Sonic Reducer: Jefe Mac

August March
3 min read
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I ran into this super-funky early autumn release while looking through bandcamp for aural phenomena tagged with the word “Albuquerque.” The label that produced this very interesting collection of explosively danceable glitches, drum machine programs gone rogue, sci-fi interludes, wandering guitar fantasias and reverb-soaked special effects is called Atomic Sweatshop, a mysterious organization “specializing in experimental Lo-Fi drum machines and samplers versus acoustic instrumentation analog recordings.” Ahem … and whatever. This EP is the perfect soundtrack for driving around Burque at cruising speed on a sunny day, as it shifts from glitchy anxiety to wondrous, discursive space jams on tracks like “Tranzform” and “Midnight Ghost.” At the bottom of the bandcamp page, readers are reminded that this work represents the home recordings of a late and legendary Burque guitarist known as Jefe Mac. The mystery of this dude’s identity only adds to the rich experience that awaits listeners.

SHREWD Keep Your LIVE Down (Push Drive)

Here’s a live album produced by local wunderkind Lee Sillery; it’s of up and coming rockers SHREWD and it lends an opportunity for audiences who don’t frequent Burt’s Tiki Lounge to listen in on one of this town’s best rambling and rocked out ensembles. Beginning with a paean to vengence, feedback and roto-toms, “The Clown” prepares listeners for a voyage both sacred and profane. Following this preparatory track, the band get to work with fast and fluid, screamy, flange-filled tuneage like “Guzzler” and “Destroyer,” songs that prove you can get somewhere fairly triumphal on the highway to hell … provided you have just the right guitar sound. At turns slow and sly, self-mocking and forcefully vocal, the recording ends decisively with “Madness and The Minotaur,” a tune that gives weight to the terms authentic and epic.

Heaven for Less Minor Sixth (Self Released)

I gotta admit I chose this local album to review because I liked the title; minor sixths are some of my favorite chords. Heaven for Less is the name of the acoustic-electric project of Ian Christopher Abrams-Silva, who handles all the vocals, instruments and art output by Heaven for Less. The artist’s sometimes sardonic vocals are upfront throughout; guitars, random voices and occasionally electronic effects fill up the breathy soundscapes created by Abrams-Silva, embuing the work with a sort of unforced grittiness that strengthen the casual yet concerned affect the record creates when played. While songs like “penn” use their low-fi gravitas to lay praise and damnation on famous punk rockers like the Minutemen, tunes like “damon” and album highlight “cherry home” display a sort of Pod-era Gene Ween experimentalism that’s still refreshing—and damn fun—to engage.

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