Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dirt City Chronicles: Year in Review: 2015

Year in Review, January 2015

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 5

Albuquerque, N.M. “Mile High and Loud as Hell” Dirt City Chronicles is a gritty, low budget repository of local music, produced by the plethora of New Mexico based musicians and beyond. So, sit back, pick the grit out your teeth and tap along to an eclectic cacophony of original music, thirty plus years in the making.

Parts is parts and music is just that, music. No matter, one man's music is another man's 8-bit chip tune gothic folk rock cowpunk. We live in an age of genres and if so desired, every noise in the world can be slotted into a category of choice. There's a thousand banjo pickers and fiddlers in Santa Fe/ Albuquerque (augmented by any number of chicks plucking ukuleles and mandolins) So, whatever your poison.... Americana, Outlaw, Norteño, urban country, folk punk, gothic country, bro country, nu-grass, we got you covered.

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 6

Namaste ya'll and welcome to a smörgåsbord of New Mexico sound. Fear not this musical fricasse, at 1 hour and 28 minutes, listening to its entirety seems daunting, but it's not. An encyclopedic side dish, as New Mexican as red chile, biscochitos & tamales. More fun than a Susanna Martinez, Kristallnacht pizza party, with no need for a public apology afterwards.

I didn't notice that the style had changed. “Chip music is dead” We hardly knew ye. Not sure how I feel about that… the familiar, the obscure, the defunct…. are all well represented here. Pucker up and make the holy sign. Having read the book, I know that trends never sleep. Preparing for the future now. Standby for Dirt City Chronicles.

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 7

The music filters out of the speakers as the audio version of all the stories written about New Mexico by authors such as Edward Abbey, Eugene Manlove Rhodes, Max Evans. You can give your eyes a rest, let your ears do all the work.

Santa Fe is burned into New Mexican's collective consciousness as a cosmopolitan tourist magnet. New Mexico's symbol of liberalism, pluralism and nepotism. A city so welcoming that on the second Tuesday in January of each odd numbered year, it plays host to the vilest, most corrupt collection of politicos this side of Baton Rouge: The New Mexico legislature.

Much has been said or written about the “city different” though often times the city's vibrant music is overlooked. We can remedy that, right quick.

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 8

Another musical missive from New Mexico, the last bastion of civilized society. We all need our medicine, our poison, our fix.... drugs, food, sex, alcohol, violence, cigarettes, music..… There's a big hard sun beating on the big people. The future's so dim, you need night vision goggles just to grope your way through the sunniest of days

And you may ask yourself, How did we get here?
Jealousy, hate, intolerance, impatience and an oppressing sense of impermanence
Carry the water to the bottom of the ocean, motherfuckers
And while we can surmise that the Mayans miscalculated the end of civilization... rest assured they weren't off by much. Oh! Dr. please help me, I'm dying....

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 9

The perfect soundtrack for a night of violence, debauchery or just good clean fun. Direct from the city that always creeps, carefully selected with all the care of a Juan Valdez coffee bean.

The Big Empty, the city indifferent, the garden spot of the southwest. A city so misguided that it gutted it's once quaint and distinctive downtown district and in doing so became the Southern New Mexico version of Rio Rancho. A cluster of nothingness, defined by a lack of essence and fine dining. Home to a low brow Ag school, where hicks from the sticks matriculate while binge drinking and bemoaning the predominance of queer folk and hippies on campus. Never a destination, it's that tangle that you have to fight through on your way elsewhere.

Year in Review: February 2015

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 10

Wondering how the hell I got here, in this godforsaken town. By my estimation, what separates Albuquerque's music scene from the Santa Fe and Las Cruces variety is how quickly the talent thins out.  So, it would stand to reason that in the case of Las Cruces (to use a sports phrase) the bench would be thin.  This compilation however disproves that notion. Top to bottom, it's all good. Lost Cruces volume two, click  your heels together and you're home.

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 11

Big bottom metal, locomotive guitar riffs and laconic drums beats, whipping up a head of steam... I miss the days when this type of music set you apart. It's practically gone now. Driven off by the legion of angst driven emo /screamo /math rock posers that flooded “Burque's music scene like a horde of rats after dark in an abandoned cheese factory

Heavy is thy name, Wino Weinrich is thy God. Crank out that I drink cheap beer and bong hit schwag all night type of music, that I smoke angel dust, drop acid and seek out mayhem type of music... that's the shit. So low, it's been real. I'm leaning fast into the twisted night. The forecast calls for doom, better bust out your iron brolly.

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 12

On the television series Sons of Anarchy they are portrayed as one dimensional cartoonish thugs who stumble from one disastrous criminal venture to another. Yet, I've always found the Mayans MC more intriguing than the Sons. In true Bushido fashion they march off to their deaths like ape hanger kamikaze pilots. Emotionless and stoic, they have the life expectancy of a fruit fly. A steadfast rush without any clue as to what lays ahead, fools rush in... or so they say. Do Mayans dream of electric jaguars?, fuck if I know

Nevermind The Bullocks, Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 12, is chock full of manic tension and disarming charm. Accelerating like a hard rock machine, fueled by thrash riffs, trash vocals, spaghetti western twang and go fuck yourself attitude. You'll figure it out.

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 13

The end of the Mayan calendar's 13th Baktun was feared as a harbinger of the apocalyptic 2012 phenomenon. It's now three years on, so we can surmise that the Mayans were either wrong or bad at math. You don't need algebra to cipher out the baker's dozen. The long measure is 13 and on the thirteenth day of the second month, let's cast aside our triskaidekaphobia. Saint Anthony of Padua has graced us and we have nothing to fear.

Love and pollen are in the air. The cold north wind is the harbinger of winter, the devouring one, strong and unruly. The Zephyr by contrast is the gentlest of winds, the messenger of spring, which we now await. For the fundamental truth is self determination of the cosmos, for dark is the suede that mows like a harvest and loud is the sound that cuts through the ghostly netherworld, fused with seductive menace, shimmering with mystery.

These are the shadow lands, where ancient dramas of love, lust, beauty, and despair are enacted night after night. "the sound of someone as maddened as they are enthralled, aglow with anger and passion" A ghost world of dope addled paranoia, dissolving identity, suffocated love, sexual turmoil and oblique violence.  Sounds like a typical Saturday Night in 'Burque to me.... Audi 5000

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 14

1989 was the bellwether year for Albuquerque's modern music era as the Duke City's nascent music scene finally pulled free of past stylistic associations in a sudden rush of DIY mania. Bold ideas delivered via less than adequate resources. What was the origin of this unexpected surge of hip credibility upon what up until then had been the exclusive domain of plodding cover bands and big hair metal combos? No big mystery there. Like other college towns, Albuquerque became a mecca for above average collegiate smart asses goosestepping along with jangle rock/indie movement as it swept across America in all its lo-fi splendor.

The stripped down minimalism and sad-sack pathos fit right in with “Burque's sense of desperation and almost pathological need for validation. This sloppy spirited awakening took root and just like a typical New Mexican weed, thrived under conditions that would kill off less hearty types. Albuquerque's music scene has never quite blended into any particular style. But, looking back in retrospect, the period between 1989-1999 was as close to a definitive “Duke City Sound” as we'll ever get.

Boy Howdy! A nifty compilation of well-played, tuneful tunes that thunder along with concise energy and total whimsy. it's the opportunity for newcomers to glean a sensible summary of Albuquerque's long and storied musical history without spending hours mining the internet or digging through crates searching for insanely rare vinyl

The much lamented (by some, reviled by others) KHRO (Hero 94.7) a short lived alternative rock station in El Paso, Tx. Not a big fan of the station, but with rumors of a planned format change to Mexican Regional music floating around, I tuned in from Deming, N.M., 100 miles from El Paso and set out to aircheck the death throes of a "modern rock" station. KHRO was saddled with a lame as hell format and "let's throw shit at the wall to see what sticks" program direction. The smell of decay was in the air and the buzzard (overt Buzz Adams reference) was circling overhead. I eventually wound up with a half dozen 90 minute cassettes documenting Hero radio's Thanksgiving Unplugged marathon, Nov. 2004.

Every Sunday afternoon the sound of Cruisin' With Crosno floated along the lower Rio Grande Valley... El Paso, Las Cruces, Hatch, Hot Springs, Anthony, Canutillo, Clint, Fabens, Tornillo. North to Alamogordo and the Tularosa basin, through the mountain gaps west into Deming and on good days, as far as Silver City. For those four hours the world belonged to Steve Crosno, and we were happy to be a part of it.

Let's set the stage.... it's an unexpectedly warm, Sunday afternoon, January 8th. 2006 in Southwestern New Mexico. The garage door is open, the stereo receiver is bumpin'. Shootin' hoops in the driveway, calling in dedications to Cruisin with Crosno, firing up the grill. A snapshot of a perfect moment. As the man himself puts it: “It's a beautiful day outside, everything is all right”
*due to copyright restrictions, audio files have been removed. I'm in search of a host site that will allow me to post these files. Please bear with me.

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 15

I come to bury rock, not praise it…. 1990 and we were blissfully unaware that radio was headed down a slippery slope on greasy wheels.  Rockers had fine-tuned their bullshit detectors and determined that the AOR charts in no way reflected the musical preference for a growing majority of  rock oriented listeners.

Rock formatted stations were as ill fated as Alan Freed, who had bequeathed upon them the very name by which they set themselves apart from the dregs of contemporary Top 40 radio. The trick, then and now is to stay one step ahead of your pretensions.  A lesson  overlooked by all the punk/new wave/no wave/post punk musicians. Yet, taken to heart by the tsunami of grunge bands ushered in by the unexpected rise of Nirvana.

Say what you want about grunge, but unlike the first wave of punk rockers... it was the people's music. The flannel wearing masses could relate and it was tailor made for the violent mosh pit culture that had mutated from the relatively  lame pogo and slam dance trends of the mid-70s.  Grunge coupled with the self indulgent, hubris prone Industrial/Nu-Metal scene came together to succeed where punk rock and new wave had failed by dominating both album sales and airplay.  Life for goths and heshers was fucking grand. Ooh ah ah ah Ooh ah ah ah!

Then without warning, Kurt Cobain ate a round from a Remington 20 gauge shotgun and it all came tumbling down.  Hey man, nice shot. Before you could say “Rug Doctor” Rap music picked up the baton and blasted off like a rocket from the crypt.  Thus, we're now subjected to a steady dose of Beats by Dre, Eminem, Kanye West, Kim K, Jigga, Beyonce  and that ilk.

The rest is history....  I just feel bad for the kids who wear Nirvana shirts because they think it is a brand. Somewhere out on the edge of Andromeda, where the quasars pulse with radioactive light, Jerry Garcia and Kurt Cobain fist fight in heaven. The whole thing is daft but engaging, bound together solely by an audio coding format which uses a form of lossy data compression. We know it as the MP3.   Yeah, hey, yay, get out my way... I'm a negative creep and I'm gone.