Monthly Listening: August 2021
By Albuquerque Green Room
Thank you for tuning into the latest installment of our monthly playlist series. We hope you'll check out the music we have for you today! There are four features this week—two EPs, one LP, and one single—but there's perhaps a more in-depth look at each than in the past. As always, if you'd like your single or EP to be featured on our monthly playlist article, reach out to us and let us know what's up!
1) The Ordinary Things – Doom
It is safe to say that The Ordinary Things will go down as one of the most prolific bands of their time. It seems nothing can stop them from augmenting their sound and constantly topping themselves as songwriters. “Empty” lays heavy and is a bit melancholy, but hits the ‘90s alt rock chords of our hearts. The title track, “Doom,” is an absolute monster smash written by guitarist Andrew Chacon. I feel like I reverberate along with the strings of the bass. Sick harmonies from Justin McLaughlin, and Jackie Chacon's gentle yet commanding vocals are the icing atop a multi-layered cake. “We are doom,” Justin and Jackie sing for the chorus. Yes, we are doom! While reminiscent of the similar-sounding "we are doomed," this is a much lovelier sentiment. I want the doom-inspired guitar drone tattooed on my face, if that were possible. It's cool to hear the bassist and metal junkie Justin take vocal lead on his progressive-sounding synth heavy track, “Another World,” which he says is inspired by playing Latin music for many years.
Here is the new music video for "I'll Be Leaving," a track that's not on Doom but on their sophomore album, Something to Believe In, released earlier this year!
2) True Story House – Brave Like Us
True Story House is an indie rock project with a smattering of twang. The opening track of the EP, “Keeping Her Weather,” is pleasant and lolling, with a hidden sardonic quality, like the band Presidents of the United States. Title track “Brave Like Us” is where the vocalist's Lou Reed style really shines. Brave Like Us is spirited like a rainy day—it contains a pressure that subdues you but keeps you engaged. “Ex Torture Song” includes a nice piano feature that adds some freshness to the EP's journey. The album feels complete and tells a good story, and I like where the overall sound is resting. It makes me excited to hear what will come next from True Story House, because while they have a solid sound that they seem to have mastered, I can easily picture them growing into something completely new that fits them as they grow, themselves.
3) Z the Author – “sumthing” and "Khali's Interlude"
Z the Author is admired and important to the ABQ hip-hop community because of his exhibition of the respect he has for himself and his art, not to mention he just knows how to make music. "sumthing" is his fourth single of 2021, and it came in sweet and smooth, romanticizing what could (or maybe, should) become of a burgeoning relationship. The track is easily one that could be left on repeat, and each listen could summon a new emotion, like love itself. Z the Author is graceful and delicate with his productions, leaving a large opportunity for power in subtlety, which he seizes.
Z's visually and sonically captivating Tiny Desk submission.
4) Lowmello – Big Bang Boomerang
“Boots and Cats," the first track titled as such because of the spunky drum beat, is a sparkling opening tune and encourages a further listen to this indie rock debut. Big Bang Boomerang travels at an easy pace with exuberant rhythms; I like the bass in “Hummingbird” because it’s noticeably groovy and eager. The guitar glides along every song in the high range, creating a feel-good, lighthearted vibe. “This Moment, This Lifetime” is a slower, more somber beat to balance out the shape of the album. This is the kind of album you can put on and it will perk you up, great for walking and energizing yourself.
Big Bang Boomerang came out in December of 2020, but I wanted to highlight it for another reason besides it being a successful and robust album. Lowmello is a part of Monsoon Music House, a music collective that is active in live performance and embraces the "artists supporting artists" mentality. Founding musicians of MMH are Lowmello, Jimmy Climbs, Jolynn Alarid, Dan T., Edgar Wonder, and Micah Thunder.
Monsoon Music House (@monsoonmusichouse on IG) is one of a few artist/musician collectives that have recently been established. It is nice to see musicians develop their business ethos as well as enhance relationships with those closest in their community. I am excited to see how the "collective mindset" will motivate artists in their writing and production, though part of me worries that the collectives will have a sequestering effect; factions of the already sprawling ABQ music scene may become even more distant from one another. However, projects like MMH are ultimately beneficial to the current climate of the ABQ art ecosystem, and I think that our musicians need to be there for each other in any way they can.
ABQGR is excited for the future of Monsoon Music House and the other collectives of ABQ and NM, who we're sure to cover in the near future.
And to close, just something cool I found on Twitter dot com.