Music to Your Ears
This Month in Music
Belated November edition
By Mike Smith
So many can’t-miss bands and musicians played in Albuquerque in November. As usual, I had to miss almost all of them. There’s only so much time in a week. Especially when I still haven’t found a benevolent old millionaire—perhaps confined to a wheelchair—willing to fund my entire life so he can live vicariously through me. That search continues.
On November 5, I made it out to Low Spirits (that lovely dive) to see CanyonLands, Sad Baby Wolf and Seattle band The Intelligence. It was a Monday, and CanyonLands wowed me enough to snatch up a shirt and an EP. Their viscous psych-rock felt so driving that many of us danced to it—and so thick and syrupy that many others just swayed.
We have something wonderful going on here right now. There is always a good band playing somewhere. And there’s a community of wonderful people. Every time I go to a show here, I feel better.
Sad Baby Wolf—a favorite local supergroup, comprised of former members of the Shins, the Giranimals and others—played next. In my opinion, they're one of the most tuneful (and loud) bands in town. Check out their cover of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Everything Is,” online for a little taste of the melodic density they bring to every show. It sounds like a mix of the Connells' shimmery jangle and the deep fuzz of My Bloody Valentine.
As for The Intelligence, I honestly remember nothing of their set, but it was getting to be that point on that kind of evening. They were probably great.
Another terrific show took place at the Launchpad on November 10. Bigawatt, aka Marisa Demarco (former Alibi Editor in Chief), took the stage and created some memorable noise: making squall and feedback melodic, making distortion more than pretty.
Next ¡The Cherry Tempo! played textured, dynamic rock and roll. Their sound is so chunky that every chord produced felt like a solid object suddenly conjured into existence.
mr. Gnome, a two-piece from Cleveland, Ohio played next. Their drummer played like a tree in a windstorm, being blown relentlessly into his drum kit. Their singer, a woman with a wild howl of a voice, sang and played her guitar into multiple microphones. They created a sonic force that filled the room like a new idea and left the place expanded.
And then there was the return of Jenny Invert, long one of my very favorite local bands. Their 2010 album is still one of my all-time favorite local releases. They’re now based in Seattle. They play with a variety of instruments including trumpet, keyboard and sometimes, a grand piano. Their songs are almost operatic in structure and so hook-laden that after hearing them once, they stay in my mind for weeks. This night, they played a couple of their older songs that I knew and loved, but also rocked some strong new material including “Silver and Gold,” from member Eva Avenue’s solo project, Spoiled Horse Racer. Look up that song online—it’s incredible. And when Jenny Invert comes back to town, don’t miss them.
We have something wonderful going on here right now. There is always a good band playing somewhere. And there’s a community of wonderful people. Every time I go to a show here, I feel better. Every time I get to dance and be with people I care about, the problems of the world recede. Come out and be a part of it all yourself.
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Erika Wennerstrom • singer-