have always been minimalists. On Lux
—the local four-piece’s first two albums—they use close-knit, repetitive patterns and tight Krautrock rhythms to contain the smeary, echoing vocals of front man Brian Case as well as the deep-fried guitars played by Case and Jonathan van Herik. And the grooves are shrouded by—almost sealed up inside—a fortified wall of reverb. Recently, though, Disappears have been stretching out into negative space, using strategically deployed emptiness to push their druggy, creepy sound into deeper and darker places—Case plays with the croak in his voice as though he’s trying to see just how much like a serial killer he can sound. The new Era
(Kranky) opens with “Girl,” a noisy vintage Disappears track that’s a bring-down from the first note, with a descending bass line and Case’s distorted ravings. The mood gets decidedly weirder from there—the same sort of weird as David Lynch’s macabre ideas about what Hollywood truly is—and it makes for the best, most peculiar material the band has released to date. “Ultra”
is a nine-minute-plus gurgling pulse accompanied by metallic pings and a simple rhythm, and Case repeats, “If you go, I go” till it becomes a chilling mantra without any semblance of sanity. It’s followed by the title track, which flanks its chantlike chorus—a sing-along by Disappears standards, even though it sounds like an attempt to summon a nameless evil—with barely-there dustings of guitar. It’s damn near pretty. I was always into Disappears as a garagey Krautrock band, but whatever they’re doing now is much harder to define—and they’re better for it. —Kevin Warwick Weekend, Outside World, and DJ Bud Sweet open.