The local music scene in our part of the Borderland has been thriving as artists have been exploding with creativity. Here are some of the best albums and EPs released by artists in the Las Cruces and El Paso area within the past few years. Many favorite local artists are included, and fans can finally again see them performing live at area venues. The albums and EPs mentioned here are available on most major streaming platforms.
Spoiled Legacy (2020) – Germ House
Germ House shows their expertise of punk and garage rock in their 2020 album, Spoiled Legacy. Most of the songs have a traditional three-piece instrumentation with fast tempo drums, low melodic bass, and high-pitched guitars. It’s joined by monotone, layered vocals that contrast with the fast guitar riffs. The album offers some variety in instrumentation as synths are used sparingly throughout and are featured more prominently on songs like “Loss Leader” and “Steady Hand.” Despite most tracks being only about three minutes in length, a few songs change beat or tempo halfway through and keep the album fresh and engaging. .
Favorite Songs: “On the Outs,” “Blunt Objects,” “Loss Leader”
Am I sinking or Am I swimming (2021) – late night drive home
This EP and band live up to their titles as Am I sinking or Am I swimming by late night drive home is the perfect soundtrack for driving around at night with no destination.. The high-pitched, effect-riddled guitars make the songs come to life over the steady drums and bass while the vocals take center stage on most songs. They soar in “Under Supervision,” scream in “Euphoria,” and sing catchy melodies throughout. It’s a perfect expression of angsty love that encapsulates the rest of the EP well.
Favorite Songs: “Euphoria”, “Under Supervision”
Tropical Love (2020) – Tony Jupiter
There is an infectious positive energy throughout Tropical Love that makes it a joy to hear. It’s a groovy album that encourages listeners to get up and dance through its catchy, melodic bass lines on songs like “1973” and “Honey Boy.” The production is fun and quirky as some songs feature odd vocal samples that are only used once while others have unique backing beats that offer more character than a traditional drum kit. Its high, twangy guitars ensure the album feels tropical as many songs feature surf rock inspired riffs. Finally, the vocals have great variety as Tony Jupiter shows off good range and sings endearingly in every song. There’s even a guest rap verse on “Sugar Plum.”
Favorite Songs: “Surfin’ Turbo,” “Honey Boy,” “Frankie”
No Future (2019) – Soft Sweater
The best punk album of the region belongs to No Future by Soft Sweater. The musicianship on display is impressive as the band effortlessly goes from aggressive to soft and back again from verse to verse and song to song. The drums are masterful as they steadily play fast beats but have occasional wild outbursts that make songs so much more exciting; the double-time at the end of “Crimes” and the punk breakdown in the second half of “Tango Del Sol” are perfect examples of the album’s stellar drums. Meanwhile, the bass keeps the songs together through their melodic riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a much tamer album. It’s the foundation that allows for the guitar and vocals to be as frenzied and loud as they are.
Favorite Songs: “Don’t Feel It,” “Crimes,” “Tango Del Sol”
The Hard Road Trio (2019) – The Hard Road Trio
The sounds and lyrics of The Hard Road Trio paint vivid and lively images of the American Southwest on their self-titled album. Each track feels like a love song to the places they have been and the people they’ve met. The Rio Grande, tornados in Texas, births in Kansas, and the border wall are all mentioned. The strings are intricate and skilled throughout and play brilliantly with each other as nothing feels out of place in the beautiful tapestry of folk that the trio weaves together. The instrumentation gets highlighted on “Prime the Pump” and “Adobe and Dust” as they are the only songs without vocals, thoughtfully placed on the first and second third of the album. Although these tracks are great, the vocals on the rest elevate the album as each member sings and sparks fly when they harmonize like in “Tornado Time in Texas” and “Mama Spin Me Round.”
Favorite Songs: “Five Shades of Black,” “Prime the Pump,” “Ojos de Dios”
Juice and the Suds (2018) – Juice and The Suds
Juice and the Suds, who recently changed their name to Fat Camp, are responsible for some of the most popular songs to come out of the El Paso-Las Cruces region over the past few years. This self-titled album features many of them as its 58-minute run time offers plenty of highlights. “The Night is Yours” has a quirky synth that steals the show; “She Forgot Her Shoes” has a strong buildup that leads to an incredible outburst of emotion, “Off the Deep End” has the best chorus of the album that will be stuck in your head for weeks. Other songs like “From the Woods” and “Golden Crown” show off the band’s unique instrumentation and strong songwriting skills. A lot of charm comes from the two vocalists who take turns singing lead, but many tracks feature them singing together to great effect.
Favorite Songs: “The Night Is Yours,” “Scheduling,” “She Forgot Her Shoes,” “Off the Deep End”
Did we miss your favorite album from a local artist? Leave a comment down below and recommend your favorite local bands and artists.
Written by Javier Gallegos
Posted by LasCruces.com