Uniform, Shredded Nerve, Super Secret Special Guests
Thursday March 3, 8 pm at The Acheron: $10 – $12
Next week Uniform returns to the stage following a show with the Soft Moon earlier this month at Market Hotel. This time, they’ll take their rip-roaring noise punk act to the Acheron where the band will be joined by some super mysterious, ultra top-secret special guests plus one ear-splitting noise set by an act most beloved. Expect speedy, metallic guitar monologues, speaker-quashing feedback, and vocal chord shredding screams.
When I plop on a Shredded Nerve track, I imagine I’m trapped at the bottom of the sea in a haunted submarine, where all the lights have gone out, and oxygen levels have been so low, for so long that my brain is barely hanging on for life. Only, occasionally, in a situation like this one, those doomed, fried-to-hell synapses do fire up, and they’re shooting nothing but white hot pain while ensuring that I’m acutely aware of all the ghosts and demonic sea monsters looming just outside. I’m confident these tracks, if you give them more than a moment to sink in, will have the same spooky affect on your daydreams. Take these lucid dreaming acrobats and multiply them by, well, a lot and you’ll be somewhere near a Shredded Nerve live show.
Operator, Wume, Macula Dog, Drama Section
Friday February 26, 8 pm at Palisades: $8
There’s a new band in town that has me tappin’ my foot and vibing on old school, minimal robot beeps. Listening to Operator– the Brooklyn-based machine worshipping fourtet – conjured in me dreams of old new dishwashers, the blink blink of MS-DOS, and that body-fluid hued, floppy-disc-eating Macintosh personal computer, the one that emitted green-edged rainbow colors and what was at first a quiet purr then the sound of hail falling on a shed when you clicked at the screen too fast. All of that stuff was made way after the speedometer on my first car, a rust-kissed 1983 German-made automobile, which was still too young to be Autobahn‘s contemporary. Somehow, this mishmash of obsolete technology (which at some point we’re told was cray cray futuristic) still holds some weird specter of futurism, the same kind you see hovering above old Soviet and Brutalist buildings.
But like a fever dream of the forgotten, kitschy, long-junked fossil technology their music inspires in me, Operator Music Band have a habit of blending together all the antediluvian electronic music clichés they can muster, making for a strange mosaic of influences drawn from a false past. Sure, they sound a whole lot like Kraftwerk, but on their forthcoming EP Matérielmusik they also utilize riffs (if you can call a series of electronic whirrs and gurgles that) lifted straight from Air’s Moon Safari, released in 1998 a whole thirty years after the emergence of Krautrock. Push farther back in their catalogue to Puzzlephonics and you’ll find echoes of Radiohead and !!!. It’s like they’ve taken the whole history of rock-ish electronic music and mushed it all together at different points.
It’s funny the new record is named Matérielmusik, because according to the band, it’s only being released digitally. However, you can buy their very corporeal “Operator Music Synthesizer” from L0/Rez (the pedal welders inside the Silent Barn). It all sounds simply smashing, darling, but it’s hard for me to imagine that anyone will really truly be wondering if Operator are a squad of aliens or not. But it’s equally difficult for me to concede that we’ve reached peak weird. I have faith that, someday, the aliens will return to us.
Phew, a lot about Operator, but the rest of the lineup fits right in with the overarching tone set by the headliners. Wume, visiting from Baltimore, are a synth-and-live-drum pairing of minds between Albert Schatz and April Camlin (respectively). And the Drama Section are a heady group of jazz players who dabble in adapting electronic accoutrements to an otherwise freewheeling, very human disdain for the predictable.
Museum of Recycling, Bueno, Sodium Beast, Thick
Wednesday February 4, 8 pm at Shea Stadium: $8
Bueno, self-described simply as “a Staten Island band,” are lyrically styled so much like Parquet Courts I had to do a double take. Turns out there’s no relation. Instead of a bunch of Texas transplants, the guys of Bueno are a buncha good old Italian boys. But there’s something refreshingly not-Pavement-like about Bueno that separates them from their Brooklyn pseudo-brethren. Hence the band’s first proper release, Guilt, which according to the band is their “tribute to the great Italian-American pastime of guilt.” It dropped last year on Babe City Records in the form of a pretty pink tape adorned with a photograph of a kid with an altar-boy side part and a crispy, white First Communion suit, smiling tentatively at the foot of a Virgin Mary statue (we’d like to imagine the boy is someone from the band).
Instead of plucky, upbeat rock, these guys are more comfortable with the other side of ’90s college rock and their ’70s downtown roots, the space somewhere between Dinosaur Jr. (especially on the album’s title track, “Guilt”) and the Modern Lovers. There’s a grindier gristle to their rock coupled with playful detours into funk, psych, and jazz, but united by by an unserious, but totally sincere chatty, poetic charismatic leader.
But truly it’s Museum of Recycling‘s big night– after all, it is their EP release party. The band is convening to celebrate their first release, Sodium Beast, recorded at a DIY venue with the sickest name in town, David Blaine’s The Steakhouse. It’s sluggish, muddy, depression music– what the band prefers as “sadcore”– and if that doesn’t sound appealing, well, slap on a fedora, pour yourself a tall glass of Kombucha, and throw on your Courtney Barnett record or something. You cannot be helped.
Egg Cream, Early Spring, Davey Crockett, Huh, Shmutz
Monday February 29, 8 pm at Palisades: $5
As kooky yet simple as the dessert he describes, Egg Cream (Egg Cream and Egg Cream’s laptop) is a welcome return to the same demented doo-wop and Valium-blurred surf rock that the band Girls was ruminating in before that duo split ways. Egg Cream’s want to gush over heartbreak and desperation/rejection (see: Egg Creams whimpering pleas in “Without You,” and promises to “do anything,” in the Iggy homage “I’m Yr Dog”) in a way that’s at once brutally honest and mocking of the pathetic charade that love is– which is to say, the same for everyone– a chemical reaction that inspires us to think we’re all so special and singular in our heart pangs and romance. Egg Cream shatters that rosy mirror, making me feel like a real goon for every time I’ve cried after a breakup.
From Davey Crockett, expect an equally shook-up act, shot up full of seemingly counteracting substances: Neo-folk cut with a blade honed by “Ouija punk.” I don’t wanna say Modest Mouse, coz well you know what happened to Modest Mouse, but I can’t help but be reminded of the days when Isaac Brock sounded furious and about ready to snap instead of bloated, content, and about as dangerous as a full-bellied, overweight bulldog.