Taylor Hoodlum Stevenson, Motorkiller, Boy Harsher, Soren
Friday April 1, 8 pm at Trans-Pecos: $8
The super-’80s Knight-Rider-esque dark electronica of Montreal’s own Taylor Hoodlum Stevenson has two main thrusts, er, so to speak. The first is led by aggressively cheesy/ hilariously weird rock-star vocal stylings– a kind of frontman-ery that demonstrates this dude has mastered and parodied that special testosterone-laden snarl popularized by the likes of Billy Idol– who himself bastardized what was once an oozing, sexed-up panther walk (perfected by Marc Bolan), and re-birthed it as an enormous, walking crotch-grab. The other side of Taylor Hoodlum Stevenson, the one that saves his music from treading too far into Weird Al territory, is his apparently very serious take on “horror disco,” which employs the analogue, lo-fi bits of Italo, Kraut, and proto-techno music we know and love, and pumps it up with modern danceability that’s cut with a late-late-late capitalist decadence– so rest assured, we can all dance to it without feeling like we’re breaking any cool codes.
Motorkiller, the second act on the bill that hails from Montreal, have been described as “electronic freaks” making “industrial techno shit” and dance music for punks. They’re apparently so punk that their internet presence is non-existent, so we’ll just go ahead and assume these adjective clusters are somewhat accurate. Anyway, we’ve got Boy Harsher and their special brand of breathy, death-techno to rely on. Coming straight outta Western Mass, they’ll be reppin the Good God Lovin’ U.S.A. along with their Floridian lineup mates, Soren, who will no doubt be the opener-outliers with their chilled-out, ambient electronica.
Thursday March 31 and Friday April 1, 9 pm at the Bell House: $20
Some bands are better left confined to the recesses of memory. In most cases, seeing even your heroes play live in their advanced years threatens to ruin their music forever. Let’s be real– with the proliferation of festival-driven reunions, revivals, and rehashes, many of us share such an experience. Remember Coachella 2004? Well, I rather wish I didn’t, considering that I haven’t (willingly) listened to the The Cure since then. A 2009 festival that will remain unnamed? Well, that horror show resulted in recurring nightmares of a robotic Bob Dylan with a wandering eye. It’s happened to me, and it could happen to you.
But once in a great while, there’s an old guy show (not to get all gender binary on y’all but I think older women performers are exempt from this, by and large, since they seem to retain their sense self-awareness and dignity as time goes on, unlike their male counterparts) that proves to be so awe-inspring (see: David Yow’s return to the stage with the Jesus Lizard in 2008) that I’m willing to risk losing a great or two for the chance to see some AARP eligible do back flips off the stage.
Jonathan Richman is an exception to these concerns in a bunch of ways. Firstly, because the guy has never, ever stopped writing and recording music since the Modern Lovers released their self-titled debut in 1976. And secondly, Richman’s music is timeless, if not ageless– the guy seems to have crafted a perpetual wide-eyed adolescence and manages to come across as plucky and virginal even when he’s pushing 65 years on this planet. There’s no one quite like Jonathan Richman, and anyone else who tries to pull that forever-young, perpetually broken-hearted thing would end up coming across as either Michael Jackson or Mister Rodgers, and let’s just say that neither of those comparisons would be for the right reasons. So I implore you to reconsider any doubts that Richman-right-now will be any bit as spunky and charming and magnetic and great as Richman-back-then (I mean, the guy still has a Blogspot for cryin’ out loud, he is old). Richman’s really the only guy out there who could teach the remnants of the twee fad a thing or two about art and earnestness.
Lodro, Heaven’s Gate, GodXSS
Thursday March 31, 8 pm at Sunnyvale: $8
Lodro are keen on describing their music as “neo noir,” which at first glance might seem like a term fitting of film rather than music. But we’ll allow it– there is something strangely cinematic about this Brooklyn-based band’s sludgy, horse-with-no-name desert-blues dirges that manage to invoke a lonesome caravan captained by a detective stopping only at ghost towns to sniff around for clues. It’s been a hot minute since the band released any material. It was 2013, to be exact, when Lodro last issued something, a humble 7″ aptly titled If Life Was Like a Movie. Who knows? Maybe they’ve been too busy solving actual murder mysteries to bother with delivering their music to the masses, but whatever the case, their new record release is a welcome one, even if the details are pretty sketchy.
Speaking of sludge-tastic noise rock, Brooklyn DIY regulars Heaven’s Gate will be joining Lodro, solidifying an evening full of righteous downer vibes.
Jowe Head and the Celestial Choir, Counter Intuits
Friday April 1, 8 pm at Cake Shop: $10
Now here’s a sneaky little bugger of a show that certainly seems to be trying its best to fly under the radar as NBD, but I assure you this show is definitely a BD. Jowe Head, aka Stephen Bird of Swells Maps, the 1970s British band that by all accounts was one of the forerunners of post-punk, and subsequently Television Personalities (can you say legend?), will be sharing his growly, lo-fi, acid country-punk stylings with the help of the Celestial Choir. The man is clearly an example of the too-rare-to-die breed of musician and has aged into an artist I can only feel good about comparing to Ben Wallers in his complete disregard for human expectations about “music,” something that has a tendency to become rather boring and predictable when it’s too overrun with normies.
Thank the music gods, then, that Jowe Head will be joined by the Counter Intuits, the punkest Midwestern band around (includes members of longstanding Columbus, Ohio band Times New Viking, which you maybe recall from their brief period in the Pitchfork-darling limelight following the release of their ear-stripping, fuck-all 2008 release Rip It Off). Unfortunately for their rabid fans, this particular act dropped off the face of the underground-tape and 7″ circuit after just one release: their excellent, twangy, squeak-addled 2013 record, Sheets of Hits. Personally, I’m overjoyed to see them back on tour with a new LP, Monosyllability, from Pyramid Scheme Records. You, too, should get excited for this exceedingly weird show, the likes of which we might not be treated to again here in humble NYC for quite some time.