The six-track Human Error finds The FCs going out on a high note; the only disappointment is that it hints even more at the band’s seemingly unlimited creative potential than the group’s grand 2007 debut, John Q. Brains For Arms (which the band is giving away at Friday’s farewell show). Inspired by classic, reverb-drenched Surf Rock, the band has always taken that blueprint, made a paper airplane out of it and coasted on the back as it twists and turns through the air, like Dick Dale playing Indie Rock symphonies conducted by Thurston Moore and Sun Ra.
The new EP takes it even further, ranging from The Who-meets-Sonic-Youth-on-the-beach rumble of “Interlude” and the serpentine Robert-Fripp-plays-Intergalactic-Jazz silkiness of “Car” to the epic, expressive “Swell,” a soundtrack-like composition that’s like something from The Ventures’ Psychedelic phase (if they’d ever had one and been born a couple decades later), and heavy opener “Bear,” which is infused with a deliciously unexpected xylophone breakdown.
Although without vocals, The Flux Capacitors adventurous wavescapes are consistently alluring — it’s hard to stop listening because you want to see/hear where the ride goes and how it ends.
though the band’s time together is indeed ending, like their songs, it
will be interesting to see what the clearly gifted band members do
KTS Splits It Up
The always-reliable, locally based label Phratry Records is celebrating its 24th release in six years this Saturday on the Southgate House’s Parlour stage. The release is a split EP (available on12-inch vinyl, CD and MP3 and fittingly titled Split) between Knife the Symphony (featuring Phratry honcho Jerry Dirr on bass) and Portland, Ore.’s LKN (aka Lauren Kathryn Newman). Newman’s six tracks on the effort are “insta-sketches,” essentially spontaneous demos for songs never fully fleshed out (as a solo act, LKN has several, more fully realized releases, including an EP and reissue through Phratry). Releasing demos is a tricky prospect and there are a couple of tracks in LKN’s batch that might have been better served staying on the cutting-room floor. But there are glimpses of LKN’s brilliance within the tracks “Set Intro,” “Roll the Bones” and the ballad “You Are My Best Friend,” which sounds like early, pre-Pop-Star-wannabe Liz Phair. But LKN’s usual style is a more impulsive burst of Post Punk, with jazzy undertones, crafty rhythms (Newman is a session drummer) and Newman’s distinctive, magnetic vocals. Newman’s work here is hit or miss but, if nothing else, it should lead listeners to want to check out her other work.
KTS’s three-song set opens with the squalorous, feedback-drenched intro of “Squatting Warrior,” which explodes into a stabbing, syncopated slab of insistent Punk Rock. The trio is like the missing link between old D.C. Punk and the Post Punk of Chicago’s ’80s/’90s heavy hitters (from Touch and Go acts to Naked Raygun). On “Flat Time,” the band offers a swaying, slanted groove with eye-bulging vocals and slashing guitars, but halfway into the seven-minute-plus song, the track fades on a heartbeat pulse, which rises back up and builds until the group returns to the initial riff. It’s an example of KTS at its most dynamic and, like LKN’s offerings (if not more so), these three tracks should have you investigating the rest of KTS’s discography (if you haven’t already).
KTS is joined by Waxeater, Rocket 00000 and Siblings for Saturday’s 9:30 p.m. show (LKN is, unfortunately, not on the bill). Cover charge gets you a free CD version of the split release (you can trade up for the vinyl for $5 more at the merch table). (www.phratryrecords.com)
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: firstname.lastname@example.org