Here’s where you will rawk this week

The best gigs happening in the coming week. PLUS: A lesson in drone.

facebookFor the past couple of weeks, I’ve been completely immersed in the six-disc box set Daughter of Darkness by French drone duo Natural Snow Buildings (see my review in the print edition of Cult MTL, rolling out across the city today). I realize that for most people still sucking at the teat of traditional pop (something I still do, too), the set’s five-plus-hours of dense drones is probably a difficult listen.

For underground music fans, or more specifically people into avant metal, minimal synth, ambient and doom, who are just now busting their cherry on drone music and other forms of minimalist composition, I’m going to open a gateway into this genre by recommending some important records this month. Here’s the first:

Earth, Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version (Sub Pop)

This record singlehandedly changed the way I listened to music when it originally came out in the grunge-infested days of ’93. I was already hip to Swans’ primal pummelling, but this proved to be a challenging listen with rich rewards. Main Earthman Dylan Carlson has mentioned in interviews that he had been reading up on New York minimalist composer La Monte Young and was intrigued by the prospects of hammering one single note. Despite Carlson never actually listening to Young’s two-hour piece “The Well-Tuned Piano,” he produced this thick slice of one-note ballast and just assumed that his one drone note flowering into feedback for 40 minutes is what Young would’ve sounded like.

Carlson was of course dead wrong, and although this is hardly his shining moment (his minimalist Americana twang would outshine this over 10 years later), he managed to introduce a throng of curious indie rock fans to the many-splendoured world of truly experimental music.

Next week: More drone!

Here’s the gigs:

Friday: Coming in second on my gig-of-the-week list would be a rare show by L.A. proto-punk/glam/electronic/ power pop pioneers Sparks. Since being largely ignored in the mainstream since 1971, the Mael brothers continue to grow over the decades and still possess the power to musically shock even their most ardent fan. This Evening with Sparks at le National is guaranteed to be a stunner. For a true testament to their greatness, seek out a copy of their wig-flippin’ 1974 record Kimono My House. Read Cult MTL’s interview with them here. Le National (1220 Ste-Catherine E.), 8:30 p.m., $30

A great gig for the more psych/improv/jazz inclined and noiseniks would be NYC freaks Nymph, who will shear the ears at Brasserie Beaubien with Maica Mia, Sacral Nerves and Drom for Du Dor. To check out just how far Nymph can push the envelope, check out their glorious mind-fuck 2010 debut on the Social Registry label. 73 Beaubien E., 9 p.m., $7

At Cabaret Playhouse, you can catch a tribute night dedicated to everyone’s favorite mixed up pixie, PJ Harvey. 5656 Parc, 11 p.m.

Saturday: The always popular all-lady Weezer tribute, Sheezer, will take their v-necked sweaters out of mothballs to play Il Motore with Lederhosen Lucil (who’s sitting on a new release that will come out shortly), Elgin Skye and DJ Noah Bick. If you’re on the fence about Sheezer, even head Weezer dude Rivers Cuomo gives them a thumbs up. 179 Jean-Talon W., 9 p.m., $10

Probably the best power pop band in the city, Dany Laj and the Looks, will finally pay off their bar tab at the Looks’ favourite watering hole, Barfly. 4062 St-Laurent, 9 p.m., $5

Tuesday: Part time dinosaur Lou “free hugs” Barlow is coming to town with his seminal mopey pop outfit Sebadoh, with Outagrape in tow, at Il Motore. True, a lot of Barlow’s wind-bag whining can be more irritating than watching a puberty-stache-adorned hipster riding a tiny, antique skateboard, but considering he did pen uber-hits like “Brand New Love” and “Gimme Indie Rock,” I’ll give the ol’ sad-sack a pass. 179 Jean-Talon W., 8 p.m., $15/$20

Wednesday: Sparks playing our humble town? That gig will be the tits fer sure but check it, Poindexter. Gig of the week: MY BLOODY FUCKING VALENTINE! Prepare to have the fillings in yer teeth liquefied when Shields cranks up all 10 of his amps past the point of meltdown. Stoked beyond words to finally catch one of my favourite bands of all time. Metropolis (59 Ste-Catherine W.),  8 p.m., $47


Current obsession: Lou Reed, Metal Machine Music

Leave a Reply