But Is It Art?

Tom Van Buskirk and George Langford are big on recycling. As Javelin, the Rhode Island cousins make jumpy electronic pop that mines old sounds for new ones. Limited to 500 copies, their debut 12-inch on Thrill Jockey features unique art screen-printed by hand onto used sleeves. And when playing live, the guys stack painted boom boxes into teetering towers. If all of this sounds as much like art as music, Javelin has indeed played at New York's Museum of Modern Art. But there’s nothing pretentious about the songs themselves, which revere gooey analog synths and choppy percussion. “Lindsey Brohan” is a sublime slice of junkyard rediscovery, while “Soda Popinski” builds a rap-damaged thumper from the theme music of its title character, a boozing boxer first seen in an ’80s Nintendo cartridge. Ticklish and eye-opening, Javelin has another 12-inch planned before issuing a debut album on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. Sharing the stage with Javelin is Lucky Dragons, a long-running yet underrated L.A. act built on twitchy experimentation. Live and on record, its music is a fascinating jolt of beauty and intrigue. When it comes to this sort of improv-based voyaging, last year’s Dream Island Laughing Language should be held up as the gold standard.

Honey and DJ Neil Martinson open.
Wed., Nov. 11, 9 p.m., 2009

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