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Local music news & notes: Ministry of Love, SquidHat and more

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Vitale, seated at center, is taking a break from performing while pregnant.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas
Andrea Domanick, Max Plenke, Leslie Ventura

TIME OUT

Local pop-rockers (and this year’s Weekly Music Issue cover stars) Ministry of Love have gone on indefinite hiatus, according to lead singer Meg Vitale. She’s taking time off to have a baby, and guitarist Devyn “Devo Fresh” Pristow recently relocated to LA to play with all-girl pop/electro band Violet.

MOL returned to the scene over the summer, following Vitale’s year-long battle with thyroid cancer, but she says the band's nationwide tour was riddled with problems that, in part, precipitated the band’s current break. “[The tour] fell apart on so many levels. By the time we got to New York, we were the only band left on the tour, so we had to cancel the rest and drive home.”

For now, Vitale is focused on motherhood and writing music on her own, possibly toward a solo record exploring a different musical style. It’s been a year of challenges and surprises for Vitale and the band, but she’s prepared to keep taking them as they come. “They told me that because of my cancer treatment I wouldn’t be able to have children. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for reason, and this is a miracle,” she says. “Raising a kid and doing music would be tough, but it’s doable. We’ll see. For now, I’m okay taking a break. I can’t go out, so it’s nice to just come home at the end of the day and work on myself and on my music.” —Andrea Domanick

HATS OFF

The People's Whiskey

The People's Whiskey

Since beginning its inimitable signing frenzy and early 2012 inception, SquidHat Records has become the home to most of Las Vegas’ promising up-and-coming punk acts. With Self Abuse’s Punk Snot Ted released in October and The People’s Whiskey’s self-titled debut out this week, label head Allan Carter just sent the press release for his little shop’s 10th record in under two years. Given the nature of the beast—independent, local punk rock—Carter knows he won’t be retiring soon from the spoils, saying, “I’d love to tell you we are selling thousands of records, but the truth is we are still new.”

But it was already a banner year for SquidHat, and Carter plans to do it all over again in 2014. “We have eight releases slated for 2014. ... We’ll also sign two new bands, with one coming from our Showcase show in January, where People’s Whiskey came from this year, and then one to be determined.”

Besides releases from his signees and debuting new acts, SquidHat keeps slots open for legacy punk remasters like the Self Abuse album and compilations like Desert Rats With Baseball Bats with Camel Hump studios. “The beauty of being indie is that we have the flexibility and can move quickly when things pop up. ... Sometimes it’s like trying to get a dozen puppies into an elevator, but somehow we make it work.” —Max Plenke

KICKING UP A CROWD

A Crowd of Small Adventures' Jackson Wilcox

Vegas indie mainstay A Crowd of Small Adventures is gearing up to release Blood, the much-anticipated follow-up to 2010’s A Decade in X-Rays. Frontman Jackson Wilcox describes the EP, a five-song “sort of concept record,” as the band’s finest work yet, thanks in part to upped production from Eric Rickey of Electric Animal Studio and mastering from the legendary Howie Weinberg (Sonic Youth, Public Enemy). “I think it’s the best thing we’ve done, for sure, in terms of both production and songwriting,” Wilcox says. “I’m happy to be at the point where I feel like we’ve matured as a band to where we’re making a record that feels 100 percent like what we wanted.”

The quintet launched a Kickstarter campaign last month to help pay for recording, mixing, mastering and the pressing of 12-inch color vinyl editions—and at press time was closing in on $3,900 of its $4,500 goal. Fans have until November 30 to donate in exchange for records, CDs, downloads, T-shirts and even a round of Frisbee golf with ACOSA themselves. Wilcox says he’s been shocked by the support the campaign has received so far. “The most expensive packages are the ones getting bought, which I didn’t anticipate,” he says. “That we have that kind of dedication from people supporting us really means a lot.”

As for the future, the band plans to play more gigs while filling the role of guitarist Sean Villaros, who has had to step away temporarily for health reasons. “We’re not in any specific rush,” Wilcox says. “We’re just excited to get the record out there and work on the next thing.” —AD

DUST AND CHROME

Crazy Chief

Revival rockers Crazy Chief are gearing up to release their first full length, Chrome Werewolf,, in January. But before that, they’ll unleash a 7-inch titled Angel Dust, November 16 at Velveteen Rabbit. The record will feature the title single plus a cover of The Stooges’ “Down on the Street” as a non-album B-side. Can’t make it to the party? Order a copy at Crazychief.com or pick one up at Downtown’s Cowtown Guitars. The first 100 copies will be numbered and feature special sleeve art.

Named after sound engineer Brian Garth’s now-shuttered recording studio, Chrome Werewolf is finished, but its release has been postponed to make way for Roxie (bass) and Jesse (guitar) Amoroso’s baby, due in December. —Leslie Ventura

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