Help Out Cardiacs Singer Tim Smith at a Benefit Show This Sunday
Cardiacs, with Tim Smith in front
You will not find many kind words in big-time music mags about Cardiacs. Since its founding in 1979, this British prog-punk outfit has built a feverish, cult-like fanbase while provoking revile and scorn from most critics (and some listeners as well). The band's fearless blend of punk angst and prog complication -- shifting time signatures, varied tempos, and crazy-tight dynamics -- seems to break a lot of conceptions about genre, and that's partly why it's interesting -- and maybe why it's hated. (Its adventurous sound is also why the band has been cited as an influence by Radiohead, Blur, and Faith No More.)
Despite their relative obscurity and polarizing music, Cardiacs have built a long-lasting career, releasing records through their own quasi-corporation (The Alphabet Business Concern) to this day. That is, until recently: Cardiacs singer Tim Smith, whose blaring (some have said "fucking awful") vocal style is a signature element of the Cardiacs sound -- and who writes a great deal of the music -- suffered a major stroke in 2008. Since then, he has been paralyzed, and is unable able to work on new Cardiacs music. On Sunday, a bunch of creatively minded Bay Area musicians are gathering at Cafe Du Nord to perform songs by the Cardiacs in a benefit show for Smith.
The lineup of talent includes Oakland experimentalist Dominique Leone, avant-percussionist Moe Staiano, art-funk-rock ensemble the Inner Ear Brigade, and electro-cello outfit Amy X Neuburg & her Cello ChiXtet. The benefit show goes down this Sunday at Cafe Du Nord; check here for more about Tim Smith and his stroke.
And for the record, we're with those people who think Cardiacs are brilliant and criminally under-appreciated.