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Last Month in Music
Last Month(s) in Music: December 2013, January 2014
By Mike Smith
Compfight cc via photosteve101
Oh my god, these last three months. I don’t know if any of you read that Alibi piece I wrote about detesting the holidays, but I meant every word of it. Financially, from month to month, I just about get by, and then the holidays arrive, demanding more money and depleting me completely. Add to all this bills and debts piling up; my teaching position at UNM not being renewed; and my younger brother moving back to town only to immediately descend into serious problems with addiction and depression and multiple hospitalizations. Oh, and my apartment building caught fire. These last three months have been almost nothing but anxiety and worry, just one thing after another after another.
Hey, Mike, isn’t this supposed to be a column about music? Like, about local shows you’ve seen?
Yes, yes, you’re right, I know. I’m sorry. But hear me out. This is all relevant for two reasons: 1) because it’s made me be able to see fewer shows than usual and 2) because it’s made the shows I did see matter all the more. Maybe some of you can relate. Times like this happen.
Okay. That makes sense, I guess. But you could have been more concise. Now mention some shows.
Alright, fine. On Dec. 15 I managed to see a show at La Basilica, an art-filled house venue in the Northeast Heights. My girlfriend Mauro played as Lady Uranium, trying out some new songs and experiments; the all-women surf-psych Klondykes unlocked the crowd and got everyone moving in the living room and hallways; and ultra-fun punk psychos Terri Schiavo Dance Party rocked out with a new lead singer, The Juan―and though I was at first skeptical that anyone else could fill in for legendary is-he-having-a-seizure? frontman Joe Cardillo, The Juan brought his own unique energy and moves to the band, and we all danced to kill the void. French touring band Sex Tape finished the evening with precise electric guitar notes, hazy smears of synth, beats that kept us all moving and male-and-female vocals that manifested like forest ghosts revealing themselves as banshees. Vive la France!
On Jan. 2 I saw visiting Seattleite solo artist Jean Kennedy play baritone ukulele and sing some of the most beautiful covers I'd ever heard (and one haunting original) at a casual, unplanned living room show with only a few people in attendance. Kennedy has a wild, lilting, keening, inimitably sincere voice with a high, bright chord style, and everybody there sat in awe. I thought afterward of that scene in the movie 24-Hour Party People where Tony Wilson raves about the Sex Pistols playing one of the best shows of all time, even though only a handful of people were even there. And then I think of those songs, that night.
Next evening, on Jan. 3, at the Chill Factory, a warehouse venue in what I think was the Fourth Dimension, I got to see local favorite Asliani rap poetic about happiness, anger and human connection and sound absolutely rad while doing so. She’s going to LA for two months to make some industry connections, and if the powers-that-be there have any brains at all, they’ll recognize her as the star she is and start making serious offers. Also, that night I discovered there’s a cool local scene of Native American musicians rapping over reggae beats and instrumentation. I don’t even know what to call that, but I saw a few artists from the genre that night, and the best one seems to be Walatowa Massive, a guy-girl duo from Jemez Pueblo whose music was an irresistible combination of the local and the global, and whose lyrics were rapid-fire and informed. No one in that room wasn’t dancing.
You really are wordy, Mike. You haven’t even gotten to February, and you’re already over your word count.
I’m sorry. Can I write another column just for February? Please. I need something good in my life. I need this. I need it. Help me. Help.
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