Alibi V.13 No.2 • Jan 8-14, 2004 

Music to Your Ears

One of Albuquerque's longest-surviving blues bands, The Albuquerque Blues Connection, will kick off 2004 with a concert on Saturday, Jan. 10, at Pucinni's Golden West at 9 p.m. Currently promoting their CD debut, West of Texas, ABC are also hard at work in the studio recording tracks for their upcoming release, Burning It Up. ... Speaking of CDs by local bands, Fast Heart Mart have finished work on The Movie Theater, which is one of the best local releases I've heard in awhile. It'll be reviewed on these pages in the coming weeks, just as soon as I get some artwork to scan. ... Calls from bands wanting to be involved in this year's Alibi Spring Crawl are already beginning to pour in, so I offer my standard response to such queries in print with the hope that aspiring Crawl bands will heed the advice: Our Crawls are not “new band showcases.” The events are not designed to debut bands to the public. Participating bands are chosen in large part by the venues in which they are eventually booked for the Crawls, which means that club owners generally choose bands they've heard of and or have a good history with in terms of those bands that can create a reliable draw. So the best thing you can do as a new and/or fairly unknown band (especially with regard to the Downtown scene) is market yourself, book some gigs Downtown, post fliers for your shows and create your own buzz. It's not too late to get yourself a Spring Crawl slot, but you've got to be willing to do the work. Good luck!

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Blue Note

The Top Classical Vocals of 2003

I would be guilty of gross falsification were I to pretend that I am able to audition more than a fraction of the classical releases that arrive weekly chez Serinus. I therefore abandon all pretence to inclusiveness, and instead focus on the vocal issues that have led me closest to the gates of heaven these past 12 months.

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Music Magnified

Steve Earle

with Greg Brown

Sunday, Jan. 11; Lensic Performing Arts Center (Santa Fe, all ages, 7 p.m.): While many folks are content—eager, even—to accept Hank III as neo-country music's bona fide badboy, the title actually belongs to Steve Earle, Americana's equivalent to rock's Bruce Springsteen. His antiestablishment attitude has remained untouched by his various addictions and run-ins with the law, and his songwriting—largely as a result of his various addictions and run-ins with the law—has only gotten better, more precise.

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Music Magnified

Henry Rollins

with his giant, gaping pie hole

Wednesday, Jan. 14; Hiland Theater (all ages, 7 p.m.): I get it now. My former punk rock idol, Henry Rollins, has become a comedian in much the same way that Jello Biafra has become an almost grateful victim of “The System.” Both Rollins and Biafra are smart guys, magical public speakers and charming beyond any shadow of a doubt. They are not, however, orators of the James Campbell stripe. But because they both once fronted punk bands—Black Flag and Dead Kennedys, respectively—they still command a certain audience.

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Sonic Reducer

Demon The Plague (Dead Ringer)

Twenty years after its original release, Demon's third album sounds dated, lackluster and tired, despite having been remixed and remastered for its reissue. Even by 1983 standards, this one's second-rate—a vaguely hewn Orwellian concept album that lacks any real spark. Not poetic or progressive enough to compare to prog rock bands like Marillion, nor bold, heavy or technically stunning enough to stand up next to the Queensryches of the metal world, The Plague would be laughable if not for the fact that Demon got better as the years went on. Skip this and check out The Best of Demon.

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Courtesy of the Artist

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Their Kindness is Charade

Crystal Castles • electropunk, synth pop, witch house

Remember the thing called Witch House? How about darkwave? The constant bifurcation of artistic paths in the field of electronic music can be damnably confusing and irritating, as well as rewarding and helluva lot of fun too—as long as you pick the right band. When adherents of these sorts of genres aren't busy sorting their rainbow-colored toe socks and looking for tubes of Vick's Vaporub to snatch up at the local Walmart, then it's a pretty fair bet that they are listening to the likes of Crystal Castles, a duo of Canuck electro-arhats who've made their mark in the music world with a febrile and spooky glitchiness that has outlasted any names critics might apply in favor of an honestly, intimidatingly pure exploration of sounds that make humans dance and rejoice as they swirl around the very noisy and icy maelstrom of life and death. Ethan Kath and Edith Frances, AKA Crystal Castles, perform live in Burque on Thursday, Oct. 19. Viewed as an opportunity to joyfully and ferociously embrace the void, this ought to be a damn good show, but don't blame me if you can't remember your name afterwards.
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Courtesy of the Artist

EVENT HORIZON ()

Special Beat Service

The English Beat • ska

Here's a brief on a band with three names, but unlike Eliot's bunch, these dudes are not a coterie of cats. At home across the pond, they're known as the Beat. In the land down under, kindly refer to them as the British Beat. Here in 'Merica, we call them the English Beat. But no matter what you call them, this estimable ensemble that still includes founder and guitarist Dave Wakeling—but not vocalist Ranking Roger—was partially responsible for the upsurge in popularity that two-tone ska saw on both sides of the Atlantic during the '80s and '90s. With a retinue of classic, upbeat jams like “Monkey Murders,” “Spar Wid Me” and “Save It for Later,” the band's touring the states again, impressing OG ska lovers as well as the next generation of horn-crazy youth with their combination of crazy stage antics and terrific tuneage. You can catch the outfit live here at the Duke City on Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Historic El Rey Theatre, but don't worry you don't need checkerboard pants or a smart little hat to enjoy this gig—just make sure those great big feet of yours are rested and ready to dance.
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