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Local music notes: Chameleon Queen, Inhuman Again, King of Heck and more

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Chameleon Queen
Photo: Miranda Alam / Special to Weekly

SONIC CHAMELEON

There could hardly be a more apt name for Vegas psych-rock band Chameleon Queen. The brainchild of singer and guitarist Memo Jesus Inzunza, the band fuses disparate influences: ’70s Japanese psych-rock acts such as Shintaro Sakamoto, jazzy lounge rock from the likes of Yura Yura Teikoku, plus T. Rex, The Beatles and Of Montreal.

At just 25 years old, Inzunza is a master at weaving various experimental sounds—a musical shape-shifter channeling spacey, cosmic vibrations of decades past and future. “I was listening to the way [Sakamoto] would do his vocals, and it got me more excited on that end, what to do vocally and what to do with the record,” Inzunza says. Chameleon Queen just released its debut album, Namaqua, in January. “I ended up making it in my bedroom,” he says. “A lot of it was just layers and layers. Anytime [someone] listens to a song, I want them to go back and listen to it and hear different things.”

For now, the group is a three-piece, with Sonia Verde on bass and Ramy Almerie on drums. A fourth musician, guitarist Raul Tapia, recently moved away but still contributes to Chameleon Queen, Inzunza says.

Propelling the band’s mythos, Inzunza likes to capture the symbols and themes from his dreams and bring them to life in his songs. Namaqua, for example, tells the story of the Lizard Princess, a girl who lives in a reptilian world among salamanders and the Komodo King. “The Lizard Princess, she kind of transforms through her suffering and all these ordeals happening around her, and she eventually becomes the Chameleon Queen,” Inzunza says. “But it’s a new beginning—not the end.” chameleonqueen.bandcamp.com

NEW ADVENTURES

Ted Rader of Ted Rader’s Magic Family has a new EP out from his solo project, Inhuman Again. Adventures International finds Rader in deep John Maus/Brian Eno territory, playfully exploring different electronic soundscapes and textures with songs like the cerebral “I Wanna Fight Nostradamus” and moody synth ballad “Autobahn With Baby.” Rader’s Magic Family plays the Bunkhouse on March 27, opening for Black Moth Super Rainbow. inhumanagain.bandcamp.com

HECK YEAH

After a long hiatus, Vegas post-hardcore group Alaska has reunited, sort of. The bandmates are back under a new name, King of Heck, and performed their first show March 10 at the House of Blues' B Side. King of Heck is currently supporting California band Mom Jeans on a tour that kicked off March 12 in Santa Cruz. facebook.com/kingofheck

ALSO

Indie-garage outfit Kurumpaw released an animated music video for its new single “Paper Battleship” in January. The video was created by Paula Moruzzi and is the first track off the band’s upcoming debut full-length. … Mother McKenzie, aka Wyatt McKenzie, will play a rare solo show with Wax Pig Melting on March 29 at the Double Down Saloon. … And Punks in Vegas will release an oral history of longtime Vegas pop-punks Happy Campers on March 15 at Amazon.com. The project chronicles the band’s journey from its 1996 formation to 2015’s hiatus. “The result is a fascinating look at what it means to be in a band trying to make it in Las Vegas,” writes PIV founder Steven Matview.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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