Tuesday nights are a bastard for drawing people to music shows. Even stacked bills like the one at Chop Suey last night struggle to crack the 30-people barrier, and so the Red Curtain of Ignominy™ was dropped, signaling that the bands—Prettiest Eyes, Miscomings, and the Carols—would not set up on the main stage, but rather, tucked back in the rear corner of the club, near the photo booth that emits a chronic feculent stench. These great bands deserved better, but they made the best of a bad situation.
I missed most of local trio the Carols' set, unfortunately, but the sparky, tuneful garage-pop songs that I caught suggest a lot of promise. Bonus: The drummer wore a Kraftwerk T-shirt I'd never seen before.
Seattle's Miscomings have stepped up to fill the void left by Wet Paint DMM. In other words, Miscomings spring out of No Wave's wired chaos, leveraging drummer Nicole's oblong and amphetamined rhythms and barbed, gnarled twin guitar blurge into rickety vehicles for vocalist Joe to help like Jad Fair with his nuts in a vice. His is one of the more fucked-up falsettos I've heard—and I've heard a lot.
Given the current state of the world in general, and America in particular, musicians gravitating toward No Wave's inchoate rage and no-frills catharsis makes a helluva lot of sense. So it was thoroughly satisfying to witness Miscomings dispense their short, abrupt songs—(de)compositions that spill over with hysteria yet are pressurized into tense blasts of noise-rock that finds the golden mean between DNA and Minutemen at their nastiest. Miscomings' music is about the most logical response to a country whose administration bumbles from fiasco to fiasco and governs with an unerring instinct for the cruelest possible outcomes. You can catch Miscomings performing March 2 at Hollow Earth Radio; it's the release party for their great debut album on Den Tapes, Like Music.
LA trio Prettiest Eyes didn't let the bummer turnout deter them from blowtorching the joint. The bass (Marcos Rodríguez)/keyboards (Paco Casanova)/drums/vocals (Pachy García) unit specialize in disciplined cacophony. Rodríguez wields the bass like a lethal weapon, with distortion his ammo. In his black cowboy hat and bolo tie, he recalled Birthday Party low-end-manipulator Tracy Pew, and after the show I asked him if Pew influenced his garb and playing. Rodríguez gushed in the affirmative.
Despite the night's demoralizing circumstances, Prettiest Eyes soldiered on. They artfully built scabrous walls of sound, topped off with corkscrewing synth squeals and feral fibrillations that made me flash back to Pere Ubu's Allen Ravenstine and the great, overlooked Boston band the Girls. Whether they were glowering menacingly or surging speedily, Prettiest Eyes' songs sent jolts of electricity to our joints and made a dismal Tuesday night feel sparkly with nihilism and possibility.