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Last Month in Music

February 2013

By Mike Smith

Albuquerque Boys Choir (from left) Bethany Delahunt, Christy Cook and Stef Graner
Albuquerque Boys Choir (from left) Bethany Delahunt, Christy Cook and Stef Graner
Last month, on the first of February, my girlfriend Mauro and I found ourselves at Iron Haus—a little casita that’s still among my favorite venues in town—for an uncharacteristically quiet show: Javelina, aka Emma Crane, played eerily beautiful folk songs on her acoustic guitar; Joe Cardillo, of Terri Schiavo Dance Party, howled pleasantly over new originals and thrashed on a ukelele; and Albuquerque Boys Choir, an eclectic, all-female folk group, produced some of the most gorgeous harmonies I’ve ever heard anywhere.

On Feb. 15, we saw Asliani play again—this time at Winning Coffee (111 Harvard SE)—and were once again struck by her life-positive and unflaggingly skillful rapping. I think she's one of the best rappers in town, male or female. Then on Feb. 20, at La Cumbre Brewing Company (3313 Girard NE), Mauro and I met up with a good friend to sit and talk, and listened to the Green Billies—a classic-sounding five-piece bluegrass band. “I feel like I always know the sound of this kind of band,” our friend said. “But it’s a great sound, and I love it.” Later, on Feb. 24, I got to see Colleen Johnson, of Upside Drown, play a sweet, solo guitar-and-vox set at the Tan's closing reception for this year’s legendary Fun-a-Day art show; she reminded me of classic Brill Building singer-songwriters. At the same show, I was privileged to see the live debut of Boba and Gobi, aka grade school-aged Nova and Vivien Dugan-Mezensky, with Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes of A Hawk and a Hacksaw. The girls performed songs they wrote with A Hawk and A Hacksaw, and Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich even stepped in. My face hurt from grinning at this show—these kids are future rock stars—with great lyrics—“Africa … is a city … in space!”—confidence and style.

Two days before that, on Feb. 22, at Sister (409 Central NW), I saw North America's triumphant return to Albuquerque; recently chosen to play the prestigious All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival in London, they're making it big. I remember watching them open shows back in 2010, and thought of them then as a hard-ambient duo, but this time around they just full-on rocked. Keyboard—drums—a wildness—and everyone was dancing. This was a show that filled me with affection for Albuquerque. I was in a terrible mood when I went out—bowed down by the weight of another week's worth of first-world poverty and quietly seething about something unimportant—but after 20 minutes of conversation and music, I just felt amazed at how much it completely restored me. Like it always does. I have an immense fondness for the people of this scene—for those I talked with or saw or saw play, and for those who are just there, anytime, being present. Even if our conversations never make it beyond the basics—and I find they often do—I hope you know I like you all, and I'm grateful to have you in my life. You make it better. Hooray for live music, friendship, community and this weird desert truck-stop of a city. Seriously. That's a serious hooray.

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