Sonic Reducer: Cali Shaw • Leeches Of Lore • Yoko And The Oh No’s

Geoffrey Plant
3 min read
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Albuquerque has become famous for its breweries, which continue to pop up like mushrooms, but the Duke City should also be recognized for another local product its citizens consume: acoustic rock and Americana music. In fact, Burqueños often find themselves listening to our many local singer/songwriters at our brewpubs. One of these, Cali Shaw, has been performing separately from his band Felonious Groove Foundation for a number of years now and he really brings the goods on this second Cali Shaw album. Though I’m not a fan of Paul Simon and this genre of well-balanced, happy-sounding music, Shaw should never lack for fans. Under the Olive Tree is an upbeat, mainstream compendium of vocal harmonies between Shaw and Meredith Wilder (Wildewood), jiggy guitar riffs, lots of “nah nah nahs” and “dah de dahs” and easily palatable lyrics. Aided and abetted by Alex Maryol and a host of talented local musicians, Under The Olive Tree could easily beat a path to wider success for Cali Shaw.

Leeches of Lore Motel of Infinity (Lorchestral Recordings)

Best Leeches yet, no question. Motel of Infinity finds these local hardcore weirdos tapping into the vibe and ambiance of four full decades of music, generating such pleasurable feelings in the listener as are usually only talked about by Pink Floyd fans. The album combines the ‘70s song structure of Alice Cooper’s best stuff and ‘80s American hardcore guitar with the the pop rock and roll of both decades. Noah Wolters’ organ and the occasional country-rock element make this Leeches album the sound of 2015. The vocal range is so wide it defies logic. Screaming falsetto, growling dog voice, country crooning and baritone backing vocals all appear at just the right times and their music is complex and well beyond “metal.” The break in “The Sixth Finger” is a slice of ‘70s rock and roll heaven and “White Hole” is top-grade high desert stoner rock. Some of this album has got to be the best rock and roll in ABQ right now. Buy the gatefold, 150g vinyl edition to spin the rad Lorchestral label around on your turntable. Neato.

Yoko and The Oh NoÕs Yoko and The Oh NoÕs (Autumn Tone Records)

Lonely, bendy, liquid guitar à la Robert Quine juxtaposed with hard rock riffs in the garage style so prominent in the aughts. Über-confident vocal swagger. Lots of crash cymbal. Yoko and The Oh No’s are from Chicago, but they smell like New York punk in the late ‘70s and taste like a Memphis soul donut with R&B filling. Singer Max Goldstein is a raging presence here and word is his live performances are equal action to his big voice, with its equal measures of sex, sneer and attitude. The band’s bio compares Max G to David Johansen but I’m hearing a queer Dick Manitoba. Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a new genre the press is calling “punk soul.”

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