Music

Beatseeking Missives

Out Hud

Music historians may look back on 2002 as the year indie rockers unfolded their arms en masse and shook their torpid moneymakers till their too-tight T-shirts became transparent with sweat. And when those nerds of the future write this chapter of their fascinating tomes, they will surely spotlight the hyper, celebratory live performances of Out Hud (and those of their sister band !!!, with whom Out Hud share three members). Out Hud also issued one of the scene's essential documents last year, S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D. , by far the most club-friendly album in Kranky Records' 10-year history.

The band--bassist Nic Offer, guitarist Tyler Pope, cellist/violinist Molly Schnick, drummer Phyllis Forbes, and producer Justin VanDerVolgen--moved from Sacramento to Brooklyn in 2001... just in time to reap the media hype encircling NYC's underground music scene. Of course, you should be skeptical of any band garnering so many rave reviews (including Out Hud tourmates the Rapture), but D.A.D. really does deserve its critical blowjobs.

While !!! crank out convincing facsimiles of the mutant disco and spiky punk-funk that flourished in NYC and England during the Iran hostage crisis, Out Hud take a more cerebral but no less thrilling approach to arty dance productions. Knob-twiddler VanDerVolgen's strident shafts of reverbed guitar and blurts of antisocial bass prove he's scrutinized On-U Sound producer Adrian Sherwood's pioneering dub tactics. And like many intelligent Caucasian musicians, Out Hud realize it's futile to try to replicate James Brown and the Meters' brand of funk. So instead they veer off the beaten path where Liquid Liquid's propulsive, stripped-down funk, 23 Skidoo's tribal percussive jams, and Material's militant disco blazed trails. While Out Hud's brainy influences require deeper digging than those of most post-punk revivalists' nods to Gang of Four and the Cure (hello again, Rapture), the Brooklyn combo's modus operandi is far from an arid exercise in homage. A couple of tracks off D.A.D. illustrate Out Hud's knack for making disparate elements click. "Dad, There's a Little Phrase Called Too Much Information" (it's so much better than that title) begins like an elementary house floor-filler, but shards of Echoplexed Edge-y guitar, wicked bass ruptures, and mock-spooky keyboards quickly subvert it.

Just when you're settling into the Sherwoodesque freakiness of it all, the track shifts into a pell-mell chug that's as uplifting as a King Sunny Ade guitar riff hitched to one of T. Raumschmiere's chunky tech-house rhythms. But D.A.D. 's highlight is the 12-minute "The L Train Is a Swell Train and I Don't Want to Hear You Indies Complain" (damn those titles!). Combining Mark Stewart & the Maffia-style dub terrorism with expansive funkiness, Out Hud surprise the hell out of you with a three-minute coda that conjures the unlikely image of Godspeed You! Black Emperor jamming with James Blood Ulmer on violin and acoustic guitar. Aw, forget my tortuous trainspotting and dig Out Hud in the flesh. This band's more about raising pulse rates than consciousnesses, and sometimes that's quite enough. DAVE SEGAL

With the Rapture, Beans, and DJs Child of the Moon & Kendra. Tues Nov 11 at Graceland, 109 Eastlake Ave E, 262-0482, 8 pm-2 am, 21+, $10 adv, $12 DOS.

segal@thestranger.com

 

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