Sick Gazelle Credit: Anna Michal Paul

There was no way that Sick Gazelle weren’t going to be good. This trio of recording engineer and Veloce mastermind Eric Block on guitar, Yakuza and Bloodiest front man Bruce Lamont on saxophone, and Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley on drums could’ve ventured down practically any musical path imaginable, and any one of them would’ve been exciting—not least because Shelley has made a career of holding everything in place in the midst of musical chaos. For their new debut full-length, Odum (out on Lamont’s imprint War Crime Recordings), they’ve chosen a smooth, warm, and beautiful postrock direction, and it came as a complete—yet pleasant—surprise to me. Lamont is known for his spazzy, harsh, dissonant playing and madman stage presence, but against the rhythmic base of Block’s beautiful drones and Shelley’s signature poker-face drums, he’s able to try something completely different, tempering his wildest tendencies into something both haunting and serene. The album’s four completely improvised songs give a tip of the hat to groups such as Tortoise and Talk Talk with their sprawling arrangements, sparse melodies, and rich sonic tapestries. And though these three experts in heady sounds could easily incorporate challenging free jazz or brain-melting noise rock, they’ve kept everything entirely uplifting and pretty. This show celebrates the Odum’s release.   v