Last Wednesday at Gasa Gasa, A Place to Bury Strangers (APTBS) lived up to their reputation as one of the loudest bands in American rock. I suppose this should be expected from any band that sells branded ear plugs at their merch table. While APTBS may have taken a bit of a beating from critics with regard to what was called the “monotony” of their new record Transfixiation, this show was anything but one note. The sheer power of Oliver Ackermann’s guitar work swept through the room, for the duration of the set they owned the ears of everyone in the vicinity. When APTBS is firing on all cylinders, they are a force that cannot be ignored. As the band reached the crescendo of their first song, Ackermann began to systematically abuse his guitar. In a thrashing that spanned all parts of the stage, he slammed the body of the instrument to the stage, scraped the neck against the lights and finally pulled the strings apart one at a time—all while maintaining the sonic sense of the song. This is really the key to APTBS, the music deconstructs itself and in doing so presents a sense of a world that is out of balance yet held together through a necessary, violent cohesion. The inevitable comparison everyone makes is to The Jesus and Mary Chain (who really pioneered this marriage of distorted experimentation and pop-sensibilities). APTBS have managed to keep the underlying pop sensibilities of earlier noise rock bands; however their music exposes the completely arbitrary nature of the pop genre by forcing these standard musical moves to contain the force and distortion of their songs. Taken all together, APTBS have come a long way as a band and are truly finding a balance between the experimental and the traditional.
In shows of interest this week, you can prepare for Dick Dale’s arrival in town next month with the all female surf rock group La Luz at Siberia on the fifth. If you are more in the mood for gypsy punk, Gogol Bordello will be at the House of Blues on the sixth. Nicholas Payton and Johnny Vidacovich will be at the Howlin’ Wolf on the seventh with a host of special guests. Finally this week, be sure to check out British musician Will Holland (better known as Quantic) at Gasa Gasa on the eleventh. Holland is a multi-instrumentalist who blends funk and soul with just about anything else he can find to produce a remarkably unique breed of hip-hop. An unstoppable force, he has released no less than eighteen records in the last fourteen years. This one is a can’t miss for sure. The dance floor at Gasa Gasa will be hopping that night.
Finally, the new Purity Ring album, Another Eternity, was released on Tuesday. I cannot recommend this release highly enough. The duo has managed to pick up where they left off with their excellent 2012 release Shrines. This is electro pop distilled to its essence. The gleeful hooks and breaks will carry you through the entire record. If you have a workout playlist, you’d do well to add some tracks there as well. They’ll be at Republic in late May so keep an eye out for that show. Check out the first single “Push Pull” below.