Daniel Menche, Container, MV Carbon, Eartheater, Greg Fox, Ben Vida, Horse Lords, Profligate
Saturday, July 30, 5 pm at Pioneer Works: $20.
“A $20 show?” you’re probably saying doubtfully. “At Pioneer Verks no less?!” Well, yes, people– this superbly lined and fine-art surrounded setting might be an affair that’s just a tiny– ok, huge– step up from your usual scum-dwelling listening experience and therefore cooking up some wallet anxiety in you, but stay with me for a moment. For an Issue Project Room affair especially, we’re talking about a steal right here. Maybe more convincing for money flinging is the lineup, which is damn close to overflowing and replete with some of the best artists out there right now doing danceable, shapely noise-techno, including Profligate, and Eartheater.
Each name on the lineup makes for a perfectly balanced blend of avant-garde and spooky, dark techno leanings– so dark, in fact, that you probably shouldn’t actually say the word “techno,” lest you appear outta your damn mind.
I mean, Container, for one, reads about as techno as a scabies-riddled rat is considered cute pet material. Ren Schofield’s perpetual misfit status is at least partially owed to the fact that he cut his extremely pointy teeth (the better to wield those grisly, unwieldy sonic beasts with) in the noise scene. Despite their basically beat-driven shape, his compositions are unabashedly messy, harsh, and ready to explode– pent-up as they are with gritty energy. It’s sort of like trying to gently tug a string ball away from a super peeved rodent trapped in his own filth-splattered cage– it’s impossible, because he’s always got more up his sleeve and, what’s more, he’s also holding on tight to a jacket full of miniature cheese blocks cast in gold, so you’ve just gotta put up with it to get to the good stuff. Hopefully now you understand the precariousness of a label like “techno,” but go ahead and say “electronic dance music.” I dare you. It should end (your life on this godforsaken earth) well.
And then there’s MV Carbon, whose buzzy rituals are ET meets Bjork all with a “futuristic” background that blends the analogue synth sounds of A Clockwork Orange with 2,000-year-old Chinese gongs and samples from a sonic rainbow of system-failure alerts. Horse Lords work from a completely different set of ideas about sound– you could say they’re “jammy,” but you’d be ignoring the fact that the neigh-neigh Lords manage to transform even predictable guitarish meanderings into completely alien lifeforms that squirm uncomfortably, but delightfully, into your ear, looking for a safe-space as much as you are.
Kissing is a Crime, Xhosa, Melt, Larry Sass
Wednesday, July 25, 8 pm at Aviv: $8
What’s a Larry without his babes? Hard to know, but it’s just another reason to go and see the alt doo-wop singer Larry Sass of Larry & the Babes, and find out for yourself if he maintains that same sweet/possibly disturbed appeal without the centerfold contingent on deck. Something about this video we dug up from the top secret vaults of YouTube, featuring Larry and his twin sister Thea (she’s the elder of the duo by 45 minutes), convinced us Larry can probably pull his own.
While the headliner is suffering a net-loss of broads, Xhosa makes up for it with her ethereal genre-bending R&B. She may be working from a genre that’s usually taken to be spicy/sexy/hot, but in Xhosa’s case, she has chilled R&B’s classic tropes, rendering them in accord with a whole new icy, futuristic vibe we never thought the genre capable of. Give it a listen, and while you’re at it, picture yourself in some ice-blue convertible space-car, top down, headed straight to a brand new moon colony where people go on weekend trips to escape this boiling planet and experience rational cyborg love. We couldn’t think of a more fitting soundtrack for the ride than Xhosa.
Invisible Familiars, Cantina, Katie Von Schleicher, Cronin’s Very Good
Thursday, July 28, 8 pm at Shea Stadium: $10
Sometimes washed-out vibes of the purist order are just what the doctor ordered, and in heat like this, we should all be listening very carefully to our doctors. Invisible Familiars would come highly recommended by any good physician, and we can guess that the band’s probably not even paying Dr. Diddley to say so! Their particularly dreamy dream pop is perfect for wading in a kiddy pool, eyes just above the water, lips parted ever so slightly to ensure a feeling of comfortable osmosis and to remind yourself what your own skin taste like. Ew. I know– just don’t tell anyone else who jumps in to join you that that’s what you were doing.
Thanks to the success and brilliance of Angel Olsen, there are something like millions of copy cats trying their best to be just like our favorite creepy, twangy Princess of Darkness. That’s an enormous tulle veil to fill, and most aren’t much up to the task. But the contest to be most like Angel has also softened many ears into accepting the squeakier, sweeter voices out there and giving them enough time of day to get beyond the easy connotations of dreamy-female-vocals-plus-guitar. Which is to say, if you had asked me, like, two years ago if I was super into Cantina, I’d probably flare out my nostrils and make a noise halfway between a stubborn donkey whinny and a snort traveling through a bendy straw into a glass of orange juice. Now, things are different, and I can appreciate the creepy, irreverent ‘tude hidden behind Cantina aka Renata Zeiguer and her “troupe of wizards.”