Now that extreme metal with an arty edge hardly seems trailblazing anymore, the concept of super-short albums stocked with blink-and-you'll-miss-it bursts of noise is losing its postmodern thrill. Though several acts have worked this angle with fresh results, including Daughters and the Locust, both of which appear with Cattle Decapitation on Saturday, one can get only so far tickling people's irony bone. And bands seem to be catching on. Daughters, which once put out a "full-length" that clocked in at 11 minutes, has finally begun to expand its songs, while the Locust has been steadily moving into ambient territory, letting ideas and motifs develop.
"If sound is a metaphorical representation of the twisted maladies of life, then there's more to it than just blasting your brains out," says the Locust's Bobby Bray. "I can understand that people want a band to be a certain thing, and that if a band changes that, it's like, 'Aw, man, what the hell!' A band can home in on a particular mood or feeling. But I think that these sounds we're using, these soundscape kind of parts that build and breathe and develop, also reflect the same thing [as the harsher stuff]. It's the same entity coming through, just in a slightly different form. It's still not so pleasant."
Maybe not so pleasant, but not exactly detached, either. Although the insectoid costumes, video game synths, tech-metal chaos, and incisive eye for social problems combine for an offbeat punch, this band is anything but a bunch of angry young men who are too smart for their own good, content to revel in their cynicism. "We Have Reached an Official Verdict: Nobody Gives a Shit," declares a song title off the latest album, New Erections. But the members of the Locust do give a shit. In fact, like Devo (a primary influence), there's heart and distress beating away underneath the steely intellectual fa#231ade. The music's apocalyptic tone takes on an urgent (rather than apathetic) character.
The Locust puts its money where its mouth is, playing exclusively all-ages shows and refusing to patronize Clear Channel-owned/affiliated venues (even while on high-profile tours with Fantomas, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Andrew WK).
"Boycotting Clear Channel has been tough, but it's seeming to become easier and easier," Bray says. "Clear Channel is a scary entity who I don't trust to be deciding what art you're going to be listening to or seeing."
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