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Last Month in Music
Last Month in Music: November 2013
By Mike Smith
Compfight cc via Brett Jordan
This will be my twelfth “Last Month in Music” column for the Alibi, so that means I’ve been going to local shows and writing about them here for a full year now. Sweet. During that time, I’ve met the woman who may be the love of my life, Mauro Woody―who was singing and playing keyboards for The Glass Menageries―in November; got to judge a pair of awesome hip-hop competitions; literally fainted from the intensity of a metal show of Hell’s; and had my ears ring for days afterward every time I saw Sad Baby Wolf.
I also saw a lot of wonderful shows this year I never managed to find space to write about but still think about with some frequency. For instance, I often think back on Bigawatt at Sister playing in an almost Polyphonic Spree-sized incarnation, playing a set that convinced me that no wave (late-’70s experimental noise-punk) isn’t dead―it just went underground, got stranger and picked up a bass saxophone along the way. That was a fascinating show I keep going over in my head as if it was something alien to decipher.
I remember the all-women surf-punk-psychedelic Klondykes on two separate occasions, at Gold House and Low Spirits, working the crowd like snake-charmers playing a roomful of eager cobras. I particularly remember Adeline Colette’s startling Neil Young-style guitar-work―those stabby notes slashing through the gorgeous curtains of sound that the rest of the band draped over everything. I remember The Fucking Adventures, a CanyonLands/Loki side project twice at Iron Haus―rest in peace, Iron Haus, you were an unforgettable venue―making everyone dance to looped synth notes and frantic, semi-scat-style singing. I remember the 5 Star Motelles at Low Spirits, all of them in skeletal Dia de los Muertos makeup, singing shimmering ’60s-girl group-style harmonies on songs as unlikely as the Pixies’ “Wave of Mutilation.” And I remember walking down Gold Avenue on a fall day and hearing the wind course through two trees, trees whose every branch held dried seedpods, rattling every one loudly, as if urgently asking something inscrutable―and I remember thinking, Music is the best. However it’s made, music is the best. And I love it.
And I remember walking down Gold Avenue on a fall day and hearing the wind course through two trees , trees whose every branch held dried seedpods, rattling every one loudly, as if urgently asking something inscrutable―and I remember thinking, It is, and however it’s made, music is the best. I love it.
I saw some really memorable shows last month as well. One of the best was on Nov. 8, in Santa Fe, at the Product Division―a warehouse/former art gallery where ultra-cool people now live and host shows―where I saw Lady Uranium, Lady Gloves and Lady Lazarus. Lady Uranium is Mauro, who I’ve seen perform dozens of times, but this was probably my favorite show ever of hers. She had been sick and was a little loopy from cold medicine, but I guess that works for her. I’ll never forget her storming into the sitting audience, singing in loud spirals, un-mic’d, as her synths played loops of sound around her, tying her up in her own voice. (Her first EP, Vulpes Vulpes, will be out soon.) Lady Gloves is actually two guys from Santa Fe who make beautiful electronic bedroom pop―cerebral, fragile dance music―sounding like flashing cottonwood leaves―like light scattering into an abandoned building through holes in an ancient roof. And California’s Lady Lazarus closed that night with one of the quietest yet most immersive sets I have ever heard. Just her and keyboards, as loud as the loudest silence. It was liquid. Hypnotic. It felt likely to me that everyone in the room was thinking or feeling something profound. It was just that kind of music, deep melody, deep texture, the kind that guides you without pressure into missing people you love and who are gone, into feeling your deepest feelings, into contemplating your own life and death with a clear and accepting mind.
Life is fascinating and hard and beautiful―and nothing reminds me of all that more, or more often, than music. Music may be humanity’s only lucid response to the questions sung to us by the wind through the trees―and it’s only lucid because it’s a response we make in nature’s own language, in a language that’s older than all of us.
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