Graves, Dukes and Amoré

If you’ve checked Vegas Seven’s blog recently, you heard the news: Synth-rockers Imagine Dragons signed with Interscope. (The band relocated to L.A. to work on its debut album with Nicki Minaj’s producer, but the band members own houses in Vegas, so I claim these musicians as Sin Citizens.) Now if other major and indie labels will get off their asses to ink deals with other incredible bands here. My recommendations: Halloween Town, Most Thieves, Demon Lung, Candy Warpop and Minor Suns.

Enough of that; let’s talk live music. San Francisco hardcore act Early Graves endured a terrible loss in August 2010, when a van accident claimed the life of fiercely gifted vocalist Makh Daniels. Graves’ 2010 album Goner had just been released by the esteemed Metal Blade label and was earning rave reviews as the fatal wreck occurred (days after the band played Yayo Taco here in Vegas), nearly breaking up the band. John Strachan, frontman for L.A. black-metal act The Funeral Pyre, has since taken over singing duties, giving the Graves a new lease on sonic life, and also honoring Daniels’ memory and talent. Mark your calendar for 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at Yayo Taco (4632 S. Maryland Parkway). This is Vegas’ chance to experience one of the rawest, crustiest, thrashiest punk bands out there. Moreover, local power-violence superstars God’s America (a.k.a. The Seeds of Rape) open. Brace yourself for a relentless evening of headbanging, mosh-pitting and permanent hearing loss.

Used to see this band’s name on club calendars and think: “Wow, dumb.” The name’s still dumb, but I confess to experiencing a conversion and becoming a huge fan of acid-damaged metal quartet The Fat Dukes of Fuck after I caught shows at Meatheads and Yayo. I struggle to describe this local quartet, because it’s impossible to articulate the musical seizure that is “Race Riot Vagina.” So let me pique your interest this way: If you dig skewed, aggressive-rock bands such as Mr. Bungle and The Jesus Lizard, you’ll appreciate getting shot in the face with the Dukes’ toilet-paper cannons. Yep, these crazy bastards come prepared with a bizarrely elaborate stage show (including a giant halogen cross), no matter how cramped and stage-challenged the dive bar they’re playing may be. The ideal band to catch at Double Down Saloon (4640 Paradise Road, 10 p.m. Dec. 9).

Finally, L.A. screamo act Touché Amoré is set to torch Hypnotic Lounge (5752 S. Fort Apache Road, 7 p.m. Dec. 14), and I wouldn’t miss this show for all the Hot Topic T-shirts in the world. If you claim to be a fan of melodic hardcore, emo or whatever you want to call it, I’d better see you at this one. The band’s recent album on Deathwish, Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me, is a masterpiece the likes of which I haven’t heard in years. Fans of Thursday and Converge should adore this.

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