Listening to the Curious Mysterys K Records debut, Rotting Slowly, is like taking a hit of the purest sonic LSD. Frontwoman Shana Cleveland croons languid vocals that flow thick and slow like molasses. While her voice is definitely the icing on the cake, Cleveland, the child of country and blues musicians, plays banjo, guitar and autoharp proficiently as well. Guitarist (and maker of original, homemade instruments) Nicholas Gonzalez sometimes takes over the vocals, too, while bassist Bradford Buttons and drummer Faustine Hudson whose complete absorption in her task and seductive hair-tossing makes her one of my all-time favorite drummers to watch live fill in the rhythm section. Something like a cross between the Velvet Underground, Earth and Black Mountain, the Curious Mysterys transcendental songs owe their intoxicating effect to a seamless stitching of honky tonk country, gospel, ambient post-rock drone and Eastern sounds. But while the band cherry-picks elements of sounds from artists all over the world, its the way the Curious Mystery patches those elements together that makes them stand out.
Fri., May 15, 10 p.m., 2009