New York Music Daily

No New Abnormal

Tag: power trio

Jaggedly Menacing, Smartly Terse Noise-Rock Instumentals from Dusan Jevtovic’s Power Trio

Sartre said that once you name something, you kill it. That’s why it’s problematic to stick a label on Serbian-born, Barcelona-based guitarist Dusan Jevtovic‘s new instrumental power trio album Am I Walking Wrong. Is it art-rock? Noise-rock? Jazz? Metal? It’s elements of all that, but more than anything, it’s its own animal, which makes it so interesting. The punishing rhythm section of Marko Djordjevic’s drums and Bernat Hernandez’s smartly terse bass provides a heavy anchor that grounds Jevtovic’s gritty, growling, spark-showering yet remarkably focused attack.

The opening track, You Can’t Sing, You Can’t Dance builds from spacious, tensely echoing solo guitar figures to a pounding four-on-the-floor drive, Jevtovic slinging haphazardly bluesy, bent-note figures and then grinding, noisy chords that throw off eerie Live Skull-esque overtones. It ends enigmatically, unresolved. The album’s title track sets the stage for the rest of the album, Jevtovic echoing menacingly jagged Robert Fripp circa King Crimson’s Red album over a looping bassline, Djordjevic doing a pummeling Mitch Mitchell evocation. Drummer’s Dance sounds like classic early 90s Polvo as done by Eyal Maoz, maybe, while One on One reaches for a surrealistically bluesy, noisy, more straight-up Hendrix vibe that brings to mind both Voodoo Chile: Slight Return and the first verse of Machine Gun.

In the Last Moment II has Jevtovic following the first track’s trajectory up from lingering, menacinagly wavering Dave Fiuczynski-eque lines to darkly scruffy, sandpaper chords. It makes a good segue with Embracing Simplicity, one of the few tracks that’s not totally live  – Jevtovic layers uneasily pulsing acoustic guitar and dirty electric rhythm behind his creepy bell tones and twistedly dancing spirals. Third Life, the album’s creepiest track, reminds of Big Lazy with its suspenseful noir theme and deep-space backward masking. After that, the trio segue from fang-baring allusions to Led Zep’s Black Dog to a warped, strolling blues theme. The last track,  If I See You Again, stumbles out of the blocks but eventually gains traction with a pensively looping, tersely sunbaked, tremoloing guitar theme.

Who is the audience for this? Anybody who loves deliciously noisy, smartly dynamic guitar, and all the artists referenced here: Jevtovic deserves mention alongside all of them. MoonJune Records – home to all things global and prog – gets credit for putting this one out.

Devi vs. the Devil at Bowery Electric

Psychedelic rock power trio Devi played Bowery Electric a couple of nights ago. The band sets frontwoman Debra Devi’s casually alluring vocals and suspensefully crescendoing guitar solos over Dan Grennes’ sinewy, melodic bass and John Hummel’s artsy, eclectically ornate, hard-hitting drums (more about those in a bit); Brian Hudzik guested on Rhodes early in the show as well. The set included a handful of new songs – the catchy Butterfly, the explosive Riot Love Song and the downright sexy, Led Zep-fueled, riff-rocking Tired of Waiting – along with several powerpop crowd-pleasers. The second song, Another Day had a familiar, singalong feel, particularly as the chorus kicked in, a formula that reached critical mass on the wickedly anthemic Howl at the Moon. But this band’s songs go a lot further than just catchy verses building to a payoff on the chorus: the title track to their album Get Free had a slow, elegaic quality, as did the album’s best song, the absolutely haunting Welcome to the Boneyard, with its layers of jangly, watery guitar and its sad, resigned lyric told from the point of view of a ghost in the rubble at Ground Zero in the days after 9/11. C21H23NO3 gave the band a crescendoing springboard for wild, unhinged soloing and an unpredictable, practically hardcore doublespeed interlude, while the pensive, moody When It Comes Down was a showstopper, its centerpiece being a long guitar solo that moved from suspensefully sustained, to spiraling and bluesy, back and forth, alternately mystical and exhilarating.

Now if you’ve been paying close attention, you’ve noticed that this whole thing so far has been a description of individual songs rather than an account of how the band onstage actually played them. That’s because the prettyboy behind the sound board sabotaged them. He started by turning up the drums to the point where they drowned out pretty much everything else, which wasn’t an easy thing to do, considering that Devi was running her guitar through a big 4X12 Marshall cabinet. For a minute it was kind of cool to get a high-volume education in how Hummel develops a song, starting with a simple, muted rimshot-and-kick backbeat and building to a murderous frenzy of polyrhythms like a brontosaurus wrestling with a sea serpent. But nobody in the crowd came out for just the drums. What made it even worse is that Bowery Electric is a pretty small room where drums don’t need much if any amplification. And it wasn’t that soundboy wasn’t paying attention, either: whenever Devi hit one of her effects pedals, he turned her guitar DOWN. It would have been nice not to have to watch her fingers to get a sense of what she was playing. Does this twerp have something against bands fronted by attractive women? Does he prefer bands fronted by boys instead? Maybe – he has a Ryan Seacrest kind of look. Whatever the case, he ruined what could have been be a great show – if the sound is this bad every night at Bowery Electric, it’s a place to avoid.

A GOOD Six-Minute Guitar Solo?!?

Check out this video of psychedelic power trio Devi casually and intensely making their way through an epic version of their big crowd-pleaser When It Comes Down at a recent show at Arlene’s. “6-minute guitar solo starts at 3:45,” lead guitarist Debra wants you to know – and believe it or not, it’s all good, all 360 seconds of it. And she was sober as a churchmouse when she played it.