Saturday, May 31, 2014

I WANT KANDY : Mother Death Queen's Sweet Finale

They rock, they shred, they melt faces. In this regard they are tireless. Mother Death Queen however are not what you’d call great self-promoters. Case in point: readying themselves for this forthcoming post-pride event, they  asked me to a “practice party” at the home of MDQ groupie-galore Tami Abts (whom I’ve known for a million years through defunct local music zines like Smartypants and Static ).

Feeling a bit nervous after an extended hiatus, the ladies decided to keep it small and intimate. To, y’know, just play it cool. As a result, they collectively invited about three people, including me. It was soon decided to call in the reserves and get some more asses in the smattering of chairs disarrayed
 around the patio. That left more time to enjoy a quite generous spread of food. Besides the whiskey (of course), I went strictly for the coconut cake made in honor of guitar player Amy’s birthday. Which of course no one mentioned beforehand but nevermind. The way I see it, Amy was giving all of us a valued gift on her birthday by rocking us out. To that, the best we can offer in return is a heartfelt Thank you. And a promise to listen to more Mick Ronson records.

Prior to aforesaid rocking, the, uh opening act consisted of drummer Cara’s and guitar player Ella’s little kids clearly relishing their turns at the mic and drums. Appropriately, in light of  Kandy Krush, Cara coached and cajoled them into trying “
I Want Candy” when all they really wanted to do was sing  the theme to something called Frozen . (My kids are grownups. I am way outta the loop.) No word on what bassist/vocalist Alexis’ baby boy thought of all this. We’ll ask when he learns to talk. 

                                                                           photo by Kelly Vigil 

If this practice was any indication, the show is gonna be a landmark. Besides MDQ’s few but compelling originals and songs by the likes of P.J. Harvey, Nirvana and Kim Deal (a band fave) there’s a new batch of covers  including the “leaked” news of Go-Go's, Joan Jett and Amy Winehouse. There are however many other covers to which I have sworn secrecy under pain of … stern looks. Remember that Women In Rock “phenomenon” that the hacks at Spin, Rolling Stone and even The New York Times blathered about back in the ‘90s? No? Good. Women have always been a huge part of rock and roll. Anyway, Mother Death Queen’s repertoire has drawn heavily on femme-fronted outfits from that godforsaken “alternative” era, ones that fell into some hole, buried under the heavy rotation of swill like Sponge or Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. But let’s challenge a bad reputation from naysayers  who’ve claimed MDQ only plays songs headbanged to in their sonic youth. Sure, there is some seething rock on which they’ve been working hard, like convicts back on the chain gang but also expect some recent and surprising covers of top 40 teen queens that turn toxic megahits into gold.

The few of us lucky bastards at Tami’s  (yes, I am going to rub it in) were treated to a loose but terrific  private set, all the more sweet since this ArtBar show could be their final one. Never say never and all that but a word to the wise.

Mother Death Queen
DJ Anita
DJ Matty Be
DJ In.Dis.Cizion

Saturday May 31, 2014
119 Gold SW
Albuquerque , NM 
 Doors 7:30
$15 members
$20 non-members (includes one-month membership)

$25 VIP (includes guaranteed seating, personal server, Self Serve gift bag) 

this orignally appeared in Weekly Alibi in a slightly different form

Thursday, May 15, 2014



Far from Playing It Safe

The Safes

Record Heat 

(Wee Rock Records)  

Hailing from Chicago, The Safes plays clean and classic power pop in the vein of, say, The Raspberries and The Nerves. Some critics have namechecked Cheap Trick, but I don’t see it. That’s anthemic, stadium-friendly pop-rock for lighter-holding mooks; The Safes makes you wanna bop and sway and maybe dress up in a neatly collared shirt and winklepickers.

 It could be called radio-friendly but only if that designation is indicative of catchy, well-written pop rather than lowest common denominator AutoTune swill. Are they breaking new ground? Not necessarily but The Safes don’t need to prove anything, unless it’s that they like what they do. As we used to say, "It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it." That’s a higher compliment than it seems. Pro-tip: Check your social networking site for a local Safes house show this week in Albuquerque. Don’t forget: A house show means it’s in someone’s home. Mind your manners. 

this originally appeared in the pages of Weekly Alibi