Alibi V.19 No.51 • Dec 23-29, 2010 
Giant Steps

Show Up!

Mod Revival

Burque ska band reunites

In the '90s, ska was experiencing its third wave, and Albuquerque was experiencing Giant Steps. The seven-member band formed in 1993 from the ashes of notable local groups Beat Fetish and Cool Runnins.

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Captain America

Dirt City Archives

Mission Irresistible

The acerbic romance of The Rondelles

When Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley invited The Rondelles to record for his Smells Like Records label in 1998, there were typical grumblings from a few older and more established Burque bands—no names please. After all, they pointed out, Juliet Swango (guitar, vocals), Oakley Munson (keyboards, drums, vocals) and Yukiko Moynihan (bass) were barely out of high school.

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Flyer on the Wall

Sustenance

Rather than engaging in the typical Christmas Eve activities (imbibing nog, wearing flannel by a fireplace, receiving diamonds from your lover, not getting a present then discovering your husband leased you a new luxury car with a big stupid bow on top) the lavishly tressed hippies in The Withdrawals will be jamming extended guitar solos for charity. The show unfurls at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Friday at 8 p.m. Admission is $8—get $3 off with two cans of food—and proceeds benefit the Roadrunner Food Bank. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

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Robert Kerley

Song Roulette

Once upon a time, Robert Kerley was the keyboard player for ska band Giant Steps. The Albuquerque native relocated to Lawrence, Kan., where he still resides, playing in a few bands, including a ska group called Checkered Beat. On Dec. 29, he’s reuniting with Giant Steps for a show at the Launchpad. In anticipation of that reunion, we asked Kerley to put his digital music library on shuffle. “I promise this is how the list came out!” he says. “The sixth song was actually from another band of mine—I have 30 gigs of music on my Zune and probably less than 1 percent is my own stuff.”

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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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