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
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Toadies will perform Rubberneck in its entirety at Sister (407 Central NW) tomorrow night. Lazily categorized as “post-grunge,” the songs that comprise their platinum-selling debut album are more intricate and timeless than this subgenre would suggest. It's a clever balance of slightly progressive roughness with a Southern-fried tinge, all wrapped up in a sinister bow, thanks to the macabre, cerebral lyrics of frontman Vaden Todd Lewis. Without a single weak track, it only seems proper that the album be played front to back. The first two legs of the Rubberneck Anniversary Tour were so well received that a third leg was added with a stop in the Duke City.
The Toadies are still going strong, having released two noteworthy albums since reforming in 2008. In a recent Alibi interview with drummer Mark Reznicek, he touched on the band's signature sound, created by the tendency to veer away from standard 4/4 time. “Initial ideas can sound too straight,” Reznick said, so they'll add a couple beats every few measures to make it interesting. “It can come naturally or by accident,” but the goal is for the listener to “not even know it's odd. If there's away we can screw up a time signature and make it work, we'll explore it.”
Get there early for Ume (pronounced “ooo-may”), a three-piece outfit that joined Toadies and Helmet on a prior tour. Speaking of their front woman and guitarist, Lauren Larson, Reznicek boasts, “You won't believe that all that sound comes from one small lady.” With doctored crap being passed off as music these days, it's easy to become cynical about live music. Rest assured, Toadies will get that vampire blood pumping through your veins, raise the hair on the back of your neck and leave you at the end of it all with a dirty, satisfying feeling. The 21-and-up show costs $20, and the music kicks off at 9pm. Sister • Tue Jul 29 • 9pm • $20 • 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
Head on over to Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) tomorrow night at 9pm for a wide-ranging gig showcasing a number of touring bands from Cali along with local stalwarts. Headliner Modern Pantheist, a psychedelic outfit, hails from LA. The trio features singer/songwriter Chris Anderson, drummer Dave Ferrara and multi-instrumentalist Chris Sandler. Their sound has been described as mind-bending and trippy, but you should also expect some pop sensibility and sentimental narrative thrown into the mix.
On the other hand, Cuddle Formation is a bit more esoteric with a spacious sound that has its basis in electronic vocals and choral experimentation. Contrariwise, Emily Reo composes and performs music that takes a more traditional approach to instrumentation and vocalization, although her recent Auto-Tuned version of Fleetwood Mac classic “Dreams” is notable for its syncopated percussion track and ennui-generating, plaintive vocal style. With local dream-makers Ballets and Holy Glories starting things off, this show promises to make the generally dreamy summer nights in these parts specifically space-oriented. There is no cover for this concert, except the vault of stars above. Burt's Tiki Lounge • Wed Jun 11 • 9pm • FREE • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
We here at the Alibi were hip to Al Hurricane and his son, Al Hurricane Jr., long before it was hip to be into traditional Hispanic music. In fact some of us remember watching the Godfather of New Mexican Music perform live in the KOB-TV studios when the “Val De La O Show” was a popular Saturday diversion in Burque. Now’s your chance to get a load of some of the most original, heartfelt and truly jamming outfits in these parts.
Hurricane and his namesake successor/right-hand man take the stage at Caravan East (7605 Central NE) tomorrow at 5pm for an early start to what promises to be a late night of intensely homegrown musical encounters. Hurricane’s brand of music mixes rocanrol with ranchera and cumbia with country for a sound that says "dance” in an idiom that is at once familiar and unique to our state. Tickets are 10 bucks. Caravan East • Sat May 24 • 5pm • $10 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
Guitar virtuoso Oumar Konaté puts on two concerts in Burque this week. Tomorrow, May 15, Konaté performs a high-noon gig at Ernie Pyle Library (900 Girard SE) and an evening show at The Cooperage (7220 Lomas NE), a swanky steakhouse at the edge of the Northeast Heights. Konaté is from Goa, Mali, and he represents a new generation of phenomenal instrumentalists and performers rising up out of Africa with a sound that renders world music a postmodern force driven by passion and intensity matched with awesome chops and classically educated sophistication, too.
Addoh, the guitarist’s first international release, explores the tenuous political situation in his homeland, and his searing guitar lends evocative, narrative weight to the struggle for peace and justice this man has witnessed. Besides gigging as a totally awesome solo performer, Konaté has worked with legendary African artists Roberto Magic and Siddi Toure as well as serving a stint as guitarist and arranger for the prestigious orchestra of Mali’s National Institute of Arts. His first US solo tour in 2012 featured a performance at Lincoln Center. Duke City is honored to have the likes of Konaté perform anywhere in town. The all-ages library concert is free, but tickets for the 21-plus concert at The Cooperage are 17 clams in advance and $22 on day of show. Tickets are available via AMP Concerts and Hold My Ticket. Doors swing wide at 6pm, and the concert begins at 7:30pm. The Cooperage • Thu May 15 • 7:30pm • $17-$22 • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
Think for a moment about the word “entrance,” as both a verb and a noun: to captivate or fill with wonder, and a place of entering. In the case of Lady Uranium aka Mauro Woody, her self-released CD Vulpes Vulpes serves as an entrance into her charming synth-pop realm. Okay, that sounds a bit cheesy. No, she isn’t some Belladonna-like enchantress, just a very talented individual who has lent her distinctive stamp to other local outfits like Animals In The Dark, The Glass Menageries and 5 Star Motelles.
But there is a feeling here of being escorted to a private place, not dark or brooding—which has been in vogue for too long now—but sweetly contemplative, inviting you to have conversations with the self. This is no surprise since there are echoes of Cocteau Twins and Kate Bush beneath quietly impassioned vocals, simultaneously robust and fragile. And yes, there are some great pop hooks, too. Vulpes Vulpes is a strong first solo release. As an EP, these five songs feel way too short, but it bears repeated listening; and you will be doing quite a bit of that while awaiting her next release. Perhaps she’s first luring us in with this teaser CD. A cunning strategy. Get captivated tomorrow night at 9pm at Sister (407 Central NW) when Lady U looses her hounds of love. Show is $3. Sister • Sat May 3 • 9pm • $3 • View on Alibi calendar
Tomorrow YOU will play Sister (407 Central NW). Not necessarily the person reading this preview—although that's certainly possible—YOU is actually a chunky, four-piece outfit from Albuquerque that combines psych influences with blues-inflected rock stylings that are guaranteed to have you alternatively grooving along, reflecting dreamily or yearning for release.
This show at Sister is an album release party, celebrating the outfit’s latest, Ambivalence. This new work is infused with a sound that effectively transits the uncanny valley. The fourth track on Ambivalence, “Young Witch Eternal Gliss,” is a potent psychedelic anodyne, while tunes like “Saturday Night” prove the group can handle bluesy rock with serious aplomb. Baton Rouge, La.-based band Moon Honey—recently produced by Deerhoof—are touring with YOU; As In We and DJ Caterwaul start the evening off with their own brands of sonic intensity. Tickets for this 21-and-up cosmic exhibition are only five silver talents, and the metaphorical curtain rises around 9pm. You should be there. Or be square. Sister • Thu Apr 24 • 9pm • $5 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
UPDATE 4/18/14, 4:35pm - According to OM's Facebook page, this performance is unfortunately CANCELED.
Local heavy metal legend Al Cisneros brings his dark, droning psych-rock collaboration with Emil Amos, an eldritch thing called OM, to the stage at Sister (407 Central NW) tomorrow night. Cisneros, of influential doom band Sleep, and Amos—who also drums in PDX post-rock outfit Grails and conjures soundscapes with Alex Hall in Lilacs & Champagne—are well known in both these parts and the metal universe for generating sounds that are massive, entrancing and louder than goddamned hell.
OM takes its moniker from the Hindu concept for the sound the universe makes; if that descriptor is anywhere near the ensemble’s musical truth, then this world’s vast emptiness is a triumphantly noisy affair that careens between chaos and transcendence. Robert Lowe's contributions to the band’s latest release, Advaitic Songs, and touring efforts add a shimmery crunch to OM’s cosmically unpronounceable, sonically arcane journey. But why read words that attempt to describe something all-at-once too simple and complicated to make words out of ... when you can take the trip yourself for 10 bucks. Opening act Watter—featuring Britt Walford of Slint and Grails' Zak Riles—takes the stage at 10pm, and this show is 21-plus. Sister • Sat Apr 19 • 10pm • $10 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
The alt music scene here in the 1990s was a diverse and fertile workshop for sounds that varied from sludgy proto-grunge and pure punk-rock to melodic, danceable and jazzy reggae and ska. Perhaps the local band that best personified the latter description in this burg's old-school narrative was Giant Steps.
A ska band active in Burque from 1993 to 1999, Otto Barthel, Rob Kerley, Tom Siegel and company have made it a matter of habit to regularly schedule reunion shows here in town, much to the delight of lingering fans and plain old folks who just wanna dance the night away. The eight-piece Giant Steps return with their “in your face” horn section and their “rude” rhythm section for their latest reunion concert tomorrow at Launchpad (618 Central SW). CrazyFool and The Reagan Motels open the show. Doors for this 21-plus show open at 8pm, and tickets are available through holdmyticket.com. Launchpad • Sat Apr 5 • 9:30pm • View on Alibi calendar
Masters of time, space and alt-hip-hop Deltron 3030 will soon materialize at Sunshine to jam the fuck out and possibly prepare Burque for colonization from beyond the stars. The supergroup features genre-defying aural astronauts Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala. Unlike other purveyors of hip-hop, Deltron 3030 doesn’t spend much time reflecting on the complexities of urban life or ruminating on romantic success and its consequences. Instead these dudes wanna take us to the future—to the stars, through the void.
Besides having imperial cred with hip-hop and rock and roll audiences through work with artists as diverse as the Wu-Tang Clan, ska-punk outfit The Dirty Heads, alt-rock OG Dinosaur Jr. and meta-fictive cartoon band Gorillaz, Del’s work with frequent collaborators and producers Dan and Kid led to a renaissance of interest in complex, techno-sci-fi-laced raps generated by trans-dimensional entity Deltron 3030. Admission to this age 13-plus show at Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW) tomorrow is 24 simoleons at the door, a nominal price for a guaranteed journey into the depths of the æther. Transmission begins at 7pm. Sunshine Theater • Sun Mar 23 • 7pm • $24 • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
Sister (407 Central NW) features a night of the newest sounds in the musical genre loosely referred to as “rock and roll” tomorrow night when it hosts regional psychedelic/shoegaze-leaning acts Ballets and Train Conductor. These two Gold House Records recording artists (and former members of Small Flightless Birds) appear in support of their latest, eponymous 12-inch split. In a heady rush of pre-SXSW traffic, they also happen to be performing in close temporal proximity to Boston pop experimentalist Krill and unofficial headliner Ava Luna.
Fronted by Julian Feder and Carlos Hernandez, Ava Luna’s mind-bending electro-funk has been compared to the noisy explorations of Captain Beefheart stirred well with remnants of Aphex Twin. Feder and Hernandez were also involved in producing Krill's latest effort, the effectively jangly Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears. (Scope a review of Ava Luna’s newest in this week’s Sonic Reducer.) The doors into this trip beyond the yellow brick road swing wide at 8pm, and 5 clams gets you inside. Sister • Sat Mar 8 • 9pm • $5 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar