Every few years, I find myself driving through eastern New Mexico, looking for music: record stores, shows, even a--godhelpme—Hastings, if necessary.
But, pre-ubiquitous Internet, I never managed to find anything out on the Llano. There's barely a gas station in surrounding hamlets like Floyd, Melrose or Pep, but I always suspected some inspired or angry dissonant kids in or around Clovis.
The best I could do was a combination record/incense/paraphernalia store heavy on wizards, dragons, leftover CDs from the alt.rock boom, but especially capital "M" metal for the heshers that small towns all over the U.S. seem to breed.
Little did I know all I had to do was sit tight and wait for my quarry to come here to the Dirt City. About a year back, two bands arrived fresh to Albuquerque ears from Clovis, Artesia and points east. Half of Weapons of Mass Destruction was/is also half of The Bellmont.
The Bellmont sounds like a cross between alt.rock and a little metal, which, with an angst-punk injection, makes up what the music world has called emo. Far from considering it a dirty word, The Bellmont creates moist soundbeds of deceptively quiet vocals and guitar strums interspersed with hard and fast lyrical torment. Makes you wonder what was going on out on the New Mexico plains all these years. Catch this CD-premiere show and see.
And if that was wasn't enough, add another new release; this one by the most overlooked and underrated hard, heavy and abrasive band in town.
It's been five years since I first caught Below The Sound: low-end powergrind dotted with an early Boys Against Girls after-hours gravel wail. Throughout their years of their twisting, turning evolutionary changes (always for the good), I still stand by that.
Lately, their hardcore essence has come to the fore, heavy on the bottom end and light on the ... uh ... well, Below The Sound isn't light on anything. Except maybe playing light with your emotions as the songs seethe and build to impossibly heavy heights with a fluid traveling bass. But the full-on crashbang you're expecting never quite arrives, like coitus interuptus. Yet, somehow, you're equally satisfied and hungry for more.
Good thing there's their latest release Three to take home with you. You're gonna need it.
Add to this two-band musical stew the clear but rich broth of the Oktober People, the fine aromatic herbs and spice of jazz-flavored rock Tanuki, the fine hardcore meat and potatoes of Las Cruces' The Answer Lies and you got some mighty good eatin' in between the holiday leftovers season.
The Bellmont CD/Below The Sound CD Release Party is on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Launchpad. Doors open at 8 p.m., cost is $5.