The Turks embrace Amphetamine Reptile's abrasive edge

One of the most eclectic guitarists to emerge in the last three decades, Bill Frisell has traversed a vast terrain of music during his remarkable career. From his early days as go-to session recruit for atmospheric jazz label ECM, through his time as an important avant-garde player among New York's downtown deconstructionists, to his later wide-ranging exploration of pastoral Americana, Frisell's unmistakable tone, ear for melody, and prodigious gifts as an improviser have cemented his reputation as a modern guitar giant. Though his delicate, country-tinged efforts during the '90s found him light-years away from the acidic six-string freakouts of his tenure with John Zorn's Naked City, his recent collaboration with fellow Seattle residents and pioneering drone-metal merchants Earth may indicate a return to more aggressive sounds. Frisell brings his current trio featuring former Naked City compatriot and monster drummer Joey Baron and longtime bassist Tony Sherr to Yoshi's in San Francisco from Thursday, Jan. 17, through Sunday, Jan. 20, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. (7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday). Admission is $22-$28; call 655-5600 or visit www.yoshis.com for more info. Dave Pehling

Seattle-based garageipoppers the Blakes might initially seem like your average scruffy boys with guitars to jangle and hearts to break, but scratch beneath the gritty-glam surface and there's plenty of sharp songwriting to discover. Brash brothers Snow and Garnet Keim fight playfully for the spotlight on the front line, but drummer Bob Husak is the real secret weapon on the back end. Part Animal-esque Muppet and part Keith Moon moppet, Husak's uncorkable energy is the sort of wild-card thrill that makes classic garage rock an enduring genre. The Blakes perform on Friday, Jan. 18, at Bottom of the Hill at 10 p.m. Admission is $10; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com for more info. Hannah Levin

San Francisco's heavy droners Om perform one of their periodic sets this week. Although the band comprises a duo of only bass and drums, Om's ocean of vibratory hypnotism has caused serious reverberations among fans of its members' disintegrated trio, Sleep. Offering a primal, pagan, early-worldliness state of being, Om's sound progresses beyond the typeface of stoner metal. Its recent, well-received disc Pilgrimage, out on Southern Lord, extends Al Cisneros' masterful bass playing without being noodly, while Chris Hakius' drums continue to exude a sonic sharpness. Joining the set is Holy Mountain labelmate Lichens, the ambient, looping psych project of 90 Day Men's Robert Lowe. Be prepared to nod and sway on Friday, Jan. 18, when Om and Lichens perform at the Independent at 9 p.m. Admission is $12-$14; call 771-1422 or visit www.theindependentsf.com for more info. Jess Scott

While too many experimental bands wage an escalating arms race of who can raise the most obnoxious racket, precious few remember to balance their noise quotient with at least a modicum of rock. Oakland-based Turks show an obvious affection for the abrasive sounds of classic Touch and Go and Amphetamine Reptile releases from the 1990s with their careening riffs and unhinged aggression. Veteran guitarist Richard Marshall (Alice Donut, Kingdom First, and Carlos) and singer Ryon Gesink first came together under the moniker in 2004, but the group recently emerged from an extended hiatus armed with a powerhouse new rhythm section featuring From Monument to Masses bassist Matthew Solberg and Sons of Oswald drummer Shannon Corr. Get a fistful of the band's churning, Jesus Lizard–inspired skronk when Turks land at the Hemlock Tavern with support acts Eternal Tapestry and Hurry Up Shotgun on Friday, Jan. 18, at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $6; call 923-0923 or visit www.hemlocktavern.com for more info. — D.P.

Much has been made of the depression Ray Raposa experienced — not to mention his being mugged — that led to the third Castanets album, In the Vines, sounding so noticeably somber. But is it really all that much darker than its predecessors, 2004's Cathedral and 2005's First Light's Freeze? All three albums make liberal use of slowed pulses and silence. Raposa is an indie-folk singer-songwriter (i.e., he eschews over-polish, shapes experimental noises around an acoustic core, and spills out of typical song structures), and is the sole constant in Castanets' otherwise-shifting cast. Raposa's voice does sound a shade more abrasive on Vines, and he unleashes a cacophony of feedback right off the bat during "Rain Will Come." But the jarring moments are held in tension with soothing sounds, such as the pedal steel and use of a "climbing choir." Castanets spread the sunshine on Monday, Jan. 21, at Café Du Nord at 9 p.m. Admission is $10; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com for more info. Jewly Hight

 
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