One surefire sign of spring? Oodles of good music of every stripe and genre.
BY M. BRIANNA STALLINGS
Temperatures rise along with hemlines. Cacti and cottonwoods bloom. Bicycles weave through traffic. Brewpubs open their patios to prep for longer, hotter nights. These are just a few of the signs that spring is in full swing in Albuquerque. Another surefire sign? Oodles of good music of every stripe and genre.
Sultry jazz at Outpost
For vocalist Alicia Olatuja, it’s not just All That Jazz. As a classically trained mezzo soprano, Olatuja made her recital debut at Carnegie Hall, and her professional debut as Sacagawea in the world premiere operetta “Corps of Discovery” at the Opera Memphis. Olatuja has also performed at The Kennedy Center.
It was her breathtaking, dexterous solo performance with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at the 2013 inauguration of President Obama on the National Mall that brought her to the attention of the world. Praised by pundits ranging from “The View” to The New York Times, Olatuja’s lustrous voice harkens back to Anita Baker and Dianne Reeves.
Watch Olatuja’s performance at President Obama’s inauguration below:
Her musical style seamlessly blends elements of jazz, classical, pop and gospel music. All styles are at work on her solo album, fittingly entitled “Timeless.” In addition to solo work, she also performs with her husband, bassist Michael Olatuja, in their African jazz band The Olatuja Project; the pair released album “The Promise” in 2013.
Olatuja performs Saturday, May 7, at Outpost Performance Space (210 Yale SE). Doors to this all-ages show open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. This concert is sponsored by Annapurna World Vegetarian Cafe and presented in memory of late music lover Dr. Eddie Chelist.
Tickets $15-$20 at holdmyticket.com
Immortal Technique + Jedi Mind Tricks
Next up on the decks are two superstars of underground hip-hop: Harlem MC Immortal Technique and Philly collective Jedi Mind Tricks. Immortal Technique and JMT blow the roof off Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10.
A Peruvian native with college and prison on his resume, Felipe Coronel, a.k.a., Immortal Technique, believes in the power of musical protest. Fierce, outspoken and provocative, his rapid-fire lyrics tackle institutionalized tyranny and oppression, government overreach, colonialism and revolution.
Coronel puts his money where his mouth is, or rather, where his rhymes are. He regularly visits prisons, donates money to overseas children’s hospitals and has even partnered with human rights group Omeid International to build an orphanage in Afghanistan.
Jedi Mind Tricks was founded by high school buddies Vinnie Paz (Vincenzo Luvineri) and Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind (Kevin Baldwin). A revolving door of members, coupled with the group’s twin passions for mythology and gangsta rap, and an array of collaborations with artists like GZA, Killah Priest and Immortal Technique, all contribute to JMT’s uniquely woke sound.
JMT’s most widely acclaimed album is 2006’s “Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell,” renowned for musical diversity and meaty lyrics. Their new album is 2015’s “The Thief and the Fallen.”
13-and-up show; Tickets $25 at sunshinetheaterlive.com
Tortoise + Chris Brokaw
Pop quiz, music nerds: Did you know that the ’90s spawned more genres than merely grunge, third-wave ska and neo-soul? That’s right. We can also thank the decade for post-rock.
Characterized by irregular rhythms and a cocktail of jazz/electro/prog influences, examples of post-rock include Explosions in the Sky, Stereolab and Sigur Ros. Each and every one can thank Chicago experimentalist Tortoise for paving the way starting way back in 1990.
Tortoise’s defiantly angular sound is so lauded, in fact, that in 2010, their hometown commissioned a special collection of music designed to commemorate Chicago’s jazz and improv music culture.
These works would inspire Tortoise’s latest album “The Catastrophist.” Tortoise brings the post-rock power to Burque on Saturday, May 14 at Launchpad (618 Central SW). Also on the bill is slowcore star and multi-instrumentalist Chris Brokaw, the founder of Codeine, guitarist for blues-punk group Come, Capitan Records champion and collaborator with artists like Steve Wynn, Thurston Moore and Willard Grant Conspiracy. Doors are at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 8:30 p.m.
21-plus show; Tickets $17 at launchpadrocks.com
Titus Andronicus + La Sera
It may not seem like you can get down with good old-fashioned rock n’ roll dancing to an album titled “The Most Lamentable Tragedy,” but as ever, New Jersey art punk band Titus Andronicus defies expectations.
The choking snottiness in singer Patrick Stickles’ voice as he wails about “The Angry Hour” or a “More Perfect Union” conjures The Clash, The Damned and The Dead Boys. “The Most Lamentable Tragedy,” an excoriating look at mental illness, is the second of two concept albums from a band that took its name from a Shakespeare play; the first was their sophomore release, 2010’s “The Monitor,” loosely based on the Civil War.
Experience Titus Andronicus on Wednesday, May 18 at Launchpad (618 Central SW).
Titus will be joined by noise pop band La Sera. Founded by Katy Goodman, a Jersey native who currently calls California home and is former bassist of short-lived dream noise outfit The Vivian Girls.
Goodman launched indie rock outfit La Sera (Spanish for “the will”) in 2010, and the group released its eponymous debut in 2011. La Sera’s latest “Music for Listening to Music To” was produced by Ryan Adams and came out in March.
La Sera has also toured with Tennis, Jenny Lewis, Father John Misty, Kate Nash and The Julie Ruin. Doors for this Titus Andronicus and La Sera double-header open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8.
13-and-up show; Tickets $15 at launchpadrocks.com
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