Let's get the name-drops out of the way: 60 percent of El Paso, Texas, outfit Zechs Marquise's members are younger brothers of the Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, and the group releases its music on his affiliate label Sargent House. Like the Mars Volta, the band is mostly instrumental and exists in the space between prog and punk. Similarities end there. ZM's 2011 album Getting Paid
is reminiscent of 1970s psychedelic jazz fusion groups like Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Zechs Marquise's explorations in improvisation are oriented in sci-fi grooves — Battles is an appropriate modern reference — and enjoyable without the aid of a graphing calculator.
Additional Cred: Stephen Choi of psych-stoner icon RX Bandits fills in on guitar for ZM's Firebird gig.