Many people have described music as the universal language, one that has the power to transcend cultural barriers and relay messages purely through sonic means. Why is it that music is able to put forth what often cannot be said by words? Simply put, both music and spoken language rely on the same sets of principles in order to achieve their goals. Music carries forth pure emotion, and is not bogged down by things like phonetics. A person who does not speak English in any sort of sense can hear an American folk song and probably point to the emotion in which the tune carries. Similarly, somebody who doesn’t speak any Spanish can hear a Spanish folk song and understand the emotion it's trying to convey.
When country-pop-rock 4-piece Shallow Side's management contacted the Daily Lobo for concert coverage, I was extremely skeptical. If you literally just read that last sentence, you probably understand why. This blog was never intended to promote the commercialized self-celebratory Blake Shelton-esque bro-country propaganda that perpetually penetrates our national culture. Not to say that there's anything wrong with country music; in fact quality songs of the genre aren't particularly hard to find. I swooned over Sturgill Simpson's latest record and have a soft spot in my heart for artists like Son Volt and Jon Prine.
When I was a kid, my sister, who is 13 years older than me, made it a mission to expose me to the musical phenomenon known as the Beatles. She was being paid by my mom to “babysit” me over the summer. I was about 12 years old, and I was like a dry sponge ready to soak in anything that I came in contact with. She started by showing me what she was most interested in at the time (she was in her mid 20’s), the psychedelic side of the Beatles. My first favorite Beatles songs were “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “I Am the Walrus.” I know that I was lucky in my early musical exposure, but I can’t stress enough how important the Beatles were to my personal musical and creative development. My favorite movies were “Yellow Submarine” and “Help!” All thanks to my sister, whose tastes cannot be questioned.
On Friday, the French rock group Alcest performed at Sister Bar in downtown Albuquerque, as part of their 2017 U.S. tour in support of their latest release “Kodama.” The group played songs from their entire repertoire, ranging from their more recent shoegazing rock to their early black metal roots. Originally from Bagnols-sur-Ceze, France, Alcest has been playing since 2000 and began as a solo project of vocalist and guitarist Niege. In its 17-year history, Alcest has gone through numerous lineup changes and has dramatically changed their sound throughout that span.
Dylan Baldi is the man with the plan. He gripes with eloquence behind power chords and blistering drum patterns, armed to the teeth with dead-end lyrics to depict a grey, motionless world created with just three instruments. Cloud Nothings, like a plethora of other bands, was formed as a solo project on MySpace when Baldi could find time in his parents’ basement on the weekends to record everything himself.
Last week reggae-rock-hop fusion quintet Iration performed at Sunshine Theater, cultivating some warm vibes on a rather dreary day to a crowd. I hadn't heard of the group before their management contacted the Lobo, and even then I was still quite skeptical. However essential the genre is to the indie climate, reggae rock has never been my strong suite, and I often grow bored of shows that don't change up the flavor per say. The general mood of the show didn't really change throughout — at the very least, it was a jovial vibe. On a technical level Iration isn't worth writing home about, and that's okay. Fans seemed to be having a jubilant time and the theater was packed to the brim with a friendly ambiance. Iration have years of experience in writing, playing and evoking that sunshine aura they grew up with, and Albuquerque deserves some of that musical daybreak in this windy grey winter.
When I was a kid I exclusively listened to one band. They essentially defined my childhood with puncturing screams, vicious riffs and raps over the nu-metal cacophony that made my little 12-year-old fists want to punch various household objects. It laid down the groundwork for a very angst-ridden teenage era that, looking back, was beneficial in terms of appreciating music. Even as a small little dude that looked up music videos on Yahoo Music in 2002 — this band was the master of cheesy, vague lyrics that would convey various shades of the same recycled, angry emotions.
In a forecasted and somewhat unsurprising turn of events that, I imagine, can come as a shock to fans of old-school golden age classic rock music, and those that only listen to old-school golden age classic rock music: Genres are dying. Attempting to delve deep into a modernized music zealot's library to catalog their taste by genre is, now, a futile effort in quantitatively describing a taste in an art so abstract, you can't pen it down. At least, without years of education in doing so — not even including some electronic music thatis literally impossible to notate.
Have you ever been eating Laffy Taffy or sour gummy worms, perhaps on a lazy Tuesday afternoon with nothing going on and wondered, “I wonder what this sounds like?” Three British teenagers have decided to answer your query with the most colorful, sugary, synth-poppy bonanza since Chvrches’ mainstream debut in 2011. Much like their antecedents, they utilize the same format: a frontwoman preceding a drum sampler and a Casio keyboard, operated by the other two members of the band. Kero Kero Bonito crafted something rich and habit-forming with this studio album right here. “Bonito Generation” is so weirdly unique that even if hyper-bright pop beats and bubblegum lyrics aren't your thing... you might briefly forget that they aren't your thing.
Childish Gambino – "Awaken, My Love!" Label: Glassnote (Neo Soul) (48:57) Highlights: "Me and Your Momma," "Redbone," "Have Some Love," "Terrified" As much as I yearned for Gambino to come back this year with some swiggity rhymes over some swooty beats, I can't really complain with what we got. Let's dispel this notion once and for all that Childish Gambino doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing! This is a complete 180-degree stylistic change from the dude, which would be cause for alarm if he didn't know how to do, just, so many things. As the album art can attest, this whole record is essentially Funkadelic.
clipping. – "Splendor and Misery" If you're familiar with the dude who played LaFayette in the “Hamilton” play that blew up last year, he also produces some scary good experimental hip-hop music. Clipping is a relentless three piece comprised of lightning-fast emcee Daveed Diggs, noise musician William Hutson and film score composer Jonathan Snipes. As you can already illustrate with that information, it's a villainous squad of crazed artists.
Gregory Alan Isakov – "Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony" Label: Independent Release (Orchestral Folk) Highlights: "Liars," "Master & a Hound," "Saint Valentine," "That Sea," "The Gambler" Isakov's best work to date, and about 65 percent of the credit is due to the symphony playing alongside him.
Blank Banshee - "Mega" Label: Independent Release (Vaporwave/Trap) (32:40) Highlights: "Frozen Flame," "Gunshots," "Sandclock," "Meteor Blade" Feel free to call out my designation for this record, but in my defense, no one knows where this record belongs.
2016 was very much, in almost every way, a calendar year. Things happened. People reacted. Sometimes things didn’t happen. That was okay too. Personally, my favorite part was the music. In this cold post-Bowie world we live in, it’s becoming more worthwhile to take a step back, lay down in the cool metaphorical lawn of time, and thoroughly listen to some jams that have the potential to really animate the senses. Finding a righteous album can make one’s week, nay, one’s year — dare I suggest a lifetime? Considering that songs we found as children still find ways into our Spotify playlists, that is.
Saosin – "Along the Shadow" Label: Epitaph Records (Post-Hardcore) (39:31) Highlights: "The Silver String," "Drinking From the Fountain," "Sore Distress" A tome of angst-ridden incantations that exhibit just how refined this iteration of Saosin has become.
It’s not often you find yourself at an anniversary show of a music group on Halloween. That turned out to be the case at the El Rey Theater, when the electronic music trio Autograf performed on Oct. 31st to an enthusiastic crowd. Drinks were overpriced, but that’s just the nature of a concert venue. But the show made up for the outrageous drink prices with the passion and stage presence of the group. A relatively new group that started in 2013, Autograf hails from the windy city of Chicago, a town famous for good music and a long history of legendary musicians. Autograf may be next on the list, as their performance at the El Rey was one worthy of Electric Daisy Carnival.
When thinking of bands from Albuquerque that have struck a chord with the masses beyond the Land of Enchantment, groups like The Shins and Femme Fatale often come to mind. Their bouncy, upbeat melodies draw large crowds in venues across the nation. With catchy songs that are difficult to stop humming along to, it’s not far fetched to assume the Red Light Cameras could be joining that list soon.
It took a while. It took some merchandise, ticket sales, enthusiasm and a basic corporate understanding of present-day music trends, but, finally, our little desert town is pretty much on the concert map full-time. In the next three months there will be a surplus of diverse and extravagant artists featured in Albuquerque.
Entertainment mogul Drake needs no introduction. His hooks frequently invade clubs around the world and his records climb up the charts with ease. Yet on his latest full length release “Views” it seems Drake has become much too familiar with his comfort zone, reveling for eighty minutes in routine lyrics and nuances that become excessive by only the half way point.
The ethereal washed sounds of psychedelic rock band Sun Dog have been permeating Albuquerque’s music scene for almost half a decade. Now with both an EP and album under their belt, the group has been touring out of state to share their music across the nation. Sun Dog is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Colin Roxford, guitarist/organist Jon Deyhle, drummer Maxwell Graves and bassist Luz Allison. It originated four years ago as dddiamonddd, a rock band.