Sonic Reducer: Atomonaut, Sword Horse, Man Born Blind

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Atomonaut is a new psychedelic, space rock band from right here in Albuquerque. They join legendary local masters of the genre like SuperGiant and Of God and Science in propounding a heavy-duty, blues-inflected vision of space and time modulated by searing guitar riffs and Plutonic percussion. The band’s debut album, Space Vol. 1, invokes a bevy of bodacious spring-time blooms capable of inducing intense and intimate sonic inquiry about the stars about and beyond listeners. Case in point: “Tito 68” drones and rumbles through the atmosphere, rocketlike in it’s determination to rock, while follow-up “Stones” takes full advantage of blues-bound instrumental roots and storytelling. The hidden track at the end, “It’s All Been Done Before” joins earthy melodicism to the starry, sun-strewn heavens in a summary that is strikingly profound.

Sword Horse Affliction (Self-released)

Sword Horse make blackened doom metal that, like the title of their new EP, reeks pleasantly of affliction, portraying a world that one withdraws from, not out of apathy, but in disgust. In fact titles such as “Affliction” and “In Disgust” mark this recording as not fragile-friendly. The noise and chaos are relentless through all four tracks but more importantly, display a command of the genre that surely comes from mythic experience. Track two, “Varmint” begins with apocalyptic explosions and a rattling, booming drum accompaniment that seems to suggest the evil imperatives of a sick beast. Percussion plays an important part—in a descriptive sense—on this recording, forming the basis for the terrible visions each track conjures and then puts away, insouciantly. There’s enough feedback and growling menace on Affliction to stun a horse, sword or not.

Man Born Blind Man Born Blind (Santa Fe Center Studios)

Man Born Blind’s eponymous release refers to college rock in a decently sentimental way that eschews direct derivation but instead calls on tropes from previously famous and highly influential genres to form something wholly new, yet cautiously creative. In this release one may find references to the greats. The jangly guitars, compressed drums and plaintive vocalizations of bands like Camper Van Beethoven, R.E.M. and Death Cab for Cutie are there for interested listeners, but for newbies, tunes like “Burnout” provide a glimpse of a band with awesome ensemble-playing capabilities wrapped up in highly-crafted songwriting and thoughtful, if overly-emo lyrics. Favorite tunes on this very new venture into well-known territory include “Burnout,” “Close Another Door” and the closer, “Danger,” a track whose cleanliness is next to grooviness.

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