“Timing like a clock when I rock the hip-hop/ Top notch is my stock on the soapbox/ I've got more rhymes than I've got gray hairs/ And that's a lot because I've got my share/ I've got a hole in my head and there's no one to fix it/ I gotta straighten my thoughts/ I'm thinking too much sick shit/ Everyone just takes and takes, takes, takes, takes/ I'll have to step back, I gotta contemplate ...” “Sure Shot” by the Beastie Boys.
As listeners head into the last month of summer, the seasonal set of concerts that have been falling from the sky and onto Duke City, New Mexico, like big wet, noisy chunks of funk are set to begin dissipating in the coming month. So my advice to you is simply this: If you find one of those psychedelic, sometimes jazzed out, always rhythm- and blues-inflected gobs of goodness in your backyard, in your venue of choice, please don’t use it to adorn your body. I know, it looks super-sexy. But it will work better if you rock it by taking the damn thing out with you and sharing that awesome essence of live music with everyone you encounter on the way—and that’s no ill communication, cats and kittens.
Beastie Boys: “Sure Shot”
The southern lands—a place often depicted as divine or at least under the influence of supernatural forces that may or may not be friendly to the tribes of humans en el norte—get their due on Friday, Aug. 10 when The Chamanas, a poptastic grupo from El Paso y Juarez that plays fronterizo indie music, land at Launchpad (618 Central Ave. SW) for some daringly delicious desmadre that not only reflects the current state of culture at our border but also serves to signify the many voices seeking significance in a rapidly evolving world. Using folklore, American and Latin popular culture tropes, lush hooks, Brazilian rhythms and electronica to weave their musical shamanism, The Chamanas are part of a rising tide of musicians from the Southwestern US and northwest Mexico that take multi-genre fluency as seriously as the dancing their music evokes with listeners. Da Terra Meiga, an almost indescribably fantastic band I happened to finally see live last weekend, are also on the bill. They play some sort of highly infectious gypsy glam-rock with serious folk and jam band elements thrown in for good measure. The Dirty Shades, Panda Riot and one of my favorite local Americana acts, Port Alice, open this sultry affair with sound and the end of summer. 9pm • $8 to $12 • 21+.
They told me in rocanrol critic school to avoid comparing one act to another, especially if said comparison spanned generations and involved musical entities younger readers may not know, understand or appreciate. Well, fuck that, as Lester Bangs reportedly said when confronted with anything that smacked of upholding the normative. Getting on from that, I have always had a special place in my heart for the work of Ben Gibbard. The same goes for the Regina Spektor. Totally dig that shit. So how do you think I feel about He is We, an idie pop project created and maintained by Rachel Taylor? Very hopeful is the answer to that one, carnales, as I realize they sorta sound like the aforementioned. Those kids from Portlandia sure as hell can plaintively play, as He is We demonstrates sweetly and succinctly over and over again. Try “Happily Ever After” or last spring’s “I Wouldn’t Mind” for size if you are concerned that this music is somehow not relevant to you. On the other hand if all this turns out to be diggable then you’ll appreciate the information that follows. He is We is gigging on Friday, Aug. 10 at the Jam Spot (415 Central Ave. NW). Come down now, they’ll all say. 6pm • $12 • All-ages.
Albuquerque’s hip-hop scene continues to drip development and bifurcate badassery. Fans may be aware of a growing underground school of rap that includes well-known emcee entities like Def-I as well as deadly duos like Song Burds and mysterious music makers like Goblin Bones. There is also a growing number of traditionalist, pop-oriented flavas coming through the pipe in Duke City, New Mexico, often with OG and autotune affinities clearly demarcated in their fab flows and intensely dense urban riffing. Witness Tino Ware, AKA T Streets and Sir Trigga, two bold and bumping members of the local iteration of hip-hop nation who will be playing a show on Saturday, Aug. 11 at Duke City Events (2822 Second Street NW). Yung Estabon, a DJ dude outta the Sunshine State, opens. Of all the tuneage I listened to by these eminent practitioners, I gotta say the watts I dug the most included Trigga’s “On the Road” and Estabon’s “Fast Life.” Though the rap roster is currently filled to the brim, I predict you will be hearing more from these fellows, especially Sir Trigga; that dude can spit, sabes? 9pm • $10 • All-ages.
Although the process whereby punk rock mutated into pop-punk and then, in some very bizarre cases transmogrified into emo—that bastion of rock-critic fodder for how a specific genre is destroying the nation (obviously they’ve never listened to the work of Ben Gibbard, eh?)—may forever remain a mystery to those who dig the sound if not the style. That said, The Ataris still fucking rock. They came outta the midwest in the late ’90s, took an ancient pioneer trail to sunny Califas and bam, Look Forward to Failure and Blue Skies, Broken Heart ... Next 12 Exits, were born. Though the band has seen more personnel shifts in 20 odd years than most rock bands half their age, Kristopher Roe, the brains behind the whole schmear, continues to rock out like tomorrow may never come. Their 2016 bandcamp effort, October in This Railroad Earth is fine and fresh. The band will be at the esteemed and storied Launchpad (618 Central Ave. SW) on Sunday, Aug. 12. In case you wanna know, Roe and company will be playing their classic album, So Long, Astoria in its entirety that night. Local emo adherents Right On, Kid! of Duke City Studios fame and the ever-popular, ever-evolving Red Light Cameras open this super tasty bag of treats and tears. 7:30pm • $15 to $18 • 13+.
Ah, the sounds of the high desert: lonesome coyotes howling; a devil of a windstorm tossing branches and trees through the air; the hiss and hum of extraterrestrial activity slowly being drowned out by the rattle, roar and blasting bumps of a knowing rocanrol band, all in tune with the cicadas of course. If that sounds like your cup of mushroom tea then haul your ass over to Moonlight Lounge (120 Central Ave. SW) on Tuesday, Aug. 14. That is if you wanna hear what happens when desert rock, stoner rock, metal and rock played by a band named after the Hindu deity of death all get together for one bright yet blighted night in Burque. Red Mesa, a simmering rocanrol trio we told you about in these very pages only a few weeks ago, headlines a bill that also features fuzzy San Diego stoners King Chiefs as well the inimitable Prey For Kali. This will truly be a night to rock out with your socks out, so try to wear something besides white crews, sabes? Okay, I’m just kidding. Here are my favorite tracks by these three, in no particular order: “Walk The Plank” by King Chiefs; “Route 666” by Red Mesa and “Circle of Stones” by Prey For Kali. Now, get out there and rawk, people! 8pm • $5 • 21+.