Music to Your Ears
Honky Tonk Hero
By Michael Henningsen
Anyone hoping for an in-depth page-turner of Texas country legend Billy Joe Shaver be warned: you're not going to find it here. Considering the life Shaver has led, the accomplishments he's achieved through raw perseverance, deep-seated faith and good ol' West Texas gumption, Honky Tonk Hero's 191 pages seems a paltry sum. Only 72 of those pages, however, contain any narrative, while the rest are dedicated to reprints of all Shaver's song lyrics.
Billy Joe Shaver
By Michael Henningsen
Waco-born, Corsicana-raised Billy Joe Shaver is the quintessential unsung hero of American music; a sorely overlooked contributor to its formidable canon. Even though artists from Waylon Jennings and David Allen Coe to Willie Nelson and the Allman Brothers have enjoyed success on the coattails of the songs he began writing some four decades ago, Shaver remains on the periphery. In 1993, his luck began to change with the release of his first solo foray in several years, Tramp On Your Street (Zoo). The release two years later of Unshaven: Shaver Live at Smith's Olde Bar (Zoo) very nearly catapulted him to the forefront of country music, Texas-style. But, arguably, it was the stunning guitar work of his only son Eddy that made the elder Shaver remarkable to the ears of listeners, despite the fact that his gritty songwriting over the past 50 years or so makes him eligible for any Hall of Fame in existence.
By Laura Marrich
Monday, May 30; The Launchpad (21 and older): Combining equal parts French chanson, German electro-pop and good old American trash rock, Stereo Total is the most beguiling musical duo to rocket out of Europe in the last decade. Frontwoman Françoise Cactus bangs away on her drum set, singing everything from Serge Gainsbourg ballads to old school cheese balls like "Push It Real Good" with the brazen enthusiasm (and at times, fragility) of an eight-year old girl. Brezel Güring also does double-duty as a keyboardist and crooner, exhaling German-swathed lyrics as languidly as smoke pulled from a Gaulois cigarette. You might find yourself lighting up, too. Now touring in support of their seventh album, Do the Bambi, the Euro-trash wonder twins are taking American audiences to dizzying new heights of pop mulitilingualism. And, thanks to the support of Downtown's Mecca Records, we'll be one of the lucky ones to hear them live. Oh, how the accents will fly!
By W.P. Malandra
Spanish for 100 Metric (SPF)
Here's a band who loves straight-ahead rock tunes as much as their effects pedals. Spaced out music and melodies float around the standard rock progression to create a pleasant and easily digestable sound. Think Cave-In doing a bunch of Wilco covers. The last track was recorded live at the Crocodile in Seattle, and it shows Spanish for 100's music translates a lot better live than in the studio. "Metric" is a decent attempt, but they could benefit enormously from a bigger studio budget and a better producer.
Alan Jackson • country
By Joshua Lee
As Ludwig von Beethoven once said, “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” Those words still carry weight, even now: a thousand years later. And you'll find no better example than the incomparable Alan Jackson, whose voice and countenance rival those of the gods, as though he were hewn from the heart of the sun itself. His honky tonk tunes are swords of righteous terror and beauty which melt the eardrums of devotees, lost in reverie as they bathe in the glorious golden ambiance of his mustache. He'll be playing live at the Sandia Resort & Casino on Friday, Sept. 30. Take a gander.
Chrome Sparks • electronic, indie pop
By Joshua Lee
So Chrome Sparks apparently has a few hours open in his schedule to visit ABQ—somewhere in between juggling his gajillion other projects and fulfilling his role as busiest spacey electro-pop composer on the planet. New Mexico seems like the perfect place for those wide-open, expansive tunes of his. Maybe someone can talk him into posting up in the middle of the desert next time. Sound carries further at night and can have a a really spooky resonance. Just saying. This Friday, Sept. 30, he'll be wowing the pants off of us at Sister Bar (which is indoors, unfortunately) starting at 9pm.
Miike Snow • indie, electro-pop
By Monica Schmitt
"I change shapes just to hide in this place, but I'm sure not going to hide from this concert." Ladies and gents, I am happy to report that Miike Snow, the Swedish electro-pop band of your dreams, will be performing at our very own Historic El Rey Theater. Imagine Alt-J and Dan Black created a musically inclined love child. The result would be something like Miike Snow. If that's too foreign an analogy, you'll just have to listen for yourself at 7pm on Monday, Oct. 3. Tickets are just $25-$40 for all ages. The Mezzanine bar will be open for folks 21+.
Andrew Jackson Jihad • folk-punk • Diners • surf, indie rock • Kepi Ghoulie • punk folk
By Peter Karlsen
Once upon a time, back in 2004, in the distant land of Arizona, there was born a folk-punk band by the name of Andrew Jackson Jihad. It was a mouthful, so they decided to go by the acronym AJJ. Then they decided to formally change their name to that. Soon they'll be at the Launchpad. People in this town like to shit on the folk-punkers, but fuck those jerks. I already bought a ticket to this Launchpad show and I bet I'll be buying band merch, too. This kick-ass event starts at 8pm on Oct. 5.
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