Put a Hex on You

Loud, fast, and macabre: that seems to be the mantra of Austin’s Hex Dispensers, an underrated act with a Halloween-themed wit and the rapid pacing of a slasher flick. The band sprints through haunted topics with a sociopath’s smile, its songs splattered with references to brains in jars, funerals, and phantom limbs. As the title of the group’s latest record, Winchester Mystery House, also reveals, these guys and gal are obsessed with situations that aren’t quite as they appear. Hence the Hex Dispensers use monsters as metaphors for rotting romantics, while one of their debut album highlights touted a lover-as-assassin. Musically, the vocals are dead-on Ramones with female harmonies, while the guitar riffs veer expertly into Wipers territory. But just when you think you’ve cornered the band on its influences, its members leap out with something unexpected. Tucked midway though the album is an excellent cover of the Devo classic “Gates of Steel.” These Texans really know how to get their hooks in. Tonight they play the Red Devil Records Anniversary Party with Young Offenders, Outdoorsmen, and Complaints.
Fri., July 17, 9 p.m., 2009

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