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Monthly Listening: June 2021

By Albuquerque Green Room

ABQ seems to be back full-force, keeping up with the blistering rate at which life is now operating just beyond our front doors. Countless people have been attending and playing their first shows in a year and a half, undergoing noteworthy recording projects, and—from what we can see—taking care of one another.

We’ve been getting in the habit of including out-of-towners in our monthly playlist article, and this month is no different. We’re featuring some experimental hip hop from Florida and hard rock from Washington, D.C. This column is all about shedding a light on what's happening at the ground level everywhere.

Stay cool and stay up to date on some new releases! Here's to live shows and tipping your bartenders.

1) Betty Benedeadly – From the Mesa

Betty Benedeadly’s solo debut EP with Desert Records is an amble through ambiance. The first track of the album “Mescaline Prayer Song” is spinning some serious Western surrealism. What a great soundtrack for something as simple as a daily walk, or as consequential as searching for water in a waterless place (to echo a phrase from author Lidia Yuknavitch). “Coyote’s Fever Dream” depicts dehydration and “Down the Gorge” bestows horse-trottin, cig-smokin fun. I can see a filmmaker listening to these tracks and getting wildly inspired.

2) Craig Buchanan – “You Don’t Have the Ca$h”

I always love an obnoxious, brash bass, which is something Craig Buchanan delivers in bulk in his latest single. He also explores a few different vocal ideas, like going from a whisper to a shout, which suits the track's volcanic nature. This song is great for when, not if, someone has you brimming with rage. What Buchanan is sonically portraying here is the hasty and high-pressure attitude you’d anticipate from a guy angry with the insolence of someone else.

3) Circaetus – Boar

This debut EP from DC-based hard rock trio Circaetus is a phenomenal first mark on the world. “Westfield” travels at breakneck speed, equipping the album with the momentum to continue this tornado-like path. “Charlotte (Why Do We Die?)” feels like an angsty power ballad at times, which fills out the shape of the EP. I like the attitude of “Saguaro," which does have the flare of desert aesthetic.

4) Amiri Khaalid – “Brown Eyes”

This single begins with the chorus and increases a bit in weight when the verse kicks in. As far as soundscape, it doesn’t feel like it has much variance in regard to depths and heights; rather, is comfortable on one spacious level. This does not mean that it lacks tension, it means that the tension is left unanswered. At first, I wanted a push for more movement (whether that’s with an exploration of melody, dynamics, etc.), but I'm coming to realize that a song can just be, and it can still be fulfilling a particular need.

5) Lacerator – “Metal’s Mark”

"Metal's Mark" is a robust recording from this heavy metal quartet. By tracking their very recent progressions—lineup changes, releasing their first professional single, playing their first show this month—it is evidence that the young band seems to take being a band very seriously, which is one of the first steps to group continuance. I never mind hearing transparent influences in music because it indicates that the band has done their homework and that, first and foremost, they are fans. I tend to believe that a band's own sound will inevitably follow. “Metal’s Mark” is well worth checking out if you love Metallica. It's also worth giving a listen if you simply want to check out what this little thing called heavy metal is all about.

Photo by Oscar Montez.

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