Monthly Listening: April 2021
ABQ has been coming through with music of the punk mentality. I mean, pretty much any genre has their own way of saying "f*ck you, I'll do it myself" when it comes to dealing with certain song content; however, saying "f*ck you" for the sake of saying "f*ck you?" That's where it can get interesting.
This month, the featured artists are either tired of COVID, tired of the menial tendencies of life, or really want to rock out just to rock out. This lineup indicates, to me, a groovy summer and a smart attitude going forward with life.
1) "OKAY" - trashgrl
This one is easy. I love Cati Ambriz's voice; I love how it sounds sweet and bored, and her harmonies are really nice, too. I like how the instruments sound; I like that they're just used to service whatever banality Ambriz is trying to convey. Trying to pin down why I like this so much feels difficult, because the song is straightforward - but it's very cool. The music video represents a DIY culture that feels specific to ABQ (what does that mean? That's another article). Great listen, and I want a lot more from trashgrl.
2) "Last Chance Lost" by [N/A]
Well-structured opening riff - extremely reminiscent of Blur's "Song 2" but it still works to the song's advantage (if it's cool, it's cool). The vocal melody is strong and the attitude behind the lyrics gives it some more power. I appreciate that the band tiptoes into a guitar solo; it feels like a good approach. I really like the song production, too; it indicates to me that [N/A] is serious about crafting a solid track.
3) "No Name" by Side Montero.
Categorically, Side Montero can be broken down into many pieces: alt rock with clear jazz influences, and also a modern bedroom pop feel coming from slack-jawed sounding vocals. This feels purposefully curated, as they seem to be a band with a strong image indicating they have somewhere to go sonically and professionally. I would recommend "No Name" as a new spring or summer bedroom bop - energetic and smooth, it makes for easy listening.
4) "Eastside" by Gat Moony
Really fun Monkees / Beach Boys vibes from the organ-sounding keys. Timeless lyrical content told in a modern way, definitely an anthem for those going through the tribulations of dating (of such anthems, there are potentially never enough - this song is a fantastic one to have in the mix). Gat Moony, the solo project of Gabi Montoya (Taco Sauce, Juju Fontaine), brings out the soul and sounds of the 60s. I'd say this is best listened to in your car at a loud volume.
5) "Bullshit" by Sarah Rowe
This song has a captivating start; I like the transition from a meandering, Southern rock feel to something more upbeat. "Bullshit," as the song title might suggest, is very on-the-nose lyrically, considering country can be pretty wordplay-heavy. However, Rowe is following a contemporary songwriting style where wordplay is scant but overt emotional expression is embraced. This is just one reason it works.
6) Heave by Heave
The opening riff in the EP's first track "Saturnalia" is gorgeous - there is absolutely no doubt that we are dealing with some doom metal musicians that know what the hell they're doing. This is lay-on-the-floor-and-stare-at-the-ceiling sludge, vibrate-my-eyeballs-out doom. Based on the instrumental talent alone (from what I can tell!) this album is a must-listen; but if you're into this genre at all, this doesn't miss.
7) Genesis by SHiSTR
SHiSTR is a band that would be celebrated within the walls of Launchpad and Moonlight Lounge. If you want to hear some genuine "Southwest hard rock" look no further than Genesis. Gritty vocals, nice squealing guitar, locomotive drums all the way through. My favorite track is "Down to Party." If you need something to tide you over while we wait for the local shows to come this summer, I'd check out this album.