Alibi V.13 No.12 • March 18-24, 2004 

Music to Your Ears

By the time this issue reaches your hands, I'll probably be sunning myself by the hotel pool, drinking non-alcoholic beer and stuffing my pie hole with barbecue as part of my South by Southwest 2004 coverage. While I'm out of town, there are a few shows going on locally that you should pay particular attention to. For instance ... guitar god and honorary Albuquerquean Eric McFadden will haul his trio back to the Launchpad on Friday, March 19, where he'll host an evening of live music by the likes of himself, Jason (Daniello) and the Argonauts and the next mayor of Albuquerque, Stan Hirsch. ... Icky and the Yuks will perform with the Amputees (formerly the Angry Amputees), the Hollowpoints and Coke is Better with Bourbon on Sunday night, March 21, at the Atomic Cantina. ... On Monday, March 22, head to Sonny's Bar and Grill for a head-splitting, mind-bender of a rock show featuring High On Fire, Dysrhythmia, Black Maria and one of my favorite math bands of all time including national acts, Simulacrum. The Foxx will be back from their jaunt to SXSW in time to make rock at Burt's on Tuesday, March 23. A pretty good week for local shows in Albuquerque if I do say so my damn self! See you next week.

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Blue Note

Mary Gauthier: Renaissance Woman

She's been a troubled teen, a runaway, a drug addict, a drunk, resident of a Kansas City jail, an accomplished student of philosophy at Louisiana State University, a graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and founder/owner/chef of the award-winning Dixie Kitchen Restaurant in Boston. But for the past eight years or so, Mary Gauthier (pronounced Go-Shay, the Louisiana way) has focused all of her energy on reinventing herself yet again, this time as a singer-songwriter. And after three albums, each better than the previous, it looks like she's once again scripted her own success.

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Music Magnified

Four Shillings Short

Saturday, March 27; Super-secret AMP location (call 842-5073 or e-mail abqmusic@att.net for reservations and directions, all ages, $10 donation): Talk about cultural diversity. San Francisco-based duo Four Shillings Short meld the traditional music of the British Isles and India with American folk to create a vibrant musical adventure that's as eclectic as they come. Consisting of Cork, Ireland native Aodh Og O Tuama and San Diego-born Christy Martin, Four Shillings Short utilize more than 10 instruments ranging from ancient to modern—tinwhistle, Medieval and Renaissance woodwinds, dumbek, hammered dulcimer, banjo, sitar bodrhan, etc.—in the creation of folk music that relies on ethnic idioms for its lively character.

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Aural Fixation

Various Artists Roasting Posers: Volume 1 (Heavycore DVD)

Let's keep things simple at the outset: There are kick-ass bands (Osmium, Systemic, Soultorn, Low Twelve, Bite the Hand), mediocre bands (Blessed with Pain, Pro-Pain, Three Headed Moses, PCP, Condemned, Ominous) and kinda lame ones (Slugtrail, Alchymist, Skeptic, Skitzo) on this debut DVD installment from the good folks at Heavycore.org. That said, Roasting Posers: Vol. 1 features videos by 16 heavy ass bands from all over the United States that could kick your ever-lovin' ass, and the whole affair is quite entertaining, even when the videos themselves aren't.

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Sonic Reducer

Slaid Cleaves Wishbones (Philo/Rounder)

Singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves third record proves once and for all that you don't have to be Texas-born to make pure Texas music. The Maine native's last record, 2000's Broke Down, was hailed by the Austin Chronicle as "the first great Texas album of the 21st century." Difficult as that particular accolade might be to eclipse, Cleaves has done it with Wishbones. Lyrically striking and a writer of visceral, ironic melodies, Cleaves is a near-perfect combination of Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett. Four years between albums allowed Cleaves to go from critics' darling to trustworthy songwriter, and the result rages.

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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

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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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