DJ and producer Miles Whittaker and vinyl hound Sean Canty, aka Demdike Stare, definitely lay it on thick with the occult visuals. Their cover artwork, videos, and onstage projections all draw on ritualistic British horror rooted in Shakespearean-era witchcraft, pagan wicker-man effigies, and the like—their name even straight-up incorporates the alias of a renowned English witch tried in 1612. Demdike Stare's music, however, is hardly confined to the boundaries of that visual aesthetic—the duo's pulsing, menacing soundscapes, built almost entirely from layered samples of obscure recordings excavated during deep-dive crate digs, wear shades of techno, psychedelia, world music, and about a thousand marginal subgenres. Whittaker and Canty work with torturous patience—often elongating lulls filled with faint buzzes and grim dissonance through patches of negative space—and in so doing enable unnerving tension to bubble to the surface. Released earlier this year, the two-disc set Elemental (Modern Love) compiles four limited-edition vinyl records, which along with some additional material total nearly two hours of intense and experimental would-be horror-film soundtracks. "Violetta," with its chilling piano pounding and sonarlike pings, is the kind of thing you'd hear in a nightmare—and when you wake from it in a cold sweat, the shadows creeping through your bedroom shades would turn into a gaggle of demons ripped right from the Necronomicon. —Kevin Warwick
The biggest advantage of a small-town life is that it fosters creativity—you have to entertain yourself. The biggest disadvantage is that it's tough to find enough kindred spirits to collaborate with. I'm very impressed that a town the size of Plaistow, New Hampshire—with fewer than 8,000 people—managed to produce or attract four vegan environmentalist metalheads, to say nothing of four with enough talent and skill to start a band as promising as Vattnet Viskar. Formed in 2011, the band signed to Century Media this past spring having put out nothing but a two-song demo; in March the label released a four-song self-titled EP. Four songs would still be enough room to go wrong, but they never do—it's a beautifully ominous supercell storm of doomy, lyrical black metal, with a sinister logic underlying its deceitful lulls and a rich, supernatural eloquence in its howling winds. I'd say Vattnet Viskar are a band to watch, but by the time you pick their shadowy shapes out of the landscape, they'll be upon you. —Monica Kendrick This show is part of Adventures in Modern Music. Demdike Stare headlines; Vattnet Viskar, Andy Stott, and Joshua Abrams's Natural Information Society open.