Comprised of four guys whose greatest accomplishment is the ability to bang out rudimentary rock music, Pissed Jeans doesn't have a lot to say. In fact, they have nothing to say, but insist on saying it anyway. Yeah, that's right: anti-message music. Usually, anti-anything is irritating. Anti-cool, anti-intellectualism, anti-fun all that calculated, self-important naysaying gets wearisome. The difference here is that there's nothing calculated about it. The songs are not designed to tell a story, or convey any real meaning beyond the immediacy of a bunch of kids who have nothing to do and nowhere to go. The funny thing is, by defining a world in which nowhereness and nothingness are increasingly the norm, gussied up as lifestyle choices like what coffee to drink and where to work out, the anti-message becomes a sort of actual message. Using stomping drums, caterwauling guitars, sinister bass, and guttural howls, the band crashes through tracks like False Jesii Part 2, Half Idiot, and Human Upskirt, relying on speed and force to quell the growing sense of nothingness. Covering the other side of boredom, the band revels in the blind stumble of meandering tracks like Request for Masseuse, Dominate Yourself, and Goodbye (Hair). The music, too, carries a secret, perhaps half-intended message. Underneath and in-between all the noise are moments of subtle grace and beauty. Not bad for a bunch of ham-fisted rockers with nothing to say. With Suck Machine, Pig Heart Transplant. Photo courtesy Shaw Brackbill.
Fri., Aug. 21, 9 p.m., 2009