claim on their Bandcamp page that their name means “Bad Lands.” Zelienople
is named for the town in Pennsylvania where two band members pulled the plug on an unsuccessful road trip. On their new unnamed split LP for Slow Knife Records
both combos turn inward—each contributes a side-length exploration of mostly blue moods—but it’s probably a stretch to connect that to the geographical bad vibes implied by their names. Mako Sica’s “Ancestors” opens with echoing guitars and wordless vocals that remind me of Keiji Haino at his most disconsolate. For a moment they swing to the other end of the spectrum with a jaunty instrumental passage—imagine Television jamming on Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me”—but soon they lapse back into forlorn atmospherics. Zelienople’s “I Think I’ll Join You” starts out eerie, with electronically processed reeds and churchy organ rising from a wash of cymbals, then gets progressively more spacey and remote—it’s as though they were spooked by a sad memory and then got lost in it. The band’s LP from last year, The World Is a House on Fire
(Type), distills that lost atmosphere into discrete songs. Memorial Day celebrations tend to drown out sorrow with jingoism, but if you’re looking for music that respects what loss feels like, this record-release concert is where you need to be. —Bill Meyer
Mako Sica headlines; Zelienople and a trio of Jason Stein, Matt Schneider, and Frank Rosaly open.