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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tonight in Music: Viva Voce, Brainstorm, Swervedriver & The Polyphonic Spree

Posted by Lex Chase on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 2:25 PM


VIVA VOCE, 1939 ENSEMBLE, BATTLEME

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Kevin and Anita Robinson have something up their sleeve: Tonight's Viva Voce show will actually be the premiere performance of the Robinsons' new Psychedelic Famile Band, a mysterious incarnation from folks that can't ever keep musically still. NED LANNAMANN


BRAINSTORM, TWIN STEPS, ONUINU

(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Twin Steps' debut EP, Serial Parade, is a quirky little thing. The Oakland trio cleverly melds surf and doo-wop with punk-rock clamor and additional noise, including field recordings and occasional samples. The hooks will suck you in; the weirdo bells and whistles will keep you around. It's a very un-nuggety batch of nuggets, too, especially the six-minute (eternal by garage-rock standards) first single "Pinkie Promise," which incorporates an Etta James sample into the lo-fi mix. It's what I imagine the house band at a sock hop in hell would sound like. It's absolutely fun and completely deranged—just like we thought Frank Black was at one time. MARK LORE


SWERVEDRIVER, HAWKEYE

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) If I had it to do over again, I would have spent the early '90s listening to Swervedriver on my pink boombox instead of Wilson Phillips. Like other British rock bands of the day, Swervedriver played loud guitars with lots of distortion, but their muscular confidence set them so far ahead of their time that they gave it all up in 1998. They reformed a decade later on the heels of some reissues, but they haven't put out a new LP since last century. Though they've worn well, my current enjoyment of their earliest and best albums, Raise and Mezcal Head, is not entirely devoid of nostalgia. But what really sets Swervedriver apart from their milieu are lyrics centered on a cinematic ideal of America—Ford Mustangs, girls on motorcycles, driving off into the sunset. REBECCA WILSON


THE POLYPHONIC SPREE, NEW FUMES

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) They say everything is bigger in Texas. I'll buy that. Dallas' Polyphonic Spree is the musical equivalent of the 72-ounce steak at the Big Texan, although you're far less likely to stroke out from it. Miraculously, both are still around. The Spree typically boasts some two dozen members, although it's the sole brainchild of Tim DeLaughter. Of course, with a band this size, gigantic choruses are part of the package. The results are euphoric anthems that can bulldoze their way to the back of a packed arena (or the Wonder Ballroom). The Polyphonic Spree haven't released an album since 2007 (some new songs have recently appeared online), but I'm relatively sure their performance will be as spectacular and bizarre as I imagine Jesus Christ Superstar was in 1971. ML

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