H.P. Zinker are three Austrians recently transplanted to New York who record loving homages to John Bonham via extravagantly arranged heavy metal. Songs alternate between fairly pretty acoustic interludes and fairly serious thunderousness; on top comes guitarist Hans Platzgumer’s offhand vocals, casual and conversational and not half bad considering he’s writing in English. (“It is somehow easier for me because I don’t know too many words.”) Meaningwise, they’re standard alienation stories, but this is basically an instrumental band anyway. H.P. Zinker (“H.P. is a synonym [he means abbreviation] and ‘zinker’ means ‘cheater,'” Platzgumer says) screw around a lot with tone, often to good effect–I’m really into the droplets of sound Platzgumer pulls off in “Die Todesdroge.” The rhythm section–bassist Frank Puempel, known for once playing 20 minutes at a show with current from a distortion box running through him, and drummer David Wasik, doing Bonham–roams around freely in the wide-open spaces between boogie and boring. Very heavy. Incongruously paired with them tonight is Courtney Love, a guitar-and-drums duo from Olympia, Washington; soft and beguiling (I’m working off a four-song single), it’s mostly defined by the sunny disposition of singer Lois Maffeo and a certain locomotion of the acoustic guitar. Light. Tonight, Czar Bar, 1814 W. Division; 384-8179.

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