Emotion and beer both flow freely in the latest roundup of Vegas music releases:
■ THE PEOPLE’S WHISKEY, “The People’s Whiskey” (facebook.com/peopleswhiskey): Though they give knowing voice to the highs and lows of endless fistfights and Miller Lites, these dudes’ hearts bleed as much as their knuckles.
Yeah, The People’s Whiskey can fire off a righteous bar punk sing-along faster than it can drain a pint. But the band may be at its best when pouring out feelings instead of pouring another drink. Abetted by Steve DeZarn’s excellent, Ry Cooder-esque slide guitar playing, “Another Lonely Night” is some moving, vulnerable near-honky tonk from a band unafraid to let its guard down. Same for highlights like “Confession” and “Drunk Dial.” Be it touching upon devil-may-care roots rock (“Hendo Two Step”), light-footed ska (“Purgatory Blues”) or heavier fare (“Red Dress Actress” surges to a Helmet-worthy climax), this bunch is as free with their emotions as it is with its titular hooch.
■ MERCY MUSIC/NO RED ALICE, “Split EP” (facebook.com/mercymusicforyou; facebook.com/noredalice): Two songs in, Brendan Scholz gives voice to the intimate feel of this split release. “I refuse to keep you at arm’s length,” he sings, conjuring the ghost of Elliott Smith on “The Sun Follows You.”
Scholz, who also helms the harder-edged Deadhand, shares this disc with another punk frontman, TheCore’s Sal Giordano. While Scholz fleshes out Mercy Music’s spare, unadorned sound on rousing album-opener “Repeat,” adding trilling organ and fiery guitar work, Giordano takes the opposite approach on a pair of acoustic songs from his No Red Alice solo turn. In warm, wizened tones, Giordano sings of giving in to feelings within.
Mercy Music and No Red Alice celebrate the release of their split EP at 10 p.m. Friday at Velveteen Rabbit, 1218 S. Main St. Free; call 702-685-9645.
■ APEX OF APATHY, “Saltwater EP” (facebook.com/apexofapathy): The thing about math rock is that its very title suggests an elevation of empiricism and exactitude above emotion and feeling. With their intricate, gorgeous guitar interplay and carefully placed swells of volume, Apex of Apathy merit inclusion on the fringes of that subgenre, where it intersects with progressive post-hardcore.
The band’s latest EP is as heartfelt as it is heady. Mixing elegantly arranged instrumentals with songs that balance melodic refinement with metallic crunch, the group maps the vast terrain between June of 44 and Animals as Leaders. But even at their most concussive, such as on the assaultive ebb and flow of “Somewhere Green,” there’s a beauty amidst the bruising.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.