Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small
Everything anyone ever wanted to know about Merge Records and more lies inside this nearly 300-page congratulatory volume. Twenty years after its creation by Superchunk's Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan, the North Carolina label celebrates its triumph over recording industry standards—and rightly so—with photos, first-person accounts and a compilation CD (which, strangely, neglects the early days).
These days, a real punk band can almost never find its way onto the pop charts. But back in the day (see: mid-’80s), England’s New Model Army released political punk that didn’t merely sell to left-wing extremists. Almost 30 years ago, frontman/mastermind Justin Sullivan, who has been compared to punk legends like Joe Strummer and Dick Lucas, named NMA after Oliver Cromwell’s successful (at least for a while) 17th-century British anti-royalist forces. Sullivan’s intelligent, informed and captivating songwriting helped the group get signed by EMI—who the Sex Pistols swindled in the ’70s—and embark on a dozen British Top 30 singles before descending (or ascending, depending your worldview) to the worldwide cult status NMA holds today. The Alibi caught up with Sullivan just before the start of New Model Army’s North American tour, which hits the Launchpad this weekend.
Miss May I • Ice Nine Kills • metal • Capsize • alternative, melodic hardcore • Lorna Shore • emocore • Westwind
By August March
If you still haven't had your fill of melodic hardcore, emocore and/or emo with no chaser—and lord knows who hasn't; I still dream of Hawthorne Heights every night before jumping up from my La-Z-Boy recliner and toddling off to bed—then do yourself a solid and visit Albuquerque's home for rock…
Electronic experimentalist and heady hip-hop instrumentalist Jennifer Lee, better known as TOKiMONSTA, makes an appearance at the Historic El Rey Theater on Thursday, Sept. 28. An astral entity whose work with Project Blowed and Flying Lotus landed her squarely within the realm of El Lay’s underground hip-hop movement, Lee also happens to be a classically trained pianist. She is well known for deconstructing the work of luminaries like Justin Timberlake and Yacht through remixes that absolutely come apart in your head as the beat drops—sometimes delicately, sometimes like thunder, but always with a focus that speaks volumes about her musical prowess and wonky tendency to digress upon subtle rhythms and beatific bits of melody. $15 is all it will cost the average 18+ listener to engage in the elusive what-comes-next nature of West-Coast grooviness. The curtain rises on TokiMonsta at 9pm.
Sorry Guero! • American death groove • Moonshine Blind • rock, country • The Lords of Wilmoore • punk rock • Cobra Vs. Mongoose
By August March
Hard rock is a thing that occasionally raises it's grizzled, drug-addled head in this dusty desert. It's a damn good thing the dude can play the guitar like ringing a bell. It also helps that the thing can sing. If not for these two crowd-pleasing aspects, Dirty City denizens would have booted Hard rock and his ilk outta this town ages ago. If you still haven't been exposed to this phenomena, may I suggest you haul your hipster ass down to Launchpad on Saturday, Sept. 30, for the album release party hosted by Burque groove-metal stalwarts Sorry Guero! The entirety of the diamond tough, blue-jean-clad, head-banging subculture who worship hard rock will be there, solidly represented by bands like hillbilly-heshers Moonshine Blind and pure punk provocateurs such the Lords of Wilmoore (eh, I lived on that street too, as an undergrad) and Cobra vs. Mongoose. So be there or be obtuse; it's only ten bones, okay?