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 V.21 No.1 | January 5 - 11, 2012 

Sonic Reducer

Monks of the Desert Blessings, Peace & Harmony (Sony Music)

This album features Gregorian chants from four previous independent releases by Northern New Mexico's Monks of the Desert, along with four new chants recorded for this fine major-label release. Put away the muggles and crank up the stereo for a pleasantly coma-inducing sea of monophonic chanting in Greek and ecclesiastical Latin. Or abide the reefer, get some of the brothers' Monks’ Ale and further enjoy the increased alpha wave activity these sounds produce in one's brain. When you return from the third century, visit the Monastery of Christ in the Desert and spend some time in quiet contemplation while staying at their guesthouse.

Various Artists Red Chilli Samurai Project Vol. 2 (redchillisamurai)

This tolerable local comp features equal amounts underground electronic music and hardcore metal. Opening with All That We Are's lo-fi cover of Eddie Money's “Take Me Home Tonight” and wrapping up with the beautiful and vocally bizarre "80 Quadrillion Gigaton Galaxy Grinder" by Feed Them To The Dogs, Vol. 2 of RCSP has actually made my heart grow fonder of the double kick drum pedal. Where Vol. 1 was a project to raise money for those displaced by the tsunami in Fukushima, this one is entirely about helping the participating New Mexico bands and is absolutely noncommercial. It might be available around Nob Hill. Good luck finding it.

10 Bones wears its influences on transgender band leader Venus DeMars' sleeves. The best thing about this record is the "Queen Bitch" acoustic guitar and Bowie-style phrasing that permeates a good 60 percent of the tracks. The other 40 percent is basically cock rock. Every underground band worth its salt has been doing the amplified acoustic thing for a while, but Venus DeMars really nails the Bowie version. ATPH's cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" briefly had me convinced it was originally a Ziggy Stardust composition. Venus DeMars & All The Pretty Horses plays Burt's Tiki Lounge on Friday, Jan. 6.


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