By turns proggy, cerebral, emotional and experimental, the new work by Chicharra—bassists Mauro Woody, Monica Demarco and Marisa Demaro as well as drummers John Butler and Henry Hutchinson—demonstrates who is in charge and why they rule when it comes to the Albuquerque music scene. It’s informed playing by a studied, committed ensemble of collaborators and it’s groovy as hell too, featuring def compositions that make this record worth playing over and over the first week you download it. That is damn good; it defies long-held perceptions about who and what comprise the scene in Burque. Highlights of this must-have record: For pure Postmodernism, “Adobe;” for the balladry of ghosts, “Burn It All Up;” and for really new rocanrol, close with the title track, which really does show all the signs of a sound on fire.
The beats mesmerize, the keyboards are drawn from a fracture in the space time continuum that says 1986, the vocals pour out in one word titles, such as “Pills” and “Fake,” like warm but liquored-up milk; the vibe is essentially, incessantly entertaining. Jute possesses a carefree melancholy that converges on a secret meet-up featuring no wave and new wave. The whole schmear takes place in a baroque discotheque with European details and a click-track that’s been buried deep in your head by a repeating snare drum riff. That sounds pretty damn good, but this recording is solid for other reasons too. It was recorded at the legendary Sonic Ranch by Gerardo Ordonez and features a trio of sisters—Dorothy Cuylear (lead vocals/keys/lyrics), Natasha Cuylear (lead/rhythm guitar,backup vocals) and Carla Cuylear (drums/synthbeats/backup vocals) who use style and music in a way that synthetically suggests Bowie or Björk and sounds fucking awesome.
Each year, local woman-centric avant-garde festival Gatas y Vatas aims to offer stage space to marginalized voices in a safe and inclusive environment. The festival also produces what essentially amounts to a a series of field recordings of its yearly, totally awesome event. This year is no exception. Indeed 2017’s iteration presents scientifically demonstrable evidence that much of the deep water filling up what otherwise might be mistaken for a desert in these parts has been successfully navigated by a hardy crew of female humans. There’re so many rewarding tracks to listen to on this compilation that I can only mention a few here, but they include “Blue Glass,” by Cthulha; “A State of You,” by Ermine; “$lick,” by RAREBYRD$; “HighCrownZ” by Machete Mouth; and “Milk Sigil,” by Anna Mall.