Los Angeles band Health (or, as the band members like to spell it, HEALTH) has two MySpace pages — one to showcase the band’s noise rock and one to show off electronic remixes of their work. It can be disorienting to hear the heavy drums and shrieking feedback of a Health song like “Crimewave” and then switch to the Crystal Castles remix of the same song and hear it turned into a mix of Nintendo game bleeps and cheesy 1980s Casio keyboards set to a cheap-sounding drum machine. But whether the remix is done by Crystal Castles or by some other act, the songs never completely lose their compelling strangeness.
For one thing, Health hints at song structure, but they avoid the regular verse-chorus-verse patterns. For another, there’s almost always some electronic manipulation in the vocals or some part of Health’s straight recordings, and there’s almost always some squealing guitar or crashing drums in the techno remixes. If you like one version, there’s probably something for you in the other version. It’s not often Luddite rock fans and technophiles can find common ground like that.
Health is part of the Los Angeles scene growing around the downtown club known as the Smell. Along with bands like No Age and Abe Vigoda, Health is breaking down old orthodoxies and expectations about punk rock, noise, electronic music, and the avant-garde. Their D.I.Y. approach is clearly a product of punk, but the music doesn’t necessarily sound like it. It certainly doesn’t sound like what’s passing for punk at a mall near you. However tweaked and remixed it may be, it sounds new, weird, and exciting.
HEALTH, The Casbah, Tuesday, January 29, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $10.