Professional success is a matter of consequence to anyone who takes his or her job seriously, and Frankie O'Malley is no exception. He wants his band, The Safes, to make it big. What comparable level of success is he ultimately working toward? “Oh, for me, The Beatles,” says the guitarist, using the faintest of pauses between question and answer. “I want to be the biggest band ever.” O'Malley makes his aspirations sound a bit more general: “I believe wholeheartedly that we can cross over into the mainstream. Without a doubt.”
Long before the local clubs would demean themselves by booking punk bands (and before “punk” became a genre and not an outlook), Albuquerque had a seething, seamy musical underbelly of garage bands that actually gigged in garages, cellars and even frat houses. These shows were sometimes promoted by hand-scrawled flyers but mostly by word of mouth. There was a DIY record label (Resin). There was a record store that sold Resin releases (Bow Wow). And there were bagels, lots of bagels, and shows in a Nob Hill basement near sweltering ovens (Fred’s Bread & Bagel). There was also a man who counted a cast of characters among his friends, acted as their attorney and confidant, and hauled in mountains of crawfish from the Gulf for band parties. This Friday, friends of New Orleans native Gary Wayne Nelson (who is seriously ill) will be on deck at the Launchpad to return his many favors with a benefit show.
More and more, our remote, wild Western burg is proving to be an oasis of music and art that explores new frontiers. Nay, you say? Here’s evidence: Albuquerque Experimental is a two-day festival composed of 25 performances. The lineup is largely local with notable out-of-town troubadours sprinkled throughout (NYC psych pioneer Silver Apples; John Dieterich of Deerhoof, who’s performing with New Mexico’s own Raven Chacon). This event, masterminded by KUNM music host Peter Mezensky, will take place at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Friday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 3 p.m. Two-day passes go for $20, while single passes are $10 on Friday and $15 on Saturday. For a full lineup and more information, go to albuquerqueexperimental.com. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Harry Brown is a local musician and scooter entrepreneur (downtownscooternm.com). On Monday, Oct. 18, you can find his band I is for Ida performing for the first time in more than a year. Armed with new songs, the band plays in the middle of a tangy Portlander sandwich made of psychedelic disco act Lookbook and gloomy post-punker headliner The Prids. The show happens at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) beginning at 9 p.m. A mere five ducat admission will be granted only to those of legal drinking age. Below lies a random smattering of Brown collection tracks that might provide some sonic foreshadowing for Monday’s show.
This trio hails from Phoenix, which may be one of those secret cool cities most people don’t know about. Poison Arrow is one big tambourine-smashing dance party. Frenzied maracas rattle in the background on several tracks and surf guitar is prominent throughout, but there’s also a hefty helping of garage rock. Recording in analog increases the vintage sound. Guitarist/vocalist Joe Zimmerman has a high, sharp voice, making the lyrics sound mean and snotty—in a good way. By track 5 you might be thinking, Hey, all these songs sound kinda the same. But that’s OK—they sound awesome.