by Dave Segal
on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 5:42 PM
The first week in January is not a time when you expect to witness what could be one of the year’s best shows, but last night at Vermillion, (blouse)usa and Jetman Jet Team torched the post-holidays doldrums with some scintillating music in that small, but fairly crowded space on a rainy Thursday.
(blouse)usa—Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy, drummer for the heavy head-expanding groups Lesbian and Fungal Abyss—was accompanied by the guitarist in both of those bands, Daniel La Rochelle. BT-K wore fluorescent-green raver bracelets as eyeglasses and handed out more of such bracelets during the set. But the music wasn’t DayGlo. Rather, it sounded like a bizarre hybrid of sundownered, gothic/desert rock À la Savage Republic or Scenic—especially with La Rochelle’s John McGeoch/Bruce Licher-like guitar tones—and Boards of Canada-esque downtempo electronica. La Rochelle produced shards of burnt-orange drones while BT-K finessed casually funky beats on a minimalist kit (kick/snare/two cymbals). It was the type of set you don’t hear much in Seattle and I immediately bought the self-titled CD on Dead Accents when it was over. I highly recommend it as a subtly twisted soundtrack for imaginary Twilight Zone episodes.
Jetman Jet Team were missing guitarist/vocalist Brenan Chambers, who reportedly took a drunken fall off a building in Canada and damaged some ribs. Nevertheless, this young psych-shoegaze-rock band forged on sans its charismatic frontman (and its Dreamachine) and blazed a lot of people’s gray matter. They began with a stoic, sinuous motorik groove that was punctuated by trebly ripples of synth and guitar and occasional outbursts of Keith Moon-like drum exhibitionism from Quin Dickinson. Imagine Can’s “Mother Sky” played by first-LP Ash Ra Tempel; no (cosmic) joke.
The second epic track was fiery psych rock, a lava flow of controlled chaos that entered the realm of Japanese form-busters like High Rise and Acid Mothers Temple. The scorched-earth coda landed somewhere between Hendrix and Haino on the over-saturation meter. What a corrosive rush. Good thing Chambers didn’t show up, as his ribcage would've really been splintering by set’s end.