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There's no greater compliment this writer can bestow on Nik Turner's Hawkwind than describing latest single “Fallen Angel STS-51-L” as reminiscent of the psychedelic-punk sound of Chrome and the ongoing work of main man Helios Creed. When Turner's current Hawkwind incarnation played Low Spirits earlier this year, they kicked out the jams with impressive consistency, complete with visuals, writhing, gyrating and go-go dancing. Nik Turner's Hawkwind doesn't just perform standards in the “greatest hits” style so many bands past their prime tend toward; instead, they offer new material that equals the classics in intensity and weirdness.
The extensive Mighty Thunder Rider tour also features heavy sets by self-described Krautrock/prog rock group Hedersleben—also Nik Turner's backing band, featuring excellent guitar work by U.K. Subs' Nicky Garratt—and Witch Mountain, “top-tier purveyors of American doom.” Also on the bill for this Launchpad (618 Central SW) show tomorrow night are Albuquerque's finest stoner rock outfit Black Maria, who are recording a new album slated for release in the near future; look forward to fresh material from these giants among men. As for the concert, don't worry if the volume makes your ears bleed: That's the way all these bands roll. Doors are at 8pm, and $12 gets you in. Launchpad • Sat Aug 30 • 9pm • $12 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
Listen up, humans of Earth: There is surf rock in outer space. Like the otherworldly music of Sun Ra, it passed through Alabama before spreading like a crazy, unavoidable virus across this material realm. If you find yourself befuddled by the possibilities, set your mind at ease by checking out Man or Astro-Man? on Sunday, July 20. It's all happening at the perfect venue for hosting excellent extraterrestrial expeditions, the Launchpad (618 Central SW).
After spending the past decade visiting the vasty deep beyond our fragile sphere, band members Birdstuff, Coco the Electronic Monkey and Star Crunch make landfall in Burque to perform tracks from their latest, greatest extra-solar transmission Defcon 5…4…3…2…1, as well as revisiting their wickedly precise and witty tuneage from the '90s, including tracks from Intravenous Television Continuum, Experiment Zero and the What Remains Inside a Black Hole comp. In conjunction with this rare, star-gazing visitation, earthbound Alabaman act Wray supports their self-titled debut with some intense sonic shoe-gazing while Portlandite harbinger of hip Sallie Ford adds a grounded but hard-rocking complement to the acute angles and blurry nebulas being traversed on stage. Tickets for this 21-plus show are 13 Federation Credits. The airlocks engage at 7pm, and the countdown commences at 8pm. Launchpad • Sun Jul 20 • 8pm • $13 • View on Alibi calendar
Ever notice how different sets of ears hear things, well, differently? Take Oakland, Calif., quartet Everything is Dirty. Peruse online reviews and you’ll find numerous references to grunge, art rock and psychedelic. The meaning of pigeonholing 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” referred to the watered-down but occasionally worthy successor to '80s “indie rock” on labels like Merge and 4AD but ultimately 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 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 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, while Christopher Daddio's guitar solos are sometimes longer than necessary but not by much; that's good for a guy like me whose attention wanders when soloists noodle around above the fifth or sixth fret. Psychedelic? Please. Only people who have never taken drugs use that word.
Here’s my take: Everything is Dirty's recorded output is post-Breeders, post post-Pixies, texture-rich and crunchy with vocals reminiscent of Louise Post (Veruca Salt), Chrissy Amphlett (Divinyls) and Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses). (And if three “posts” in one sentence isn’t enough, I don’t know what is.) Of course, I think I’m correct, but see for yourself at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Monday, July 14, at 9pm. Cover is $5. Low Spirits • Mon Jul 14 • 9pm • $5 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
Get about as oiled as a diesel train tomorrow night at Launchpad (618 Central SW) with a rumbling, roaring night of metal made from molecular materials similar to those used in locomotives—but much heavier, bro. Move past antimony and thallium on the periodic table, and think instead about lead and uranium when Roadrunner Records presents stoner rock from The Horned God (a band whose Celtic influences touch directly on the same metal mythologies explored by the likes of Slough Feg and Kyuss).
Burque tech death metal champions Vale of Miscreation, featuring the brutally precise rhythm section of Justin Andrus and Kenny Cappadona will be in full effect, as will Santa Fe prog-thrashers Carrion Kind. Local Southern metal heroes The Ground Beneath are loaded on this train, too; the chance to hear Steve Beneath’s electrified six-string wizardry is alone worth the price of admission, and things will keep rolling as native metalheads Left to Rot fill out the bill. This 21-plus show is only five bones, and doors are at 8pm. Do yourself a favor leavened with musical gravity and check this one out. After all, Saturday night’s the night you like. Launchpad • Sat Jul 5 • 9pm • $5 • View on Alibi calendar
Ex-Albuquerqueño Sam Miller—who's actually from the Northwest—returns from Seattle for his first solo release, You Need To Hear It, which was ably mastered by Sean McCullough of Sad Baby Wolf. When last we saw him, Miller was fronting the pleasantly uncategorizable Jenny Invert, a band that spun off from the somewhat categorizable (ersatz-Americana?) Grand Canyon. If this sounds somewhat equivocal, it’s not intentional.
While listening, I jotted down some notes: pseudo-Slavic mariachi country and Western piano party-pop wrapped in a game show-theme with Sam as dashing host—“Come on down!”—but deadly earnest. It’s a shame this description comes off so damn messy. Although his sound comes from incredibly disparate sources, Miller makes it blend like a chef adding just the right dash of thickener to a sauce that could otherwise be a lumpy mess. Rather than the pedestrian cornstarch an amateur might use, Miller employs a grand beurre manié, which is really just butter and flour but oh so elegant. Much of this album shouldn’t mesh, but it does. You Need To Hear It is a heroic dish anchored by compelling piano work, handsome voice and clever—never stupid—songwriting with sweeping but tasteful Queen-like production. Hear it at Burt's Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) tomorrow night at 9pm. $5 gets you in. Burt's Tiki Lounge • Sat Jun 28 • 9pm • $5 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar