Young Widows is a band from Louisville, Kentucky, and they play the kind of music that has kept their hometown on the indie-rock map since the days of Slint: moody, atmospheric, guitar-based stuff with vocals that go from barely discernible muttering in one song to red-faced screaming in the next. Because the music tends to abruptly change time signatures, it is sometimes called math rock, though more often it’s called post-hardcore.
Young Widows grew out of Breather Resist (a very aggressive post-hardcore band) when the singer left in the mid-2000s. The rest of the band — guitarist Evan Patterson, bassist Nick Thieneman, and drummer Geoff Paton (replaced in 2008 by Jeremy McMonigle) — decided to continue as a trio with a somewhat-quieter style. Not that they mellowed out too much: the Young Widows’ 2006 release Settle Down City is all grinding, distorted bass, discordant guitar, apocalyptic drums, and seething vocals. But over the next few years the band’s songs became slower, and the band seemed to revel in the space this opened up.
This year’s In and Out of Youth and Lightness finds Young Widows playing a style you might even think of as post-post-hardcore. There are still plenty of time-signature shifts, rumbling basses, and pounding drums, but instead of long, tense stretches of quiet punctuated by sudden bursts of loud screaming, there are long stretches of quiet that never relieve the tension. Instead of jagged, dissonant guitars, there are cool power-chord riffs.
The thing is, Young Widows sound more intense than ever. And that’s really what put Louisville on the map. It wasn’t the math or the screaming or the quiet-loud-quiet dynamics. It was the intensity.
My Disco and Small Talk also perform.
YOUNG WIDOWS: Soda Bar, Sunday, June 12, 9 p.m. 619-255-7224. $10.