Happy Tuesday. Tonight we have two very dissimilar options on deck as far as rock shows are concerned: Zachary Cole Smith's hip and happening shoegaze-y indie-rock outfit DIIV at Exit/In, and Texas thrashers/Southern Lord Recordings signees Power Trip at The Stone Fox. We've got features on both acts in the most recent dead-tree edition of the Scene. Follow me after the jump to see excerpts from each, plus videos and details and all that sort of thing.
In his feature on DIIV, contributor Ryan Burleson explores all of the various influences that inform our opinions on modern artists in the millennial age. "Unfortunately the avalanche of think pieces and Twitter pile-ons crossing any observer's radar every day enforces this weird phenomenon wherein we feel some obligation to choose sides before we've engaged the work in question," writes Burleson. Here's a further excerpt:
Perhaps you were in an airport flipping through magazines when ads for fashion labels Hedi Slimane or Saint Laurent Paris featuring Zachary Cole Smith's stoic visage demanded at least a passing glance. Or maybe the gossipmonger Perez Hilton infiltrated your news stream with word that ZCS and his lover, the rising pop adventurer Sky Ferreira, were arrested for alleged crimes involving a stolen vehicle and many decks of heroin. Or was it Smith's anti-SXSW screeds that caught your attention last year?
"The 'music' element is all a front," he inveighed on Tumblr. "Drunk corporate goons and other industry vampires and cocaine. Everyone is drunk, being cool. 'Official' bureaucracy and all their mindless rules. Branding, branding, branding. It's bullshit."
This sort of reverse-engineered publicity tactic has proven effective through several generations of the pop-culture milieu, and the dust wafting around Smith has almost certainly cultivated DIIV listeners through sheer contrarianism. Controversy begets publicity begets (typically) a passionate following begets (if you're lucky) modeling contracts — a scenario that's ripe for exploitation in the Internet age.
Opening tonight's show at Exit/In will be Regal Degal and LODRO, both from Brooklyn. Tickets are available via this link for $15 a pop.
Now, over at The Stone Fox we have a very different scene indeed. Dallas crossover hardcore/thrash metal troupe Power Trip will play alongside Mammoth Grinder and Chainshot, and contributor/resident metalhead Matt Sullivan did a little something on that one for us. Here's an excerpt:
The past couple of years have seen Southern Lord Recordings focusing more on hardcore punk bands, and Power Trip is the best of the bunch. Last year's Manifest Decimation is a ferocious slab of crossover hardcore/thrash metal that stands apart in a time when there are way too many bands doing retro-sounding thrash metal. It's a sound pulled from metal's original heyday, but while Power Trip cops plenty of riffs from the Kill 'Em All songbook, the end result moves well past hero worship. Traces of Swedish death metal add extra edge, and like fellow Entombed-indebted thrashers Black Breath (also on Southern Lord), Power Trip is one of the few modern metal bands that can still get away with writing pit-baiting breakdowns without sounding cheesy.
While a lot of retro thrash bands have latched onto the fun-times party vibe of that style (e.g., Municipal Waste, Ramming Speed, Tankard), Power Trip's modus operandi is pure destruction. For years, their reputation was as a band that needed to be seen live to appreciate, and to see them live was to fight for your life. Manifest Decimation elevated the band beyond that distinction, standing head and shoulders above the EPs and 7-inches that preceded the album. Nevertheless, standing anywhere near a stage on which Power Trip is performing still isn't for the timid.
Tickets to that one are $10 and available here.
Now, in case any doubt remains in your mind that these shows are two completely different animals, have a look at the pair of videos below.