A(nother) Bowie tribute at the Co-Op, San Holo at the El Rey, Lady Uranium and friends at the Tannex, Bigawatt and co-conspirators, Jake Shimabukuro, Baracutang and Mountain Blood Fest III. And more! Whew!
Ever notice how different sets of ears hear things, well, differently? Take Oakland, Calif., quartet Everything is Dirty. Peruse online reviews and you’ll find numerous references to grunge, art rock and psychedelic. The meaning of pigeonholing tags—which all us music scribblers adore—shift over time as music changes. For instance, “soul” used to mean cornbread vocals by Sam & Dave backed by plenty of horns. These days, soul means (ugh) Robin Thicke or (less ugh) Duffy. That '90s catchall phrase “alternative rock” referred to the watered-down but occasionally worthy successor to '80s “indie rock” on labels like Merge and 4AD but ultimately degenerated into describing knuckleheads like Fred Durst.
If Everyone Is Dirty is grunge, then so is Weezer. Art noise? Sure, there’s some droning here and there, but I guess anything vaguely atonal is “noise” to masses who nowadays prefer songs that are more beat than melody or harmony or anything else that was once the hallmark of popular (pop) music. Live, the band does tend to venture heavily into “improv” and “jam”—two words that always fill me with dread. Singer Sivan Gur-Arieh takes her electric violin into Jean-Luc Ponty territory, while Christopher Daddio's guitar solos are sometimes longer than necessary but not by much; that's good for a guy like me whose attention wanders when soloists noodle around above the fifth or sixth fret. Psychedelic? Please. Only people who have never taken drugs use that word.
Here’s my take: Everything is Dirty's recorded output is post-Breeders, post post-Pixies, texture-rich and crunchy with vocals reminiscent of Louise Post (Veruca Salt), Chrissy Amphlett (Divinyls) and Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses). (And if three “posts” in one sentence isn’t enough, I don’t know what is.) Of course, I think I’m correct, but see for yourself at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Monday, July 14, at 9pm. Cover is $5. Low Spirits • Mon Jul 14 • 9pm • $5 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
Ex-Albuquerqueño Sam Miller—who's actually from the Northwest—returns from Seattle for his first solo release, You Need To Hear It, which was ably mastered by Sean McCullough of Sad Baby Wolf. When last we saw him, Miller was fronting the pleasantly uncategorizable Jenny Invert, a band that spun off from the somewhat categorizable (ersatz-Americana?) Grand Canyon. If this sounds somewhat equivocal, it’s not intentional.
While listening, I jotted down some notes: pseudo-Slavic mariachi country and Western piano party-pop wrapped in a game show-theme with Sam as dashing host—“Come on down!”—but deadly earnest. It’s a shame this description comes off so damn messy. Although his sound comes from incredibly disparate sources, Miller makes it blend like a chef adding just the right dash of thickener to a sauce that could otherwise be a lumpy mess. Rather than the pedestrian cornstarch an amateur might use, Miller employs a grand beurre manié, which is really just butter and flour but oh so elegant. Much of this album shouldn’t mesh, but it does. You Need To Hear It is a heroic dish anchored by compelling piano work, handsome voice and clever—never stupid—songwriting with sweeping but tasteful Queen-like production. Hear it at Burt's Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) tomorrow night at 9pm. $5 gets you in. Burt's Tiki Lounge • Sat Jun 28 • 9pm • $5 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
There are more boss concerts coming up than you can shake a stick at. We took a stab at it anyway. But what about the stuff there just wasn't enough dead tree space to explore? Of primary importance is the 42nd Annual John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium, which happens Sunday, March 24, through Wednesday, March 27. Celebrating the centenary of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, special guest composers and performers include wireless controller-obsessed Duo X, Italian pianist Emanuele Arciuli and local Sunday favorites Chatter, and they're demoing Robb's Moog Synthesizer this year. For the full schedule, visit the trust's site: robbtrust.org
But experimental and classical composition isn't all our fair city has on offer this week. Whether you're into hip-hop, horrorcore, pornocore, strings, Zimbabwean spirituals or songs written by women, Music to Your Ears has you covered. Peep related A/V below. Sister • Kool Keith • Fri Mar 22 • 10 pm • $16 • 21+ • sisterthebar.com
It takes all kinds, and that’s a very good thing. Whether you’re craving post-punk/art rock, electro-industrial, rockabilly, psych-rock, doom or Irish pub songs, you can find your fix right here in Burque. Tonight, literate post-punk act Venus Bogardus—featuring real-life couple James Reich and Hannah Levbarg—lays down a hypnotic sonic swagger at Burt’s Tiki Lounge, along with Lady Uranium and These Charming Cobras. Read all about this and other terrific local shows in Venus Bogardus in the Dominion of the Shadow Men. Check out related A/V below. Burt's Tiki Lounge • Venus Bogardus • Lady Uranium • These Charming Cobras • Fri March 15 • 9 pm • FREE • 21+ • burtstikilounge.com
Portland post-punk/shoegaze band The Prids returns to Albuquerque on Saturday, Aug. 20. The performance—part of what is rumored to be the heavily touring band’s final spin around the country—happens at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW). Albuquerque acts The Glass Menageries and Lady Uranium open. This 21-and-over show is free and begins at 9:30 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)