V.24 No.51 | 12/17/2015
Sia's new song "Cheap Thrills" should be a Rihanna song
What's Rihanna's deal with turning down decent songs?
By Robin Babb [ Tue Dec 22 2015 11:37 AM ]
Last Thursday, Sia released a single “Cheap Thrills,” the first we’ve heard of her since last year’s album 1000 Forms of Fear. The song was originally written for Rihanna, who turned it down in the end. As Sia said in an interview with Rolling Stone, “I realized just as soon as I was cutting it that it sounded a little bit too Brit-pop for her. It’s more Icona Pop.”
Well, Sia and Grimes now have something in common. In 2014 Grimes released “Go,” a song originally written for Rihanna that she rejected. Grimes decided to make the song herself instead, a respectable “waste not, want not” approach to songwriting—but with, overall, an unimpressive effect. While “Go” is instrumentally interesting, it sticks out like a sore thumb in the context of Grimes’ oeuvre. It sounds, for a good reason, like a Rihanna song performed by Grimes.
Similarly, “Cheap Thrills” is less exciting than what I was expecting next from Sia. It’s a dancefloor gem, with a steady beat and lots of “all hail the weekend” party lyrics — but it’s so lyrically boring that I just can’t get into it. Sia has a knack for slipping razor-sharp commentary into dancy pop gems (see “Chandelier” and “Buttons”), but it’s just not present in “Cheap Thrills.” The ultimate point of the song is “I don’t need a lot of money to have fun!” which, sung by Rihanna (who, if you recall, last made the charts with a track called “Bitch Better Have My Money”), would actually be kind of interesting. But from Sia, it just sounds like fluff.
I’m just hoping that somebody could get in touch with Rihanna’s people and tell them to stop turning down awesome material from great writers? Please, it’ll help the careers of everybody involved.
V.24 No.50 | 12/10/2015
Kate Burn Photography
An Interview with David Bashwiner
Pt. I: The Musician
By Robin Babb
David Bashwiner is a professor of music theory at UNM, but you might recognize him as the singer and guitarist for local band Cactus Tractor. The Alibi spoke with him to discuss the double life of a musician and music theorist and how the two roles affect each other.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Paper Mâché Dream Balloon · Sunn O))) Kannon · Coldplay A Head Full of Dreams
By August March
Reviews of new music releases.
V.24 No.49 | 12/03/2015
"A Thousand Rooms in a Thousand Colors"
By August March [ Thu Dec 3 2015 2:16 PM ]
Rock + Enchiladas = Fun
V.24 No.48 | 11/26/2015
Orkestrating a Light in Your Heart
Saturday, Dec 5: Kindling the Light: The Rebbe's Orkestra
By August March [ Thu Dec 3 2015 12:00 PM ]
A Hanukkah concert for everyone celebrating Judaic music from varied cultural and historic traditions. Hear a variety of Judaic ballads, folk songs, theater and liturgical pieces.
V.24 No.49 | 12/3/2015
Shovels & Rope Busted Jukebox, Vol I · Rare Monk Rare Monk (EP) · Cactus Tractor Lydian Water Songs
Reviews of new music releases.
V.24 No.48 | 11/26/2015
A Night Afloat
A Hawk and a Hacksaw at the Tannex
By Maggie Grimason [ Tue Dec 1 2015 3:09 PM ]
It is a rare occasion to catch A Hawk and a Hacksaw in their hometown. The duo, composed of accordionist Jeremy Barnes and violinist Heather Trost, each of which take an occasional turn on vocals, stay on the move.
Those of us who were lucky enough to make it into the totally packed Tannex in Barelas on Saturday night were treated to music ripe for day dreaming.
In a word, A Hawk and a Hacksaw is magic. Culling folk songs from across many a diaspora as well as writing their own original pieces, the two created a world entirely separate from 4th Street, from Albuquerque, from this continent.
By the light of white Christmas lights strewn across a heavy rug over the cement floor, the two sang in Greek, spoke little, and played for more than an hour with a sustained intensity that is hard to fathom.
This winter, Barnes and Trost are headed to Europe to play alongside full orchestras and busy street corners while further cultivating their inspiring vision of modern folk.
Process of Illumination: Photography by Minie
5 Star Motelles Stun
New record defines solid sound
By Geoffrey Plant
Is there anything scarier, more emasculating and generally terrifying than a bunch of chicks rocking the fuck out?
Sirius, Seven Bells and Silence
Reflections on formative experiences, new music
By Robin Babb
It’s not that SVIIB is my favorite band. It’s not that I thought Curtis was a musical prodigy. It’s because, back when I was in high school and just starting to cut my teeth as a writer with a local music blog, Benjamin Curtis was one of the first musicians I ever interviewed. And he was lovely.
Jennylee right on! · Tech N9ne Tech N9ne Collabos Strangeulation Vol. II · Love Reel to Real
Reviews of new music releases.
V.24 No.47 | 11/19/2015
Stevie Stone Rolls into the Launchpad
By Megan Reneau [ Tue Nov 24 2015 3:16 PM ]
Launchpad was graced with Yung Knowledge, YAK Boy Fresh, BINGX and Stevie Stone on Sunday, Nov. 22. Yung Knowledge officially began the show. The duo were exceptionally charismatic and engaging. Easily captivating the crowd, they initiated audience participation and used that as a flawless segue between songs. YAK Boy Fresh (Y.ou A.lready K.now) was backed by a band – atypical for his work – but they all had incredible chemistry. YAK Boy Fresh’s flow was effortless, rhythmic and rousing. BINGX was extraordinarily entertaining and receptive to audience members. His high energy was relentless and unmatched.
Stevie Stone took the stage after a short film showing him escaping from a mental institution looking like Hannibal Lecter. Working with DJ Picasso, he was commanding and powerful. Stone’s passion for his music was easy to see and feel. He wanted his fans at Launchpad to know he appreciated them. He performed songs primarily from Strangeulation Vol. II; the crowd was wild and reflected Stone’s enthusiasm. With all the excitement and energy he was putting into the show, Stone took small breaks at the beginning of some songs before jumping up and dancing through his set. He invited a few groups of people from the crowd to join him, his touring crew and the other musicians on stage. All who joined him were eager to do so.
Stevie Stone is an unpretentious performer with outstanding content and flow. He subtly harmonizes with the music. He can stay in tempo but change rhythms with ease. His voice is profound and authoritative. When he’s on stage, there’s no misidentifying the drive and expertise he exudes.
After the show, Stevie Stone stayed to interact with fans. While his music is aggressive and direct, Stone was very kind and gentle with his fans. I watched him talk with and take photos with at least 20 people before I left. When I talked to him he was thoughtful and was genuinely concerned that I enjoyed myself. I talked with a few of the other musicians at the show; they were the same way. I felt welcomed and very pleased to see them all.
I loved watching the crowd and their energy which reflected the performers. Being unfamiliar with all of these musicians and their work, I looked to the crowd for guidance. The group was enthusiastic, wild, blissful, and passionate. Everyone was happy to be there, perhaps most of all Stevie Stone.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a chilly rub.
Cashmere Cat wins over Burque
By Megan Reneau [ Mon Nov 23 2015 3:45 PM ]
As I settled into my cushioned corner and zipped up my jacket further in hopes of staying warm on a cold November night, Alxxs Garza started to play. The familiar green and purple lights of Stereo Bar illuminated the early patrons of the event. Alxxs played universally liked electro house, and had beautiful transitions as usual. The crowds in Stereo came and went as groups of friends passed through trying to get their last nicotine fix before retreating to El Rey to stay warm and listen to BK Beats and The 1960 Sci-Fi Era and eventually the headliner, Cashmere Cat.
Yielding to the cold, I retreated as well to the innards of El Rey and was greeted by the heavy beats and tender, uplifting chords that I associate with BK Beats’ live performances. The crowd in front of the stage was more condensed than the rest of the audience, but people were dancing all over. I went to the bar to get a beer, watching the social workings of the mass of fans from afar before diving in myself.
The venue slowly got more crowded as The 1960 Sci-Fi Era joined BK Beats on stage. The two work together seamlessly to create an intricate and energetic tropical/trap set. As more people joined the audience, more people started dancing. I figured I should make my way to the front of the crowd before it got too much for me. I followed the flow of the audience; ultimately arriving to the duo’s left. Not too long after that, their smooth and bubbly set was complete and the stage went dark.
After a few minutes of double checking that the tables were working, Cashmere Cat came onto the stage. The entire crowd applauded and cheered. He began his set with no introduction, as if he needed one, but it added to the atmosphere of humbleness that he radiated.
I’ve never seen so many people cat-themed; I think I’m going to call his fans Cutie Catz. I saw many cat-ear headbands, cat shirts, furry vests with hoods and rounded ears, and even a hooded Cheshire Cat onsie. The crowd reflected Cashmere’s lovable reserve. Distinctly different from most crowds I’ve dealt with at large venues, everyone was friendly and excited to share the experience.
I never thought I–not to mention a huge crowd of EDM and pop enthusiasts –could truly enjoy and get down to a playful vibraphone and harp synth drop. I suppose the springy beats and elastic vocals contribute; overall Cashmere’s style is gentle, which is truly an extension of him. While he may have not spoken to us, he was very active and engaging in other ways.
He was there to bring his followers joy, but not at the cost of his own. He was consistently more energetic than the crowd; when the crowd would recover after dancing to a particularly hard drop, he remained lively and bouncy. He only stopped dancing to focus on important transitions (which were flawless) and to throw kawaii peace signs at the audience.
Cashmere relied heavily on vocal samples, which makes sense, given that he’s worked with the music of some notable artists like Lana Del Rey and 2 Chainz (as remixes/edits), Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West and was a featured producer of Ariana Grande’s album My Everything. Unlike many DJs I’ve seen, Cashmere was able to truly weave the vocals through the music as transitions or as an instrument rather than for self-promotion or using them as a message to the youths in the crowd to get turnt. As a person, I found him adorable, and as a musician, I found him exceedingly excellent.
Cashmere created an environment of pure, innocent, romantic joy in his electronic dreamscape. His performance is the top tier of electronic shows. The entire crowd enjoyed the active and energetic set by Cashmere; I can only hope he enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed him.
Caleb Shomo is Beartooth
By Megan Reneau [ Thu Nov 19 2015 2:35 PM ]
Shane Told of Silverstein has created a podcast called Lead Singer Syndrome. The show is about lead singers in the alternative music scene and their life and struggles as told by themselves. The first episode is an interview with Caleb Shomo of Beartooth, formerly Attack! Attack!, and was recorded during Warped Tour 2015. As a huge fan of Beartooth, I was excited to listen to Shomo's first hand account of his career and the path he's taken.
Shomo started touring when he was 15 as a keyboardist with the band Attack! Attack!, eventually making his way to lead singer. I never was really into A!A! and after listening to the interview, I realize I wasn't the only one (it seems comparable to how people feel about Black Veil Brides, you love them or hate them). Shomo talks about the depression and ADHD that he dealt with prior to being a musician and those same health issues coupled with eating disorders and alcoholism that surfaced fully while working in A!A!
I found Shomo very relatable. While I may not be a professional musician, I'm also in my early 20s and have dealt with many of these things, too: depression, ADHD, eating disorders, alcoholism, being with people who aren't good for me, etc. And to hear one of my favorite musicians talk about their personal experiences and considering how that translates to their music is almost cathartic. I feel like I really connect to Beartooth on a deeper level than before.
I was surprised to learn that all the recording for Beartooth's album was done by Shomo. He wrote all the lyrics and recorded all the instruments for the album Sick. The four other members are featured for touring and live music in general. Beartooth has been astonishingly well received and for that all to be based on the experiences and the talent of one person is incredible. Sick comes straight from Shomo's heart and is his truth. While musing over being a highly metaphorical writer, Shomo says in his songs he alludes to his struggles with Attack! Attack! and his depression and suicidal thoughts that come from them. The day after he wrote the song "I Have a Problem" he quit A!A!
Most people that have listened to the album would assume that he wrote a lot about alcoholism and substance abuse issues, but that was all metaphorical, although he has dealt with alcoholism. He says it's easier for people to understand and accept that musicians deal with substance abuse issues rather than mental issues such as depression, which can be argued about most people with mental health issues.
The primary focus in this podcast is Shomo's journey with Attack! Attack! which Shomo hasn't spoken very much about, so it's very illuminating for folks that have been following him for the last seven years. Originally Shomo was the keyboardist and transitioned to guitar then to lead (clean and unclean) vocalist. After being signed to Rise Records via myspace, A!A! began recording their first album shortly after. Someday Came Suddenly, A!A!'s first recorded album after being signed, sold approximately 150,000 in the first year of sales which came as a huge surprise to most people considering the amount of criticism they received.
Told is an excellent interviewer, and is able to ask very perceptive questions because he's been an active musician for well over a decade. He's able to relate to his guest on a very personal level. Told is very astute and able to draw out some wonderfully insightful observations and stories. New episodes are released every Monday for the foreseeable future and I plan on listening to every single one.
The Daily Word in emojis, the flu and the future via Twitter
By Megan Reneau [ Thu Nov 19 2015 10:59 AM ]
Only a twitter bot can predict the future.
The suspected organizer of the terrorist attacks in Paris is reportedly killed.
A summation of anti-feminists to induce your daily rage.
Learn more about the history of lesbianism on the island of Nantucket.
Good Charlotte is back, thank Satan.
Morsels by Megan Foldenauer is deliciously lovely.
Where revenge porn and sex work intersect.
Take-out flu shots delivered by Uber? Alright.
The Year of the Weedrat
Band equals social justice, cats
By Maggie Grimason
“You came into my life/ and it became clear to me/ that you'd always be by my side.” “That song is about Ginger,” says guitarist and singer Becki Jones, gesturing to the petite tortoiseshell cat sleeping on the couch.
I Remember When at African American Performing Arts Center
A tribute to Black music through the ages.
The Hispanic Founders of the Villa de Alburquerque at Special Collections Library
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