IMA FUCKING GYMNIST, LOVEBOAT, SHEARING PINX, ILL EASE
(ArtWorks) The kids in San Fernando Valley punk trio Ima Fucking Gymnist look barely old enough to drive a tour van; their parents probably went to early Black Flag shows. Or maybe they were just pumping Damaged into their wombs. Whatever the case, Ima Fucking Gymnist have developed into an impressively adrenalized adolescent punk trio. Frontwoman Maritza Zelada rants and hollers over Luis Castillo and Jordan Espino's breakneck drumming and guttural bass. It's not called gym-nice-tics for a reason. Shearing Pinx are a dueling guitar noise monster from Vancouver, BC. Their songs ricochet suddenly from sci-fi sound effects to searing guitar shreds to heart-stopping arrhythmia, with Nicolas Hughes's spaced-out screams invading throughout. ERIC GRANDY
LACEY BROWN (CD RELEASE), JOSH OTTUM
(High Dive) Lacey Brown has been working on her first full length, Waking Holding Dreaming Dying, for what feels like about a thousand years. She's one of those artists whose CD-R somehow finds its way into your hands, and you end up burning 100 copies for friends, putting it on mixtapes, and frequently, saying stupidly fannish things like "Just WAIT till she puts out a record!" She still plays her simple, plaintive songs on an acoustic guitar, but Brown has graduated from singer-songwriter school, using her studio and band to their fullest, employing an army of vocalists and electronic effects. Brown's own drumming deftly meshes with Gary Owen's electronic beats to keep things moving forward. The record oozes love and sincerity, which is a rare thing. JOEL HARTSE
LE CASTLE VANIA, CHROMATICS, THE PRIDS, DJS COLBY B AND PACO
(Chop Suey) Le Castle Vania is the production alias of Atlanta up-and-comer Dylan Eiland (aka DJ DJ Dylan). In the land of crunk, Eiland stands out as a lily-white (and bleach blond) emissary of glittering disco and tweaked electro sleaze. The 24-year-old has done remixes for Snowden and 120 Days and has ties to the Dim Mak and iheartcomix record labels. Chromatics are the revolving-door recording project of onetime Seattle resident Adam Miller (not the Adam Miller from Adult.). Since sloughing off the three-fourths of his band that would become Shoplifting, Miller's abandoned the art-damaged punk of the band's Kill Rock Stars releases to follow Glass Candy's lead into the after-dark, neon-lit world of nu Italo disco. It's a good look for him (and whatever ingenue muse he's working with these days). ERIC GRANDY
NOMO, SLY LOTHARIO
(Tractor) See album review, page 42.
DYME DEF, GRYNCH, RICKY PHAROAH, MACKLEMORE, TRU ID, J PINDER, RIK RUDE
(Vera Project) See preview, page 39.
THE VALLEY, THE RUBY DOE, VICTORY SMOKES, POLICE TEETH
(Atlas Clothing) I only have two songs to work with here (as Police Teeth are too new of a project to have an actual release—more on that in a second) but with one song, "Tetsuo II Body Hammer," the Bellingham boys sound like the kind of band you don't wanna fuck with in the alley after the show: catchy punk rock with a D.C. hardcore edge. But "Is That Because You're Adopted?" has a much different feel, bringing the tempo and the bass down and the vocals up in the mix. The singing that turns into hollering gives the whole song an Al Burian via Challenger feel. Interesting enough to keep me waiting for the new album, which, according to the band's MySpace blog, doesn't have a release date, but is in the final stages of production. Gimme, gimme, gimme. MEGAN SELING
MISS MAMIE LAVONA THE EXOTIC MULATTA AND HER WHITE BOY BAND, THE SASSPARILLA JUG BAND
(Conor Byrne) Miss Mamie and the boys have been steaming up small bar shows with their New Orleans bordello vibe for a couple of years now—there are some horns, an accordion, drums, and a drunky, howling ukulele player. They are no strangers to castanets. The Sassparilla Jug Band from Portland is a six-piece made of a washboard, a washtub bass, guitar and bass and fiddle, old-timey radio, and fucking fun. If Sassparilla sound like country kids come to play a gig in the big city, Miss Mamie Lavona and her band sound like the corrupters who'll take the innocents out after the show and give them hangovers and a case of the clap. BRENDAN KILEY
3 INCHES OF BLOOD, AKIMBO, HELL PROMISE, IAMTHETHORN, WITCHBURN
(El Corazón) Already recognized as power metal's most promising prospects, 3 Inches of Blood recently received an endorsement from genre royalty. Calling in to a radio show, Judas Priest's Rob Halford cited the Canadian sextet for "kicking up a fuss" and praised operatic howler Cam Pipes, saying, "That guy's got some pipes." (Pun unintended.) Reveling in their official heir status, the band posted this snippet as the default sound sample on their MySpace page. Released last week, Fire Up the Blades justifies Halford's accolades with its incendiary blend of wraithlike shrieks, choppy thrash riffs, and lyrical warfare. Fire Up, the group's third album, opens with a stirring 90-second instrumental built on military-march percussion and resonant dual guitars—the perfect fanfare for these just-knighted warriors as they begin their onstage onslaught. ANDREW MILLER
ALBINO!, CHERIE SEYMORE AND SOUL MOVING
(Nectar) Twenty years sweltering in obscurity and suddenly Afrobeat madness strikes the new millennium. While Michigan's NOMO—playing tonight at the Tractor—evolve the form to an electro-Afro instrumental affair, San Francisco's Albino! hew closer to Fela's original blueprint. The 12-member collective are undeniably rythmocentric, layering clave on top of conga on top of shaker on top of drum kit, stabbing at a pair of kinky guitars like percussion instruments. Their four-piece horn section provides most of the melodic lift, with Fela-esque vocal chants—politicized, insistent—spiking heavy, extended, hard-funk workouts. The band are touring on their just-released album, Rhino, produced by Fog City Records' Dan Prothero (Galactic, Mofro), and featuring a slew of guest musicians. Afrobeat, in any of its recent incarnations, doesn't get much heavier. JONATHAN ZWICKEL
(Neumo's) See preview, page 41.
(Chop Suey) If you're a dude who spends your time trolling sarcastic message boards, playing MMORPGs, smoking pot, and arguing about Star Wars, there really aren't that many options for rap music that "speaks your language." No matter how funny Weird Al is, he'll always have the stigma of being Weird Al, and it's hard to fully put yourself behind that. In steps MC Chris to fill an important niche: rap for self-proclaimed nerds. He's got all the references that socially awkward computerphiles crave, from songs about Boba Fett to announcing the MC stands for "Master Chief" (that's from Halo, noob). Here's a fun game you can play at the show: Try and count the number of T-shirts with witty slogans on them. For every five you see, buy yourself a drink. JEFF KIRBY
THE DIVORCE, SIRENS SISTER, CROSSTIDE
(Crocodile) "What the fuck, Jimmy!? Can you be any more out of tune?" "I'm not out of tune, you Brendan Flowers wannabe!" "No, he's right, Jimmy. You keep fucking up." "What do you know, Kyle, you're a drummer! A machine can do your job!" "Fuck you! I QUIT!" "You can't quit, I quit!" Doors slam, guitars break, keyboards fly through the air... Okay, you caught me. None of that really happened. But the Divorce did, for whatever reason, decide to break up. Seeing as how they're playing two last shows this evening (an early all-ages performance and a later 21-plus one), something tells me the decision was a bit more amicable than my childish imaginary scenario. Sorry about that. Sometimes I get bored at work. MEGAN SELING
FINALLY PUNK, THE NEW BLOODS, FLEXIONS, TALBOT TAGORA
(Artworks) Finally Punk are a female four-piece from Austin, Texas, that will make you feel like the last 15 years never happened: Olympia is still the center of the indie-verse, Sassy never devolved into the abomination that is Jane, and riot grrrl is still a media-baffling threat to punk-rock orthodoxy. Like the best of that movement's first wave, Finally Punk blur ideologically fraught lines between the cute and the radical—check the animal squeaks of "Penguin" and the smart, cheeky kiss-off of "Boyfriend Application" ("You can buy me condoms/Tell me that I'm pretty/But it will get you nowhere")—and between raw urgency and serious musical prowess (like Bikini Kill, the band members regularly switch instruments between songs). They also do a pretty righteous cover of "Negative Creep." ERIC GRANDY
BAND OF HORSES
(Showbox) See Stranger Suggests, page 27.
THE MOONEY SUZUKI, THE PHOTO ATLAS, THE CATCH, THE SUTURES
(El Corazón) The Mooney Suzuki's fourth studio album, Have Mercy, is finally out on Elixia Records. It was supposed to come out on V2 back in February, but the label folded. The Moonie Suzuki are survivors though, and meant to play rock 'n' roll. They are high profile, but are they resilient? Sammy James Jr. sounds crisp and furtive. His shouting vocals meld well with blues rock. He's been lighting up late nights for 10 years now. They're saying Have Mercy is the rebirth of garage, but it's too slick to claim that. (It tries not to be slick, but it's slick.) The carnival stomping "Good Ol' Alcohol" is almost ragtime. And ragtime ain't garage, is it? TRENT MOORMAN
MELT-BANANA, BOOK OF BLACK EARTH, LESBIAN
(Chop Suey) There's some absurd chatter on the interwebs about Japanese avant-hardcore mad scientists Melt-Banana's new album, Bambi's Dilemma, being the band's "sell-out" pop album. This is, of course, insane. Bambi's Dilemma is another chaos of lasers, blast beats, and punk squawk that could only sound "more accessible" to fans fully immersed in the band's weird sonic world. To everyone else, it will still sound like the batshit future punk band that Boredoms might've become if they hadn't turned into sun-worshipping hippies. Melt-Banana's live shows are frenzies of onstage aerobics, musical feats of speed, and mind-melting noise. ERIC GRANDY
THE ALBUM LEAF, UNDER BYEN
(Neumo's) It's almost a shame that the weather has shifted, since this double bill's melancholy compositions are perfect for Seattle's misty winter nights. For the Album Leaf's latest release, Into the Blue Again, multi-instrumentalist mastermind Jimmy Lavalle skipped the collaboration he did with 2004's In a Safe Place, instead holing up in his house for six months, translating mood into sound. Denmark's Under Byen perform the same feat on their latest, Samme Stof Som Stof, creating songs that simultaneously evoke Portishead and Björk. At their March Chop Suey appearance, they hid vocalist Henriette Sennenvaldt behind the band, removing a focal point and forcing the audience to engage with the entire group, making the lyrics (sung in Danish) just another part of the aural palette. DONTE PARKS