HAVE YOUR SEA AND CAKE AND BEAT IT, TOO (WITH SAM PREKOP)
What the hell's Sea and Cake guitarist Sam Prekop doing in Data Breaker? How does the Chicago group's laid-back lounge rocker figure into an electronic-music column? It goes something like this. Prekop threw many listeners for a loop with 2010's Old Punch Card, an album we old-timers once called IDM (intelligent dance music, which sometimes was none of those things). Meaning, Prekop donned his lab coat and arrayed fractured bleeps, splenetic static bursts, intense synth arpeggios, and the occasional oneiric melody into alternately beautiful and baffling shapes. While the Sea and Cake's Two Gentlemen EP hinted at electronic tendencies, it was an anomaly in their catalog. With the dazzlingly unpredictable Old Punch Card—which was reportedly inspired by Portuguese composer Nuno Canavarro's enchanting, abstract opus, Plux Quba—Prekop sounded refreshed and playful, his mind ablaze at the idea of unlimited sonic possibilities, and unhindered by the demands of traditional rock-song structures. He continues that sense of restless adventurousness on 2015's The Republic. It's hard to detect a logical function for these 15 tracks. They exist simply to baffle and astonish with their fantastical patterns and what may strike many as "unnatural" tonalities. No, it sounds nothing like The Biz or Oui. Get over it—and get into it. With Panabrite and Archer Prewitt. Barboza, 7 pm, $15, 21+.
MOONLIGHTING HEAVY-ROCK DRUMMER MAKES LIVE DEBUT WITH SYNTH PROJECT MERIDIAN ARC
Perhaps you've come within earshot of the incredibly punishing drumming of Seattle's Andrew Crawshaw via his stints with experimental and rock ensembles A Story of Rats, Terminal Fuzz Terror, and Shining Ones. Well, prepare for a bit of a shock: Crawshaw—who's also an accomplished graphic designer and owner of Broken Press—has a solo synth project. At times, it's as heavy as his other groups. Operating as Meridian Arc on his debut EP, Phase (I-V), Crawshaw finds the darkest chords on his analog synthesizers and creates scores for imaginary sci-fi and horror films. Over the last five years or so, this has been well-trod territory abetted by Death Waltz Records' relentless reissuing of classic, morbid soundtracks, but Meridian Arc acquits himself with aplomb. His vocabulary of menacing chord progressions and warped textures—augmented by foreboding drumbeats and vanquishing cymbal splashes—is articulate and advanced. Tonight's his first gig as Meridian Arc, and he'll not be terribly out of place on this bill, otherwise composed of metal and space-rock bands. With Kleine, Hemingway, and Noise-A-Tron. Substation, 8 pm, $6, 21+.