The Saltine Ramblers


If you’re lucky, like real lucky, and you live in one of those real lucky cities with a thriving music scene (not a Chicago, or an Austin), you might enjoy the perks of an insane Americana band.

Well, we are such a city, with such a music scene, and we get the Ramblers. Seems only appropriate that they came to us from a living room in Los Lunas, someplace a little smaller.

First of all, what other musicians can you think of that’re as influenced by Ween as Bill Monroe? Wait, Ween? “Spinal Meningitis” Ween? Yup. They even have a wah-wah-driven cover of “Your Party” on their second album, which almost makes you forget the saxophone. Other times you’ll hear echoes (or full-blown covers) of The Pogues, Dropkicks, the Muppets theme, Jimi Hendrix, various Sci-Fi recognizables (yeah, Cantina Band from Episode IV), and—gasp!—even some folk standards.

Maybe the only thing that measures up to the variety of their influences is the variety of their instruments: guitars of all kinds, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass, squeeze-box and the four gents’ vocals, in ever-shifting configurations. The result is, well, unexpected. The Ramblers can be as appropriate for your three- and six-year-olds at the Downtown Grower’s Market as the double-fisting crowd at La Cumbre (not that LC’s bartenders would ever let you double-fist…). They’re a people’s band, and they play… whatever they want to play. Which is usually what the people want to hear. Lucky us, so attuned to the whims of a such a wide-ranging bunch’a delightful crazies.

And they’re fun, which is most of what we mean by “insane Americana band.” Their new album, You Know That New Sound You’ve Been Lookin’ For?, is named for the classic moment Marvin Berry cleverly calls up his cousin Chuck, to tell him a white boy from Hill Valley is ripping him off FROM THE FUTURE. If you still don’t know what we’re talking about, surely the image below will jog your memory. (If you’re still lost, you have four days between this review launching and the release party to rejoin American pop culture.)

So let’s talk for a moment about that album release, at Low Spirits, November 2012. First, they did right by their scene, inviting Russell James Pyle & The Safety Committee to play the nascent band’s first big local gig. That kind of ‘bring the next one up’ spirit was so natural to them that when we mentioned it, they weren’t sure why we were even bringing it up. Second, they managed to bring The Handsome Family out of hiding—they hadn’t performed in two years, and with a drum machine in close to ten. Also a feat. And after naming their album to reference one of the greatest movies of the 20th century, they even modeled the party after the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. They totally opened with “Earth Angel.”

But most importantly, they tore it up. They played for well over two hours. The stage never got stale, the dance floor was lit with mildly drunk line-dancing, Irish dancing, and unashamedly terrible dancing (maybe best embodied by the writer of this review). Instruments changed hands so smoothly you could have forgotten the Dave thumping out bass lines was just shredding. Oh, yeah. We’ve been instructed never to call them a bluegrass band again. Now you have, too.

And what was waiting backstage the whole time? A crockpot of chorizo and white beans, which the other Dave (Payne) had made for the techs, helpers and fans. They’re just that kind of band.

We’d hazard it was the best live music show a lot of people saw this year. A quantum leap for them (hint hint hint hint HINT) in a scene that’s all-too-ready to receive them.

From power-ditties to salt-your-beer ballads, the Ramblers put on a hell of a show. And with so many energies, you’ve finally got the chance to try out all those moves your Grandpa insisted stood between you and your next ladyfriend. So grab a brew, a cheese sample, or the hand of a becoming member of your most exciting gender, and get yourselves on the dance floor. Time to show this town how the rug is cut.

Stabbed in Back


Whoever said Burque couldn’t rock your fucking face off hasn’t seen Stabbed in Back. Or was so traumatized he packed the whole experience in one of those “Do Not Open Until Armageddon” boxes in his head.

It’s hard to categorize SIB. Sure, they’re punk rock. They’re very punk rock. They’re melt your fury through your amp and leave a puddle onstage punk rock. But there’s hints of darker, heavier, technical metal in there; these lads are not afraid of their instruments. So while you wouldn’t be wrong to call them a hardcore band, it wouldn’t really be fair to them, either. There’s something a little more happening in Colin and Dustin’s melodic (slamdance-demanding) guitars, Yuri’s thundering base lines. Maybe it’s Tim’s drums that most faithfully recall the classic 80s speed-stomp.

With US and European tours under their belts, and a critically-praised 4-track EP on Basement Records, our beloved “No-Coast Hardcore” band is working on a full-length with Bill Stevenson (known for his Black Flag and Descendents productions). To put it bluntly, these guys may never take over primetime radio, but they’re gonna be a big thing. A big thing from Burque. Who won’t be ashamed to keep it Burque. We can’t wait to see what they come up with.

All our love for them said, this review would be incomplete if we didn’t mention the music video for “When Laughter Turns to Screams.” For a bunch of left-leaning guys concerned with racism, classism and the general values of equality, it’s mystifying why they made a video about a helpless woman who’s clocked in the head at one of their shows, then dragged to a back room, and her mouth sewn shut by an ominous surgeon.

If it was supposed to be a statement on her lack of agency, about The Man shutting women up… we don’t know why this would happen at one of their shows.

We’ve been to their shows, we’ve watched frontman Adam Hooks‘s shirt fly into the crowd – and him follow it about 20 minutes later – and we’ve caught some blood in the mosh pit. We’ve seen women take their bruises in the pit, but we’ve never seen them attacked. Hell, we’ve even heard tour stories about the band refusing to play because the crowd was getting too violent. So understand that we’re bringing this up because it’d be weird not to – and because it’s kinda prominent on their website. All signs point to a respectful and safe hardcore experience.

So go slam your hearts out, kids. Then pick up one of those black beer koozies printed with a switchblade that says “Go Fuck Yourself.” We love those. Just write “Cabrón” under it in white-out, and you’re fucking Burque to the bone.

The Sub Culture Underground


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This ever-charming, glasses-clad indie-rocker’s been strumming and singing about town seemingly since Marty first took office, with an uncanny sense of melody and a throaty croon. Continue Reading

DJ Jimi B


Some of the finest hip hop production being crafted in the Duke City – and to our ears, in several states – is emanating from Jimi B’s decks. Dude’s so fucking cool, at his record release party last year he actually released a limited-run record. Continue Reading