At South by Southwest last week the Welsh combo Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci overcame numerous technical problems (from keyboards cutting out to ungodly blasts of unintentional noise) and a venue that seemed better suited to line dancing than their quirky, trippy, ferociously catchy pop to turn in the best performance I saw at the entire conference. The band’s plucky endurance no doubt came from experience–they’ve been at it since the mid-90s–but what really saved them was their astounding oeuvre of hooky tunes. Over the course of five albums, keyboardist and singer Euros Childs, his violinist sister Megan, drummer Euros Rowlands, bassist Richard James, and guitarist John Lawrence have refined a highly idiosyncratic amalgam of Syd Barrett psychedelia, Captain Beefheart cacophony, Soft Machine spaciness, Beach Boys harmonies, British folk tradition (some of their songs are sung in Welsh), and the indelible yet slippery melodic grace of the Beatles. While their earlier efforts got over on the shaggy charm of artists biting off a tad more than they could chew, the songs on the excellent Spanish Dance Troupe–recorded independently after the band was dropped by Mercury and released late last year on Beggars Banquet–come together with lean precision, from the noisy, peppy “Poodle Rockin'” to the strummy, Velvety “Faraway Eyes” to the elegant title track, which sounds like an outtake from the Kinks’ Arthur. Lawrence left the band after the recording, reportedly because he didn’t want to enter into another record deal, but in Austin his replacement, Rhodri Puw, handled the guitar parts with unfussy aplomb. This is the group’s Chicago debut; they open for the Apples in Stereo. The show is sold-out. Sunday, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tom Sheehan.