Alibi V.13 No.4 • Jan 22-28, 2004 

Music to Your Ears

Congratulations to Albuquerque bands Mr. Spectacular and the 12 Step Rebels for making the cut in this year's South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, March 17-21. No word yet on the fate of the other locals who applied, but our fingers are crossed for Spiritu, Jason Daniello, Foma and Below the Sound. ... Local metal prodigies ATG (Against the Grain) have finished recording their debut CD, which should be mixed, mastered and ready for release by the end of this month. ... Speaking of new CDs by local artists, Tony Rio plans to release his third CD in late February, followed by a European tour. Details on Rio's CD release party are forthcoming. ... Longstanding world music band Wagogo will celebrate the release of their fourth, eponymously titled CD next week, on Friday, Jan. 30, at Stella Blue. Check next week's Alibi for the details. ... Finally—this week, anyway—the long awaited debut from Rage Against Martin Sheen has seen the light of day. No official word on the CD release party or retail availability has been given as of press time. Rumor has it that Albuquerque has seen the last of the New Mexico Showcase at least for the near future. Event founder and organizer Michael Feferman said during a brief visit to Albuquerque last week that pursuing a master's degree at the University of Texas in Austin proved to take too much time away from his NM Showcase duties, so the showcase will likely be put on hold until he finishes his degree.

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Blue Note

Kitka Wintersongs (Diaphonica)

Authentic Eastern European vocalism from a Berkeley, Calif.-based ensemble? Absolutely. Kitka's Wintersongs is in a class apart.

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Sonic Reducer

The Flatlanders Wheels of Fortune (New West)

After taking three decades to furnish the follow-up to their 1972 debut, it only took the Flatlanders—Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore—two years to provide us with a third installment of near-perfect Texas country music. Wheels of Fortune was recorded immediately following the band's 2003 Now Again tour, and it's got the feel of a trio who've been on the road together for 30 years. Truth is, each member is a musical icon in his own right, but the sum of Flatlanders is more than its parts. Like the Beatles with twang raised in a roadhouse.

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Aural Fixation

Various Artists No Depression: What It Sounds Like Vol. 1 (Dualtone)

It's tough to go wrong with a compilation conceived by the most respected alt.country publication in America that features tracks by Doug Sahm, Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Olsen and Victoria Williams, Robbie Fulks and a host of other purveyors—past and present—of Americana in all its various forms, all bookended by Johnny Cash's "Time of the Preacher" and the Carter Family's "No Depression in Heaven." There's not a single dud among the album's 13 tracks, but I must admit that I can take Victoria Williams' voice only in the smallest of doses.

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Courtesy of the Artist

EVENT HORIZON ()

Their Kindness is Charade

Crystal Castles • electropunk, synth pop, witch house

Remember the thing called Witch House? How about darkwave? The constant bifurcation of artistic paths in the field of electronic music can be damnably confusing and irritating, as well as rewarding and helluva lot of fun too—as long as you pick the right band. When adherents of these sorts of genres aren't busy sorting their rainbow-colored toe socks and looking for tubes of Vick's Vaporub to snatch up at the local Walmart, then it's a pretty fair bet that they are listening to the likes of Crystal Castles, a duo of Canuck electro-arhats who've made their mark in the music world with a febrile and spooky glitchiness that has outlasted any names critics might apply in favor of an honestly, intimidatingly pure exploration of sounds that make humans dance and rejoice as they swirl around the very noisy and icy maelstrom of life and death. Ethan Kath and Edith Frances, AKA Crystal Castles, perform live in Burque on Thursday, Oct. 19. Viewed as an opportunity to joyfully and ferociously embrace the void, this ought to be a damn good show, but don't blame me if you can't remember your name afterwards.
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Courtesy of the Artist

EVENT HORIZON ()

Special Beat Service

The English Beat • ska

Here's a brief on a band with three names, but unlike Eliot's bunch, these dudes are not a coterie of cats. At home across the pond, they're known as the Beat. In the land down under, kindly refer to them as the British Beat. Here in 'Merica, we call them the English Beat. But no matter what you call them, this estimable ensemble that still includes founder and guitarist Dave Wakeling—but not vocalist Ranking Roger—was partially responsible for the upsurge in popularity that two-tone ska saw on both sides of the Atlantic during the '80s and '90s. With a retinue of classic, upbeat jams like “Monkey Murders,” “Spar Wid Me” and “Save It for Later”, the band's touring the states again, impressing OG ska lovers as well as the next generation of horn-crazy youth with their combination of crazy stage antics and terrific tuneage. You can catch the outfit live here the the Duke City on Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Historic El Rey Theatre, but don't worry you don't need checkerboard pants or a smart little hat to enjoy this gig—just make sure those great big feet of yours are rested and ready to dance.
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