Four post-punk, PoMo and nuevomexicano gigs arrive
By August March
From left, North and Mamiffer’s Faith Coloccia
Courtesy of artists
“Where was I? I forgot/ The point that I was making/ I said if I was smart, that I would/ save up for a piece of string/ and a rock to wind the string around/ Everybody wants a rock/ to wind a piece of string around/ Everybody wants a rock/ to wind a piece of string around/ Throw the crib door wide/ Let the people crawl inside.”—“We Want a Rock” by They Might Be Giants, from the album Flood
I nearly went with April Wine’s “I Like to Rock” for this week’s loosely related introductory lyric. I dug a lot of the song, but I couldn’t hang with the “some like it hot, baby” line for editorial purposes. That's just too cheesy, although it does kinda acknowledge the roots of a slang phraseology originally used to describe human coitus. Meanwhile, They Might Be Giants’ John Linnell expresses similar sentiments with the added allure of word play and crypto-poetic metaphors that can be about whatever suits your fancy, satanic rocanrol included. So if you too want to rock, I’ve got some news. Start winding string around your chosen stone; the devil’s details follow.
Kate Burn Photography
If you dig intensity in your rock and roll environment, trip on down to Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) on Thursday, Jan. 29, for a show featuring post-punk, pro-porn project Bathhouse, a local outfit whose oeuvre includes the wantonly heavy, concisely executed EP Life and Times of a Post-Masculine World. Sharing the bill are Burque grindcore gurus Hollow Tongue and a fascinating, ground-shaking duo of doomsters from Las Cruces who go by the name Oryx.
All three dark units support Tucson sludge crew North, who are touring the Western lands of America. Albuquerque is the penultimate stop on their winter sojourn, and the trio should be oozing a deadly slow syrup of distorted guitars, destructive drumming and brutal basslines by the time they arrive in the Duke City. Amazingly, this 21-plus show is free, although you’ll undoubtedly trade away some brain cells by the time the evening concludes. It all begins at 9pm.
Wanna take your PoMo proclivities to their outer limits? Spirit Abuse (1103 Fourth Street NW) has the means to take you there. On Friday, Jan. 30, the venue presents a two-set sonic séance featuring Jeremy Barnes, Thollem McDonas and Heather Trost. Barnes and Trost make up the Eastern European-influenced but genre-transcending duo A Hawk and a Hacksaw, whose work includes the compelling 2013 folk concept album You Have Already Gone to the Other World. Oh, and Barnes used to play drums in some band called Neutral Milk Hotel. Trost, a New Mexico native, previously played in seminal, local avant-rock outfit FOMA.
Soon-to-be-nuevomexicano pianist Thollem McDonas—Spirit Abuse curator Raven Chacon says McDonas plans to relocate to Alcalde, N.M.—is known for his post-classical, transgressive takes on melody and rhythm. McDonas combines acute technical skills with fearless instrumental experimentation to engender an experience that is energetically organic but also ethereal.
Multi-instrumentalist Barnes combines forces with McDonas for one heady set, while formidable violinist and vocalist Trost calls up spirits from the vasty deep with a solo recitation. Admission to this evocative exhibition is five dollars. The concert begins at 9:30pm.
Pull your cowboy boots on and switch gears and aesthetics on Saturday, Jan. 31, with a slow cruise up Central to Caravan East (7605 Central NE) for a performance by legendary nuevomexicano musicians Al Hurricane and his son, Al Hurricane Jr. A storied progenitor of this state’s signature sound, Hurricane has been rocking the scene for nigh on 50 years; back then his group The Night Rockers were jamming at the fabled Skyline Club. His son began playing and performing with Hurricane in the late '70s. Their first recording Cantan Corridos has long been considered a classic.
Countrified, multi-genre ensemble Power Drive Band starts the evening’s festivities off with a deliberately cool, salsified set. This 21-plus excursion into la neta will run you 10 bucks, and it begins at 5pm. I'll be damned if you don’t spend the rest of the weekend dreaming and dancing en un otra idioma.
Take a couple of days to unwind the string from all that righteous rock and return to Spirit Abuse (1103 Fourth Street NW) on Monday, Feb. 2, to further explore the limits of postmodern musical expression. The evening’s program includes performances by Mamiffer, the project of visual artist/visionary musician Faith Coloccia in collaboration with her husband Aaron Turner, guitarist for post-everything doomsters Isis. As Mamiffer, Coloccia has forged weighty, transcendent, convention-defying work grounded in repetition and expansive ambience.
Before his early aughts expansion into experimentalism, percussionist/composer Jon Mueller studied with seminal free jazz multi-instrumentalist Hal Russell and played with Milwaukee, Wis., post-rock masterminds Pele. Mueller will provide a soundtrack for contemplation or demonic excision. Local composer-magicians William Fowler Collins and Raven Chacon add an infinite sense of wonder and foreboding to the proceedings. Chacon is notable for crafting a body of work that's disturbing and entrancing in its attention to tonal detail and dynamics; Fowler Collins speaks directly to the universe in his complex compositions. Admission is five dollars, and the doors swing wide at 8:30pm; music or its verisimilitude follows at 9pm.
So you’ve got a damn hefty rock, strong but flexible string and an inclination to see the universe as a discrete series of alternately noise-laden, melodic and moving events. Use these tools well, friend, and take in some awesomely rich, tantalizingly tuneful or majestically terrifying shows happening this week in Albuquerque. And by all means, please rock on.