Alibi V.13 No.15 • April 8-14, 2004 

Music to Your Ears

Early one November morning in Seattle 11 years ago, Mia Zapata, lead singer of then up-and-coming alt.rock band The Gits (who played Albuquerque's Dingo Bar toward the end of their one and only West Coast tour), was abducted, raped and strangled to death with the hoodstring of her Gits sweatshirt, then dumped at the end of a dead-end street less than two blocks from the friend's house she'd left less than two hours earlier with the intention of catching a cab home. For a decade, Zapata's case remained cold. Then, in 2003, DNA evidence collected from Zapata's body drew a match on Florida's felon database, rendering a suspect in her murder: Jesus Mesquia. Three weeks ago, Mesquia was convicted on all counts in a Seattle courtroom and faces 20 years to life in Zapata's tragic death. Fellow Git Steve Moriarty after the verdict said, "I'm just glad he'll be in prison and we'll be living free lives." Indeed. ... This year's Alibi Spring Crawl will feature a handful of carefully chosen national acts to-be-announced. While the focus of our Crawl series remains on local music, local bands and the local businesses Downtown who support them, we'd be doing a disservice to everyone involved—fans included—if we didn't gradually push the events toward regional and, eventually, national acclaim. Albuquerque isn't Austin, and the Crawls may never be as widely regarded as South by Southwest, but we hope our humble events evolve to the point that they can't be ignored by the music industry at-large. See you Downtown on Saturday, April 24.

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Blue Note

Lyrically, he's been compared to Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen. But as a songwriter, tracing 26-year-old Josh Ritter's perceived lineage is slightly more challenging. Anyone with the ability to read the lyric sheets accompanying his three existing records can visualize the boyishly handsome Ritter's face buried in books by Rimbaud and Rilke. But listening to his plaintive voice toy with hook laden melodies without ever actually playing the hand is drawn in some obscure way to Nick Drake and Beth Orton and, moreover, a comforting amalgam of Bob Dylan (pre-Victoria's Secret commercials) and Sweet Baby James-era James Taylor.

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Music Magnified

Beto's Birthday Bash

Saturday, April 10; Launchpad (21 and over, 5 p.m.): It's an annual event that's become as revered as Christmas: Beto's Birthday Bash. Beto's turning 56 this Saturday, and he'd like to have all of you join him in celebration of the occasion. Many of your favorite local bands—Kaotic State, Dead On Point Five, Bulletrainmafia, Blue Bottle Flies, Concepto Tambor, Civitas, Feels Like Sunday, Los Brown Spots, Rebilt and several others—will be on-hand to provide live music and, if you show up early enough, there might just be some home-cooked food left.

Beto himself will be on-hand for spankings and such, with the giant spanking tunnel taking place at 11:59 p.m.

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Music Magnified

Lynch Mob

with Conspiracy

Wednesday, April 14; Brewster's Pub (21 and over, 9 p.m.): It's no secret that my some of my formative years were spent listening to '80s glam metal, going to '80s glam metal concerts and playing a pretty awful '80s glam metal-influenced band. The guitarist and long-time friend from that band which shall remain nameless recently entrusted several cassette tapes containing most of what we recorded between the late '80s and 1991—some of the worst music ever committed to tape—for purposes of archiving it on CD. The very fact that I would even consider spending time archiving such tripe is a clear indication that there's a part of me, however small, that still looks back fondly on those days. So it was with a fair amount of excitement that I received the news that George Lynch (and Lynch Mob) would be coming to Albuquerque on a last-minute booking.

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Eyes and Ears

Various Artists Sub Pop Video Network: Program 1 (Sub Pop DVD)

Longing for a return to the Golden Age of grunge? A tour through the annals of Sub Pop history? A reminder of how a handful of incredible (and incredibly resourceful) bands created the most significant musical movement since '70s punk rock? Sub Pop Video Network: Program 1 is just what you're looking for. Yes, long before the grunge look could be purchased from the Gap, and prior to bandwagonesque bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Bush ruled the airwaves, bands like Mudhoney, Beat Happening, Tad, Afghan Whigs and, yes, Nirvana, were busy meshing balls-out hardcore and punk rock with '80s metal in direct response to the Silly String 'n' Aqua Net era of rock music that nearly ruined an entire generation of MTV babies. And much of it is collected in video form on this first DVD installment from the good folks at the label that stated it all: Sub Pop.

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Sonic Reducer

Hanoi Rocks 12 Shots on the Rocks (Liquor and Poker)

They either missed the window or preceded it by a few years, but either way, the first outing by Finland's Hanoi Rocks in 19 years falls flat on its glamorous face. Back in their heyday, HR could have been the European antidote to the Los Angeles community of excess that spawned Guns 'n' Roses, L.A. Guns and Motley Crue, whose singer, Vince Neil, ended HR's career by killing their drummer "Razzle" in a car accident in 1994. HR never recovered. Michael Monroe's songwriting would have been hailed in 1988, but in 2004, it needs to be put to bed forever.

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Courtesy of the Artist

EVENT HORIZON ()

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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