Music to Your Ears
Local metal purveyors Systemic have landed a spot on an upcoming DVD that spotlights underground industrial and metal bands around the world. Heavycore.org, a website that bills itself as “the international brotherhood of heavy bands,” offers members a wide range of products and services that cater to heavy music, including a gig exchange, touring support and other helpful networking. In addition, the web-based organization promotes member-bands by releasing and/or distributing CDs and DVDs. Systemic will appear on Roasting Posers Vol. 1, along with bands like Pro-Pain, Alchymist, Skitzo, Ominous, Three-Headed Moses and others. It'll be available early this year, and pre-orders will soon be taken at www.heavycore.org. ... Texas-native Eric Johnson, one of very few so-called “guitar gods” who's not completely devoid of soul and any notion of melodicism, will give a solo acoustic concert next Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Sunshine Theater. This tour marks the first time in a long time that Johnson hasn't appeared with wankers like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, who have always managed to overshadow the guitarist with overblown technical antics. In my opinion, anyway. So I suggest you get tickets early, 'cause Johnson really is brilliant. ... You may have noticed that El Rey Theater's marquee has been restored to its original luster. A federal grant was recently secured by the city to rededicate the Pucinni Building, which houses both El Rey and Golden West, as a national historic landmark. The theater, which is once again under the operation of the original family, will host a formal rededication by Mayor Martin Chavez on Jan. 30, along with a host of “Grand Reopening” concerts throughout January and February. Stay tuned.
Vladimir Horowitz Live and Unedited: The Historic 1965 Carnegie Hall Return Concert (Sony Classical)
Last year marked the centennial of the birth of Vladimir Horowitz, often considered the last great exponent of the Russian tradition of romantic pianism. Born in Kiev, Horowitz was all of nine when, as a recently enrolled student in the Kiev Conservatory, he snuck into a sold-out recital by the great pianist Josef Hoffmann and hid in a dark corner spellbound. Almost 74 years later, after an absence of 61 years, he returned to Russia to play for an equally spellbound audience. It was a triumphant homecoming, the culmination of a career that ended three years later with his sudden death.
The Blind Boys of Alabama
Saturday, Jan. 17; The Lensic Performing Arts Center (Santa Fe, all ages, 7:30 p.m.): Regardless of your take on its lyrical content, gospel music is one of the most affecting musical genres in existence. Deeply religious and secular audiences alike can find themselves spellbound by the sheer power of a gritty, molasses hued gospel voice, and none are more powerful than those possessed by The Blind Boys of Alabama. Founded in 1939 by Clarence Fountain at Alabama's Talladega Institute for the Blind, membership has fluctuated during the past six-odd decades, but the spine-tingling quality of three- and four-part harmony has remained constant.
Sunday, Jan. 18; Route 66 Casino (I-40 at Exit 140, 10 minutes west of Albuquerque, 21 and over, 7:30 p.m.): OK, so Chris Rock is a comedian and not a musical act. The fact remains, though, that Chris Rock indeed rocks and, with just a little stretch of the imagination, he could easily be called the “rock star of stand-up comics.” Since his silly haired debut on “Saturday Night Live” and eon ago, Rock has released two live CDs (both of which carry vague musical elements) that are, for lack of a better word, hi-fucking-larious. In fact, Rock is so damn funny and talented that I'd rather spend an evening listening to him than at most concerts I can think of.
Garageland Last Exit to Garageland (Foodchain)
Originally released in 1997, Garageland's debut was criminally overlooked by most indie rock aficionados in the United States. In their county of origin—New Zealand—however, the band were rightfully hailed as the southern hemisphere's answer to Pavement. But it's the band's pronounced similarity to the Pixies and Sonic Youth that's most likely to tickle your eardrums. The band's third album, Scorpio Righting was quietly released almost two years ago, but this reissue of Last Exit ..., with eight bonus tracks, moderately outshines the band's more recent output. It's an indie rock masterpiece of Surfer Rosa proportions.