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Thursday, December 18, 2014

For Your Ears

Rocky Votolato and Kevin Long
Low Spirits
Wednesday, May 9 at 9 p.m.
21
$13

Rocky Votolato is an easy-listening acoustic artist with a soothing voice to accompany his quiet guitar picking. Votolato sounds like Jack Johnson’s soft music: his voice is as gentle as his songs are earnest.

For your consideration: The quick guitar picking and storytelling of “Sparklers” shines as one of Votolato’s best.

First Blood, Naysayer,
Born From Pain, Betrayal
The Beat Coffeehouse
Friday, May 11 at 5:30 p.m.
All ages
$12

If overtly masculine and political hardcore punk is something you’re into, then First Blood fits nicely into your collection of terrorizing tunes. Members of First Blood wear their macho attitudes on their sleeves, with most of their songs chock-full of thick breakdowns and harsh vocals.

For your consideration: First Blood’s “Enemy” comes out swinging, with lead singer Carl Schwartz yelling alongside a tidal wave of heavy guitars and percussion.

Le Chat Lunatique, Ya Ya Boom, Beke Dragoste
Amped Performance Center
Saturday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m.
All ages
Adults $15, students with I.D. $10

Local toe-tapping jazz band Le Chat Lunatique performs jazzy tunes that are heavy on the stand-up bass and group-sung “whoa-oh’s.” Performing alongside soul rock group Ya Ya Boom, this performance supports Family Promise, a nonprofit group that raises money for New Mexico’s homeless and low-income families.

For your consideration: Le Chat Lunatique’s “Demonic Lovely” is a tune of deceptive seductresses accompanied by violin solos.

Whiskey Folk Ramblers, Tom Neversfield
Low Spirits
Tuesday, May 22 at 9 p.m.
21
Ticket prices at the door

Whiskey Folk Ramblers are a theatrical folk rock band, singing songs that fit snugly with any Quentin Tarantino-style Spaghetti-Western soundtrack. The gallop of this band’s percussion trots along the Wild West, gaining speed as the band draws upon campfire ghost stories of yore.

For your consideration: “Gambling Preacher and His Daughter” trembles at first with its jangling guitar before speeding off in a trail of trumpets, accordions and percussion.

Horse Feathers
Low Spirits
Sunday, May 27 at 8 p.m.
21
$10

Horse Feathers walks in the wake of artists like Iron and Wine with its Southern approach to writing acoustic indie music. Horse Feathers treads softly with the mumbling of banjos and violins, while lead singer Justin Ringle’s smoky voice leads the crowd of musicians.

For your consideration: “Curs in the Weeds” is a slow-churning folk song that’s accentuated by a strong string section — best listened to on a lazy summer’s night.

Ceremony, Royal Headache
Launchpad
Wednesday, May 30 at 8 p.m.
All ages
$10

Ceremony is a blast of ‘80s-influenced punk, harking back to the days of Minor Threat and Black Flag. Lead singer Ross Farrar is relentless on the mic, thrashing about and yelling lyrics like “pack your fists full of hate, take a swing at the world.”

For your consideration: Ceremony’s “Dead Moon California (Midnight in Solitude)” is a lesson in staying patient: the opening 90 seconds come at a crawl with droning bass, before exploding in a frenzy of guitars and shouts.