Music to Your Ears
Dancing About Pueblo Revival Style Architecture
Music saves my life every single day. That sounds really hokey, but it's true.
“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” This quote, originally attributed to Martin Mull, was popularized by Elvis Costello, Laurie Anderson, Frank Zappa, Steve Martin and many others. Maybe writing about music is, as Costello mused, “a really stupid thing to want to do,” but I love doing it.
During my late-teens in Huntsville, Texas, my Walkman and cassette of Christian Death's Only Theatre of Pain served as an aural shield from rednecks' drive-by critiques of my gothic fashion sense. After a particularly painful breakup in my early 20s, I popped Peter Gabriel's So in my CD player and set it on repeat while I sobbed in the fetal position for several hours. When I miss my deceased best friend, I blast Crispin Hellion Glover's The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be. I could go on, but you get the idea. Music floods the psyche with memories in the same way the storied Proustian madeleine, or your personal equivalent, does. When I hear certain tracks by DJ Screw, Course of Empire and Dolly Parton, I am instantly transported to another place and time. While your memory-evoking artists may differ, we all have those songs and albums.
I relocated to Burque from Austin a little more than a decade ago. When I told people where I hailed from, they typically stared at me quizzically and asked why I moved here. I heard lots of lamentations about the contemporary music scene as compared with the good old days of the Dingo Bar, Beyond Ordinary and Fat Chance. While I saw some fantastic shows in Austin, I've seen more interesting and challenging shows here. Some of the highlights are Edward Ka-Spel, Michael Gira and Angels of Light, Z'EV, the Cooper-Moore / Jeremy Barnes Duo, The Coathangers, Acid Mothers Temple, Yellow Fever (née Deep Time), Boom Chick (née Crushed Out) and Mincemeat or Tenspeed. Other than Jeremy Barnes (A Hawk and a Hacksaw), these were all touring acts. Over the years, I've also witnessed stellar performances by past and present local projects like the Darlington Horns, The Oktober People, The Scrams, Albuquerque Boys Choir, Black Maria, The Jeebies, Alchemical Burn, Tenderizor, Leeches of Lore, Suicide Lanes, Roñoso and so on. While I have a healthy interest in our burg's musical history, I find its present much more intriguing.
I created a Nuevo Mexicano-centric blog, Things in Light, a year and a half ago with my husband, Rudolfo. Through blogging, podcasting and freelancing for the Alibi, I've begun earnestly exploring the Land of Enchantment's historical and present-day music scene, and truly believe it's a thrilling era for sonic exploration in our fair city. As the new Alibi music editor, I will strive to bring you diverse, informative, entertaining and interactive coverage of the sounds of the high desert and beyond. I'm really psyched about and honored by this opportunity, and welcome your comments, suggestions and critiques.
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Erika Wennerstrom • singer-