam Cooke's death being a perfect example. Cooke's demise in the wee hours of Dec. 11th. 1964 (at the hands of terrified motel manager, Bertha Franklin, who was armed with a .22 handgun and a broom stick) has sparked the imagination of conspiracy theorists. However, once you strip away all the wild eyed accusations of LAPD cover-up or West Coast mafia hitmen,  what it boils down to is that Sam Cooke was a victim of his own drunken stupidity and unbridled libido.

Those that refuse to accept the stated facts in the case of Sam Cooke, are apologists driven to propagate a false image of who he really was. That he was killed after being scammed by a prostitute just didn’t make sense to many people. His sister, Agnes Cooke-Hoskins, still discounts all the pertinent facts, 'My brother was first class all the way. He would not check into a $3 a night motel; that wasn’t his style", and yet there he was at a $3 a night motel with a prostitute at 3am and he signed in using his own name. Cooke, had no problem looking at himself in the mirror and knowing who and what he was. Though it appears, that to this day his family still can't do the same.

Mariachi Rawk       July 18th   2012

Mash-ups are popular right now, this trendy style of mixing is accomplished by weaving or working two separate songs into one. It's only natural that this would only lead to more experimentation on the part of producers and musicians. For instance, what would happen if you took the dog eared pop ballads of The Fab Four and mashed 'em up with Mexican Mariachi music?.....  put your imagination to rest,  for there's a musical group in Albuquerque that is doing just that. 

Is America ready for mariachi rock? Joe "Fucking" Arpaio be damned!  I think we are. Although it's in vogue to hate Mexicans at the moment, you know that we're as much a part of the USA as the Irish. As Chingo Bling would say, "you can't deport us all, culeros!"  So what if we speak Spanish with an English accent, get over it. Just sit back, put some hot sauce on that burrito, slap some Trini Lopez on the turntable and tune in the telly to Jose Jimenez, welcome to America...  the home of mariachi. 

The Death Chronicles  July 26th  2012

The death defying resurrection of Death, is quite possibly one of the biggest stories in the annals of rock music. Death's post mortal rise from the ashes of obscurity and into the bosoms of music critics and fans of obscure music is unprecedented. By comparison, both The Shags and The Monks were as familiar as daybreak when the culture vultures pulled them out of history's dustbin. Whether they were the proto-punk originals that everyone makes them out to be or just opportunistic musicians attempting to glam on to a happening scene is surely up for debate. 

Guitarist, David Hackney's choice of Death as the band's name, was meant to be thought provoking. He had a contrary view of death, "his concept was spinning death from the negative to the positive" said Bobby Hackney in 2010, while adding "It was a hard sell" After originally calling themselves the Rock Fire Funk Express (sounds like one of those pizza parlor animatronic robot bands) David convinced his brothers to change the name of the band to Death. (he dramatically pronounced it  Deeeth!)  Just as well, Rock Fire Funk Express didn't go with the band's new style of music.

Sleaze Rock     July 29th 2012

Instead of lamenting the deafening dullness of contemporary pop/rock  music, I'll give it the Sleaze Rock treatment.... these guys (and gals) make it way too easy.  Here's a stingy slice of the sleazy pie, for your listening and reading pleasure.

Fit For Rivals - "Damage" those old rock music war horses: padded rooms, straightjackets, prescription pills and suicide  are dragged out and flogged to death.  Renee Phoenix sings with her eyeballs, which is not as easy as it sounds.  

Blood On The Dance Floor's "Believe" hits a new low for excruciating power ballads. Jayy (because one Y just won't do) is an emo dead ringer for Ashton Kutchner. Dahvie sounds just like Chris Lilley's schoolgirl (in drag) Ja'mie King.... yeah you see where this is going. 

 "Never Look Back" by The Nearly Deads comes with a warning: "This is what happens when rock and roll mix with the living dead" The Nearly Deads do sound like they have one foot in the grave.

"Knives and Pens"  from Black Veil Brides, reminding us that foppish emo kids get picked on in school. Spoiler alert: the drummer is a girl and not some freakish dwarf.  The anti-bullying thing sorta takes the piss out of my comments

Death By Misadventure: Tommy Bolin   August  13th  2012

Tommy Bolin was the precursor to all those speed riff players who honed their skills studying under various accomplished instructors (ala Randy Rhoads) Bolin however, was a natural, self taught, versatile and driven by a restless compulsion to learn. He was a brilliant jazz fusion guitarist, influenced by American jazz & popular composers (his composition "Owed to G" recorded with Deep Purple, was a tribute to George Gershwin) Bolin was also a silky rock guitarist with an acumen for experimentation, frequently stretching out beyond simple hard rock riffing.

If you were to judge him by his best known solo composition "Post Toastee" you would think he was nothing more than a hedonistic rock & roller hell bound on self destruction. Sadly, there is an element of truth in all assumptions concerning Bolin. "Post Toastee"  is actually meant to be a cautionary tale. Tommy was starting to realize that the only one holding him back was himself. Advice is one thing, following it is another. Ultimately it was his haphazard "catch me when I fall" circle of friends that failed him the most. 


For a Song: Morning Dew    Agust 16th  2012

The well run socialist machine that is Australia hands out suicide pills and injections to all its citizens to spare them the horrors of dying from radiation poisoning. The American sub, attempts to reach American waters so that the crew may have their final wish granted, to die at home. Those left behind take their own lives, each in his own way and at their own leisure. "On the Beach" doesn't have a happy ending, it is after all an apocalyptic drama set in the months after World War III.

That was the national mood in 1960 when Canadian folksinger Bonnie Dobson, fresh off a singing engagement in Los Angeles decided to take in a screening of "On the Beach" The film made a tremendous impression on her, which she explained in an interview, "Particularly at that time because everybody was very worried about the bomb and whether we were going to get through the next 10 years. It was a very immediate problem"

She sat up all night talking with friends about the film and it's impact, once everyone went to bed she started writing the first song she had ever written.  "I'd never written songs and this song just came out and really it was a kind of re-enactment of that film in a way where at the end there is nobody left and it was a conversation between these two people trying to explain what's happening. It was really apocalypse, that was what it was about"

Duck Rock     August 21st. 2012

The folks in Hillsboro did the right thing when they pulled the plug on their annual Apple Festival. How could they do that? everyone asked, the event was extremely popular, drawing a few thousand folks from Southwestern New Mexico and El Paso. It seems that the legions of  drunken bikers loitering around the crowded main street, brawling and pissing in public, clashed with Hillsboro's quaint historical status. Ultimately, the Apple Festival became a nuisance. The time and expense of cleaning up after the sloppy drunk masses outweighed the money being pulled in. 

The Deming Duck races like so many money grubbing festivals held around New Mexico, was once a loosey goosey gathering with an ambiance that was both genial and inviting. A good time was advertised and more often than not, that was the case. Sadly, just like the Balloon Fiesta, the State Fair, The Whole Enchilada and the Hatch Chile Festival it's been taken over by professional vendors. Every last one of them feels that the consumer should foot the bill for their travel expenses and this is reflected in yearly price hikes.


Sleaze Rock   August   26th   2012

This edition of Sleaze rock will focus on contradictions and contrasts. First we have El duce educating women on their poor choices in trying to find "Mr.Right".  Underneath his violent, alcoholic, sociopathic demeanor and fun loving personality,GG Allin was certifiably insane. The bullshit Nelson and DC Talk were trying to sell us was no better than those two, and in some ways it was much worse.  You were warned!

This sleaze rock special is the king daddy of sleazy shit. El Duce sings.... like a donkey brays, "Bad Taste in Men" Apparently this video was filmed by D. W. Griffith and the audio recorded by Thomas Edison. Shitty production is befitting of shitty music, Top YouTube Comment: "so utterly devoid of any manner of artistic quality or effort, tis almost genius. I'm MAXIN'!"  emwprop

GG Allin - Die When You Die, GG Allin was a despicable, homophobic, deranged, perverted, racist asshole. I bet his problems stemmed from the fact that he was hung like a chipmunk. Top YouTube Comment: "If you don't want to see spelling errors never fucking open anything with GG in the title. Now fuck off"   stupidgenious1

Nelson - After the Rain, I must agree with the drunken step dad, that kid is fucking worthless, "sits in that room listens  to the tapes" Nelson's whiteness subsists in as a global cognitive dysfunction that upholds the Manichean divide.

DC Talk - Colored People, These hubris swilling asshats had all the appeal of a Hitler Youth Rally.  Smug trivialities and hackneyed bromides devoid of existential authenticity.  Top You Tube Comment: satan (I give him the grammatical middle finger by not capitalizing his name) jollyroger330

Jon Little's Greatest Hits    Sept. 7th 2012

Meow or Roarrr?, I'm a mellow fellow... I choose meow. There's currently a resurgence of Jon Forrest Little's music or maybe a revival would be a better way to describe it. No matter, this is a turn of events that makes me very happy. If you're not familiar with Jon's music, here's your chance. Jon Forrest Little's greatest hits.... as it stands.

Clampett Report- Big Hits      Sept. 16th  2012

I reposted this playlist (Clampett Report is Carl Petersen) and its companion piece, Jon Little's Greatest Hits as a tribute to John Eric Johnson, as his friends gathered in Albuquerque for a celebration of his life.  Carl Petersen is a brilliant musician and songwriter, but you can find out for yourself... just press play.

For a Song: It Ain't Easy     Sept 17th 2012

"Then you jump back down to the rooftops and look out over the town, think about all the strange things circulating round" Ziggy Stardust was a composite of leather clad rocker, Vince Taylor (who was born in England, raised in California and rose to fame in France) and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy (Norm Odam) a bizarre musician from Lubbock,Tx. who released a novelty single called "Paralyzed" (he was accompanied by T-Bone Burnett on drums) Norm Odam is considered the originator of hellbilly music, he had his brief heyday between 1968 & 1970. 

"Satisfaction, satisfaction, keep me satisfied.." Bowie's version of "It ain't Easy" replicates the original, which Ron  Davies recorded in 1970. It was included on his excellent debut album "Silent Song Through The Land" (vinyl copies now go for $120 and higher) Davies presents the song in a spiritual deep blues style, complete with some very effective "old timey" vocals. (somewhat similar to Dave Edmund's vocal on I Hear You Knocking) It's a chameleon of a song and no matter who records it and when, the song just seems to mold itself to the artist.

"It Ain't Easy" strikes at the heart of our most basic and primal urges... to feel that our lives have  purpose and fulfillment. Standing on a rooftop, Ziggy looks down on the streets, rock & roll has fallen out of favor because there's no electricity with which to play it anymore. Yet he needs a way to convey his message, Ziggy Stardust resurrects rock & roll as his medium of communication. All the young dudes carry the news, but the news was all bad and in the end Ziggy is ripped apart in order for the formless aliens who have arrived on earth to achieve human form.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dirt City Chronicles- Year in Review 2012

Oh, Ranger! for America     April 2nd.  2012
The Indian School ditch, bears the high water mark of our expectations. The big ditch skater cults gave us one of the best bands that Albuquerque will ever see (even if they didn't, it's still a good lead-in) "Oh, Ranger!" you say? Naw! it was The Skunks. (Lead vocalist & guitarist- Boyd Reno,  bassist- Gil Sanchez, keyboardist-Lucas Spider and drummer- Noelan Ramirez)

The Skunks, traced their roots to a teen worship band that Boyd & Noelan played in. The addition of Lucas Spider and Gil Sanchez in 1998, put the final pieces in place. Tentatively they set out to test the rock & roll waters of their hometown. The Skunks were no stinkaroos and almost from the get-go their infectious music drew a devoted fan base.  

That Dirt City Sound Episode 25   April 4th    2012
Oh My God! some more Oh, Ranger!  I present the third and final installment  of my Oh, Ranger! trilogy. I feel a sadness wrapping up this project, these guys have kinda grown on me.  Actually I'm not quite done with them yet! I'm planning a feature on Noelan Ramirez and the many bands and musical projects he's been involved in over the years. That's for later and this is for now, Episode 25 of That Dirt City Sound (dedicated to the late great Oh, Ranger!)

Barb Wire Dolls: Hellas Good!      April 6th   2012
Hey, Hey! My, My! with bands like the Barb Wire Dolls around rock & roll will never die. Most of the time I have to go dig up my stories, but every once in a while, the story comes to me.  Just as the future of rock music was starting to look mighty bleak, the Barb Wire Dolls, fronted by Debbie Harry  doppelgänger, Isis Queen landed  in my hometown. This punk rock foursome from Greece, has touched down in America with all the subtleness of wayward Soviet space junk. They've hit the ground running, and the luv 'em or hate 'em bandwagon is gathering momentum with astonishing speed.

The Barb Wire Dolls have several things going in their favor that have allowed them to jump to the head of the line. (something that seems to have rubbed some U.S. punk fanatics the wrong way) Fair enough... I guess, but the total package presented by the Dolls is hard to beat. 1. Having a charismatic blonde bombshell as your lead vocalist, makes all the difference in the world.  2. They are the first commercially viable punk rock band to come along in some time 3. they're enthusiastic without being boorish 4. they play with the same "fuck you" abandon of the first wave punk bands. 

Yuckfest!   April 12th.  2012
104.1 The Edge is holding a cattle call, the local band that gets the most votes will open on the main stage at Edgefest, while five others will play the local stage.  Besides the usual suspects fresh from whatever Northeast Heights garage they spawned from, there's some well known bands in the mix. Battle tested groups with an album or two under their belts (Lousy Robot, Vertigo Venus, SuperGiant, Red Light Cameras, Anesthesia, Indemnified) are joined by some unlikely entries (The Noms, The Glass Menageries, Next 2 the Tracks,  Bat Wings for Lab Rats,, The Harlow Defense, La Junta, Gusher) 

 While it's referred to as  "Edgefest" there's nothing cutting edge about it.  Incubus (from the mean streets of Calabasas) is headlining, they'll be joined by  Bowling Green's Cage the Elephant and the wildmen of Winter Haven,  Anberlin.  There's no shortage of gruntcore metal amongst the entrants,  which proves once again that no matter how much locals try to guzzy up the old señorita with trendy dives and hipster boutiques, at heart 'Burque is just an uncouth, mullet wearing  ingrate.

That Dirt City Sound Episode 26   April 12th.  2012
This is you Albuquerque, twenty... count 'em, twenty bands from the Dirt City. What does this say about Albuquerque's music scene?  It says that there's a lot of bands out there and a large percentage of them are playing metal.

Sleaze Rock    April 13th    2012
This sleaze rock special "I love you so" by Cassius (the French electronica duo comprised of Philippe Zdar and Hubert Blanc-Francart. pitches an app for iPhone. It's a crappy fan video,  the highlight of which is a random girl placing a talking phone between her legs. Ooh-la-la!  
"These Boots are made for Walkin" from Belgium's Hellsonics, who are menacing in way that Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra never imagined. Part of the new wave of  Euro trash hellbilly band
 Drain S.T.H., (Sweden's all-female answer to Silver Chair) "Crack the Liar's Smile" Maria Sjöholm, the lead singer is now married to Tony Iommi. With those helicopters blades whirling around, I kept waiting for a Vic Morrow moment. 
"Waiting for the Big One" from Femme Fatale, fronted by raspy voiced Lorraine Lewis.  This cheesy crapola reeks of sexual innuendo. Lorraine would soon realize that this bunch didn't have the big one in them and she dumped the  chumps. Top YouTube comment:  "I got the big one your (sic)looking for baby." Menyhard1

The Graphic   April 17th. 2012  (annual state of the blog post)
If there's one thing I've learned over the past two years, it's that most rock musicians don't want to rehash the past. Those funky little downtown bands that they played in, while near and dear to our hearts were just youthful follies. Now with college degrees in hand, they'd rather not be reminded of their musical missteps. My e-mail requests for band info and interviews went unanswered, so I quit sending them. How do you write about a band if all you have is a jewel case insert to go by?

My solution to the problem was simple, "take whatever scraps of information I could dig up on the internet, add local color (while staying within the lines as much as possible) stir in enough cynical, smart ass bullshit to keep readers riveted... and publish." On a side note, if you quote a musician and he calls you on it, they're bluffing. Nobody remembers what they said ten years ago, that's wishful fucking thinking. The truth is that nobody out there knows any more or any less than I do.

Death By Misadventure: El Duce     April 19th  2012
Eldon Hoke shouldn't be remembered for anything, much less as an integral piece  to the Kurt Cobain murder conspiracy puzzle.  If not for an interview British film maker Nick Broomfield conducted with Eldon Hoke in 1997, the entire Courtney Love  murdered Kurt Cobain theory  would have died a well deserved death. That without a doubt, would have pleased Courtney to no end. Broomfield's interview and documentary ignited an eternal flame  forever fueled by nutcase conspiracy theorists. 

After his final performance on  April 18, 1997 at Al's Bar in Los Angeles.  El Duce proceeded on one of his customary drinking binges.  The following evening he showed up in the company of a man he claimed to have met that day.  Just one week had passed since his interview with Broomfield and Eldon Hoke was exhibiting signs of extreme paranoia. The two men shuffled off into the night to continue their debauchery.

The following day, Hoke's mangled body was discovered on the railroad tracks in Riverside, Ca.  I won't dwell on the irony of a man called El Duce being killed by a train that ran on time. Hoke had either  fallen asleep on the tracks, drunkenly stumbled or been pushed in front of an oncoming train by the mysterious stranger. The conclusion you draw depends on whether you subscribe to the Cobain murder conspiracy theories or not

El Vez: Con Safos!      April 22nd.  2012
It's early in the evening and  El Vez is standing in front of the big picture window facing the front drive at Graciasland. He's flanked by the Elvettes ( Priscilita, Gladysita, Lisa Maria, and Que Linda Thompson)  They are all mesmerized by the sight of Jerry Li Luis repeatedly ramming the gates with his car, while El's Akal rent-a-cops cower nearby.  A frantic El Vez  yells into the intercom "Pendejos you better do something, he's bending my wrought iron guitars!"

The first bullet hits Jerry Li Luis right between the eyes, but he doesn't drop, because the next 100 rounds that strike hold him up. He finally hits the ground with a cow pattie plop. "Ala verga!" screams El Vez "Lock the fucking door and draw the curtains" he yells at the Elvettes "that crazy chilipino has more holes in him than Johnny Thunder's arms." The Elvettes coo in unison, "Papi, you better wake up and smell the real flavor, 'Burque cops shoot and ask questions later."

The Taos Home Companion    April 30th   2012
Burton Jespersen has his feet firmly planted in Taos, "this old dirt road is in my blood, you can taste the wood smoke, the earth and mud. With New Mexico as a backdrop, Burton brings each song home.  His plaintive voice paints  pictures of "a big river carving out the land" His lyrical imagery  takes us to a space and place that he calls home "smell the wood smoke in the air, chamisas  blooming everywhere."

At the rate of an album every ten years, we may yet get another album or two out of Burton Jespersen before it's all said and done.  That's not a problem, here in New Mexico we understand long gaps, seemingly endless stretches of nothing and prolonged absences.  "The land of mañana" will always refer to old Mexico, but New Mexico still remains the land of "maybe mañana."

Sleaze Rock       May 2nd,    2012
Oh Boy! it's time for another edition of that guilty pleasure I call Sleaze Rock. No academic pretensions here, just talking smack and capping on bad music videos. I remind you that all YouTube comments posted are actual comments (spelling errors intact) and those are actual YouTube user names. Seriously!, benuranusdover, winstonchuchill, jamgoskat334 ..... like  I could make that shit up. 
"Happiness" by Pacifist, and it's a fucking bonafide tard fest of bad taste. Surrounded By Monsters,  "Dr Phuck"  hits your eardrums like a sharp icepick.  iwrestledabearonce - "You know that ain't them dogs' real voices"  Women shouldn't grunt like that, unless they're playing tennis or pulling a plow.  Yet, I feel strangely compelled to go into the kitchen and make this bitch a sandwich. Brokencyde-  "Freaxxx"   This isn't new but it still sucks the corn out of a pig's ass. Ha! you know that ain't them gurls' real voices!  

The Mighty Tragic Romance     May 5th  2012
Has it been that long since Tragic Romance broke-up?  It appears so, but hold on to your Aquanet (in the non-aerosol pump bottle, of course!) because this bromance isn't over yet. On June 1st. at the world famous Whisky A Go Go, Tragic Romance will reunite for a cd release party/ video shoot. Billy Miles Brooke and all the original members of Tragic Romance (with the exception of Britt) are back together to celebrate the release of the band's latest album "Hollywood Daze" The Tragic Romance catalog is mighty slim, so this is welcomed news for hardcore fans. 

For those of you not familiar with the band (they weren't local) there is an incentive to care. Billy Miles Brooke, the lead singer cut his teeth playing Albuquerque's bars and dives. He left for Los Angeles and then like the prodigal son, returned home.... to Santa Fe. Time waits for no one and Billy didn't dwell on the past, since his return to New Mexico, he's been involved with local rockers The Dirty Novels and Pan!c, thus keeping himself relevant and up to date. 

Billy Miles Brooke is hands down the hardest working man in rock & roll.  His highly acclaimed solo album "All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go" revisited that great era of music that began with The Stones' "Beggars Banquet" and ended with "Exiles on Main St." Billy Brooke recently took time to answer a few questions and to give us the skinny on Tragic Romance, one of those great bands that got lost in the music biz shuffle. Billy hits on a number of topics: The Strip, The Whisky, Gene Simmons, Prince, The Dirty Novels, Pan!c and kickball.

Unleash The Raggies     May 15th   2012
The painting  was titled "End of the World" and it depicted one big mother of an orgy.  Naked men and women, in living color and graphic detail, all entwined in every position imaginable. It was one endless human chain of sexual perversion and indulgence. I took it to be a parody of English painter John Martin's "The Great Day of his Wrath" which depicts the destruction of Babylon and the material world by natural cataclysm.

Inhibitions and modesty aside, that's how I want to go, and when the end does come (and it can't be soon enough) I'm popping "Raggie III- Madre de Dios" into the boombox and turning the volume up to 11. If these are indeed "the end days" then it's good to know that just as local music is slipping into the doldrums of apathy and complacency. The Raggies can come along and drop a solid package of party tunes to lively up yourself. 

Once again, The Raggies prove that they have what so many local bands are missing.... a fucking personality! (take note you limp dick charlatans) "Raggies III- Madre de Dios" is nothing short of  a hedonistic masterpiece devoted to the pursuit of epicurean pleasures. Jack isn't one to mince words, as he wryly wreaks havoc on the delicate sensibilities of those who prefer discretion. There's no beating around the bush (pun fully intended) If you seek subtle innuendo, then seek elsewhere, this is the adult table. Treat yourself, don't cheat yourself, buy this album, buy all their albums, buy some beer, get some weed. Live your life to the fullest, it's the middle of May, 2012 and the end is near.

The Silver City Blues Festival 2012     May 22nd.  2012
It's time to bust out your best fedora or Tilley hat and make plans to be in Silver City for the 2012 Silver City Blues Festival on Memorial Day weekend. This event has always been an exemplary exhibition of contemporary blues music. However, this year's roster of musicians seems a bit underwhelming. There is a wealth of talent lined up, just not as much as one would hope to see.

The Silver City Blues Festival, like The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta has taken on a life of its own. People will attend, simply because it's something to do and a good enough reason to knock back a few. The few available hotel/motel rooms available can be had for a poor man's ransom ($150 a night at the Econo Lodge?) Don't let it be said that Silver City can't gouge with the best of the

Sleaze Rock    May 24th     2012
With this edition of Sleaze Rock I’m cutting against the grain.  Not all sleaze rock videos flaunt their dubious artistic value.  Some are asininely obfuscating in subtle ways, others are idiotically monotonous, simplistic and ill conceived. While some may shower them with praise, I call them on their shit. Keeping 'em on their toes, that's what I do.

Sleep Party People - I'm Not Human At All, Sonnets for somnambulists and nonpathologic reverie. Crookers- Lick my Lennon,  (something got lost in the translation, again!)  While She Sleeps- Be (lie)ve  Sir, I can tell are a connoisseur of music by the way you spell cack" Centhron's Dreckstück.  "Entschuldigen Sie, steht vielleicht 'Fick mich!' auf meiner Stirn geschrieben?, hehe... ich schreibe jetzt deutsch weil ihr mich nicht versteht.

Death by Misadventure: Bobby Fuller     May 31st.  2012
During the exuberant era that preceded the Summer of Love, Bobby Fuller was an anomaly. He was a clean cut  young man with a quiet nature with a blatant reverence for Buddy Holly.    Even as "I Fought the Law" hit the charts in 1966 (a song he had first recorded in 1964) His style of music was already viewed as passé.  This moment of triumph would later reveal that Fuller was already struggling to stay relevant.

In all likelihood, Fuller was also the first casualty of the 1960's counter culture movement. He was almost certainly a murder victim, although who killed him and why remains a mystery to this day. Murder conspiracies abound in rock & roll music, they're mostly unfounded theories pulled from thin air by nutcase fanatics. Fuller's case is the rare exception, upon further examination, the LAPD's hasty labeling of his death as a suicide does beg for an explanation.

For a Song: Dazed and Confused      June 7th    2012
"In 1990, Musician magazine quizzed Page on the subject, asking if Holmes was the original composer. "I don't know about all that," Page replied. "I'd rather not get into it because I don't know all the circumstances. What's he got – the riff or whatever? ... I haven't heard Jake Holmes so I don't know what it's all about anyway. Usually my riffs are pretty damn original."

All one has to do is listen to both versions back to back to know that Jimmy Page is lying through his fucking teeth. In many ways Holmes' version is superior to Led Zeppelin's (nevermind the rather abysmal versions recorded by The Yardbirds) Holmes' track is stark, punctuated by a series of caesuras or dramatic silences (which Page also incorporated)

Led Zeppelin's version is a wailing wall of ruckus, during which faux-cocksman Robert Plant moans and groans his way to a climax. It's not pretty, but then again, Led Zeppelin by its very nature was never meant to be pretty or subtle.  Keith Relf, who had far more in common with Jake Holmes than he did with Robert Plant, sticks to more traditional blues vocals, complete with harmonica solo.

The Song Remains Ingrained    June 12th   2012
Don't get me wrong, Jimmy Page is a great guitar player, a shitty human being,  a Satan worshiper, a recovering smack fiend, but a truly gifted musician, nonetheless.  Did he steal from a litany of musical sources? The evidence weighs heavily against him, but that doesn't diminish his greatest, though it could taint his legacy.
Like everything else that I write about, I dole out praise and dirt in equal portions. But, unlike some people, I'm not a Led Zeppelin hater. I celebrate their entire catalog, the band is one of the greatest rock bands ever.  Led Zeppelin changed the face of modern rock as much as the Beatles or Rolling Stones, their music is a testament to that fact.      
The Led Zeppelin Plagiarism Compendium is an online discussion board or forum, where rock music fans gather to slag, bag or nag about  Jimmy's alleged thievery. They've published a list of the songs in question. For no good reason whatsoever, I've decided to investigate the matter and post my highly opinionated and uninformed findings.

Kingdom Clone    June 14th  2012
The crux of the problem, for Lenny Wolf and Kingdom Come was that they sounded just like Led Zeppelin. A fact that rock music critics couldn't ignore, it wasn't long before the band found itself tagged with the derisive moniker of "Kingdom Clone"  The backlash from critics didn't derail the Kingdom Come express, at least not at first. In 1988 they signed on as openers for "The Monsters of Rock" tour featuring The Scorpions, Van Halen, Metallica & Dokken. As the music press continued to hound the band over their derivative "Led Zeppelin" style, the tour soured for them.
Lenny Wolf drew the ire of his fellow countrymen, The Scorpions, who took exception to his using parts of the stage reserved for them. Kingdom Come suddenly had all the appeal of a rotting corpse, they were dropped from the tour. PolyGram looking to hit again while the iron was still lukewarm, marched them back into the studio. The resulting album "In Your Face" went straight to the bargain bins and Kingdom Come went straight into the dustbin of history reserved for "one hit wonders"  

C.W. Ayon- Lohmador     June 21    2012
In the past CW Ayon has been compared to the White Stripes or the Black Keys, that's no longer the case. With his latest album "Lohmador" Coop has gracefully come into his own style. The most pleasant surprise about CW's new album is that his vocals, often buried in the thump & growl of his previous albums, are in full effect.  
In terms of studio production, "Lohmador" really hits the bull's eye.  The mix on "Lohmador" really favors Coop's strengths while, mitigating the  repetitive tendencies so common in the "one man band" genre.  The result is a sublimely textured musical document that flows with a fluidity rarely found in the aforementioned musical tradition.

Death By Misadventure- John Bonham    June 27th 2012
John Bonham was an average bloke, who lived a conventional lifestyle. He was troubled by the most mundane of circumstances. (marriage, insufficient income, no car, rent payments) Nonetheless, Bonzo held on to his dreams with steadfast determination. He was a rather conservative sort, who could play the ruffian if need be. Alcohol was his drug of choice and by the time he joined up with Grant & the boys, he was probably already in the early stages of alcoholism.

The cause of death was asphyxiation, which means he simply choked on his own vomit, having rolled onto his back sometime during the 24 hours he was left unattended. A coroner's inquest declared it was an accidental death, no other drugs were found in his system. The report theorized that John Bonham had consumed over 40 shots of vodka during the final day of his life.  John Henry Bonham, aka Bonzo was just 32 years old at the time of his death.

John Eric Johnson    June 28th  2012
There is regret in the passing of someone so talented, but the music itself didn't die. That's the beauty of recorded music, we'll always have it. Just as we'll always have the memory of a musician's  musician and a dear friend to so many, John Eric Johnson.

Dread Zeppelin    June 29th  2012
Putman & Ramsey came up with Dread Zeppelin, which one music writer described as "the musical equivalent of the witness protection program" In order to avoid any legal problems, Putman & Ramsey played it tongue in cheek. 

The idea of infusing Led Zeppelin songs with reggae was probably something they accidentally stumbled upon, as was their chance meeting with Elvis impersonator Tortelvis (real name Greg Tortell)  Dread Zeppelin quickly incorporated the sumo sized vocalist (he's nowhere near that big, he augments his girth with padding) into their stage show.

Legend has it that the band was cruising around Sierra Madre in their car, when Tortell, who was driving a home delivery truck for a local dairy, rear ended them. That's their story and they're sticking by it, it was even immortalized in one of the band's videos. The truth is that Greg Tortell was a delivery driver for a Sierra Madre dairy  (he still works there, although he was promoted to sales years ago)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dirt City Chronicles- Year in Review 2012

8 Tracks- The Tropopause Lounge,     Jan 1st. 2012
A mixed bag of Albuquerque bands, Small Flightless Birds, Man About a Horse, Lousy Robot, Sunset Gun, Rondelles, GoMotorCar, I is for Ida, Satellite Decoder

The Flux Main Stream,     Jan 5th, 2012
Martin Stamper (Fast Heart Mart) continues his musical sojourn across America. A journey that brought him back to  Albuquerque and has included stops in Las Cruces, Tucson and San Diego.  The Flux Main Stream features homespun performances, direct from a cozy living room, sitting next to a Christmas tree and surrounded by strategically placed vinyl albums and cd's.

8 Tracks- before you drive away    Jan  5th, 2012
Eclectic playlist featuring New Mexico bands, Romeo Goes to Hell, Canyonlands, The Coma Recovery, Stupid Beautiful Radio, Bum Out Patrol, The Foxx, Volume Volume, Oh! Ranger.   I miss this feature, I may just revive it.

Death By Misadventure: Layne Staley     Jan. 11th. 2012
There was nothing spectacular about Layne Staley, other than his voice and uncanny ability to channel inner pain into poetic song lyrics. Like so many other musicians from Seattle's grunge scene, he was ill equipped and unprepared for the sudden fame and wealth that came his way.

They entered the dark room, illuminated by the flickering light of a television, and on the couch sitting upright was Layne Staley. He had been dead for two weeks and had basically decomposed into the cushions.

Layne was surrounded by drug paraphernalia, a stash of cocaine, two crack pipes, numerous spray paint cans and syringes. In his hand was a syringe loaded with heroin. Nancy McCallum approached and spoke to Layne in a soft voice as she tried to clean up around him.

The Shins- Port of Morrow,     Jan. 12th 2012
Lowered expectations equals lower stress levels, but the world is much different now than it was in 2007. In an ever changing musical landscape dominated by dub step and auto tuned madness, The Shins are nothing more than an after thought. I fear that "Port of Morrow" will set sail and slowly sink in the murky waters of apathy.  With James the only remaining member with an  Albuquerque connection, should we really give a fuck anymore? 

The Quixotic Quest, Jan 16th  2012
If you want cd quality buy the compact discs. Or better yet, buy vinyl ((I hear that's the purest of all sound mediums) I'm not a purist when it comes to sound. When recording, I set my recorders to near cd quality and  don't give it another thought (especially if I'm not paying for it)  While serving In the military, I fell in with a group of audiophiles. 

Each one would spend thousands on a system and then everyone would gather round to listen (while getting fucking hammered) I recall my friend Steve telling me "Listen... listen to the hi-hats, do you hear the hi- hats, can you hear the cymbals? I couldn't hear shit!, I was leaning into the wind and ready to pass out on the floor.

What Makes a Baby Wolf Sad?    Jan 26th, 2012
Sad Baby Wolf recently released two original songs, if  you haven't heard them, shame on ya' they're all over the interwebs. "Survival Guide" uses low key brooding vocals, over a bed of dissonant instrumentation to good effect. This track gives a nod to the sound that is so uniquely 'Burque (best exemplified by The Mindy Set, The Giranimals, The Oktober People, Of God & Science, The Breaktones, A Man About a Horse and Soular) 

"8th. Level" sounds like Flake Music (more so than The Shins) Marty sings with an every man's voice that is strangely effective despite its limited range.  The indie vibe of the music doesn't mask the band's experimental tendencies. It's more than obvious that James Mercer wasn't the only one listening to the Elephant 6 collective. "8th Level" skirts the boundaries of noise-oriented pop with a healthy dose of feedback samples, the good chemistry in Sad Baby Wolf is evident and it looks good on them.

Sad Baby Wolf- Videos  Jan. 29th, 2012
A series of videos from Sad Baby Wolf, all compliments of YouTube (where would we be without it?) The first video is an audio only version of "Survival Guide"  followed by a performance at  The Pony Club in Portland.  "Roaming" features Neal effectively using a ringing slide guitar sound to propell  the song like some giant Slinky.  Marty's understated vocals  travel well across the intimate space in which the band performs. 

There's also three songs from the band's July 8th 2011 performance at Low Spirits in Albuquerque.  Charged with coiled energy, Sad Baby Wolf rolls out another version of "Roaming", this one features Neal playing a lap steel guitar. The mix is a little muddy, but they do get their point across.  "Electric Sounds" switches over to a straight ahead indie rock vibe. "8th Level" is the live version of a song they released as a single (along with Survival Guide)

Disguster is Beyond Disgusting     Jan. 30th, 2012
Let's clear one thing up before I proceed any further. I'm writing about Disguster the punk rock band from Fullerton, Ca. A band that Gary Schwind of The Orange County Music Examiner calls "a high-octane, well-lubricated  rock n roll machine." Just what kind of lubrication is left strictly to your imagination (liquor, spit, motor oil, KY Jelly, bacon fat) 
There is another Disguster on the national music scene, a turgid group of black (as in Satanic) metal heads from Massachusetts. If that's who you were interested in, then read no further.  Disguster would have you think that they are disgusting.   On the surface and judging by their song lyrics that would seem to be the case. Or as their drummer puts it "We call ourselves Disguster because Disgust wasn't  disgusting enough."

That Dirt City Sound Episode 24,  Feb. 7th, 2012
 That Dirt City Sound Episode 24 (a.k.a All's fair in Love or War) features tracks from the 2007 Pin-Up Calendar Companion Cd "New Mexico Rocks" compilation album, de*tach records compilation (2004) and The Jenny Clinkscales Band's 1998 "Mind if We Join You?"
I recently came across a stash of twenty or so unopened compact discs by local bands. They've been sitting in my closet for almost three years, it's time that they saw the light of day.

Death by Misadventure- Brad Nowell,  Feb. 8th.  2012
It was roots music, an eclectic fusion of punk and ska, interspersed with Spanish lyrics that instantly made Sublime unique. Bradley Nowell could channel all the dysfunctional, mind fucking problems faced by the homeboys and turn them into songs that celebrated SoCal culture. (in all its obnoxious, macho, violence prone glory)  Just like Brian Wilson,  Nowell had a knack for creating music that was uniquely Californian. 

Nowell looked down on non-users who tried to get him to quit "You guys don't understand because, you don't do heroin." Bradley equated the rush of a heroin high with the same rush he felt when surfing, they were one and the same. His addiction was a badge of honor, a rite of passage, if afforded him membership to an elite and ultra hip society.

Dirt City Babylon,  Feb. 10th, 2012
David Lee Roth once complained that after Eddie & Alex Van Halen got married all they wanted to do was stay home with their wives. I agree, that's not rock and roll, that's fucking domestication. The best rockers are the party animals, unfortunately they're also the ones that die off.

I'll use Sublime as an example (I just wrote about them so it's still fresh on my mind) In 1995 they were signed to co-headline the inaugural Vans Warped Tour (on the strength of their hit "Date Rape") The band's over the top behavior and drug use soon caused friction with tour organizers.

Bud Gaugh later summarized: "Basically our daily regimen was wake up, drink, drink more, play and drink a lot more. We'd call people names, nobody got our sense of humor"  (hate is so misunderstood as a comedy medium) Gaugh went on, "Then we brought the dog out and he bit a few skaters and that was the last straw."

That's fucked up, but it also makes writing about Sublime, a whole lot easier than say Soular. Which I assume was a nice band made up of some nice musicians, and that's fine unless you're trying to write about them. Rock & Roll Babylon hypes itself, it also makes the writer's job easier.

The Miss Alans,   Feb. 17th   2012
In the heart of the San Joaquin Valley a sound was born in the unlikely agricultural hub of  Central California.  In the 1990's a handful of Fresno-based bands emerged.  Adhering  to a shared vision of dreampop and shoegazer glory,  they developed a sound greater than the sum of their influences.

If you're thinking "Bullshit! I never heard of them" trust me, I feel your pain. Failure to  launch is a term that Duke City bands know all too well. Fresno's shoegazers also found themselves strapped to a rocket with nowhere to go.  The Miss Alans..misfired, Sparklejet.. sputtered, Supreme Love Gods..unloved, The Sleepover Disaster.. missed their wake-up call.

Trying to describe the "Fresno Sound" is like trying to describe the sound of the wind. Simply put, it was the music of hazily low-key psychedelic dreampoppers. "A bracing swarm of guitars and off-kilter expressiveness."  A trippy sound that often seemed to wobble like warped vinyl.   "Come as you are" was the order of the day. 

Fresno musicians have been quoted as saying that "Fresno is cultural wasteland" musicians have often said the same about 'Burque. In either case there's an element of truth." Fresno was once ranked dead last in a study of the smartest cities in the United States. I couldn't tell you where Albuquerque placed, but I bet it wasn't much higher up the list.

Kalifornien über Chaos     Feb. 23rd.  2012
Ranger was joined by a host of anonymous musicians.  Their identities didn't really matter, in fact, the music itself didn't matter. It was just the means to an end. A student of the Third Reich and military tactics, Ranger wasted no time in forming an inner circle of like minded teenagers. He even authored a four part code that they adhered to: 1. be yourself  2. live your own life  3. fuck social values   4. fight for freedom. 

It didn't take long for legit club owners to ban FFF from their clubs. The Cathay de Grande in Hollywood was one of the few where they were allowed to perform. The band would close out their show with "March of 42" an upbeat little ditty that jacks the melody of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" Ranger starts out "Across the pages of history, Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!" the song would signal the start of an orgy of violence and property damage. "Where were you in '42, when there was no place for Jews."

Ranger would goad them on, a  warrior of the wasteland, the new Lord Humungus, the ayatollah of rock-and-rollah. The music was the dog's ass, a wretched piece of shit. Ranger sang with an affected British accent that would suddenly vanish halfway through most songs. The guitarist sounded like he would rather be playing in a Sunset Strip glam metal band, it was fucking horrendous. Fight for Freedom recorded one album, "Ganglife" (cassette only release) A vile and repulsive document that abides by part three of the code: fuck social values.

Saving Worth Wagers    Jan. 27th,  2012
The band chose to take advantage of the down time to rehearse in Mike's garage. As they set up the equipment, Liam Davis reminded Worth Wagers to wear his Chuck Taylors.  The rubber soles of those iconic high tops would serve as an insulator, sparing Worth from the full electrical force. That fateful reminder would save Worth from instant death.
As the band counted down for their first number, Worth while holding his guitar, put his mouth to the microphone. Instantly volts of electricity jolted his body. The guitar strings and frets seared his hand.  He fell straight back having received a massive electrical shock.
Worth's vital signs were weak. As Liam Davis checked his pulse, Worth stopped breathing. Lacking any CPR training the band members stood by, watching in horror as he lay dying.

Been There, Done That      Feb. 28th   2012
I was once a vinyl junkie, more from a lack of options than a love for the format. My vinyl collection once numbered over a thousand  lps.  Although, by the mid-80's I had jettisoned all my vinyl. I sold off the best part of my collection, but  In most cases, I simply abandoned large portions in whatever apartment I was vacating at the time.
It seems that in order to amass and maintain a substantial collection of vinyl records, one needs to have a permanent address.  An unstable or dysfunctional lifestyle does bode well for vinyl collections. Nevertheless, I still have a tiny collection of vinyl.

Happy Leap Day!    Feb. 29th, 2012
I've lived in two places during my lifetime, New Mexico and California.... I celebrate both.  Harry Vanda and George Young (the two Aussies that formed Flash in the Pan) said it best "Up above the sunny skies in south California, There's a wounded rocket flying high, heading homeward.... It came from a hollow, under a hill, And soon there'll be nobody left to kill, In California." Rest assured when that nuke hits, the surf will be fucking awesome!

8 Tracks- Nod your head and swing that chain    March 1st.  2012
Local bands, The Mindy Set, Dirty Novels, Oh! Ranger, The Meek

8 Tracks- Float Away Without a Trace     March 3rd. 2012
Local music, Oh! Ranger, Mistletoe, Scared of Chaka, Stoic Frame, Occult Morphinas

Van Life: Fast Heart Mart    March 11th   2012
Fast Heart Mart (Martin Stamper) eminent sidewalk musician, who formerly made his residence in Albuquerque, but now belongs to the world, checks in with some interesting videos. Martin has been living in San Diego since December (can't say I blame him.)
Here's Martin performing "Depression Proof" from the inside his trusty van, followed by a tour of his iconic home on wheels.  For those of you out there who don't know about Fast Heart Mart, there's a nifty introductory video Martin shot at Joshua Tree.

Sleaze Rock   March 11th.  2012
Sleaze Rock, is a new feature at Dirt City Chronicles. It's inspired by  former Albuquerque resident Mike Judge, and his cartoon characters, Beevis & Butthead who always took great pleasure in skewering music videos of dubious quality. While I like to think that I have a discerning ear for good music, I'm also a big fan of bad music. The worse, the better and there's no shortage of horrendously  ill advised music videos on You Tube. 
Electric Black Horse-Capricorn Girl,  Juggernaught- Mountain Man, The White Trash Cowboys- White Trash Cowboys, Emilie Autumn and Spreng of ASP-Liar

Death By Misadventure- Andrew Wood,   March 12th 2012  (this edition of Death by Misadventure actually features three segments, Andrew Wood, Shannon Hoon & GG Allin)

I've touched on this before, many Northwest rockers of the 1990's were poorly prepared for the pressures of stardom.  A few Seattle based vocalists, survived the rise and fall of grunge rock.  As most dull boys tend to do, they played it safe and lived to tell the tale. However, they all paled in comparison to Andrew Wood. The Love Child was born to be the stardog champion, he had the looks and charisma that all his contemporaries seemed to lack.  A natural showman, Andrew craved and thrived under the spotlight. 

On the degenerate scale of outlandish drug use, Shannon Hoon ranks in the middle. Not that he didn't try, rather his time ran out before he could fully explore his capacity for depravity. There was something pathetic about Shannon, it might have been that Blind Melon was so obviously a flukey one-hit wonder.  Whatever it was, his death drew more derision or contempt than sympathy. His life hardly caused a ripple, his death barely raised a blip.

Throughout his musical career Allin had promised to commit suicide onstage. Whether one believes that  he actually carried out this threat or not,  depends on how you choose to define  "onstage." GG Allin considered the entire world his stage.  GG Allin exited this world in the middle of a party crowd, but he might as well have been on the moon."I've hit the bottom of the glass, there's just one way to go, the world I've chosen for my own is one you'll never know, when I die, when I die, down to Hell is my final destination"


For a Song: Hey Joe        March 17th   2012
The Leaves, a Los Angeles garage punk band recorded the first rock version of "Hey Joe" in 1965. They gave the songwriting credit to Dino Valenti. Their first version was poorly recorded and ended up sounding like a demo, it flopped. They went back to the studio and recorded a cleaner version, this one hit.  In 1967, The Music Machine deconstructed the song, turning it into a psychedelic sludge fest. Sean Bonniwell brazenly mixed original lyrics with improvisations like "I guess I'll take my life down in Mexico" or "Hey Joe you can't die until you talk" and my favorite "I see that death is the glove that fits the hand of time" (all the band members wore a single black glove, a quirk made famous by Bobby Jameson and of course Michael Jackson )

8 Tracks: Hey Joe   March 18th.  2012
Eight essential cover versions of Hey Joe

Sleaze Rock      March 22    2012
Shabby,  dirty,  vulgar and tawdry. It's time for another edition of Dirt City Chronicle's "Sleaze Rock Specials."  I Love YouTube, let me count the ways... 1, 2, 3, 4  as in four morally suspect videos of shoddy quality. Go ahead and watch them, what happens in the Dirt City stays in the Dirt City. 
S.Mouse- Poo on You, Nico- All Tomorrow's Parties, Our Broken Garden - Seven Wild Horses, Nachtmahr- Mein Name

Boyd Reno is John Center     March 31, 2012
He's also Gray Beast, a musical collaboration with childhood chum, Lucas Spider. Both musicians jettisoned the Duke City for Seattle long ago, that doesn't mean that we don't miss them. This post is a teaser for a subsequent article that should tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Albuquerque's late, great  Oh, Ranger!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Lucky Fun Time Party

During 2012 nothing captured the moment quite like "Gangnam Style", but does that mindlessly inoffensive K-Pop tune signal  the apocalyptic end of all ends?  In a world where too many people have too much time on their hands, someone did the research. Nostradamus, who's predictions are always on the mark when viewed in retrospect, predicted that the calm morning, a dancing horse and nine zeroes would beckon the end of the world.

That worldwide dance craze known as "Gangnam Style" is infectiously appealing, thanks mostly to Korean pop singer PSY's "horsey dance" One plus Nine zeroes equals a billion, the number of views that the song (already the most viewed video ever) will soon have on YouTube.  If that's not enought to make you think... WTF?..... Korea, the birthplace of  "Gangnam Style" is also known as the "Land of the Morning Calm"

Relate this to the apocalyptic prophesy of the Mayan Calendar (the end will come on Dec. 21, 2012) and you have a zany shitstorm of end times conspiracy fodder.  Just think, YouTube is now the ticking clock that's counting down towards the end of life as we know it.  All along, we thought that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the devil, when in fact it was PSY, a bland, dorky K-Pop rapper.  Who the fuck is this guy and what the fuck is Gangnam Style?

"Gangnam Style" is a geeky celebration of having it all.... youth, money, time, women, style, attitude.  South Korea is rarely noted for being cool or fashionable, but for the first time in history they set the trend. "Gangnam Style" sports a sense of swagger that cuts across language barriers and cultural differences. It's the song that launched a thousands memes, parodies and led to grown ass,  white American males trotting around like a pony.

PSY is Park Jae-sang, a thirty five year old entertainer, from an affluent South Korean family. PSY grew up in Seoul's Gangnam District, as a teen, he enrolled at Boston University in 1996 intending to study business administration. He then attended Berklee College of Music for a short period of time before returning to South Korea to pursue a career in music. Prior to the release of "Gangnam Style", PSY had topped domestic (South Korean) music charts half a dozen times.

In July 2012, PSY released his sixth album PSY 6 (Six Rules), which includes he song Gangnam Style. By August the song ranked first on YouTube's 'Most Viewed Videos' monthly chart and officially charted #1 on the iTunes Music Video Charts. The inspiration for the song, Gangnam, literally means "south of the (Han) river" it's one of the most populous and affluent districts in Seoul. It's roughly the South Korean equivalent of Beverly Hills.

Even as PSY hobnobbed with dignitaries and A-list celebrities (he met with President Obama) his past revealed some rather unpleasant details. In 2002 at the height of anti-American protests over the death of two South Korean schoolgirls, who were struck by a U.S. military convoy. PSY performed at an anti-American rally (covered in gold body paint) during which he  "lifted up a model of an M2 Bradley IFV and smashed it against the stage"

Following the kidnapping and beheading of a South Korean missionary in Iraq, PSY took the stage at yet another anti-American concert. (the Korean version of Lollapalooza) He joined South Korean rock band N.EX.T.  in singing "Dear American", a snappy little tune that spurs their countrymen to "kill those fucking Yankees, who have been torturing Iraqi captives and those who ordered then to torture"

"Kill them all slowly and painfully, as well as daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers" Hey Mister!.... that's not cool at all. PSY hates Americans, but loves their dollars. He eventually issued a half-assed apology to American servicemen (many of whom have appeared online doing the horsey dance) and the American people. He expressed hope that the American public would accept his apology. That insidious bastard knows us too well, we're suckers for a catchy pop tune.

Sleaze Rock, Gangnam Style

 "Oppan Gangnam Style" and I feel fine. The ticker stands at 972,178,391 (You Tube official music video) although if you add up all the different versions available on YouTube, Gangnam Style has already cleared the billion mark. Let's not quibble over trivial manners.... time is running out, click at your own risk.  Top YouTube comment: "He ask fool of an ass, I think he is a mule... he is not in either boys or girls population, he is in other population" Prakash Sai 

Deadpool vs. gangnam style,   Getting the full gangnam treatment is Marvel Comics'  anti-hero, Deadpool, who is a parody of the cosmic drama, antihero-heavy comics that make up most of the Marvel fare. In this video, Deadpool generally makes an ass of himself, scaring young girls and bothering passersby.  top YouTube comment: "this is deadpool right here not that cheap ass wolverine knock off"  shootermacgavin64  

Gangnam Style- The Oregon Duck, The ever hip & trendy Univ. of Oregon Ducks jumped on the bandwagon early on with this version. This is your education tax dollars at work Oregon, it was actually kinda funny when it first came out.... now it's just a sad example of the Univ. of Oregon's pathological, attention whore tendencies.  Top YouTube comment: WHO THE FUCK CENSORS THE WORD "SEXY"??? C'MON!!!     Quartrez

Kim Jong style (WITH LYRICS) - Kim Jong gangnam style parody that is stupid in a funny way, and funny in a stupid way.  "work,work, sleep... more work, then torture" the lyrics are a total failure, which is what happens when you use Google to translate from Korean accented English to American English (peedos instead of Beatles) "throw them on the pile, without trial... Kim Jong style"  Top YouTube comment: "Its funny how people consider this funny while they know that north korea actually has nuclear bombs pointing US"  angelgjr1999

Ganga Style - Don Cheto, also known as "el hombre del vozarrón" ("the loud-voiced man") Don Cheto, is a rotund Mexican entertainer and musician. This south of the border Junior Samples works with parody the way Gallagher works with watermelons, loud and sloppy! Here he breaks out every Mexican-American stereotype known to man with diminishing results. Top You Tube comment: "Hijos de puta, tiene hambre dale frijoles.... jajaja!"  jcromero64

Spartan High School Style (REUPLOAD!) last and certainly least, is this embarrassingly bad and awkward parody. The apparent lack of talent & enthusiasm didn't stop this video from going viral. Is it me or does Spartan H.S. have more than its fair share of dweebs? The lunch lady and the creepy male staffers get into it... everyone else is sleepwalking. Top YouTube comment: "Lunch lady, nailed that dance better than the cheerleaders"  Lea Mendelev