Jucifer w/ Hog Molly and guests
Crocodile, Fri Nov 9, $8.
Local 46, Sat Nov 10, $5.

The music that Jucifer's Amber Valentine and her lover/collaborator Edgar Livengood create is horrific and beautiful. The Atlanta duo's latest release, The Lambs EP, features seven songs of deep artistic terror, throughout which Valentine vacillates between droning baby-girl vocals and gorgeous, low-register primal screaming. Valentine's guitar-playing is strange and emotionally wrought. It's also enormous. Livenwood is a powerful, innovative drummer, and together they're as effective as any four-piece. Jucifer's sound is a bit like Black Sabbath intersecting with Sonic Youth. At times it's overwhelming, at times it's almost classical, and it's always really smart. The Stranger talked with Valentine last week.

The last time you played Seattle, you were so loud, the Crocodile didn't even turn its sound on. People could still hear you from the back bar. That's a separate room.

That tends to happen a lot. When we started playing I just had one cabinet, which wasn't that loud. And, for some reason, the sound people would always kind of mix it out. So we're this band that's based on guitar and drums, and all people were getting was drums and vocals.

Why do you think people mixed out your guitar?

I think maybe partly it was because of the girl thingy. There was an assumption that the vocals were supposed to be the loudest thing. So it was partly a reaction against that.

How many cabinets are you using now?

Right now I go from between 10 and 15 cabinets, depending on the situation. And a motley assortment of heads that run all the cabinets.

Are you taking them all with you?

Most of them. We have a lot of stuff.

With your big metal sound, monstrous vocals, and pretty clothes, do you ever worry that people will dismiss you unheard, as a gimmick?

We've got a double stroke against us. Or a triple stroke, maybe. I'm a girl. That's a stroke. We're a two-piece. That's a problem. And I'm a girl who enjoys fashion, which immediately makes me somehow more trivial for some people. But you can't control what people's preconceptions are.

Your lyrics are really simple. It seems like you just come up with a single idea and riff off of it. But the ideas presented are very provocative. With The Lambs EP, I feel like I get what you're doing, but I keep looking for it to be more cohesive. I wonder if I'm really dumb, or if you're just happy with abstraction.

Ed and I both write the music and we both write lyrics. If I'm writing music, usually I'll have a vocal melody that will come with words on it. Stream-of-consciousness words. And a lot of times that's what I go from. And... that phrase will build this world in my mind--which sounds REALLY CHEESY, GOD! Let it be known that I know how cheesy that sounds.

What about the lyric in "Platinum High," where you go, "I was in labor for 36 hours, you made me so fat and ugly"? It's really funny, right? But you sound so pissed when you sing it, I wonder if I'm supposed to be laughing.

I think that's a dichotomy that runs throughout [Ed and me] as people, and that comes through in our band, because we're totally serious but we also have a really strong element of humor about ourselves and what we're doing. The lyric is totally funny, and it's also expressive of, you know, the agony of childbirth.

Do you have kids?

No. And that was Ed's lyric.

So what were you trying to do thematically with The Lambs EP?

Titling it "Lambs" is sort of a hit toward the cliché of lambs to the slaughter. And all the songs incorporate that: losing innocence, or being an innocent, naïve creature brutalized by the world.

Is that why you're both wearing execution bags on your heads for the cover art?


It's really funny.

It is, isn't it? You know, it's goofy but it's also relevant. Goofy but relevant. Jesus Christ, don't make that the caption. Ed says "Hi."