Well, they say it's kinda frightenin’ how this younger generation swings/ You know, it's more than just some new sensation/ Well, the kid is into losin' sleep and he don't come home for half the week/ You know, it's more than just an aggravation/ And the cradle will rock/ Yes, the cradle will rock/ And I say, rock on!/ Rock on! “And The Cradle Will Rock,” by the mighty and ever prescient Van Halen.
Since David Lee Roth’s admonitions to a younger generation—and to himself one supposes—pretty much clearly state what the hell goes on around here, we might as well get down to business. These are the shows I think you should show up for this week. Rock on!
Van Halen: “And The Cradle Will Rock”
On Thursday, Dec. 3, Sister (407 Central NW) hosts a concert by two popular Burque bands who are unafraid and even deeply, resoundingly committed to using the word 'synth' in self-descriptions of their work. While Ugly Robot— featuring Trent Small on keys and sax, guitarists Marshall Broyles and Dustin Harvey and the rhythm section of Matt West and Kenny Broyles—attaches the s-word to rock, their counterparts for the evening's music fest, Lindy Vision, prefer the term ‘pop’ in conjunction with their synthetic sounds. Ugly Robot's latest single, “Bad Decisions” combines plangent piano playing and deeply resonant bass and drums with somewhat snarky and self-loathing lyrics that would make even the illest amongst us proud of transgression. Lindy Vision (vocalist Dorothy Cuylear, lead guitarist Natasha Cuylear and drummer/beat maker Carla Cuylear) have a sound that is buoyantly multilayered and clearly convinced of the hex pronounced on it by an awesome attachment to 1980s post-disco synth pop. Sloan Armitage opens. $5 gets one into this 21+ exposition of what electronic instrumentation is capable of elucidating. The doors to Sister open at 8pm; the gig goes off at 9pm.
Lindy Vision: “Pink and Black”
Phantogram, a duo whose work is based in electronica dreamily sieved through trip-hop, shoe-gaze and psychedelica, make an appearance at Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW) on Friday, Dec. 4. Members Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter use elements of multiple, generally rocked-out genres to fashion a sound that is formidable for its attention to somnolent sexiness and the thickly churning undercurrent of urban experience expressed as incessantly compelling beats. After their 2010 break-out album Eyelid Movies, Phantogram has demonstrated mastery of their underlying influences—as well as their staying power in the increasingly overwrought EDM/chillwave milieu—by collaborating with the likes of Big Boi (OutKast) as well as Steven Drozd (Flaming Lips). Additionally, their latest recording, Voices, is indicative of an evolution that pushes the duo past mere derivation and into an universe populated by nuance and knowing reflections on life and experience, as heard in the tracks “Never Going Home” and “Bill Murray.” The latter features static-laced rhythms, languid guitar-work and plaintive vocalizations that travel well beyond genre but still reminiscent to Drozd's groundbreaking arrangements on The Soft Bulletin. Tickets for Phantogram are $23 dollars, but it's a 13+ show that is bound to be as unforgettable as it is boundless.
Phantogram: “Bill Murray”
Experimental post-rock rockers El Ten Eleven play at the historic El Rey Theater (622 Central SW) on Saturday, Dec. 5. Post-rock is a thing where the musicians take elements of the rock genre and related traditions (like the blues or C/W for instance) deconstruct it and put the elements they discombobulated back together in a new format that has some of the resemblance but none of the intentions found in the original work. I only write such a labored description as a follow-up to an earlier concert preview I wrote. I blithely proclaimed a local band to be post-rock flavored. It’s a broadly defined category, like the term postmodernism. Anywho, I don't think I'll run into such a debacle of controversially used nomenclature here. El Ten Eleven (Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty) focus precisely on the instrumental capabilities of their various guitars, effects pedals, drums and basses by consistently using ostinato (short repeating musical or rhythmic themes) and variation in dynamics and timbre to achieve their complicated sonic aims. With ambient overtones and wandering melodic phrases, El Ten Eleven is the definition of post-rock. An 18+ concert with a $12 admission fee, this post-postmodern performance begins at 9pm.
El Ten Eleven: “Every Direction Is North”
My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult brings their Electrik Messiah 2015 tour to Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Sunday, Dec. 6. Groovie Mann (Frankie Nardiello) and Buzz McCoy (Marston Daley), founding members of the industrial ensemble, began their prodigiously peculiar and pronouncedly perverse dance together at the end of the 1980s while working with Ministry and subsequently, Wax Trax! Records. Based in a form of EDM that is powerfully funky yet also abrasive and darkly poetic, TKK use thunderous beats imbued with satirically expansive references to Satanism, B-movies and throbbing human sexuality to manifest a sound that is driven by dreams of a world filled with dark dance halls and ritual gamboling toward a midnight that never quite arrives. Hugely influential, capable of disturbing excursions into the experimental and always compellingly danceable (for those into chaotic, sometimes animalistic twitching) TKK are a band to be seen and heard live, in their natural, stupor-inducing environment. Tickets for this 21+ occult pronouncement run an ominous but highly beneficial $13. The doors open at 7pm and TKK takes the stage at 8pm.
My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult: “A Daisy Chain for Satan”
!!! is a band from Sacramento in Califas whose sound is as enigmatically satisfying as their nearly unpronounceable name. They'll be at Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Using elements of punk-rock, electronica, danceable rhythms and loungy, anthemic vocals (courtesy of front man Nic Offer), !!! offer a sonic experience that is captivating for its coherence and memorable for its beat-bending vision. Featuring competent, chop-heavy instrumentalists and tuneage that flows from deeply melodic to wantonly propulsive, the band, whose name can be simply rendered as “chk chk chk” according to those in the know (viz., the band themselves), is phat and frequently cited as an important influence on recent American music. Multi-instrumentalist Raphael Cohen excels at finding the odd within the sometimes staid format of modern dance music. Sterolab tribute outfit Stereolad is also on the bill. Eric Lisausky's local prog-rock project YOU begins the bouncingly baked proceedings. It's a 13+ trip through the wavering, unavoidable rock aether that begins at 8pm with doors at 7pm.