The devil and death-metalheads

Once there was a time when (pick one) punk/new wave/indie rock meant songs purged of anything suggesting proficiency, non-DIY, or classic album rock. Of late, though, indie bands have embraced the refined aspects of 1960s/'70s classics — Sufjan Stevens and Of Montreal have more in common with the Zombies, Van Dyke Parks, and Todd Rundgren than with the Fall or Sonic Youth. The U.K.'s latest sensation The Boy Least Likely To plays both sides of the historical divide — the detail of Parks and frequent collaborator/beach man Brian Wilson, and the charming melodic quirks of Britain's 1981 post-punk scene: Monochrome Set, Aztec Camera, Orange Juice. Along with “usual” rock instrumentation, TBLLT uses mandolin, banjo, xylophone, fiddle, and handclaps for an approach that's simultaneously twee (songs from debut Best Party Ever include “Fur Soft as Fur” and “Hugging My Grudge” — oy), ambitious, and appealingly ungainly. This Boy Least Likely To performs on Friday, June 2, at the Great American Music Hall at 9 p.m. with local act Trainwreck Riders. Admission is $13-$15; call 885-0750 or visit for more info. — Mark Keresman

I'm a stoned disciple of the screaming neon tribalism and laser psychedelic dance jammers by the Boredoms, Animal Collective, and Gang Gang Dance. And so are Liars because the group, who in 2005 ditched New York for Germany, killed off the retro post-punk aesthetic that made it a white-hot indie commodity just four years ago. As can be heard on Liars' new disc Drum's Not Dead, the band replaced the former sound with a meditative brand of drum circle space rock ritual that often drifts, evaporates, and explodes like the stellar projections of Ummagumma-era Floyd. From the shimmering neo-krautrock drones of what sounds like a synth-tabla to the band's disembodied falsetto incantations, Liars has undergone an astounding mutation, one that most groups in its position don't dare attempt for fear of falling out of favor with the fan base. So check this maverick out when Liars performs on Monday, June 5, at the Bottom of the Hill at 9 p.m. Admission is $12; call 621-4455 or visit for more info.— Justin F. Farrar

In the dark days leading to the turn of the millennium, the dreaded prefix “nu-” was appended to the sacred word “metal,” and many wayward bands claiming fealty to the mighty riff were beholden to the “DJ” where before only ax-wielding guitarists had stood. But lo, a single black-hearted beacon in San Francisco stayed true to the secrets of steel through these bleak times when the masses supped on a flaccid bounty of “bizkit” and “korn.” Lucifer's Hammer offered pilgrims a weekly banquet of underground black, death, thrash, and sludge metal. And there was much headbanging, and deviltry prevailed. And yea, though the regular Tuesday celebrations of glorious, goat-horned mayhem did verily pass into the void, the unholy power of Lucifer's Hammer remained mighty. Now, nearly a decade after first baptizing believers in fire, Pabst, and skull-splitting volume, the covenant is renewed on the date of the beast: 6/6/06. Celebrate the sounding of the demon bell with bloody-hooded Creepsylvanian cannibal-thrash quartet Ghoul, grindcore heathens Splatterhouse (Portland, Ore.), and Insect Warfare (Texas), and local Pentagram tribute band Parallelogram on Tuesday, June 6, at Annie's Social Club at 9 p.m. Admission is $6.66; call 974-1585 or visit for more info.— Dave Pehling

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