Music

Comfortably Free

Pink Mountain, Confident Amid Disorder

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IT GETS CONFUSING. In the same music scene—psychedelic independent rock, subphylum semi-hippie experimental, more or less—there's Pink Mountaintops and Pink Mountain. The former is Stephen McBean from Black Mountain doing trippy, hypersexual country rock. ("Everything is murky and sinister and rotting in the meth-drenched moonlight," wrote Jamey Bainer in a recent Mercury story.) The latter is local guy Sam Coomes' new project, a dark, gorgeous wall of sound full of grooving noise asides, implacable (keyboards? computer?) horror movie jitters, and a general doomy, funereal aesthetic that sounds like Nero must've as he sang "Sack of Illium" while Rome burned.

Where Sam's best-known band, Quasi, traffics in indie-accepted classic rock, Pink Mountain is a big, bizarre, esoteric mindfuck where clichés are abandoned for weird, new ideas, and vocals echo out dreamlike beneath rock that's just as comfortable verging into rattling, counterintuitive free jazz as it is screwing with time signatures, and borrowing collage tricks from electronic music's most inaccessible.

"Comfortable," though, is the operative word here as Coomes, Kyle Bruckmann, Gino Robair, Scott Rosenberg, and John Shiurba give a confident, realized, concise voice and name to what seems to be—for all intents and purposes—disorder. The band's self-titled record is out now on Frenetic Records, a San Francisco label that's released great albums by Alarmist, Hella, and the Fucking Champs, among many others.

Also playing this show is Zu, an Italian experimental group that got its start soundtracking theater like Vladimir Majakovskj and Jean Genet's Il Funambolo. Their album, Igneo, also out on Frenetic, is a free-jazz/noise workout that sounds (especially on headphones) like an attack by vicious brain worms, squiggling little maggoty bastards eating through your cerebral cortex as memories and motor skills flash out and disappear like fireflies.

Both bands are great. Both fit well together. Locals Rollerball and the Better to See You With round out this bill—all in all a shining example of smart booking. People who put on shows: Take notice. This is how it's done.

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