Flowing bodily fluids and a surreal sort of evil

Vancouver’s metal czar 3 Inches of Blood employs two vocalists for double the theatrical impact. Cam Pipes goes for the operatic histrionics, allowing his voice to alternately soar to the Rob Halford heavens and gnash tales of beasts with distain. His fiery falsettos compliment Jamie Hooper, who doesn’t scream as much as inhale deeply and unleash an inhumanly demonic storm gale, texturizing the songs with aggressive brutality. The instrumentation is no less bruising, as lyrics of bloodlust and violence find action in galloping warhorse riffs and a fierce rhythm section. 3 Inches of Blood perform with Matador Records’ metal mavens Early Man on Thursday, July 6, at Slim’s at 9 p.m. Admission is $13; call 255-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com for more info. — Jennifer Maerz

Human Television opens for the Lilys this week in what may as well be called All About IndiEve. In the part of Bette Davis, there’s Lilys leader Kurt Heasly, a man fronting an aging band with a new album that sounds a lot like its old albums, only with less distinction. New York City’s Human TV acts the up-and-comer, its jangly guitars, puppy dog vocals, and surreal lyrics stealing Heasley’s fuzzed-out thunder. Much like the ambitious Eve Harrington, HTV leader Billy Downing doesn’t admit to sly aspirations. In a recent Village Voice piece, he said, “Sometimes I’ll sit in my room and listen to records for hours or smoke weed.” The group’s debut full-length, Look Who You’re Talking To, sounds like a fair approximation of the two activities, as if the act spent an afternoon baking (literally) with prime ’80s Black Tambourine and Galaxie 500 records. As Ms. Davis would say, fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night when Human Television supports the Lilys on Saturday, July 8, at Bottom of the Hill. Admission is $10-$12; call 621-4455 or go to www.bottomofthehill.com for more info. — Dan Strachota

The dark psychic soundscapes of the London-born, Amsterdam-based Legendary Pink Dots have earned the group cult status among industrial/goth brooders, neo-psychedelic hippies, and bent-pop connoisseurs the world over. For the past 25 years, the band’s ringleader Edward Ka-Spel has directed nearly four dozen albums that draw from an astonishing musical palette, including haunting electro-ambience, string-rich classical arrangements, and catchy post-Beatles melodies. Ka-Spel’s spoken-sung nuthouse brogue recalls that of Syd Barrett and his artful lyrics evoke both whimsical dreams and too-real nightmares. On “Please Don’t Get Me Wrong,” an Orwellian tale from the reassuring new CD Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves, the singer matter-of-factly loops the line “You have no choice,” as if giving in to no escape is the only path toward freedom from disillusionment. Prepare to be reprogrammed when the group celebrates its quarter-century anniversary on Saturday, July 8, at Slim’s at 9 p.m. Admission is $16-$18; call 522-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com for more info. — Sam Prestianni

Gender identity and uncomfortable intimacy are just hazy phrases for Portland’s Parenthetical Girls to knead into song. The band’s recent release, Safe as Houses, traverses themes of sex and shame from various perspectives, sung by a male (Zac Pennington) with a fragile falsetto. Surrounded by hauntingly minimal electronic pop, Pennington threads together tales of complicated nocturnal encounters that lead down dark alleyways to stillborn sisters and unexpected suicides. The Girls are rounded out (on CD; the live setup changes) by two other talented Northwest players, Jherek Bischoff and Sam Mickens of The Dead Science, and together they create crestfallen lullabies with woodwinds, glockenspiels, keyboards, and other celestial instrumentation. Houses is equal parts unnerving and stirring in its explicit vulnerability. Catch the Parenthetical Girls when they perform on Monday, July 10, at the Hemlock at 6 p.m. Admission is $6; call or visit www.hemlocktavern.com for more info. — Jennifer Maerz

 
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