Brooklyn’s Sharkmuffin has always been the type of band to impress audiences with their raw energy, surrealist lyricism, and corrosive guitar work. Guitarist Tarra Theissen and bassist Natalie Kirch have been a Brooklyn staple for the better part of the last decade, utilizing the services of a rotating cast of drummers on two furious and fuzzy pop-oriented garage rock records, Charteruse and Tsuki.
Early this month the trio released their latest EP, Gamma Gardening, on Exploding in Sound Records, and it showcases the band’s continued sharpening of the signature elements of their sound while pushing themselves both lyrically and sonically. The EP is the first release to feature drummer Jordyn Blakely behind the kit, and with a solidified lineup, the trio has delivered their most cohesive and challenging work to date.
The songs on Gamma Gardening are exciting and engaging, as they take the listener on an intense, psychedelic sci-fi journey that follows a futuristic dominatrix named Serpentina, who gives birth to a gene-edited designer baby.
In what appears to be a not-so-subtle critique of gene editing and technology in general, things quickly go awry for Serpentina, as after giving birth, her child is abducted by a cult, causing her to make an attempt at her own life on the EP’s anchoring tracks “Designer Baby” and “Serpentina.”
Sonically, these songs demonstrate the band’s continued expansion into the psychedelic realm with warped sounding guitars soaked in reverb and a vigorous rhythm section. The EP climaxes with the chaotic “Too Many Knobs,” which features a flurry of hammering guitars, wailing vocals, and a thunderous, echoing bass line, before settling into the final track, “Fate,” which represents a strangely soothing moment of clarity for the record’s protagonist, as she accepts her ultimate outcome amid some infectious and hooky guitar solos.
If you’re familiar with Sharkmuffin, you know they’re a great band, but on Gamma Gardening, they’re developing into a truly exceptional trio. It’s a prime example of a band that’s not afraid to push their boundaries creatively to get even better, making listeners eager to hear what they have in store next.
You can purchase Gamma Gardening on limited edition cassette and digital download via Bandcamp.
Make sure you’re out and about this week, as there are plenty of gigs worth checking out in Bushwick:
Wednesday, April 17
Escort, Razor-N-Tape, Midnight Magic (DJ set) at Elsewhere, 8 p.m.
Escort just dropped their outstanding third album, City Life, last Friday and they’re kicking off a tour in support of it on Wednesday at Elsewhere. Bring your dancing shoes, as Escort delivers an unrivaled disco-funk live performance that’ll get your feet moving. Plus, you’ll be treated to a DJ set by Midnight Magic and some hot jams from Razor-N-Tape.
Thursday, April 18
Richard Lloyd (of Television), Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group) at The Safari Room at El Cortez, 8 p.m.
You may confuse El Cortez for the legendary Max’s Kansas City on Thursday night, as the Bushwick club welcomes two New York City art-punk pioneers for an intimate performance. Richard Lloyd is best known as an original member of Television, but he’s also released a string of remarkable solo records, including his most recent album, Rosedale. Lenny Kaye has been a constant presence on guitar in The Patti Smith Group since the band’s formation in the early 1970s, and his solo performances in recent years incorporate some of his own material with an array of cover songs.
Friday, April 19
New Love Crowd, Blaketheman1000, Softee at Alphaville, 8 p.m.
Local garage pop band New Love Crowd shared their latest single, the smooth and breezy sounding “Cotton Candy,” back in January and they’ve been previewing more new songs at recent live performances. They’ll be joined by Blaketheman1000, the solo project of Blake Ortiz-Goldberg.
Ortiz-Goldberg crafts intimate lo-fi pop songs, several of which feature dynamic male and female vocals, with mostly lovelorn themes that are at times cleverly tongue-in-cheek. Take for example his latest single, “Greta Van Fleet,” where Ortiz-Goldberg proudly describes himself as Greta Van Fleet, but for fans of Lou Reed.” The jangly sounds of Softee will open the show.
Saturday, April 20
Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan at Market Hotel, 8 p.m
Saturday night at Market Hotel is a must-attend for fans of extreme psychedelia, as Japanese psychedelic jazz-fusion luminaries Acid Mothers Temple return to the States for their annual tour and they’re bringing their friends the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. along for the trip!
Acid Mothers Temple released their latest album last year, Reverse Of Rebirth In Universe, which features several re-worked songs from their back catalog. Joining them for the ride is Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, a Montreal-based collective whose 2018 album, Dirt, received a nomination for the Polaris Prize, which is awarded to the best Canadian release of the year.
All images courtesy of mentioned venues and bands.
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