Monthly Listening: July 2021
By Albuquerque Green Room
This month’s roster is exceptionally vulgar. Just an observation.
Here at ABQGR, we don't have an aversion to harsh language, dark themes, or gritty sounds - we don't avoid any of that in any way. But this month, the crassness in a few songs and potency in some others is lathered pretty thick. We don’t know how it ended up this way, but it’s always nice to find a theme, regardless.
Summer has been hot, as has ABQ music. We'd love to hear about some of your stand-out show experiences or listening experiences since being back-in-action. And, as always, we hope you enjoy the sliver of new releases we present to you below!
1) Reyes - Backyard Demos
These three tracks - the first released from Santa Fe project Reyes - are very crisp for demos. The EP feels heavily produced, that I think what might have made these tracks 'demos' has to do with the amount of recorded takes, not with mixing. However, in demo fashion, I think this EP is representative of what the artist is trying to achieve: effortless doom. "HIM" is gnarly in a shoegaze way; the guitar tone is gorgeous and I can't get enough of the stomach-churning vocals. "WhatINeedInThisMayem" is a bewitching interlude, and "GODCANSEE" is just angelic. Backyard Demos is a great demonstration of grotesque beauty.
2) Cowboy Killer – “Hopscotch”
The beginning beat has a bluegrass feel, though it's not long before the track traipses into explicit vocal territory. I do like the banjo/mandolin sound of the beat, and how the song comes full circle. It does have a whisper of Western whimsy to it, though it's clear that Cowboy Killer is using the Western/Southwestern aesthetic mainly as a gimmick. There is nothing wrong with this; it works for the time being as he's finding a sound that is authentic to him.
3) Lucky Mays – “Pour Me” and “Find Yourself A Cowgirl”
“Pour Me” is fit for a country music radio station playing at a bonfire; it even begins with “Hey, bartender…” Lucky Mays’s voice is sinfully indulgent. Both “Pour Me” and “Find Yourself a Cowgirl” are fantastic feats of production; Mays surely used every resource he had to the fullest extent, from thoughtful songwriting to interpersonal music connections. Though the choruses in both songs seem to carry on quite a bit, but repetition in music can be very powerful. The heavy repetition in these two singles tell me that Mays wants his audience to be able to settle in to his music.
4) Guero – Adobe Casitas
A relatively new and prolific artist, Guero makes bold lyrical choices that are at times jarring, and at times wildly entertaining. “Adobe casitas / Whydon’t’chu leave it to beaver.” What that means, I have no idea. Is Guero a huge Leave it to Beaver fan? I don’t even need to know, because for me, it just works. Not for nothing, but Bob Dylan also did some wild word association with his lyricism. Adobe Casitas might more accurately be compared to the music of Dylan's grandson, Pablo Dylan. Guero (as you might surmise from the artist's name) is genuine Burqueño hip-hop, and it's an enjoyable listen especially if you love the genre and want to learn what Guero is about.
5) Only Fables – “Give A Fuck”
While the single is Ramones-esque in length, its impact is scarring, like smoke to your throat. “Gives A Fuck” is a protest song to the best of punk's ability, calling out those in power who abuse their power, from gun violence to holding tradition above human life. “We’re all suffocating / We can’t fucking breathe / You don’t care enough / to move your fucking knee” screams vocalist Josh Romero. The band stands for “personal liberty with compassion,” and this "Gives A Fuck" exemplifies that. (I also like the work the track's title is doing, this is a tasteful use of "Fuck," for me.) The song and music video are captivating and well worth not only the 1 minute and 46 seconds it'll take you to watch, but the resonance it creates, as well.
6) The S.O.N. feat. Phoenix Theory – “Waves”
Something The S.O.N. does well is capture fleeting feelings or ideologies, similar to the effect of summers from our childhood; a limbo, a feeling of being in the present, future, and past, all at the same time. Maybe “Waves” emits nostalgia, but more so it is atmospheric in that it’s easy to imagine it in the background of mundane days - mundane days that will someday feel much less mundane. “Waves” is sweet and is a breezy listen.