What’s up with avant-garde music
Published: April 10, 2013
Local outfit Baklavaa released a gloriously damaged EP with the wonderfully woolly title Hairmoans, a noise assault that Booed became quite fond of in 2012. The group is putting out Spiral Cramp, its debut LP, soon. (A white vinyl version with handmade screenprints of Lucas King’s cover art, pictured, which is as starkly dizzying as Skullfower’s Obsidian Shaking Codex, will be limited to 100 copies.) Cramp’s eight songs continue the band’s solid mix of noise-punk car wrecks slamming headfirst into disarming catchiness. It also continues the band’s verbal tomfoolery: In “Salsa Shark,” a laughably absurd song title, Arab on Radar-like guitar choke flowers into almost hummable moments before the whole thing rides out on a feedback wave. What’s a little surprising is how much hooky mileage these guys get out of barely organized tumult: “Return the Nature Find the Real Feel” is two minutes of chaos that almost finds a sing-along punk groove, while “The Sleeper” is spiked with painfully slow guitar abuse, the sort of running-through-a-swimming-pool riff that makes a perfect soundtrack to dragging a dead body from the bedroom to the garage. Vinyl forthcoming, but Spiral is digitally available from the Baklavaa’s bandcamp page now: baklavaa.bandcamp.com.
The Red Room Collective has put together an action-packed month for its performance space at Normal’s Books and Records. On April 12, New York-based percussionist/engineer Levy Lorenzo comes to town with his invented-electronics gear, playing with hypnotic local chamber post-rock ensemble Impatience Machine (which includes CP contributor Michael Shank) and the badass sextet Jamie Branch’s Bombshelter. On April 17 Horse Lords’ toothpick-chewing guitarist Owen Gardner goes solo opening for Boston’s electronics-sculpting TAPS and Katze, the duo of vocalist Noelle Dorsey and electronics/violinist Morgan Evans-Weiler that splits the difference between levitating drones and disorienting minimalism. The Treble Girls (below), the otherworldly duo of flautist Anne La Berge and violinist/vocalist Diamanda La Berge Dramm comes to town April 18, premiering a few pieces from contemporary composers. Veteran electronics improviser Toshimaru Nakamura teams up with NYC/Philly free-noise trio Many Arms April 21, with local anything-goes stalwart Tom Boram aka DJ Tom Borax playing synthesizer in room-spinning quadrophonic sound. And Dan Breen and Bob Wagner’s Les Trois Batterie closes out the month April 27 with Shelly Blake-Plock, an all-local bill that could provide the month’s most combustible set.
Finally, if you’re just in a mood for something else entirely, check out the Knife’s Shaking the Habitual (Brille Records), a curveball from this Swedish brother/sister electro duo, out this week. Its last outing, 2006’s Silent Shout, found the Knife making pretty mainstream, house-tinted dancefloor bump and wiggle; Habitual is—well, after only a few listens, we’re not exactly sure yet. But with a nearly 20-minute sound excursion in the middle of this 13-song stab at doing something non-pop, it’s a curiously addictive slab of ominous mood and atmosphere.
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