Candy Warpop Neon Order
Candy Warpop’s third album might best be described as gothic punk rock fused with Jefferson Airplane. “It embodies my inner thoughts and feelings on the modern world in which I live,” singer Amy Pate says. “It covers the whole spectrum, from the struggle of self-worth to the everyday trials of being a part of a flawed system.” Neon Order was engineered, mixed, and mastered by William Davenport of Las Vegas band Bounty Hunter Brothers. This album is the first the trio constructed outside the studio, which guitarist Joshua Cohen says “captured organic performances that we might not have otherwise.” candywarpop.bandcamp.com –Norma Jean Ortega
Hard Pipe Hitters This Is Rock Bottom
Persistence has always part of the punk-rock ethos, and Hard Pipe Hitters know all about it. Though the shelf-life of most bands in the genre is brief, these punk-rock stalwarts have been at it for nearly a decade—sharing the stage with greats like G.B.H. and Agnostic Front while embarking on regional tours. The band’s second LP marks an evolution of sorts—HPH have almost completely abandoned the ska qualities of their sound in favor of brisk punk pacing and no-holds-barred lyrics. It’s also the band’s most angsty collection of songs yet, tackling subjects like police brutality, sex and Hollywood hypocrisy with fury and gusto. hardpipehitters.bandcamp.com –Ian Caramanzana
Formed in 2013, heavy Vegas trio Illicitor has racked up gigs opening for NOFX, Retox and A Wilhem Scream, without a single album to its name. Bassist Zabi Naqshband, guitarist Bob Gates and drummer Micah Malcolm have finally rectified that with this self-titled, nine-track LP. It opens with the “Little Birdie,” an attention-grabbing cut that foreshadows what’s to come: aggressive guitars, pummeling percussion, dominant basslines and grizzly vocals. Illicitor was completed in three days at National Southwestern Recording and showcases self-proclaimed “live-tracked chaos”—all of which comes together in an audacious, boot-stomping debut. music.illicitor.us –Leslie Ventura
Lam The Land of Milk and Honey
“Do not expect this album to have commercial, mainstream appeal,” Wyatt McKenzie and Kim Lapidus wisely warn in their Bandcamp liner notes. Though it retains the melodic folk spirit of McKenzie’s previous projects, Milk and Honey departs drastically in its sonic approach—soaking the couple’s cryptic and intertwined lyrics (example: “Cali flower camo desecrates phalangic feces”) in lo-fi psychedelia, ranging from live sitar to spoken samples. It’s reminiscent of Natural Snow Buildings and early Elephant 6 cassette experiments … and it isn’t. “We wanted people to be a little bit confused and surprised,” says McKenzie, who hopes to turn the accompanying live show into a “spiritual experience.” mothermckenzie.bandcamp.com –Spencer Patterson
The Rhyolite Sound Desert Honky Tonk
The debut album from country five-piece The Rhyolite Sound is titled after the band’s description of its own genre, with a dusty, wide-open feel to its mix of classic country, Southern rock and a bit of rockabilly. Dual lead singers Larry Reha and Eric Alesi have distinctively different voices—one deep and gritty, the other smooth and silky—and their melodies are lively and catchy, with some fun tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Throw in plenty of plaintive pedal steel and Strip headliner Frankie Moreno on keys, and you’ve got a timeless-sounding album that fits in perfectly with country’s current throwback movement. spoti.fi/2z5b4Vt –Josh Bell
The Downtown music fest takes places March 8-11 at the Bunkhouse Saloon, Beauty Bar, Backstage Bar & Billiards, Artifice and Cornish Pasty.
The festival's eighth Las Vegas Motor Speedway edition takes place May 18-20.
She’s the perfect embodiment of internet culture, which has flattened time, fetishized nostalgia and emboldened people to slip between different personas.
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