I'll blame the weather. When spring finally conquers this normally soggy region of the country, there's something wholly unappealing about standing inside a sweaty rock club. It's what caused me to miss Facedowninshit at El Corazon this past Sunday. But I still need to give a shout out for their new disc, Nothing Positive Only Negative, which is one of the toughest and grungiest I've heard this year. Essentially a wall of sludge guitar fronted by one of the scariest throats in extreme rock, Facedowninshit come off like a younger, more muscular version of their Southern dirt metal predecessors Buzzov-en, with a dose of early Melvins thrown in for good measure. Besides, they possess one of the most degenerate band names this side of Oscillating Innards.
To contrast this slice of rage, the new disc by Austin's legendary Charalambides, A Vintage Burden, is much more suitable for this fine weather. While all the vintage acoustic leanings of their previous work remain, guitarist Tom Carter seems to be summoning the warm, psychedelic explorations of early Santana this time around, especially on the disc's third track, "Dormant Love." Fans of Opal should definitely take note.
On to the matter of shows I won't be missing: Bay Area garage darlings the Cuts will appear alongside Seattle's neoglam outfit Bats of Belfry Saturday, May 20, at the Comet. The Cuts' latest effort, From Here on Out, released by Birdman in March, is a straight-up garage popper that owes plenty to the best of Big Star and the Nazz. Never in fear of a good hook, the band chugs along at a boozy, N.Y.C. art-punk speed on this album and seems to have a renewed sense of itself, thanks in no small part, I'm sure, to the addition of guitarist Ben Brown, whose licks are as smooth as a shot of good booze.
Turning the focus locally, Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell has recently joined with PETA to launch an anti-KFC campaign. For more info on the cruel practices behind the Colonel's best, check out KentuckyFriedCruelty.com. And, to watch a delightful backstage interview with Bridwell on why he chose to go veggie, visit www.peta2.com.
In the meantime, do yourself a favor and check out Mogwai at the Showbox, Tuesday, May 23. Not only are the Scottish five-piece touring in support of another sonically diverse record, Mr. Beast, but they're also dragging along Olympia's drone-metal warriors Earth to open a few shows. After rediscovering the body-buzzing joys of Earth's two-track, 73-minute live album Living in the Gleam of an Unsheathed Sword over the weekend, I look forward to witnessing their awesomely fuzzy power once again. Expect more on the nature of drone and white noise in next week's column.