Happy Thrashgiving

I absolutely loathe the holidays. Satan preserve me, the flooding of the airwaves with horrible Christmas jingles threatens to crush my spirit. Thank Lucifer that Cheyenne Saloon offers the perfect antidote.

The third annual Thrashgiving (Nov. 20) features no less than six of the very best young neo-thrash-metal acts from all over the country: Warbringer, Hatchet, Hexen, Vektor and Sacrificial Slaughter. My favorite is Vektor from Tempe, Ariz., a barely-out-of-their-teens quartet that specializes in sci-fi-themed speed metal. Songs such as “Accelerating Universe” and “Dark Nebula” (both from their 2009 album Black Future) take their lyrical cues from science textbooks and their aggressive yet experimental musical attitude from Rust in Peace-era Megadeth. If, like me, you need to bang your head to clear out the Christmas propaganda, you’ll dig Vektor’s rational, in-your-face ferocity.

Moksha, the don’t-call-them-a-mere-jam-band jam band boasts a fan base that cuts across all scenes, from the dirty-punk underground to the corporate-casino overground. People love these guys’ musicality and their sense of fun. I positively reviewed Moksha’s latest CD, Mammal or Machine, in June, and I still find myself spinning the electronica-touched album (with guest appearances by Carlos Santana’s horn section). To my shame, I’ve yet to see Moksha live! Time to rectify this. The band performs at 8 p.m. on Nov. 19 at Winchester Cultural Center as part of the “Young Originals” all-ages concert series.

Later that night (Nov. 19), I plan on popping into Beauty Bar to catch local dance-rockers Imagine Dragons and L.A. alt-rock threesome Nico Vega, who apparently take their name from Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico and Suicide vocalist Alan Vega. In any case, the band’s dark, minimalist dance-punk is intriguing. That they collaborated with producer Linda Perry on a few tracks from their 2009 self-titled debut on MySpace Records doesn’t erase their street cred for me. This band has killer tunes, and I’m looking forward to hearing them live.

My holiday playlist: Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis,” William S. Burroughs’ “A Thanksgiving Prayer,” James McMurtry’s “Holiday,” John Prine’s “Stick a Needle in My Eye” and Loudon Wainwright III’s “Thanksgiving.”

Got a suggestion for the best way to digitize a bunch of old vinyl records? Contact jarret_keene@yahoo.com.

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