This week, as I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear, there are plenty of shows worth blowing your ears out for. Our picks include a brand new project from a longtime blues punk devotee, The Dark Prince of Garage, and sugar-sweet disco that’s not afraid to hit sour notes. All that and more below this here line.
Fuzz, The Men, Walter
Sunday, Nov. 15, 8 pm at Bowery Ballroom: $16/ $18
Fuzz: it’s the classic rock-esque outfit from the relentlessly creating, collaborating, touring, and of course recording Prince of Garage Darkness, Ty Segall! I’ll never fault a band for sounding exactly like early Sabbath, but I will expect some surprises from them in the near future. In the meantime, Ty Segall and Fuzz will remain (in my heart of hearts) the guys I listen to and appreciate and maybe even go so far as to jam on from time to time, but assume that everyone’s already heard the stuff. I mean, really, I’d embarrass myself if I was all like, ‘Hey guys, check out this cool new band…’ There are some things you just keep to yourself. But it’s nice to think that music like Fuzz is so readily available (In The Red definitely qualifies as “mainstream” or whatever in my book). It’s actually great to know that some kid, somewhere, will switch this on and love it and will have something to cling on to until they stumble on the real deal. That being said, Ty Segall’s live shows are on point, and if you haven’t seen him play at least once, you should definitely get on that.
The rest of the lineup, however, seals the deal. The Men (also playing at The Acheron with PC Worship on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8 pm) are a band that’s seen incredible transformation (at least in the sense of their recordings) from their early noise punk leanings on Leave Home to the more slicked-down, consumable pop punk/alt rock style palpable on 2014’s aptly-titled, Tomorrow’s Hits. We can’t blame em, The Men did what many/any Brooklyn bands do/would do in order to survive in this town. But thankfully, they haven’t forgotten how to play their instruments, it seems, and can still rip a set to shreds just like they used to.
U.S. Girls, Escape-ism, Godxss
Saturday Nov. 14th, 8 pm at Babycastles: $12
The ceaselessly charming garage pop girl-wop (as opposed to “dude wop”) of U.S. Girls is clearly in high demand these days, even after they left us high and dry for three whole years after Gem. But we waited patiently, and have been blessed with Half Free. We were overjoyed to find the band stayed true to those sugar sweet disco vibes (Meg Remy’s a fan of Glass Candy, go figure) and managed not to lose their very special weird-girl, nerd-core edge.
If this is the first you’re hearing of U.S. Girls’ arrival in town, I regret to inform you that you’re missing out on their show at Alphaville (Friday, Nov. 13 at 8 pm) coz it’s already sold out. However if you’re clutching those tickets in your dirty little paws right now, you should count yourself a happy kid, not least of all because Michigan’s Rebel Kind— the project of Autumn Wetli– is opening the show. I’ve seen Autumn play many times over the years in various bands and solo projects, and she just bleeds rock n’ roll music more than any girl I’ve ever met. Rebel Kind finds Autumn at her sweetest, most bare bones– it’s hooky stuff, with the catchy intuition of ’90s bedroom pop rock and a washed-out, one-handed steering control of garage rock that betrays expertise. I dare you to listen to Today only once, I promise it’ll become a regular rotator.
If it so happens that you’re late to the game on those tix, first of all– sorry for that. But in place of Rebel Kind, you’ll be graced with Godxss. Not sure what’s up with them, but a surprise is always something to get excited for, right? If you’re shaky on that sentiment, fret not because Escape-ism is on both bills, both nights. It’s minimal, confessional noise rock– a man and his guitar and earnest whinnies galore. I might even dub this dude wop. Labels aside, get ready to feel nothing short of sexed up, as this front guy does a great service to his forefathers, The Cramps, in his perfect delivery of groovy, slur-riddled moans. Who is this dude, you ask? Ian Svenonius of a little band you might remember called Chain & the Gang.
Pod Blotz, MV Carbon, Embarker, Ora Iso, Wetware
Saturday Nov. 14th, 8 pm at the Silent Barn: $8
If you’re an experimental music fan, or even just someone who likes to dabble in the unexpected once in a while, this weekend show is an absolute must-see. With its stellar lineup of (mostly) female-fronted noise projects, you’ll have the #blessed opportunity to experience performances by some true vets of avant-garde sounds.
It’s hard to believe Pod Blotz‘s industrial art noise complete with “performative installations” has been an ongoing project for well over a decade. Originally from Detroit, Pod Blotz (aka Suzy Poling, who works as a visual artist too) has landed in much-sunnier LA, but that doesn’t mean her music has lightened up in the least. With Pod Blotz, Poling continues her devotion to dark electronics and carrying out tripped-out visual stunts at live performances (the latter looks something like this). Poling is nothing if not a remarkable presence in her delivery of a holistic show-going experience– atmosphere and ocular stimulation are just as important as the sounds pounding out of her mixer set-up– and she’s made some stunner music videos of her own to mimic the experience of seeing Pod Blotz in the flesh.
MV Carbon, another visual-artist-slash-musician, specializes in string-instrument led noise music. Though she’s found success in both realms (her paintings have been shown in galleries all over the country and she scored a coveted Issue Project Room residency back in 2010), each of MV Carbon’s creative leanings seem tied to and informed by one another. Her homemade instruments and cyborg cellos emmit brutal takes on classical sounds and there’s an intense physicality to her presence as a performer.
The rest of the lineup stays true, too. Ora Iso offer a bluesy take on experimental noise rock. Instead of aloofness, the duo (Kathleen Malay and Jason Kudo) prefer an emotional drama akin to a movie soundtrack. Wetware, the self-described “industrial rock duo” from Philly, are a dancey outfit and in this context their sound seems like it might be sort of jarring, even weirdly divergent from the other acts. But we say give em a chance, just pray no one breaks into regrettable gyrations.
Future Punx, Parlor Walls, Dead Waves, Heavy Birds
Thursday Nov. 12th, 8 pm at Shea Stadium: $8
Clear your schedule for Parlor Walls‘ EP release show. The record officially, officially drops the day after, but you can grip a super-secret, super-exclusive, super-premature copy at this Thursday-night show and declare yourself super freaking special.
Critics who have praised Cut, the first release from Alyse Lamb’s (EULA) new project, have generally agreed the band is doing something “different.” We couldn’t agree more. There’s a big ol’ line in the sand between the Brooklyn not-pop scene, with indie rock on one side and (I guess you could say) “harder” stuff on the other. But Alyse Lamb has never seemed to abide much by this line, floating back and forth between delicacy and catchy riffs on the one hand, experimentalism and noisy feedback on the other. Lamb and her band have refused to attach themselves to one constituency by keeping things from getting too weird, but nor does it seem they’re trying to hard to be weirder than they are. It seems simply they’ve reached a point in their musical existence that a sound like this just makes sense.
Cut is technically a self-released EP, given that it’s come to fruition via Famous Swords, Alyse Lamb’s record label, art collective, show organizer, and proof that she never sleeps. On it, the band ventures into weirdo-land, meandering there at length. But these dips and frenetic freak outs– achieved by absolutely nutso saxophone and Lamb’s quivering, just-below-ferocious muttering layered onto a muffled sort of jazz rock sound– are neither a put-on nor a brief departure from poppier leanings. On the whole, the EP offers a sense of overwhelming warmth, a stark contrast to the colder industrial and post-punk sounds that have so dominated, uh, literally everything lately. But lines like: “Don’t you know I’m perfect?” as Lamb slays on “Birthday”– rebuking the inherent lameness of adult birthday parties and vapid self-interest– are a reminder that sonic blankets and romance don’t have to be traded for self-awareness.
Joining the bill are stellar Brooklyn-DIY regulars like Future Punx, who confirmed their undying love for the ’80s via This is Post-Wave, released by Dull Tools at the start of October. Any band indebted this much to Devo is freaking A-OK in my book. And, hey, we needed this record because while bands like The Coneheads nail early Devo, Future Punx refuse to let later Devo be remembered as the band’s post-radio drop out.
Heavy times from Heavy Birds: this trio sounds a bit like Velvet Underground if “Heroin” were instead named “Weed.” The cello adds a welcome Black Angel Death Song-vibe to the burbling psych wahs we’re so used to. Then there’s Dead Waves, a band of two brothers from Queens specializing in rage-wracked, freeform bangers that float somewhere between post-post-punk sludge and fly-off the hinge grunge. We like them best when they throw song-givens to the wind and make us feel like we’re listening to Bleach for the first time again.