Cellular Chaos, ONO, Paint Thinner, Weeping Icon, Maximum Ernst
Thursday( March 31, 8 pm at Alphaville: $8
If real nasty, real legit, real rock music– something that rings almost of another era– is what you’re craving, then be sure to hit this Cellular Chaos show next week. You’ll be treated to a band that’s actually spewing straight-up, not-lame rock complete with real urgency, real instruments, and the sort of sweaty, underground-weary belly roar that you can never, ever fake. It’s too bad this particular species of music is in danger of becoming extinct right now– thanks to some truly demented mutations of the form, all too often manifesting as either that commercial-grade, cock-rock slop played in close proximity to vintage orange amps, a pair of leather pants, at least one divorce, and male-pattern baldness or, on the other hand, pip-pop compositions dreamed up by a pair of twee Grimaces wearing matching, hand-embroidered overall numbers, and Colonel Sanders’ ties whose highest aspiration is providing the OST for a Volkswagen commercial (sorry– is it too soon?). But there’s hope– Cellular Chaos spawns none of those rock n’ roll bastard children.
Instead, the band embarks on many welcome trips into a kind of friendly no-wave (hear: “Del Ghosto”)– somehow managing to compromise nothing while appealing to listeners’ occasional desire for a semblance of melody and structure. But as soon as it seems things are getting tight enough to be predictable, Cellular Chaos veers off into ecstatic freak-outs, which is exactly what the popular forms of “rock” we must suffer from new music these days fail to understand.
Lydia Lunch approves of the band in more ways than one. Lunch called Admiral Grey, the lead singer of Cellular Chaos, a “mesmerizing” front person. (Grey described her on-stage experience to Lunch, who interviewed her for Dangerous Minds, as “almost like hunter-survivor mode, with heightened senses and strengths and capabilities and very quick reaction times. Plus a bit of ancient storytelling, and gospel hour. Sometimes I black out momentarily.”) Secondly, the no-wave legend’s most recent music ensemble, Lydia Lunch Retrovirus, includes Cellular Chaos’s guitarsman, Weasel Walter, who’s something of an underground elder in his own right.
Walter draws on a truly weird music career. He started out in Chicago as a major force in the early-’90s no-wave scene there, and after founding the Flying Luttenbachers– branched out into all kinds of sonic experiments with free jazz and even death metal– all “cacophonous, dissonant music” to the extreme. He’s collaborated with countless other freaks (Ava Mendoza, James Fei, and C. Spencer Yeh, among others) and has produced records for a bunch of bands like Coachwhips (John Dwyer’s pre-Thee Oh Sees band) and AIDS Wolf.
As he explained in a 2011 interview, “It really seems like the balls have been chopped off of most forms at this point […] I don’t understand why a lot of music is so complacent.” Thankfully, Cellular Chaos is anything but complacent. (Stay tuned for the band’s forthcoming album from Skin Graft Records, scheduled to drop late June.)
The rest of the lineup is compelling, too– Paint Thinner, a relatively new crew from Detroit that just released their basement-recorded demos earlier this month, includes members of Human Eye (of Timmy Vulgar fame), Terrible Twos, and Growwing Pains. Also Maximum Ernst will be in the house, featuring members of Cyanide Tooth.
Destruction Unit, Suburbanite, Haram, Sunken Cheek, Flysch
Wednesday, March 23, 7:30 pm at Market Hotel: $12
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– Market Hotel Redux is killing it. Surely it has something to do with that universally beloved pillar (front pillar, not so much back pillar, sorry man). Or it could be owed to the sheer number and diversity of excellent bands that are down to clown at this venue, where we’re always surprised by the superb offerings.
Destruction Unit might not inspire the same sort of “WTF HOWWWWW?!” that landing two nights of Faust did (March 29 and 30, both nights are sold out, duh). But the fact that a lineup like this is run-of-the-mill for Market Hotel speaks volumes. And rest assured this show’s gonna be a loud one, if all those amps on the flyer weren’t hint enough.
Destruction Unit, of course, will invoke their Wall of Gone, a solid block of thrashing rage where there’s room for little else but sustained wreckage. Joining them is Suburbanite, a band that triggers frolicking synapses in the same region of the brain. But, as their name implies, there’s something almost innocent, even adolescent about their particular brand of hardcore, which runs on lightning-fast bursts of hormonal fury– rather than be concerned with skill, or style, or prowess of any kind, Suburbanite are propelled purely by amygdalic energy.
Haram, of course, you should know by now– they’re the Arabic-screaming punk band whose sound fits right in with the rest of the raw-as-hell Bushwick punk scene. Also look forward to Dantean devil noise, brought to you by Sunken Cheek (Ithaca) and, on the road from Portland, Oregon comes Flysch contributing minimalist, dark-ambient sounds.
Decorum, Final Bloom, In Silhouette
Thursday, March 24, 9 pm at Sunnyvale: $6
Have you been to Sunnyvale yet? It’s the new East Williamsburg bar/venue/sick space run by nice people close to Pumps. If not, go! Stuff like this happens there. Fun! Now here’s your opportunity to see someone fellate a microphone while striking a yoga pose, with a night of post-punk tunes.
Decorum is all about that early New Order sound, but add in some lady/guy duets that add a unearthly QT-ness to these gothy jams. I could totally see this being the soundtrack to a vampire love story– lol not that vampire romance– but one without so much chastity.
In Silhouette, on the other hand, slow it down a notch and seem to be going for the more melancholy sludge side of post-punk, with reference to late-80’s pop rearing its head once in a while as well as unabashedly prominent guitar solos.
Expect a different sound altogether from Final Bloom, a band with a penchant for excitable, ratchet dark-wave beats and electro-effects that are straight out of some just barely post-Soviet underground warehouse party. Intermittently languid and lo-fi, megaphone-quality vocals center the band in a rock-ish milieu, but don’t be mistaken, this stuff is for booty shakin’.
The Coathangers, Tijuana Panthers, Patio
Tuesday, March 29, 8 pm at Baby’s All Right: $15
Here’s a show fit for the approaching season, teeming as it is with bright, happy garage rock of various sorts. The headliners, The Coathangers, are an all-lady, catchy garage-pop band from Atlanta. According to their band profile, it seems their name is not in fact a reference to back-alley abortions, but instead recalls their younger selves as the kids who wanted to get into the coolest parties by any means necessary– which implies either jabbing the door guy in the belly with a coat hanger until he crumbles into a pile of ticklish wiggly legs, or hanging up the cool kids’ coats for them at coat check. Whatever their name actually means, they’re adept at making music that’s gleeful and joyous, just listening to it convinced me summer’s going to happen, like, tomorrow.
The Coathangers have a large catalogue to draw on too, they’ve been around for seven long years– and not just because they decided to start a band not knowing how to play their own instruments (which somehow, strangely, always seems to end up OK) and it took them this long to figure em out. But it’s because the Coathangers can write a superbly catchy ditty, and are just as comfortable doing the surf-rock thing as they are channeling bluesy-psych influences, traits that are both consistent with longevity.