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Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds

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From the early '80s onward, guitarist Kid Congo Powers (born Brian Tristan) was a distinctive presence at the nexus where roots music meets punk. Powers had memorable tenures with the Gun Club (which he co-founded with Jeffrey Lee Pierce), the Cramps, and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. However, while he was the instrumental half of the Congo Norvell duo in the '90s, Powers didn't consider stepping out as a frontman until 2005. That year, Powers released two solo albums, Philosophy and Underwear and Solo Cholo. As Powers began refining his skills as a songwriter and vocalist, he ramped up his recording and touring schedule, and formed a band to accompany him on his projects. Fusing primitive, swampy rock & roll, garage rock, and fractured blues with East L.A. Chicano rock and a dash of punk and psychedelia, Powers dubbed his new band the Pink Monkey Birds. The group initially featured Powers on guitar and vocals, Jack Martin on guitar, Kiki Solis on bass, and Ron Miller on drums. By the time the band recorded its first album, Dracula Boots, in 2009, Martin was out and Jesse Roberts had stepped in on guitar and keyboards. Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds continued to tour regularly, racking up more miles than Powers had since the '90s, and they released Gorilla Rose in 2011 and Haunted Head in 2013. In 2016, Powers and the group delivered their fourth album, La Arana Es la Vida. The LP introduced a new Pink Monkey Birds lineup; Jesse Roberts parted ways with the band, and Powers recruited guitarist Mark Cisneros to fill the vacancy in the group. ~ Mark Deming

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