Music to Your Ears
Congratulations to Albuquerque bands Mr. Spectacular and the 12 Step Rebels for making the cut in this year's South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, March 17-21. No word yet on the fate of the other locals who applied, but our fingers are crossed for Spiritu, Jason Daniello, Foma and Below the Sound. ... Local metal prodigies ATG (Against the Grain) have finished recording their debut CD, which should be mixed, mastered and ready for release by the end of this month. ... Speaking of new CDs by local artists, Tony Rio plans to release his third CD in late February, followed by a European tour. Details on Rio's CD release party are forthcoming. ... Longstanding world music band Wagogo will celebrate the release of their fourth, eponymously titled CD next week, on Friday, Jan. 30, at Stella Blue. Check next week's Alibi for the details. ... Finally—this week, anyway—the long awaited debut from Rage Against Martin Sheen has seen the light of day. No official word on the CD release party or retail availability has been given as of press time. Rumor has it that Albuquerque has seen the last of the New Mexico Showcase at least for the near future. Event founder and organizer Michael Feferman said during a brief visit to Albuquerque last week that pursuing a master's degree at the University of Texas in Austin proved to take too much time away from his NM Showcase duties, so the showcase will likely be put on hold until he finishes his degree.
Kitka Wintersongs (Diaphonica)
Authentic Eastern European vocalism from a Berkeley, Calif.-based ensemble? Absolutely. Kitka's Wintersongs is in a class apart.
The Flatlanders Wheels of Fortune (New West)
After taking three decades to furnish the follow-up to their 1972 debut, it only took the Flatlanders—Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore—two years to provide us with a third installment of near-perfect Texas country music. Wheels of Fortune was recorded immediately following the band's 2003 Now Again tour, and it's got the feel of a trio who've been on the road together for 30 years. Truth is, each member is a musical icon in his own right, but the sum of Flatlanders is more than its parts. Like the Beatles with twang raised in a roadhouse.
Various Artists No Depression: What It Sounds Like Vol. 1 (Dualtone)
It's tough to go wrong with a compilation conceived by the most respected alt.country publication in America that features tracks by Doug Sahm, Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Olsen and Victoria Williams, Robbie Fulks and a host of other purveyors—past and present—of Americana in all its various forms, all bookended by Johnny Cash's "Time of the Preacher" and the Carter Family's "No Depression in Heaven." There's not a single dud among the album's 13 tracks, but I must admit that I can take Victoria Williams' voice only in the smallest of doses.