The video for “Into the Depths” by the Soft Moon is filmed in grainy black-and-white, with claustrophobia-inducing camera work. It shows a woman who keeps looking over her shoulder in fear as she runs through a dark tunnel. Soon, these images are intercut with scenes of her nose bleeding, of hands grabbing her face, of extreme close-ups of her eyes, of her falling, of other images that are no less unsettling for being more abstract. I’ll leave it to other critics to discuss the misogynistic implications of all this. I’ll just say that the music may be even more disturbing than the video.
The Soft Moon began as a solo project by San Francisco’s Luis Vasquez, who recorded his 2010 debut at home by himself. He must have had a gloomy apartment. Inspired by krautrock and lesser-known post-punk acts such as Chrome and the Danse Society, the Soft Moon features huge drums pounding away relentlessly, an insistent bass guitar twisted by effects pedals into something alien, and squealing synthesizers that sound like robots screaming. Vocals appear only rarely, and when they do they’re usually in the form of wordless breaths or grunts. Are these sounds of pleasure or pain? Both? It’s just too creepy to think about.
Vasquez put together a band to tour behind his first record, and his solo work is now supplemented onstage by a bassist, a drummer, a synth player, and even a guy who just supplies the freaky visuals. While on tour, Vasquez began writing the material that would make up the recent full-length follow-up, Zeros, and the result was very much like the debut but even more intense and scary.
THE SOFT MOON: Soda Bar, Thursday, December 13, 8:30 p.m. 619-255-7224. $8 advance/$10 door.