Queer Trash 4: It Gets Sleazier
Saturday December 10, 8:30 pm at Alphaville: $10
Remember back when you’d regularly opt out of noise shows? The way things used to be, they were pretty much guaranteed to be dominated by white boys, unbathed (like, in a stilted way) and of questionable talent, who’d rather spend all night trying to make contact between forehead and concave chest for maximum gloom appeal, while dropping painfully lame hints about holding a copious stash of heavy drugs in an attempt to add mystery and subversiveness to their otherwise dull music.
Homogenous, standoffish scenes are just the worst. There is a silver lining, though: the backlash tends to be far superior than the priggish haughty BS anyway. Queer Trash 4 is no exception, and the queer noise acts they spotlight are carrying out the kind of insurgency that most noise makers only dream about.
Of course, this sort of thing is true well beyond the boundaries of a very niche medium like noise. Enter Queer Trash (who have teamed up with AdHoc for this one) and their ongoing series dedicated to “raising the visibility of LGBTQ artists involved in experimental performance” and creating a “supportive community of radical LGBTQ artists across mediums, aesthetic, and identities.”
As a shape-shifting noise outfit with more than 20 members over the years (with Richard Ramirez, “harsh noise artist since 1989,” at the center), Black Leather Jesus is something of an anomaly. Noise is generally a lonesome pursuit dominated by solo acts and occasionally given to couples and, less often, threesomes. But, several people on stage at once? Total madness. But as Black Leather Jesus attests: “All ‘cum’ together as one unit.” Add in heavy bondage imagery, chains, sheet metal, multiple clash-clanging circuit boards, synths, keys, and whatever else sounds like a demonic swarm of bats screeching out of hell.
Also on deck: Tissa Mawartyassari and Serpentine. The latter sounds like someone took a 20-foot high stack of amps, dumped some gasoline on it, flicked on the power chord, and watched the whole thing light up before tossing some dynamite sticks on the towering pyre from a distance.
The New York Review of Cocksucking is sort of a misnomer. Instead of satisfying the urge for a full-on, max-volume onslaught of the kind that we’re used to getting from noise, this two-piece act (Michael Foster and Richard Kamerman) practices a form of sonic tease and denial. Methodical minimalism and a delicate build-up leads to interspersed moments of intense release that are maddeningly brief, only to return to even more subtle tick-tock-like progressions.
Retox, Show Me the Body, Cities Aviv, Mary Todd, SurfBort, DogBreth
Saturday December 9, 8 pm at 496 Morgan: $15 to $20
There’s a strange thing happening on the West Coast right now, and you can hear it loud and clear in the music of Retox. Their sound is distinctly separate from the obsession with ice-cold post punk that’s held fast in NYC for a while now, so it might sounds awfully strange to our ears at first. It’s all part of a brave new variety of ’90s throwback– not the safe type of nostalgia for music that still holds up after all these years, but a reassessment of the Warped Tour mediocrity many of us grew up with, aka “alternative” metal-ish rock ranging from nu metal to hardcore.
Which might seem like a totally insane thing to do, considering that this particularly regrettable thrust of music tens to invoke a gut-churning humiliation in those of us who spent even a brief period of our adolescence going to see bands like Thursday or Bad Religion, or worse actually listening to screamo. (I plead not guilty to that last one.)
Thankfully, Retox is doing something interesting with their rather risky source material, by bridging the gap between OG noise rock like the Jesus Lizard and those most awful, Vans-sponsored teeny bopper sounds. Retox takes only the latter’s signature blend of metal-noise-hardcore and screamed-out-melodies with guitar solos that are dangerously close to hair metal/action movie cheese, and imbues them with a sort of stoic execution bereft of romance or teenaged fancy.
And hey, if it turns out that you really can’t see past the ghosts of grommet belts and Hot Topic band tees, there’s an unusually diverse lineup to keep even the snobbiest of snob snobs entertained. Show Me The Body will be there with some relatively new songs off of their latest release, Body War. Cities Aviv will perform their super unique blend of drifty dream pop, electronic music, Italo-dance, and hip-hop.
Stand With Standing Rock
Sunday December 11, 7 pm to 12 am at the Silent Barn: $8 to $20, sliding scale
Don’t worry, I’m sure everyone on Facebook was super impressed when you checked in at Standing Rock. “That’s just so brave,” is what your 1,689 friend said in unison. Well, it’s safe to say that at least 23 of them were thinking this exact thought about your subsequent status update too (“I’m standing with Standing Rock, are you?”), because that’s how many likes you’ve gotten so far. Which maybe isn’t a lot compared to how many thumbs up, like, Kanye West gets, or even your friend Rachel. But it’s not really a fair comparison seeing that one of those people is a famous rapper/Kardashian spouse and the other is a really attractive Fitness Guru (her actual work title) who’s unusually good at social media. I mean, who else could make a perfectly shot selfie video with clear sound and picture and everything else, while leading a free yoga class at Standing Rock in like 20-degree snow/rain, and spreading her message of Positive Thinking at the same time and keeping her blonde bun perfectly centered on her skull? Only Jesus, probably.
But there are ways that we mere mortals can contribute to the Standing Rock cause and we don’t even have to master downward dog or make a personal phone call to Obama to do it. This weekend at the Silent Barn, some musicians are getting together for a No DAPL benefit (that’s “No Dakota Access Pipeline,” y’all) and you should too. All proceeds are going to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council, “a collaborative effort of volunteer medics, physicians, and other healers available to the water protectors in the face of police brutality.”
The performers make for a super dynamic lineup including Bunny Michael, an alt-rap princess whose refrains include “androgynous butterfly sex toy” over and over, and songs about her crazy multifaceted identity as a “bad boy, big girl, Latin queen, alien dream.” Look out for OSHUN (R&B/neo Soul), also Professor Caveman, Esoteric Ayanna & Benjamin Lundberg, and Laura Ortman.