Small Show Calendar: Narcotic Drum Machines, Scrappy Punks, Bedroom Intimacy, and More
[The Bay Area is actively producing and attracting experimentalists, multimedia performance artists, cult punk ritualists, and innovative anti-socials with no capacity for self-promotion. Hidden Agenda is a column that spreads the word about their performances.]
Terry Malts perform with Glitz Friday, Nov. 8, at the Hemlock.
It's daylight savings time again. We oblige the leap, dash, spring, and trot routine of time right on schedule once more, though luckily no government clock dictating will stop the night. And the upcoming show in this Hidden Agenda most dependent on San Francisco's evening fog (the machine helps) is surely PSSNGRS and Red Light at the Elbo Room on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Both local groups trudge toward the end of the night with narcotic drum machines and hushed despair while cackling at the thought of saving daylight.
There's an element of darkness to Terry Malts as well. But it's more like the local trio fumbles around in black recesses of the mind for answers to philosophical inquiries and find party supplies instead. Its sophomore album Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere grapples with alienation and the grotesque human traits revealed when you look too closely. Terry Malts' alchemy, though, converts the anxiety into punchy, raucous numbers. A shared bill on Friday, Nov. 8, at the Hemlock with Glitz, tuneful local craftsman of gutter-borne bubblegum hooks, ensures at least an evening-long respite for worrisome minds.
BAUS is a scrappy working-class punk trio from Oakland that doesn't get out of the East Bay's clandestine warehouse enclaves very often (aka, those venues that don't want publicity, alas.) The singer dresses like a house painter and strums the electric guitar like he's furiously scrubbing gunk from a window; the lean rhythm section offers skittish up-tempo grooves. Damage is a starting point for many Oakland groups and most succumb to its outrageous demands, but BAUS has chaos on retainer. It works. A stacked line-up with Violence Creeps, the latest in Max Nordile's ever-irascible lineage of bands, make attendance Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Knockout compulsory.
New York act Pop. 1280 borrows its name from a Jim Thompson crime novel. As a book title, it suggests that the paltry population will dwindle even more by the story's end. As a band name, it's just a hint that the music is far from "pop." Some song-titles: "Beg Like a Human," "Bodies in the Dunes," "Hang 'Em High," etc. Pop. 1280 deal barrages of violent commands and punishing rock primitivism. Jarring sheet-metal and percussive pummel are industrial music tropes, but Pop. 1280 makes the references just feel barbaric and clamorous. I'll eschew the dwindling-number-of-concertgoers joke here and insist on attendance Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Hemlock. The band's Tumblr looks friendly enough.
US Girls, the moniker of Meghan Remy, carries that instantly recognizable essence of a solo outlet. The playful melodies burrowed deep inside great swathes of noise embrace the fidelity and flaws of bedroom recording. It feels like a privilege to hear something so private, a stolen moment inside Remy's intimate process. The music of Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, and Grouper feels similarly unsuited for public consumption, but Remy and her forebears in exhibited isolation do us a great service when they share. Indulge the voyeur inside every sad-sack music fanatic Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Brick & Mortar.