Hiroshi Hasegawa, Dromez, Dessicant, Dead Wolf
Friday, Feb. 12, 8 pm at The Silent Barn: $8
When it comes to power electronics, Japanese musician Hiroshi Hasegawa has been around the block a few thousand times– busting ears and forgetting names. Way back in 1990, he started the prolific group C.C.C.C. (Cosmic Coincidence Control Center), whose members counted a porn star and weirdos like Hasegawa amongst their ranks. Besides improvising and recording all kinds of brain-shattering noise music, the group was known for throttling their audience with aggressive stunts like throwing plastic bags full of pee out into the crowd. The guy may be pushing 60, but he’s still down as hell to make incredibly belligerent music. And hey, maybe you’ll be graced with the honor of a urine splash for old times’ sake.
Dromez (aka Liz Gomez) has a rather unusual story as far as origins go. Growing up in Houston, she willingly moved to Dayton, Ohio, drawn by the noise scene. It’s no wonder her jarring compositions are so embedded with that particular sense of Midwestern hopelessness that comes only after weeks upon weeks of sun deprivation, bitter cold, and immense loneliness.
The Soft Moon, Container, Uniform, Video Blue
Saturday, Feb. 13, 8 pm at Market Hotel: $15
It would be difficult to accuse The Soft Moon of being boring. The dark-wave post-punk project of Luis Vasquez may bear the banner of what so much of the current wave in underground-ish rock right now is flying, but Vasquez’s approach has always been a surprising one. When his band’s self-titled record dropped in 2010, post-punk was just what we needed (and not nearly as annoyingly ubiquitous just yet) and it was no surprise that Vasquez, given the influences of the time, interwove some Ariel Pink-ian chill wave into the fabric. Did this combo suddenly make a gothy sensibility seem palatable to a host of macho rock n’ roll boys despite the obvious contradictions? Perhaps.
But while post-punk imitators came and went, with decent carbon copies and a-ok homages that were swallowed and forgotten, Vasquez stuck around and kept innovating. Sure, there are inarguably well-worn clubby goth and mopey post-punk tropes throughout 2015’s Deeper, but instead of beating these tried-and-trues to death, The Soft Moon push synths to the less-usual edges of sci-fi alienation and noisy grit before swinging back into near pop territory, all through the lens of opiate-induced sluggishness and an outsider softness that make their pursuit of the genre so endearing, even after all the other derivates have watered it down so.
For someone who has a pretty cynical view of most of the straight-up electronic music coming out these days, and who would much rather mill around in the extensive back catalogue of proto-electronic music with its warm analogue synths and Brian Eno than put much effort into exploring the unfathomable multitudes of laptop music, coming back around to BPM assaults and unapologetic techno is not any easy task. Enter Container (aka Ren Schofield) with his gnarly spindles of lightning zaps and exploding electrodes, he traffics in a sound that’s raw and stripped-down as much as it is a rats’ nest of avant-garde dischord. He succeeds where 99 percent of the rest fail in techno music.
Uniform‘s fuck-all nihilist charge leaves any chance for glazed-over bewonderment out in the cold where it belongs, while Carson Cox– the pouty Tumblr boy of Merchandise, the Tampa pop-punk band turned commercially viable rock band– will do who-knows-what with a side effort called Video Blue. There’s a chance it could be good, seeing how his other recent project Death Index– as a revival of Cox’s less than melodic beginnings– eschewed most of the filler that made Merchandise, well, merchandise.
Hosianna Mantra: Cosmic Synth and Vinyl Night
Wednesday, Feb. 10, 8 pm at Saint Vitus: FREE
It’s that time of year, when the dull monotony of winter starts to break away at the very fabric of our souls. We become inert, shallow, and as flaky as a bad case of dandruff. Each morning we ask ourselves, “Why would anyone ever want to leave this couch or pick up a phone ever, ever?” According to Joseph David Rowland of metal band Pallbearer, there is a cure for this spiritual sickness and it’s called “dark transcendent” music– think Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh. It’s like a warm foot bath filled with noodles for your icy, icy heart.
Rowland promises both “live synthesizer performance” and a vinyl playlist “curated for a trip through time and space.” Judging by the musician’s own foray into this kind of music, expect a gentle, vibey, magical sort of sound that still trades in all things upside-down. And count yourself lucky. Because this is the second iteration of Hosianna Mantra, you can expect that, despite the unusual format, things will more than likely run smoothly. Oh, and it’s free, so you can’t possibly screw this one up.
Paul Collins’ Beat, Bodega Bay, No Ice, Jackal Onassis
Wednesday, Feb. 10, 8 pm at Berlin: ticket price TBA
Put on your bravery hat, because there’s no telling exactly how this show’s gonna go down. According to our sources, Paul Collins’ Beat, starring the Paul Collins of ’80s power pop fame (see also his work with The Nerves— basically The Ramones with zero street cred) is actually, legitimately headlining a show this week at Berlin, the model-filled East Village bar-of-the-moment. The guy’s been touring relentlessly, so it’s not like we’re about to witness a super surprise comeback or anything, but something’s afoot here and we think somebody should put up their ears for the task of finding out.
Even if things get really, really weird– which they’re bound to, let’s face it, just embrace it– the rest of the lineup resembles a reality you’re at least slightly familiar with. Bushwick DIY regs and garage rock band Bodega Bay (perhaps you remember one member’s “leather jacket” film) will be on hand. Look out too for the twangy charmers of No Ice and the dissociative dream lingers of Jackal Onasis.