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The Bruce is loose

| February 28, 2011

Bruce Lamont is many things to many people: lover, debtor, chooser of fine silks . . . wait, that’s supposed to read sax-wielding Yakuza frontman, uncanny Robert Plant soundalike, and now a solo artist.

For as indulgent as Yakuza can be, the Zeppelin really filters into Feral Songs For The Epic Decline (At A Loss) in a bouillabaisse droning, mystical sense not unlike the Song Remains The Same interludes. Those overtones, provided by opener “One Who Stands On The Earth,” quickly become destroyed by a pulverizing, tribal crash that segues into a spiritually disquieting cruise down the River Styx on “The Epic Decline.” Here we’ve lost the Zep aspect entirely for dawn-of-civilization paganism (no, really, we’ve ditched the Zeppelin) and most of the way out feels like track 66 on Danzig 4 or the score to Hellraiser. Oh, and just to do it, he closes with the album’s most conventional track — it’s Bruce the prankster. (Thursday@Empty Bottle with Chris Connelly and Scott Tuma.)

The sound of Joy Division has become so pervasive in modern rock that Interpol have basically become pariahs for kicking that door open. Whether Editors, White Lies, or She Wants Revenge, the bands have become synonymous and cannibalistic. The publicist for young Chicago-based band Tiger Bones is clearly wary of making the comparison, throwing everything but JD in the influences/RIYL pile. The joke of it? Tiger Bones are the only one of these outfits to man up and pay tribute, covering “Transmission” on their Go Over Here EP (Dedd Foxx). Lucky for us, Joy Division aren’t the only factor involved, and even more fortuitous is that the other influence isn’t fucking U2. Heartily British post-punk but charmingly sloppy in the mix, Go Over Here ricochets through the speaker wires thanks to surf-like reverb and echoes like a bastard, yet the band hold tight. And now that we’ve talked about the elephant in the room, everyone can move on. (Thursday@The Whistler with Village.)

The same day Astralwerks issued their second Hot Chip release, they also set forth Thomas d’Arcy‘s debut as Small Sins. The two records shared more than a little sonic territory, harnessing the cold tones of indie electronica but giving them lithe rhythms and gradual danceability. D’Arcy, however, thrust much of himself into his lyrics, exposing more traditional singer/songwriter roots. His second album packed a number of could-be-hits like openers “I Need A Friend” and “Morning Face,” removing the emerging trend that Hot Chip pursued and embracing an organic, spiritually uplifting feel. Unfortunately it wasn’t where the rock press was headed. It took three years to produce a follow up, Pot Calls Kettle Back, and he’s retreated from major-label EMI to the friendlier confines of the Broken Social Scene-oriented Arts & Crafts imprint. His comfort completely reflected in the music, Pot Calls takes on a lot of ideas, from upfront electronics and hushed vocals to gradual melodies and dance pop. Purposefully scattered, not every idea works though nearly every track has an idea worth exploring and tied neatly together by the elegant “Where’s The Gold?” (Wednesday@Schubas with Color Radio and Bastardgeist.)

— Steve Forstneger

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