More Songs About Animals and TV by Alligator Indian
"You guys have an amazingly beautiful and bizarre sound," wrote one commenter about the Alligator Indian song "Corpsing." It's an apt summation for the twitchy-ethereal, other-worldly sonic-scapes crafted by the local surreal-pop band. Electronics and vocals leap and swoop interchangeably, sometimes with aching beauty, sometimes as discordant as one red sock in a washer full of whites. That track appears on the band's new EP, More Songs About Animals and TV, recently released.
"Revar Yu Droem" starts off with children's voices and then drone (either vocal or instrumental) and the lush, resonant voice of Spooky Bubble. Band member Christian Church provides (vocally) the baritone Gregorian monk to her soaring Agnes of God. The song nods to Enigma without being '90s-retro. Instead, it's heavy and gorgeous and weird and makes you want to dance all Thom Yorke-like.
"PUF//FIN" leans '80s in its dark and sparkly new wave-ness. But, with its dance beats and layered vocals, its reverb and static, the song is more futuristic than reminiscent. It's a solidly cool pop offering. Though pop rarely dares to look into the abyss, this song pretty much moves in and starts hanging up posters.
"Later, Data Dog" creeps and slinks on ascending and descending scales. It's not the sort of song you can cozy up to, but it's endlessly interesting. Prickly, icy, atonal, meditative but unsettling, eerily appealing. The percussion pops and crackles beneath Spooky Bubble's smooth voice, a vocal that never loses its polish yet never cares about being the prettiest thing in the room. Which, of course, makes it the prettiest thing in the room.
Alligator Indian holds an EP release show for More Songs About Animals and TV at Apothecary on Thursday, Sept. 26. Molly Nilsson and Nick James also perform. 9 p.m., $5-$7. alligatorindian.com.
Red Honey and the Pleasure Chest by Red Honey
From the first track, "123," the almost-slinky, sticks-on-rims drumming sets Red Honey and the Pleasure Chest (the new album by local blues/country/rock outfit Red Honey) apart. The percussion explodes, full-kit, as guitars warble spacily and front woman Erika Jane Ferraby's voice accelerates into something of a howl. The song builds slow and mean, a threat or a promise. Either way, it portends a wild ride.
"Bang Bang!" unleashes a maelstrom of cymbals and heavy guitars. Though one of the record's shortest tracks, it's also one of the most zealous. The band's energy and dynamism can be felt just as well in the mediative peril of "Blackbird." That song, part stomp and chant, whips and churns from some unfathomable depth. It resounds with tambourine and voodoo.
"So Cold" is a stand-out for its raw emotionalism and for the range Ferraby achieves. "Why do you have to have control?" she asks some unknown love/assailant, but she's the one wielding absolute authority. Ferraby's upper register retains a sweetness (albeit a sweetness with a dangerous edge) that pummels and tosses the song against its own dusky boundaries.
"Muhammad Ali" has rockabilly roots, borrowing words from the quotable boxer and changing time signatures with gymnastic agility. It's a song made for drinking and boozy dancing. But that sound, though fun, is niche, and it’s a relief to get back to the boomy production (thanks to Julian Dryer and Marcel Anton) and garage sensibilities. "So light up your match, and dip it in fuel," Jane sneers on "How Can I Love You," one of the band's grungier offerings. More info at theredhoney.com.