By Albuquerque Green Room
Our first installment of this monthly, playlist-type article came out on November 30th of 2020. It’s now officially been a year of what is our most consistent, timely feature! Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s been a commitment that has helped us keep our focus on what is important—sharing music.
While we’ve shared artists from coast-to-coast here, today’s lineup is solely ABQ-based. If this holiday season is making you feel defeated, we’ve got some deathrock and twangy punk for you. If you’re feeling particularly jovial, we have some powerhouse pop to keep up your momentum. Whatever your mood is, there's music to support you.
As always, keep us in the loop with what you like, love, and wanna see more of. Enjoy the winter for what it is—we’ve got our rock to keep us warm.
1) The Backsliders – “Dissatisfied”
This three-piece rock trio has seen a few different iterations over the years. Always fronted by Brian McDaniel, it appears the group has emerged from the belly of the coronavirus grittier and more honest than ever. An emphatic guitar drawl crossed with a panicked drumbeat in "Dissatisfied" keeps the listener from sinking in to the tune, mimicking dissatisfaction: “You know we can never be satisfied.” McDaniel’s distinct growl is unmistakably 70s punk reminiscent, and it feels more fitting than ever. The gang vocals also included in this track speak to the regeneration of the band’s plurality. I feel the implicit, maybe not purposeful, weight on “we”—this makes what could be a lonely song more of an anthem. With this new honesty comes vulnerability and depth, and it feels like the Backsliders have a strong foundation to keep trucking towards the heart.
2) Red Light Cameras – “Little Sorry” music video
In their live music video for “Little Sorry,” Red Light Cameras solicit legit chills. It would be remiss of me to say that this is because the track and video lend themselves to the band’s authenticity, because the band's authenticity is a spectacle of its own. For me, they’re a “perfect storm” kind of group. You’d be hard pressed to find a singer as ideal as Amanda Machon—she brings strength and soul to pure fun pop rock (this is not a new or exciting comment—seriously, if you haven't experienced Machon's voice, you're missing out on something monumental). I must give credit to the community who made this video happen—directed by Alejandro Montoya Marin, shot by Adam Smith, with glistening animation from Alec Brown, and live sound captured by Andrew Godfrey. Red Light Cameras are building an empire of which I’m a humble resident. They recently welcomed Justin Salazar and Aaron Cather into the band, so we'll be watching closely to see what they have in store for us.
3) Catholic Sacrifice – Clutches
Sometimes, something will pop up in my inbox that completely kicks my ass and revitalizes my soul. For fans of Type O Negative and tenor goth vocals à la Robert Smith, this one man goth/deathrock project is sure to satisfy and itch for new goth music. Excuse the intrusion of my personal tastes, but sometimes I feel like goth rock is a bit stale—I might liken it to the height of a season, like when winter or summer feels tiresome. However, Catholic Sacrifice’s new EP had the opposite effect on me. I think at its best, goth music can evoke a powerful nostalgia (which is not foreign to much of our favored listening experiences, anyway). Clutches, created and produced in solitude, makes me want to crawl out of my shell.
4) Russian Girlfriends – “Like a Drug” music video
My first impression of this song was a voice screaming in my head to go on and put this track on repeat for the night. In their near eight years of existence Russian Girlfriends seem to never relinquish the gas pedal. There’s a reason the band wears the heart of Albuquerque like a glove; they know how to rile a crowd with antagonistic music all while being their best friends. In the “Like a Drug” music video, Russian Girlfriends invite you into their home for our listening and viewing commiseration. Their new album comes out on January 14, 2022. From being the first band to play at Launchpad after reopening the doors post Covid shutdown, to new single releases to end 2021, to kicking off the upcoming new year in style, my music diet has totally succumbed to Russian Girlfriends's beastly beats.
5) Patema – “Paper House”
Patema is in the pocket with this one—a brightness that lends itself to the idiosyncrasy of their collective talent. Lead guitarist and vocalist Jaden Lueras’s fulsome voice exhibits his nuance while successfully pushing for more. “Will I be a fortress or am I a paper house / The kind that sways and crumples when the waves come crashing down,” Lueras sings, revisiting a favored theme of his—finding resolve and resilience through inner conflict. His vocal composition is gorgeous, catchy, and vibrant. This prog metal band is all about satiny riffs and finding ways to spotlight their unique strengths, like powerhouse drummer Jesse Goldstein. Patema’s album Fathom, released in 2019, now feels balls-to-the-wall (an uncouth and extreme term I use here to animate their new finesse) compared to “Paper House’s” refinement.