Friday, November 21, 2014

captain america inner-view and ego-fest

            10 DRINK MINIMUM vs WIG WAM BAM

                              Local podcast interviews loudmouth 
                     scenester who hardly goes to shows anymore!

                      listen to the show HERE

Friday, November 14, 2014


Get Action 7" release

Supergroup. The term is derived from the 1968 LP Super Session (Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield, and Stephen Stills) and is used to describe a group of musicians who first hit it big elsewhere. Okay so maybe it doesn’t accurately describe Get Action. I mean, really, how many ‘burque bands have ever hit it big besides The Shins? The Eyeliners on the Warped circuit for a few years in the early aughts and The Strawberry Zots for about three minutes (the length of their 1989 FM radio hit And You Drive Your Pretty Car ).

Chances are most of you haven’t seen the bands from which Get Action was formed so it may not seem so super to you after all. But that doesn’t mean these groups weren’t important in the local scene. That said,  just suppose there was an accident, a fatal mishap during a Get Action show that electrocuted the band or something? A catalyst like frontman Wild Bill Bunting clambering up the outdoor electrical boxes during a Blackbird Buvette show a couple of years ago comes to mind. Such a calamity could wipe out a huge chunk of local Punk and Rock N’ Roll history! The moral is, better go see these old guys while you can. How old? Well, let’s just say I’ve known one of them since he underage and sneaking into Launchpad shows back in 1996. We’ll get back to him later.

Get Action s/t 7” vinyl (Get Action Records, 2014)

This Friday is a perfect opportunity since it’s the debut of Get Action’s two-song 7”, a rockin’ little slab of blue vinyl complete with obligatory download code for all you youngsters and a free sticker for all you old punk rockers. The record is a tad less unruly than their live act which is not an unusual thing to say for many a  release. The excitement of playing before a crowd is lost in the studio (especially sans Bunting climbing the walls) but to be fair, live recordings don’t always make the musical mark every time either, technically speaking. Mastered by Frankie (The Angel Babies) Medina at Tone Deaf Audio in Santa Fe, this record is a fine sonic compromise. The catchy Tryin’ ( “to write this song /but all I have to say /is whoa oh oh oh”) is backed with the harder edged, almost sinister Bed Of Nails.

Bunting has been screaming his way around noisy outfits like 10 Seconds to Lift Off and Dynamite Kegs for over a decade. Using this band as an excuse, he returned to Albuquerque in 2012 after a self-imposed exile in Las Cruces ( which has always had a decent if underexposed punk scene). Conveniently, ex-Lift Off guitarist Scott Brown had moved here a few years previous. Despite being familiar with Bunting’s shenanigans, he was conned into jumping aboard with his snarly and snakey Stratocaster leads. 

Get Action co-founder Ashley Floyd was channeling everyone from Dead Milkmen to The Lords of the New Church when he formed the Gracchi in 2004 with (among others) ex-Scared of Chaka drummer Jeffrey Jones (a founding ex-member of Get Action by the way). Floyd even proposed to a Gracchi bandmate/now-bride onstage, a class act. In Get Action, he’s not nearly so classy but plays a mean rhythm guitar with a few hot leads for good measure.

Bassman Zac Webb is best known from the whammy glammy Foxx, sort of  The Sweet covering ABBA. He’s also been in the barely heard post-punk of The Phase and the neo-psych of Jealous Gods. Get Action is the closest Webb has gotten to thrashy punk since his juvenile delinquent band Fuck Taco Bell in the mid-90s -- not that he would care for me to mention it but what are old pals for. Remember that Launchpad story above? Right.

Joey Gonzales has thumped for every type of band you can shake  a drum stick at. The list could go on for days. He’s the current stickman for Red Light Cameras and The  Porter Draw but it’s his work in the garage-psych Dirty Novels, poppunk Pan!c and the catchy heartache of Lousy Robot that is echoed here.  


So how does this conglomeration add up? To some damn fine Raucous N’ Roll that will raise your blood pressure reading by a good many points and I mean that in the best possible way. Rumor has it that Burt’s Tiki Lounge renovated the stage ( moving it back to its previous Dingo Bar location) for the express purpose of preventing Bunting from swinging from the lighting rig ever again. Rocking out to Descendants or Gas Huffer, he’s been risking life and limb on skateboards for years so I’m not so sure this will stop him.

Opening act, Shitty and The Terribles are similar in the raucous department but closer in tone to Boss Hog or Yeah Yeah Yeahs. No, the latter aren’t overrated. In fact their overratedness is itself overrated, if you get my drift. Lead guitarist Terrible Tripp is only involved in tasteful bands, like uhhh, Terri Schiavo Dance Party and Bob Seger’s Electric Penis. His wailing leads reach a bit past garage territory towards bands that haven’t yet been reverently resurrected by hipsters but were of the sort championed by the old Creem magazine, like Alice Cooper or Rush. With her best Johnny Ramone chops, Soni Reducer (The Phase, Deadtown Lovers, The Shamones) backs up Tripp while solid drummer Rudi Thornburgh demonstrates his versatility because his real love is in the technobeats of his other outfits Superpublic and Clocklife. But after years of DJing it’s vocalist Bea Shitty who takes the spotlight in her first band, vogueing and doing the Hully Gully all over the place.

Oh and then there’s Austin’s OBN IIIs, chock full of anthemic 1980s muscle rock. Their band persona is a little bit “bro” if you know what I mean. I can’t quite see the tongue in cheek if there is any but put-on or not, there are some out and out rockers in their repertoire. As well, listen for echoes of RadioBirdman. This brings us back full circle as those seminal Aussie rockers are cited by Get Action as a founding influence. Nothing wrong with starting up down under.

OBN IIIs , Get Action! , Shitty & The Terribles
Friday November 14, 2014
Burt’s Tiki Lounge
313 Gold Ave SW
9pm doors

originally presented in weekly alibi in slightly different format

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

dirt city archives: ¡UN GRITO ELECTRICO !


Not long ago, the musical road between the ‘burque and El Chuco (that’s El Paso  to you) was well traveled. It was easy to see Paseños such as Faction X, Not So Happy, Stressed Out or Fixed Idea. Since many Tejano punks were from El Barrio de Ysleta with familia across the border, they also opened that path to exciting Juarez outfits like Setenta Dos Horas. 

tthe bandido folks were as sweet as could be and didn't seem to mind the noise, despite the fact they played shakira and olga tañon videos all day. i was never sure what was in it for them. the crowd never bought much food and one night, cheap as it was,  some "punk" pendejos skipped out on their taco bill . i think pauli ( who set up these gigs) covered the cost.

One night in Chuco at some show in the now-defunct Cantina La Tuya, my greatest regret was having to decline an invitation by Los Beads to a later show en otro lado, over the Rio Grande, down in Juarez. A gabacho like me couldn’t have asked for a better escort but being on the New Mexico State payroll I had to work early next morning with a clear head sin crudo.

As consolation,  I did make it to the local record shop where I picked up some loco --oops-- local Texas discs like the Old El Paso Punk Rock 
7" comps. I also got a CD by a new  Chuco band called At the Drive-In, about twenty minutes before they got famous. Never cared much for them but the real treasure was the memorial Rope/Fall On Deaf Ears  7" split by Drive -In friends who had died in a car wreck. Que en paz descanse.

The best of the Chuco bunch,  the Chinese Love Beads, called three cities -- El Paso TX, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and Albuquerque, NM --home. De veras, the international border created by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo never held much authority on Chuco’s south side anyway.

if my house ever catches fire, i'm running for these first.

Unlike the slew of stateside garage punks who styled their look and sound after some imagined ’60s throwback, the Love Beads were twice as raw and ten times as real. When you grow up in the barrio, glorifying the trash side of life (as privileged suburban white punks tend to do) is not important. Your lo-fi wail is your grito, your passion-filled declaration of who you are and where you’re from.   

The Chinese Love Beads were tough without having to try. Sometimes a four piece, sometimes a trio, the band was always fierce as chinga. The three-man line-up is the one I knew best. Frontman Ernie “Guido” Ybarra howled vocals that were as distorted as a Danelectro Shorthorn guitar played through a gritty tube amp.  He thumped grimy basslines while Pauli B. (now Pablo Novelas of the Dirty Novels) slashed some of the most furious riffs he’s ever played. Except for singing a few vocals, he was  pretty quiet, far from his current stage persona. Drummer Mikey Morales (later of proto-emo band Siva) punched the largest set of pots I’ve ever seen, sounding like John Bonham and Neal Peart rolled into one robust package. I also caught a show or two with early drummer Tony Leal (now in Part Time) but it was Mikey's shows I saw most. Despite the fact that they gigged with Scared of Chaka, the Drags and all the other reigning 'burque punks, they never get the same recognition. ¡Qué dolor!

rock and roll amidst the bagel ovens

The band released a few 7” singles on its own label Discos Yucky Bus/Vaselino Productions but my ferocious favorite is the self-titled one recorded, mixed and distributed in the late nineties by Bob Tower (Mind Over Matter Records& Books). Side B’s Dragon Lady ‘69 never fails to get me out of my chair and jumping around the room. Although I can’t zip it up anymore, I still wear my old blue-collar jacket and its Chinese Love Beads patch con orgullo mucho.


Postscript: In 2013, the Beads reunited for the their first show in seventeen years at Tricky Falls, a Chuco club partially owned by Luis Mota who used to book here for the Launchpad. I was on my annual xmas trip  to the see the old folks back in Vermont and regretfully had to decline but I would've made the peregrinación to El Paso on my knees if I wasn't. It would've been  a tough decision though because the freakin' Mindy Set were playing their first show in six years in Albuquerque that same night. What a lump of coal in my musical christmas stocking!

The good news was that I whined about it so much, Los Beads agreed to gig one more time (with Tony back on drums) at one of my Low Spirits sponsored Garage & Wax Nights, with Pauli's latest band Elevator Boys and the venerable Jonny Cats. I can now die a happy boy. 

originally appeared in reduced form in Weekly Alibi

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

dirt city archives: LAND OF THE LOST

SCARED OF CHAKA in their masonic youth

Scared of Chaka is responsible for me cutting off my hippie hair.

Hyperbole perhaps but after years of raising kids and acres of vegetables (and yes-- full disclosure--in my high school years, going to  Grateful Dead shows) it was time for a change. I’d pack everyone off to bed and sneak out into the ‘burque night for loud obnoxious music. I was so broke from family expenses that I'd sometimes slip a beer into my coat pocket, a brand that the club served so it wouldn't be noticed when I popped it open (sorry, Joe Anderson! ) . Punk music wasn’t new by then of course but it was to me and I had plenty of catching up to do.

Summer 1995: the Golden West Saloon was the most vital punk venue in town. Two year-old Scared of Chaka opened for Chicago’s Pegboy but stole the show, my first time seeing them. I was so green at the time I thought they were Pegboy. Frontman Dave Hernandez was jumping around, trying to crash into the ceiling heater that hung low over the stage while chopping out barely in-tune riffs as bassist Dameon Waggoner (Lowlights) pulled his signature flying scissor leaps. Frenetic but on the beat drummer Jeffrey Jones (future ex-Gracchi) did his best to keep seated, not always successfully. All I could think of was Saturday morning A.D.D. kids chowing bowl after bowl of Froot Loops with an inch of sugar sludge at the bottom, their Ritalin powerless.

the Pony was attached to the  now-defunct Palomino strip club way the fuck out on Coors Road. questionable customers from next door came over when they ran out of dollar bills. scantily clad strippers popped in to take a break and watch our freak show. the roof leaked right in front of the stage. it was dirty and kinda smelled. it was fuckin' great. 

A few weeks later, a wheat-pasted flyer on the campus announced a Chaka show in somebody’s driveway in a Student Ghetto alley. There were maybe eight people there including local figure June Kilz, me, and my thirteen year old stepson. In a way, he was my cover. I looked out of place with hair and beard down to here but bringing him gave the appearance I was there for his sake. I wasn’t fooling anyone, least of all myself. Even with that small crowd a mini mosh pit managed to erupt. Fast and furious retardo punk with good hooks, it just couldn’t get any better. 

original sepia cover bought at Mind Over Matter . never did find out why it was later reissued in color with a new photo

Next stop: record store Mind Over Matter for the just released 12” vinyl Hutch Brown Sayngwich (702 Records) where I was told by counter girl Tasha Riggins (Nitre PitGary Coleman Hot TubParty),  “They’re flying off the shelf ! 

The shows were rife with, umm, audience participation: Girls trying to pull Hernandez' pants down when he ventured too close to the edge of the stage. Lots of the prerequisite heckling by friends in the crowd ( "Play one you know!" ). Even though I'd barely met these guys, I joined in by pitching ice cubes at the band. Speaking of which, at the Launchpad, I recall offering some cubes from my whiskey glass to the girl next to me who was quite appreciative as she tossed them at Hernandez' head. 

 i went to this show after watching my step-daughter in her middle school musical play, Wrangler Ranch. it's a safe bet i was the only person to attend both events. 

Jones left the band soon after the Hutch Brown release, to be replaced by Ron Skrasek (who in 1998 joined The Drags, replacing original drummer Keith Herrera). Waggoner also soon moved on to be replaced by Gwendolyn Stubbs,  a name I can never recall and who rarely shows up up in online searches. Sorry, lady!  Other members came and went but we saw less of the band. 

the Golden West could never decide if they wanted to be a punk club or not. after a hiatus, it returned as a punk venue but missed the boat once more. they actually had a full security force for this show. walkie talkies and everything---for cute  & sweet cuddlecore Cub?! this is when the Golden really started going downhill.

They were doing well and still touring but the home town shows were fewer. The Emo Glut was upon us and The Shins (in which Hernandez had been playing since they were known as Flake and/or Flakemusic ) were hitting it big. Sleeping in a nasty punk rock van and eating stale pizza or touring with decent Sub Pop support and a chance to make a living? No contest. Soon, he called it quits and Scared of Chaka were no more.

They left a string of records on labels like 702, Science Project, Empty, Hopeless and more, many on split 7" vinyl. Most all of these stand up today as the best of what '90s punk had to offer. 

6pm on a Saturday? that leaves enough time to grab a Frontier Burrito down the street and still make it downtown, probably to see the same bands play the clubs.

If you’ve never heard Scared of Chaka,  some people may say to start with the year 2000 rare vinyl cuts compilation Seven Stories Tall but for puro Chaka, Hutch Brown is the way to go,particularly Horshack on side one. Hearing that most-requested song again at the band’s triumphant 2008 Reno, Nevada reunion (in honor of Pete the Sticker Guy/702 Records 15th anniversary) made me and everyone else in the bar stupidly happy. I felt like a kid of, um, 37 again. 

a shorter version originally appeared in Weekly Alibi

Friday, September 12, 2014

dirt city archives: MIND THE GAP

when MIND OVER MATTER mattered

AbqZineFest shows that in these days of instant blog gratification there is a resurgence in cut-and-paste words on paper. Our earlier zine culture here diminished by the early 2000s when college zinesters graduated into the work force, hordes of band kids moved to Portland (where all old ‘burque scenesters still go, kinda like the Elephants’ graveyard legend ) and the so-called Punk Revival heralded by “alternative rock” died as guitars were overshadowed by turntables. Oh, and people decided that looking at monitor screens was better than looking at mere paper pages. 

In the mid-90s, dozens of zines were available at any number of shops in town. Exploito-trash video shop Wavy Brain (owned by Jet Jaguar of Luxo Champ, now a member of Seattle’s Steel Tigers if Death! ). Relapse Records (run by Jerry DeCicca now fronting The Black Swans). Bow Wow Records (where one could find Marty Crandall of Flakemusic-- soon to  be The Shins -- behind the counter). Book shop Tulane Exchange hosted an early Weekly Alibi (or was it still Nu City then?) sponsored parking lot show.

The mother lode of them all however was Mind Over Matter. This shop closed at  the beginning of what I call the Great Punk Rock Exodus when at least two dozen musicians, artists, zinesters and anarchist weirdoes fled Albuquerque one summer. Around that time, I started my own long-running ego-fest music rag (1998- ??) which I regret came too late to sit on the Mind Over Matter shelves. There was even a local Zine Festival or two put together by Nueve from Rebel Radio.  

But! For a few shining years, partners Bob Tower and Edith Abeyta sold an extraordinary mix of vinyl, books, CDs, comics, shirts, stickers, buttons and a plethora of zines from across the country.

Me, I wandered in one day looking for copies of the only comic book worth killing trees for, Love and Rockets (the band of the same name stole their moniker from the comic by the way) but was soon hooked on vinyl and zines. I was in there so often in fact that Bob and Edie would toss all kinds of freebies my way including a mix tape Edie called Girl Musixx because she got to know my tastes.

Mind Over Matter was my late-blooming intro to “punk” which the pair demonstrated was not about being an offensive dick but building your community by actively supporting it. There were in-store shows by everyone from Man Or Astro-Man? to locals like Braddy Janet (which featured Kim Baxter now a member of  All Girl Summer Fun Band and Portland's Rock and Roll Camp for Girls) and creative “outsider” musicians that are still going strong such as Alistair Galbraith. Mind Over Matter also served as a mailing address and drop off point for pirate station Rebel Radio since we couldn’t very well advertise our location.

Bob recorded and engineered local bands like Chinese Love Beads, Blind Nine and his own outfits The Surlies and ¡Destructo! Edie put together an impressive zine installation at Harwood Art Center: a room empty but for a few chairs and pillows upon which one could sit and read any of the fifty or so zines hanging from its walls, an onsite zine library if  you will. 

Of course many of the zines they stocked were too obscure to sell many copies except for stalwarts like CometbusProfane Existence and, inevitably, Maximum Rock And Roll which paid the bills. Instead of ditching unsold copies Bob and Edie made zine grab bags: a three or four inch stack wrapped in posters and fliers which might also include  stickers, a button or a stale piece of bubble gum.

There was also a series of handmade limited edition Mind Over Matter edited zines like Edie’s Quench (beverages!) and Bob’s Seventies Mutation, each copy one-of-a-kind with actual photos pasted inside or homemade paper covers with a “soundtrack” cassette or CD included, a tea bag (!) and, yes, a piece of gum.

This store was my post-hippie musical education. I picked up piles of vinyl and zines weekly. My collection still holds lots of records I bought unknown and unheard, some songs that remain among my favorites. Sunnychar You're My Battery Samiam  Don't Break Me (the best emo song ever and coming from me, that's high-praise indeed ), Supersnazz I Wanna Be Your Love, and many more. I tried to buy as much stuff as I could afford, to help keep the shop going, but they insisted on giving me instantaneous discounts every time. The punk scene at the time was fading fast, thanks to Warped and Mountain Dew and all that Blink 182 swill. And maybe just maybe it was time for a change for the pair who had given so much and, really, got little back in return. The doors were shuttered and we lost an irreplaceable local treasure.  

Last time I heard from Edie, she Bob lived in Los Angeles and still supported community through art, installations, book editing and batches of home brewed beer. There’s a great crew of  ‘burque folks that do zines, run community oriented shops and create DIY culture but as far as I’m concerned, we’re still trying to fill the gap that Mind Over Matter left over a decade ago.  

Originally appeared in Weekly Alibi

dirt city archives : HAVING A BALL

the pysch-pop of UV TRANSMISSION

Have you ever walked into a bar intimidated by the row of hogs and Harleys parked out front? Wondered about the reception you’d get from the biker trash partying down inside? It wasn’t quite that way with the dozen Vespa, Lambretta and Velocette knock-offs lining the sidewalk in front of the Fabulous Dingo Bar (now Burt’s Tiki Lounge) when UV Transmission was headlining. Rather than wielding chains and wearing leathers, these riders sported Raffia one-button blazers, Cuban heel boots and M65 parkas with the Royal Air Force insignia on the back. The crowd was there not to pogo or mosh (thankfully! ) but to dance.

this, from back when not only were the shows multi-genre. multi-style but when the crowd would stick around for all of the bands and not just one narrow favorite

While acknowledging Ride and the early Stone Roses, UV Transmission took a step back from the nascent Britpop scene with an American take on ‘60s English Discotheque guitar pop and added dashes of Mod manner and swirling psychedelic leads. “Psychedelic” here taken from the time that it meant carefully coiffed lads in Edwardian threads taking a handful of Preludin and a puff or two instead of the stateside acid-rock aesthetic.

Far from the vapid Austin Powers stereotype that everyone seemed to be goofing on at the time, UV was serious about their music. Every show was refreshing. You could step away from the dozens of “third wave punk” / alt-rock bands popping up in every garage and dance to songs with melody and just enough crunchy edge to keep things interesting. The band even earned a passing mention in CMJ New MusicMonthly in 1997 as an “up and coming” outfit.

The proper gear is important to any band but UV Transmission assembled just the right pieces to do justice to their ideals. Robert Urias sang lead while playing a 12 string 370 Rickenbacker guitar, heavy on the super reverb. He occasionally manned a Viscount Organ for an authentic sound rather than tabletop synthesizer blips and bleeps that have cheapened many a band. Matt Dickens (later of the ‘Burque’s ultimate Brit influenced band The Mindy Set ) supplied harmony vocals and bass on a Rickenbacker 370. His brother Chris provided a steady popping backbeat on the drum stool. Pulling out any one of a half dozen guitars in his arsenal, Mike Easton matched Urias reverb for reverb.

Released in 1997, the CD Transmission Received contained three and four minute tracks slightly polished but raw enough to capture the band’s live performances. LetMe Turn You On (To A Little Love) would’ve been the swinging hit single if it had managed to garner any but local airplay. Grittier by far was the rockin’ self-titled seven inch vinyl single. Both discs were self-released on the unfortunately named Shag Records. Unlike many of UV Transmission’s local contemporaries (The Rondelles, Scared of Chaka, The Eyeliners), the band’s slim discography rarely appears on hipster record collector websites which means everyone is hanging onto their copies. So am I.

originally appeared in Weekly Alibi

dirt city archives: HERE COMES TROUBLE

THE EYELINERS vs the psychodrama 

Despite the inevitable dirty old men in the audience, The Eyeliners didn’t draw attention to their gender. Sisters Gel, Laura and Lisa debuted as Psychodrama, certainly not a name that screams “girl band! ”. Nor did they emulate the pandering jailbait image that the girls of The Donnas milked successfully well into their twenties. There were no babydoll dresses or torn fishnets but tees, hoodies and high top Chuck Taylors. All that Psychodrama wanted was to rock out and have fun.

the first time the Golden West decided to bail on being a punk venue. later on, new promoters tried to revive it but it didn't last. the owners couldn't make up their minds whether to keep the place packed with enthusiastic  people buying drinks or to cater to a few barflies.

By 1995, the ‘burque was re-energized by an explosion of local punk bands. Psychodrama not only jumped aboard but propelled the excitement. Besides the downtown clubs the girls gigged at every all-ages spot available. There were lots more then: Back Door Music, El Place, Scottie’s Guitar Shop, Fred’s Bread & Bagel and Mind Over Matter to name a few. 


After a gig in the side room at Drop Out Records (next to the Post Office in the student ghetto ) I remember telling the girls something like "Great show. Better than the Teen Angels", for whom they'd opened the previous night at The Golden West. They seemed sincerely flattered but laughed a bit, likely wondering what the hell this thirty-something guy with hair and beard down to here knew about pop-punk. Fair enough. It was all new to me but I knew quality when I heard it. 

a short-lived guitar shop in that weird old "mall" of storefronts on Lead Ave. only the laundromat has lasted. rumor says Scottie  shot too much junk to keep his place open.  

So did Scott Parsons (BigDamnCrazyWeight, The Honeys) who assisted with the self-recorded self-released Vivid  7” which had just debuted to an enthusiastic reception. Comparisons to the Ramones appeared immediately. While that may be true in spirit, the sound was really closer to the Lookout Records’ house style as heard from, say, Screeching Weasel. It was pop-punk but with a nice raw bite.

no you can't have this even though i have two copies, one i've never played yet.  # collector scum.

Confidential,  a full-length for notorious girl band geek Long Gone John on his Sympathy For the Record Industry label was released in 1997. Now Gel (guitar), Lisa (bass) and Laura (drums/vocals) were known as The Eyeliners, a slight nod to gender but with the attitude of Yeah, we’re girls. So what?  The touring began to last longer and travel farther.

Flash forward to 2003: The Eyeliners were mainstays on the Warped Tour. The hometown shows were less frequent as the band put its efforts into tours with the likes of Social Distortion and recording with Joan Jett. Typically as national success came, the local scenester psychodrama bitching started, none of it worth repeating.  All I whined about was the slow trickle of releases and the succession of substitute drummers so Laura could concentrate on fronting the band.

With 'burque shows far and few in between, The Eyeliners kinda fell off all of our local radars. By then much of the crowd for garage music had drained away. We were all drowning in the Great Emo Deluge of the early 2000s and somehow everyone decided that metal was punk. It was grim.

Although we had fewer chances to hear them, The Eyeliners remained a bright spot in the local scene. Its been almost ten years since the girls' last New Mexico gig (Warped in Las Cruces..? ). There’s been no promises but I'm hoping we haven’t heard the last of The Eyeliners just yet. 

originally appeared in Weekly Alibi

Thursday, September 11, 2014


 Music Lab ABQ:

competently complementing past  compilations

It’s difficult to believe that releasing a CD these days is essentially an anachronism. Luddites like me have a hard enough time accepting that an artist posting  a bunch of songs calls it a “release”. Can uploading a collection of  different bands be rightfully called a “compilation”?  I think not. I mean, that’s really just a playlist, something that twelve year olds do on their Kiks and you old people did on your Myspace a decade ago,  a continuation of the mixtape concept: "Here’s stuff that I listen to ".

We're talking a music compilation in the older sense of the word. Not a box set (Time-Life’s  British Boys in Spandex 1985-86) or a collection (Wankoff Metal Riffage III! ). Ok, I made those two up but odds are they exist someplace albeit under another name. Typically, the classic Compilation (capitalized so you know I’m serious) showcases a record label or a snapshot of a town’s music scene at a moment in time.

The earliest rock comps around the 'burque were small in scope. Showcasing four bands (Murder of Crows, Ant FarmersGutterleaves and Saddlesores) a cassette called  Carport Thunder was released in 1991 by Manny Rettinger of Ubik Sound. 

Three years later, the I Shot The Principal At Resin Jr High 10” EP collected that label’s roster. Dogshit Recurdz and Science Project issued Albuquerque Shitcore Volume I and Been There…Done That  (respectively) on two 7” discs. Collectively, these three comps -- all by close friends and cohorts  -- covered most of the local punk-y bands of the time, including Triskaidecphobia, ElephantThe DragsBring BackDad, Scared of Chaka, Flakemusic, Treadmill, Word Salad, Feltch, Fractured, Shunt and more.


Over the course of the next decade,  SocyermomRecords became a contender for most rock comps issued weighing in with Ouch!, Socyermom Sampler,  Socyermom Winter Sampler, two volumes each of New Mexico Rocks! Pinup Calendar Companion and Rock Outside the Box and more, most of which label owner Leonard Apodaca blithely gave away. Close behind are five volumes of Burque Luv, all tracks of the Dirt City’s electronic scene, mostly little known unless you were part of it. But by sheer weight alone, public radio KANW wins with its hefty forty-three traditional New Mexican music comps. ¡ Hijola !

But wait there’s more! John (Gingerbread Patriots) Brophy’s Things We Did LastSummer, Beach Boys covers by various locals. The not-really-a-group Cobra//Group : Covers EP on Sicksicksick.  DJ Caterwaul’s Ear To the Underground series of bands playing live on his timeslot on KUNM-FM. NM Showcase (a battle of the bands thingie orchestrated by Michael Feferman) and comps by the Frogville , Detach and Little Kiss labels and so on, up until the present and (mostly) local Gatas y Vatas lady comps.

In a return to the old pan-label multi-band-promo compilation comes Music Lab-ABQ Volume I, an outgrowth of a series of multi-band shows, the proceeds of which paid for pressing this CD. Local drummer-for-all-seasons Joey Gonzalez and bass guy Dandee Fleming felt that the scene “could only benefit from a little more cohesion and cooperation”, according to bassist Clark Libbey who was enlisted to really push the project forward. Gonzalez adds, “Clark covered most everything. I just wanted to document the scene as it stands right now as I wasn't aware of anyone doing it across genres.”

The trio has succeeded with sixteen bands represented, even ones that know-it-all jerks like me hadn’t yet heard. Besides the compilation acting as an historical document, the hope is that you and I will get our slack asses out the door to support local music.

The next volume should see light of day in spring of 2015. Fleming adds, “Just make us look cool, OK? ”. To that I respond this CD has already done so. But the bands are cooler. 

In  five words or less each, highlights include
Howlin’ Wolves:  prowl n’ growl rock
A.J. Woods: Neil Young steel guitar twang
St. Petersberg : shoegaze neo-psych
The blurts: Lou Reed vs Lee Hazelwood
Youngsville: addled whiskey dreams
Shoulder Voices: his mini-satanic majesty’s request

The Music Lab - ABQ   
Volume 1 (CD 2014)
Blackbird Buvette Records

originally published in different form in Weekly Alibi  

Thursday, July 10, 2014


 Fine Post-indie Pop But Improv Is A Dirty Word.

Ever notice how different set of ears can hear things, well, differently? Take Oakland, California quartet Everything is Dirty. Peruse the online reviews and you’ll find numerous references to Grunge. Art rock. Psychedelic. The meaning of pigeon-hole tags (which all us music scribblers adore ) shift over time as music changes. For instance, Soul used to mean cornbread vocals by Sam & Dave, backed by plenty of horns. These days, soul means (ugh) Robin Thicke or (less ugh) Duffy. That ‘90s catchall phrase “alternative rock” was the watered-down but occasionally worthy successor to ‘80s “indie” on labels like Merge or 4AD  but just degenerated into describing knuckleheads like Fred Durst.

If Everyone Is Dirty is grunge then so is Weezer.  Art noise? Sure, there’s  some droning here and there but I guess anything vaguely atonal is noise to the masses who nowadays prefer songs that are more beat than melody or harmony or anything else that was once the hallmark of  popular (pop) music. Live, the band does tend to venture a bit too heavily into improv and jam, two words that always fill me with dread. Singer Sivan Gur-Arieh takes her electric violin into  Jean-Luc Ponty territory ( in  spirit it must be stressed and not in talent or execution) while Christopher Daddio's  guitar solos are at times longer than necessary but not by much. This is good for a guy like me whose attention wanders when the soloist noodles around  above the fifth or sixth fret. Psychedelic? Please. Only people that have never taken drugs use that word.                            

Here’s my take: Their recorded output is post-Breeders, post-post Pixies, texture-rich and crunchy with vocals reminiscent of Louise Post (Veruca Salt), Christina Amphlett (Divinyls) and Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses) (And if four “posts” in one sentence isn’t enough, I don’t know what is).  As a live act, though, because of the jam aspect I'm a little trepidatious. 

Everyone Is Dirty , LadyUranium , Nocturnal Company
Monday July 14, 2014
2823 2nd Street NW
8pm doors

this appeared in slightly different form in Weekly Alibi