Head to Mars while saving dough on rocket fuel in the latest roundup of choice Vegas music releases:
The Psyatics, “Much Worse Things Happen at Sea”
For fans of: Rock and roll as noise pollution — glorious, glorious noise pollution.
The lowdown: Vocal chords, envelopes, your cochleas: The Psyatics are all about pushing things too far. “I maintain through throbbing pain,” singer-bassist Robert Bell bellows on “Psyatic Nerves,” ostensibly referencing his abused larynx, his voice rising in unison with a screaming sax line. “Sea” opens with a warning shot fired from “God’s Gun,” where darting bass lines, bleating horns and coruscating guitars trace The Psyatics’ roots back to ’90s noise rock. Speaking of which, the trio gets its Boss Hog on when Bell’s wife, Danielle Bell, drops by to lend backing vocals to “Gonna Prey It,” adds a little swing here and there with some rockabilly flourishes (“Warm F-Holes,” “Inbreeders”) and somehow manages to one-up the aorta-exploding energy levels of The Hives on a cover of the Swedish rockers’ “Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones.” Take a deep breath, it’s easy to drown in these waters.
Track you need to hear: “Never Enough.” Prefer your funk with fangs? This is your jam.
Migrate 2 Electronics Movement, “Waffles & Blunts”
For fans of: Lyrical hip-hop with munchies in place of mumbles.
The lowdown: Pancakes and a smoke, anyone? This wake-and-bake duo of WattzSun and Nickles is one of Vegas hip-hop’s most promising, prolific pairings, the latter favoring alternately playful and jazzy productions, with lots of sampled dialogue. If there’s a silver lining to the mumble rap era, where a rapper’s words and delivery are often intended to set the mood and little else, it’s that skilled lyricists stand out even more. “I treat beef like Five Guys or Outback / Give it to you raw, you decide, how’s that?’” WattzSun boasts on “Mr. Fantastic,” his flow as smooth as syrup dripping down the titular breakfast dish.
Track you need to hear: “It’s Like That,” a breezy sounding tune with a heavy message of overcoming cycles of poverty and disenfranchisement. Bob your head, raise your fist.
Bogtrotter’s Union, “Chapter One: Playing the Fool”
For fans of: Whiskey and mandolins. In that order.
The lowdown: “We’ll bark at the moon if we like … just to show you that we’re alive,” these Celtic rockers announce midway through their full-length debut. Their words are rousing, delivered in unison over some hard-plucked banjo, though not entirely necessary: Pretty sure few would be checking these dudes for a pulse by this point in the record. These songs swing almost as hard as the protagonist in “Arrogant Bastard” hits the bottle — cue up “Dipsomania” if your heart needs a jolt. Sweat and sentiment co-mingle here, the aforementioned tunes supplying the former, stirring folk narratives such as “A Song Called Unrest” and “Deep Sea Realm” providing the latter.
Track you need to hear: “Arrogant Bastard.” A barroom singalong that’ll introduce you to the floorboards right alongside the song’s antihero.
The Laissez Fairs, “Empire of Mars”
For fans of: Mod squads with no Claire Danes.
The lowdown: By the time they got around to singing of licking liquid sun squids in their brains, I’d grown a shag haircut and was perusing Craigslist for vintage scooters. Yes, the members of this “maximum mod” crew wear their influences on their paisley sleeves, but “Empire of Mars” is far more than a time warp back to ’60s London: It’s a psych rock revival in itself, all drawling come-ons, banged tambourines, seriously fiery guitar playing, even a bit of backmasking. Dig the chiming swagger of “Silhouette Suzy,” the sitar-enhanced sting of “Almost Got You Made,” and the far, far out title track for starters. Tune in, turn on, drop the needle on this one.
Track you need to hear: “Again Again Again.” Hit ‘play’ again (and again, again, again) upon the conclusion of this Doors-y epic, which wraps up “Mars.” What a way to end an album.