You know how leftovers are sometimes better than the meal was in its original form? That’s also true for CMJ apparently. It seems like some seriously great bands and musicians are lingering around town, taking breaks from their major projects and toying with new ones, old friends, and completely different sounds altogether. You too can dabble in all three this week (and beyond). See what we’ve got for you below.
Marching Church, Norman Westberg, Trans FX
Wednesday, Oct. 28 at Saint Vitus: $12
Yes, this is next week but we’re guessing tix are gonna fly off the cyber shelves. Marching Church is the solo project of Elias Bender Rønnenfelt– the angelic frontman of Copenhagen-born “punk” band Iceage, aka The Libertines ten yeas ago– and it’s way more than just a “solo project,” I get the feeling it’s this guy’s id in more ways than one. Rønnenfelt seems to be doing exactly what he wants to do and unleashing something seriously decrepit from the recesses of his blackened Nordic soul in the process. What emerges is a glimpse of something long-buried beneath the facade of a too-cute blonde rock prince, a roll he’s assumed since the tender age of 17. Marching Church is at once revealing and impassioned but also foggy and numb– a half-smiling, opiate-induced haze broken only occasionally by temper tantrums and nightmares.
Truly, there are times when I can’t even recall what anything besides Rønnenfelt sounds like, or even if there’s anything else going on there– and this is just moments after listening to Marching Church. Maybe I have the short-term memory of a fish, or maybe I’m onto something here. Sonically, Elias’ voice recalls Conor Oberst’s whiney wales, but not annoying. But there’s a soul behind the voice as well, or at the very least a stage persona, one of which weighs heavily over the instrumentals. Somehow, Elias hits the same note as the mysterious Lewis Baloue by dancing a fine line between some feigned romance and a deadly serious sentimentalism. The darkness is deep here. Things are not what they seem.
It’s likely the name Norman Westberg may not immediately ring any bells, but if you know anything about Swans, Norman Westberg should definitely be in your lexicon. As the OG guitarist of Swans, Westberg has been a part of the band for a long, long time. But by the looks of things, he decided it was high time to venture out on his own. I mean, there’s no way Michael Gira isn’t a control freak, a brilliant one, but still… In 2014 during a Swans’ show at Warsaw he stopped a minor gyration in the crowd (one guy sheepishly trying to get a mosh going) with nothing more than a swift hand gesture and a hardened scowl.
True, Westberg’s been releasing doom-filled drone tracks since around 2012, but we’re excited to see what he’s got on deck for the rare occasion of his live performance “solo jaunt.”
While we’re not exactly sure what this Trans FX is all about, we’re fairly certain it’s not the California-based “creative fabrication company that specializes in big and complex projects serving a variety of industries.” All we have to go on is a hint from Ad Hoc that the band is in cahoots with Ascetic House. Think of this show as a donut with mysterious insides: the outside is really good already, so no matter what’s in the middle (come what may) it’s all still gonna taste pretty sweet, right?
Spewing Cum, Young Cum, Hounds Basket, Greasy Hearts
Thursday, Oct. 22, 8 pm at Aviv: $5 at the door
What’s better than sum cum? Well, more cum. Get your double whammy’s worth at this twofer weekday show at Aviv featuring not just Spewing Cum but also Young Cum. Cum cum! OK, nuff of that.
Spewing Cum is the band of your rotten teenage daydreams: sloppily rendered speed, loose lips, and flailing limbs. It’s punk in its purest form. Sometimes you just want a shot straight to the arm, no adulterates and definitely no adults, and Spewing Cum delivers.
Young Cum tickles a different bone altogether with their delivery of crisp vocals and Tom Petty-like sincerity. There’s a real (sincere?) devotion to classic rock here. If you called up one of their tracks on one of those horrifying new digital jukebox monstrosities at a bowling alley in Northern Indiana, nobody would question it. Their songs about factory work, crime scenes, oh and “bloodrage” bleeds the spirit of a post-apocalyptic Bruce Springsteen.
Things get even weirder with Hounds Basket‘s slithering Jesus Lizard-guitars and cock rock screams. And seriously with the classic rock, guys? Greasy Hearts do a perfect imitation of the Rolling Stones if they were having a weekend fling with the Steve Miller Band. Frightening? At first, perhaps. But the show’s probably gonna be pretty cool, I’m envisioning lotsa dudes with long hair and v-neck/pendant, tight-pants combos.
Corset, Ritual Humor, Informant, Slur
Sunday, Oct. 25, 8 pm at Aviv: $8 at the door
Get to Aviv for this joyous occasion: the public birth of a brand new band from Philly. Their god given name? Slur, which is actually something of an onomatopoeia. Their sound is slow, wishy-washing, meditative post-punk. It’s thick like molasses, dark and sublimely sweet stuff.
Informant, of course, we’re smitten with. This guy’s done well by bringing industrial to the present moment, choosing this over imitating the legit but done-done-and-already-done achievements of the 80’s and ’90s. There’s a one-person, noise way of doing things here: drum machine, electronic blips and whirr paired with ecstatic vocals.
Speaking of scoliosis-inducing music, the headliner Corset (members of Gowanus Mutant Commandos) really slows it down. This dude follows Informant’s lead, but he’s all DJ Screw about it, making for a heady blend of exactly what makes horror rap deeply divine. There’s a sharp electronic edge here, though it’s been pushed deep into the recesses of video game nightmares and cold ass warehouse parties. Really awesome stuff.
Don De Vore, James Richardson, Certain Creatures, more TBA
Friday, Nov. 6, 8 pm at Trans-Pecos: $10
Shit got pretty crazy last week at Babys All Right, thanks to Don De Vore (Sick Feeling), who seemingly outta nowhere assembled a supergroup version of his former indie pop band Lilys. So if you missed it, here’s your chance to at least hope for a similarly insane five-guitar-led, ear-smashing occasion at Trans-Pecos. Hence the early warning. There aren’t too many details about what exactly’s gonna go down, but given the wildly different impetus of Sick Feeling (listen below) we’re sure De Vore’s capable of just about anything. And if that dude’s presence isn’t convincing enough, James Richardson of MGMT is gonna be there too. Whattttt, you ask? Yeah, that was our reaction too.
The only hint we have toward the mood of the show is the presence of Certain Creatures, a dark, ethereal ambient electronic act that ventures into witchy, lucid-dream territory. Trust in the spooky vibes and raw talent guaranteed at this show, we’re sure it’s gonna be a stellar time.