Unearth: the New Wave of Swedish Death Metal
- Thursday, November 29, 2018, 8 p.m.
Brick by Brick,
1130 Buenos Avenue,
Inspired by what’s become known as the New Wave of Swedish Death Metal, Unearth debuted out of Boston in the early 2000s as kind of an entry-level Pantera, but with more denim and less leather. Several years of gigging allowed them to hone their chops enough to aspire for something more progressive than most underground metal bands are capable of, resulting in a 2008 concept album, The March, that impressed many, especially UK metal magazines like Kerrang, which gave it a 4-K review. That introduced them to a far wider marketplace than most stuck-in-the-sludge metalcore bands will ever see, carrying them into Billboard’s Hard Rock Top 10 with their 2011 album Darkness in the Light, which could be compared to Metallica’s so-called Black Album in the way it marked a conscious and canny dive into the deep end of the mainstream.
It’s been four years since their last full-length, Watchers of Rule, but the four founding members, recently joined by a new drummer, are about to drop a new album called Extinction on November 23. It’s so far preceded by singles for the anti-Xenophobia track “Incinerate,” as well as “Survivalist,” said to concern dealing with the diagnosis of a fatal illness. Its unusually cinematic lyric video is so filled with moving images that it really qualifies as a music video with subtitles. The support tour hitting Brick by Brick on November 29 includes New Jersey deathcore band Fit For an Autopsy, whose most recent album, The Great Collapse, was their first to crack the Billboard U.S. Top 200, albeit just barely, at number 199. It fared better on the Hard Rock chart, peaking at number 13.
- Friday, February 1, 2019, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
$13 - $15
I don’t know what they’re smoking over in Phoenix, Arizona, but some weird ass bands come out of that city (Meat Puppets, Mighty Sphincter, etc), and Okilly Dokilly is only the latest. Comprised of multiple Ned Flanders impersonators, all dressed in the green sweater and round glasses made famous by the pious cartoon neighbor on the Simpsons, their songs are mostly built from quotes heard on the TV show. Sure, it sounds like a one-note joke – think fast food fanciers Mac Sabbath or Macaulay Culkin’s Pizza Undergound – but the idea itself was singular enough to earn the band over 30,000 Facebook fans within two weeks of debuting their initial four-song demo. A debut album in 2016, Howdilly Doodilly, proved that there are more than enough Flanderisms and left-handed puns to fill up a setlist, as they demonstrated last year by playing over a hundred shows for Ned-loving neighborinoes all across North America. Their third San Diego appearance since 2015 takes place February 1 at the same club they always visit, the Soda Bar, although this year's incarnation features a newly revised roster of the band, whose entirely fluid lineup currently includes a guitar, synth, and drum trio with Shred Ned, Zed Ned, and Dread Ned.
Photograph by Dan Monick, courtesy Juggernaut Sound
Minneapolis hip-hop duo Atmosphere is launching a massive tour in support of their just-released ninth studio album, Mi Vida Local, which contains reflections on dealing with middle age and is highlighted by live rock band instrumentation and beats courtesy of an old Roland TR-88 drum machine. Knowing little about them, despite their 30 year history, I checked out the promotional videos for “Virgo” (directed by Jason Goldwatch) and “Jerome” (directed by fellow 40-something rapper Evidence). The former was shot on Super 8mm film and kicks off with a James Taylor-ish acoustic guitar riff that at first seems ill-matched to strident spoken-word lyrics that open with the declaration “I pledge allegiance to myself, food shelter and health.” However, as pastoral rural images waft by, featuring the view from a rolling train ride, the music expands with layers of rhythm and instrumentation, until it matches in sonic intensity the passion and poeticism of the lines and their delivery.
“Jerome” also opens with a travelogue, this time seen from a convertible cruising down the road with the top down, rapper Sean Daley aka Slug driving and DJ-producer Anthony Davis aka Ant playing a handheld videogame. In keeping with the autobiographical and introspective POV the band is known for, it’s like a hidden camera peek into a routine afternoon. No music is heard until a rock guitar riff arrives around the one minute mark, followed by an avalanche of rhymes full of pop culture wisecracks directed at all their fellow “children of the action figures.” It’s powerful and insightful stuff, to be sure, akin to the later-in-life music of graying contemporaries like Jay-Z and Living Legends. The support tour that arrives at Observatory North Park on February 8 includes Dem Atlas and the Lioness, who appear on Mi Vida Local as well.
- Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
$10 - $12
Seattle trio Naked Giants have only been around for a few years, releasing a debut EP called R.I.P. in 2016 that sounded like a 1970s blues rock band recorded by a 1990s grunge producer on a 2018 home computer. Like so many rising bands in their early 20s, they earned a lot of cred by playing three consecutive SXSW festivals, launching their names into countless tastemaker blogs that, for the most part, had kind words to say about the band’s blue collar radio-friendly rock. They have a new full length, Sluff, a collaboration with Seattle sound vet Steve Fisk (Nirvana, Screaming Trees) that was just road tested on a European tour with Seattle neighbors Car Seat Headrest. Having just filmed an appearance on the venerated TV show Austin City Limits, a U.S. headline tour brings them to the Casbah on March 6. Judging from performance clips online, you can expect dual vocalists Grant Mullen and Gianni Aiello to regulate the mosh pit from the stage by offering attendees a periodic “safe place” in which to flee the mayhem and power down for a song or two. The bill includes a relatively new Boston-turned-Nashville acid pop rock band known as Twen.