When Oskar Petersen starts playing the guitar intro to “Dirt Bike,” the opening track on his first notable record, I couldn’t help but think of his old man, Carl, the brilliant dude from the Ant Farmers who was also, admittedly, the publisher of this newspaper for a number of years. Their muscularly strummed inflections are similar, as is the proclivity for minor chords and the surface resemblance of their produce to the music of Ben Gibbard. It’s where the young Petersen departs however—and not necessarily his bond to family or genre or rock and roll custom—that make this recording worth a damn. There is also an earnestness on this record—not a fragility, because the guitar player is strong and damn sure of themselves—that’s reminiscent of or can be imagined as the Greenwich Village folk scene gone emo; that’s so cool, coming out of nowhere on tunes like “Cocaine Grapefruit” or “15 Dogs.”
Lyla JuneThe People's Knowledge(Self-released)
Layla June is an Indigenous singer songwriter from Taos who has also distinguished herself in the community as an activist, educator and event organizer for progressive political causes. Additionally, June is a graduate of Stanford University. The re-release of her early work on Bandcamp includes this record from 1989. Filled with promise and forward looking in its juxtaposing approach to melody and the spoken word, The People’s Knowledge is an essential musical glimpse into the heady, rootsy waters that spawned the fight for civil rights in Indian Country as well as providing cultural clues for a yet-to-develop but dreamt of hip-hop nation. Favorite tracks: “All Nations Rise” and “The Day That You Were Born.”
The fine, fine music outta Burque just keeps on flowing. Here’s a new record of compositions by Buddy Holly, re-visioned by Javier Romero. VVolly starts with an art-damaged rendition of “Words of Love” that presciently announces to listeners: “Hey, Aguila, stop what you are doing, viejo, and listen to this!” And why not; it’s a whole goddamned album of tunes by the ghostly, glasses-wearing wunderkind from Lubbock and Hobbs, brought lovingly back to life—and then some—by a dude who not only knows his rocanrol history but also how to pace it to keep up the interest level. The subtle references to Weezer’s “blue album” are also helpful, by the way. But beyond artifice or artistic license, this album still rocks. If you want proof, listen to Javier and his band hit it hard on “Not Fade Away” or “Everyday.” It’s all going faster than a roller coaster, kids.