Before I hip you street rats to the gigs that’ll be putting sweat on the walls this week, let’s have a look at some killer records that just got plunked into my mailbox.
First up is one of the best bands currently dragging teeth-gnashing punk into unlikely corners, Pissed Jeans, and their new mind-fuck Honeys (Sub Pop). Pissed Jeans continue to give a good swift kick to the tired and wheezing carcass of hardcore punk while never pulling any punches with their white-hot aggression and dark dementia. Although they take their tips from the Birthday Party’s offspring (Cows, Jesus Lizard, Halo of Flies etc), Pissed Jeans manage to choose their own path to needle the nerves. Their particularly unsettling musical moments and pitch-black humour will remain in the frontal lobes long after the record’s over. Lead track “Bathroom Laughter” clears out the cobwebs with a Void-style blast before grinding gears with the dirgey “Chain Worker.” After that, all bets are off as the band gets eclectic on the remaining tracks, without ever losing the thread of urgency and misanthropic punch. If you’ve been out of the game for a while and were wondering what a punk band should sound like in 2013, this is it.
Next up is a different beast altogether, but one that’s equally rewarding: Oneirogen’s Kiasma, on the prolific but always solid Denovali Records. This one-man project is conceived and executed by New York composer Mario Diaz de Leon and creates a hallucinatory audio experience that has as much to do with krautrockers Cluster as it does with modern dark ambient. Mixing in noise, sporadic black metal vocals, vintage synths and metallic guitars, Oneirogen should definitely appeal to fans of Tim Hecker as well as more avant-metal/electronic bands like Khanate, Nadja, Locrian and Sunn O))). Just clamp on the headphones and prepare for cranium-crunching heaviosity as down-tuned, distorted guitars and ethereal synths drag you down. Not all is doom and gloom here though, as Leon also flexes his dynamics by letting shards of light and melody elbow their way in through his vast and cinematic darkness — for a taste, try and find the 14-minute “Katabasis,” and don’t forget to buckle up. If you’re digging this great slab of modern psych/dark ambient, I highly suggest you start picking up titles from the Denovali catalogue, as everything they’ve released is solid psych gold.
Tuesday – U.B.T.’s Oneirogen has cooked up a yuck fest at Barfly tonight that flies under the flag of We’re Laughing at You! These up-and-coming stand-up comedians include Aural Turpitude, Keith Waterfield, Darren Henwood, Jason Hatrick, Morgan O’Shea and Dana Lavoie will be making your sides split directly after the hockey game.
Wednesday – The monthly Friends of Hell plants their stakes at Katacombes once again this week. DJ Satannick will be spinning the best of thrash, nwoBhm, black metal, doom and all other things heavy. Prepare for a Thursday morning bangover.
Hardly a week goes by without improv pianist Charity Chan playing around town, and she continues her reign over the city on Wednesday. Chan will be in a duet setting with percussionist Alexander MacSween before they stretch out to a quartet with bassists Jérémi Roy and Aaron Lumley.
Thursday – For some seriously gritty garage rock ’n’ roll and snotty punk, you can head down to Barfly to catch Leamers with Ottawa’s Shahman and Greys.
For those who love heaping helpings of twang in their countrified kickers don’t miss the Andrew Collins Trio with Notre Dame de Grass, Li’l Andy and DJ JP at Divan Orange.
Friday – Melodic punkers Dig It Up will pack ’em in at l’Absynthe with PL Mafia, Bonvivant, No Bones and We Are Not the Savages.
The biggest ticket this week is Animal Collective, pulling into Metropolis with Dan Deacon.
Although I’m not really into hyping the cover-band scene in this column, I’ll have to make an exception here, seeing as Motörhead cover band Motörheadache is due to pile-drive Katacombes with support from Snäkeskyn Whiskey and Sawyer Path. C’mon, it’s Motörhead fercrissakes!
Monday – Finally, you can catch the psych-pop of Tame Impala with the Growl at Metropolis. Oh wait, it’s sold out. ■
Current obsession: Pissed Jeans, Honeys