Big Business, We Are Hex | Beat Kitchen | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Tue., April 14, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $12
This Los Angeles trio wears the bombast and grandiosity of late-70s rock the way little kids wear capes when they tear around the backyard chasing imaginary supervillains. They definitely sound like they arose after hardcore punk—bassist-vocalist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis, who cofounded Big Business as a duo, used to be in Karp and the Murder City Devils, respectively, and guitarist Scott Martin is from 400 Blows—but their playfulness draws a bright line between the band and that tradition. (Entirely appropriately, since 2006 Warren and Willis have done double duty in the Melvins, who used their post-Nirvana Atlantic deal in the mid-90s to screw around with increasingly goofy studio experiments till they got dropped.) Warren’s clear, burly voice is bell-ringingly strong and improbably precise, negotiating the melodies with gymnastic athleticism—it’s as if your hulking drinking buddy were to set down his beer, shout “For Narnia!,” and do a standing backflip. And the sophistication of the music belies its ’roided-up swagger: the songs make liberal use of spasms of knotty math-rock (which never crosses the line into twiddly prog—no elf shit here) and occasional startling dissonance in the vocal harmonies. Last month Big Business released the True Gold digital single (“Blacker Holes” b/w “Diagnostic Front”), and while it doesn’t show them off to their best advantage—some of their full-lengths definitely sound bigger and denser—it’s got all the usual heavy-bag drumming, mudflaps-and-tire-smoke riffs, and straight-faced silliness. These guys are like a wickedly chromed-out custom van with a troop of scowling Smurfs painted on the side. —Philip Montoro
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