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Puffy Ami Yumi

By Jess Harvell | Posted 7/5/2006

WEDNESDAY: Bands in this town are more promiscuous with their pseudonyms than dance producers. Tonight at the Floristree Space, a bunch of them take a break from their day jobs to go solo or regroup. Theecaterpillarinchworm is one of the gentle folkies from Madagascar. The Moonstealingproject is one of the laptop experimentalists from Wzt Hearts. Homebody is a couple of expats from dark folkies Long Live Death and the aforementioned Madagascar. Carbonic and A Wonderful are from outta town, so if they feature members of other bands, you got us.

THURSDAY: It’s muggy as hell outside right now, but in the world of darkest metal it’s always the middle of a bleak-ass Norwegian winter. Xeper is from Baltimore but conjures the frozen blizzard winds of black metal without all the corpse paint and Nazi silliness at the Sidebar with Rosetta, Day Without Dawn, and Make Your Stand. Deep-fried noise-and-drums dudes Wzt Hearts make a racket in honor of their new album Heat Chief tonight at the Talking Head along with the solo drone-guitar experiments of Lichens, the free-drifting space rock of the appropriately named Cloudland Canyon, and the cracked improvisations and dark soundscapes of U.W. Owl.

FRIDAY: Emo’s not necessarily a dirty word, even with all that eyeliner. But, responsible though it may be for junk like Taking Back Sunday, Lifetime did pop hardcore better than anyone back when Fall Out Boy was still in short pants. Even if the idea of Lifetime reforming nearly a decade after it broke up and at the height of emomania leaves a slightly bad taste, the reunion comes to Washington’s 9:30 Club tonight with the Bronx and the Loved Ones. Sand Cats, on the other hand, wouldn’t know from emo if it came up and shook its skinny ass in their electronic/performance art/rock ’n’ roll faces tonight at Wham City with synth mangler Triangle Forest.

SATURDAY: We big-up a lot of hip-hop here at City Paper, it’s true. But, you ask, where are the weirdos? Where’s the stuff barely holding onto the skin of rap by its grubby fingernails? Where’s the hip-hop that sounds like someone DJing sandpaper discs with Hugo Ball freestyling on top? Well, tonight local B-boys Jones and Height plus Bow N Arrow and Plural bring askew beats and slanted rhymes to Wham City. Meanwhile downtown, there’s bassist Vattel Cherry, leading two trios at An die Musik. The first is an exploratory journey into what An die worryingly calls “world music.” The second pushes jazz and improvisation until they bend and warp with the help of pianist Lafayette Gilchrist. And if that don’t thrill you, then we quit.

SUNDAY: How high is your tolerance for sugary Japanese pop? Very high like ours? Puffy Ami Yumi is the only Japanese girl guitar gang with any sort of profile in the U.S., and certainly the only one with its own Cartoon Network show—and if you like your power pop so wet and shiny that it makes Avril Lavigne sound like Jad Fair, then you know all about it. We just hope the two Puffy girls play their awesome song that jacks the riff from the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” tonight at the 9:30 Club with Tally Hall. If you prefer a little more chaos and a little less kawaii in your rock, then there’s local Thank You at the Talking Head with Animal Hospital and Joel Price, scrabbling at their instruments in a way that’s more Japanoise than J-pop.

MONDAY: Yeah, it’s Monday. We’re not happy about it either. So relax with a chill-out night at Wham City. Of course, your idea of chill out needs to include free-form ambient noise made with cracked effects pedals, a mess of FX, and some instruments you can actually find at Guitar Center courtesy of Locks. There’s also the New Zealand-style jangle pop of Pagoda, if you need some of those pesky notes and chords and stuff.

TUESDAY: Few bands have carefully navigated the old cliché of the personal being political better than Winnipeg’s Weakerthans. John K. Samson’s roots in anarchist pop-punks Propagandhi are now a distant memory, as speed and distortion have been traded for plucky guitars, tired rants for contemplative character sketches. The band plays the 9:30 Club tonight with the New Amsterdams and Raising the Fawn.

WEDNESDAY: Low Moda rides a low-slung, string-driven postpunk groove, drawing on the pulsations of dub, the repetition of Krautrock, and wearing the death mask of goth. San Serac rides a techno groove, drawing on the pulsations of electro, the repetition of house music, and wearing the death mask of disco. And Human Host gives groove a good poke in the eye, all tonight at the Talking Head.

IN THE WINGS: Whether pioneering whatever-rock with Slint and Tortoise or slumming with Billy Corgan, David Pajo’s guitar is an immediately recognizable thing, picking slow, clear, ringing arpeggios in love with their own echo. The M man brings himself and his instrument to the Talking Head Aug. 2 for a solo show in advance of his new album. (For more info call [410] 962-5588 or visit www.talkingheadclub.com.)

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Human Architecture (7/29/2009)
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The Unseen (11/5/2008)
Catherine Pancake and Jai Brooks Capture a Slice of Black Baltimore Lesbian Life in Jay Dreams

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