JUNE OF 44 8/1, Fireside Bowl; 8/2, LOUNGE AX I love it when a band can go fluidly from moody and lovely to surreal to downright noisy, and on its new EP, The Anatomy of Sharks (Quarterstick), June of 44 manages to do it all in one song: the glorious “Sharks and Sailors,” which sounds as much like Mission of Burma as Slint. The members live in different states and play in other bands, including Rex, so enjoy these fairly rare opportunities.
LOVE SPIRALS DOWNWARDS 8/1, VIC; 8/2, BORDERS ON CLARK On its EP Sideways Forest, Love Spirals Downwards makes manifest the obvious connection between Portishead and This Mortal Coil. When a melancholy synth wash or Suzanne Perry’s pretty voice sweeps out of the ether, you realize you’ve been tranced-out in spite of yourself–and possibly that your hair is closer to that candle than it should be. LSD plays as part of a two-night showcase for the Projekt label, which moved here from California last year. r DOKKEN, slaughter, WARRANT 8/2, NEW WORLD MUSIC THEATRE As the 70s revival trickles down to the places where the original never went away, the urban hipoisie are lining up at the Salvation Army to load up on parachute pants, fingerless leather gloves, and Capezios in anticipation of the Next Big Thing That Was Already a Big Thing: bad 80s mousse metal. If you wanna really be on the cutting edge, you’ll be there when these reanimated sweatband models open for Alice Cooper. (They’re not worthy.)
GRAND STREET CRYERS 8/2, OTIS’ Can we please stop pretending that this Dakota-size flood of crappy, interchangeable Americana bands is going to save rock ‘n’ roll? I remember the Eagles. I remember Pure Prairie League. I remember the Georgia Satellites. I can’t figure out why no one else seems to. Don’t mind me; I’m off to renounce my citizenship and lock myself in a room with my Faust collection.
LYCIA 8/2, VIC Those folks at Projekt have invented their own genre, “darkwave”–a strain of electronica thus far denied the critical attention given other branches at least partly because indie-rock geeks fear black eyeliner. (To be fair, the complete lack of funk is probably also a factor, but since melancholia is the goal, you can’t fault the darkwavers for achieving it.) Lycia is among the more song-oriented outfits in the Projekt stable and, for what it’s worth, also boasts the best beat.
PAT MacDONALD 8/3, NEW WORLD MUSIC THEATRE (Workshop Stage), UNCOMMON GROUND Having never been a Timbuk 3 fan, I didn’t expect much from a solo release by its front man, but color me impressed. Pat MacDonald Sleeps With His Guitar (Ark 21) is the smart, sinewy work of a singer-songwriter’s bitter and lusty muse–though a lot of the credit goes to Wally Ingram’s lively percussion. Think of this line if you go see him at the HORDE festival: “We come and we go / In the Portajohn’s glow / Seekin’ out strange conversations.” r SQUATWEILER 8/5, EMPTY BOTTLE These Winston-Salemites hauled ass up to Brooklyn to record their third LP, the new New Motherstamper (Huel/Spinart), and it sounds like a little New York trash stuck to them–though they managed to avoid picking up any snooty urban affectations. Still mostly as subtle as a tractor pull, the hard-rockin’ Squatweiler (who started out as Three Chicks and a Jew) stay true to their teenage-punk-and-FM-metal roots. University-town factor: on “Visionary,” vocalist-bassist Stacey Matarrese rails, “I got a bachelors of bigness / I’ve got a masters of moxie / I’ve got a Ph.d of ass-kickin’-ology.” Chick-rock factor: the album is dedicated to the memory of a cat. –Monica Kendrick
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): June of 44/ uncredited photo.