The Mob, Population, Cemetery, Veil Vitric | Cobra Lounge | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Julian Longoria

The Mob, Population, Cemetery, Veil Vitric 

When: Tue., March 31, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $17, $14 in advance
You could be forgiven for assuming Cemetery were dead: this Chicago-based goth-punk four-piece (heavy on the goth) haven’t played a show in two and a half years. But you know how hard it is to kill goth—and the group’s long silence just means their singer moved to Brooklyn. Cemetery’s debut full-length, Wind and Shadows, comes out any week now on California’s Mass Media Records, the same label that in 2013 reissued the band’s 2011 cassette demo. (This concert was intended as a release party for the LP, but vinyl-pressing plants are backed up with Record Store Day orders.) The album includes eight originals and a cover of “The Fan and the Bellows,” an early-80s deep cut by UK postpunks the Chameleons—a big influence on Cemetery, along with usual suspects the Virgin Prunes and Christian Death (though they also cite the Smiths and A Flock of Seagulls). I reckon people like goth punk for the same reason they like black-leather loners on motorcycles: first you’ve got a wounded cool that hints at some sort of buried despair or alienation, and then underneath there’s power, noise, and speed. Cemetery’s slack, smeary vocals, thick with disgust and apathy, don’t often carry a melody (except on the morose, poppy “Forced Fetish”), but they create much of music’s pitch-black emotional color, especially when they rupture into urgent howls and yelps. The guitar alternates between icy single-string lines and distorted chatter, when it’s not processed to sound like a church organ or a circular saw (I can’t identify all the effects pedals involved, but there’s almost always cathedral-size reverb). When the guitar disintegrates into noise or atmosphere, the bass provides a melodic anchor with mobile lines that expertly deploy the instrument’s upper register, thanks to a gutty steel-cable tone that lets you hear the metal windings on the strings. And the drums combine the ragged, barely controlled frenzy of punk with the bustle of disco-influenced new wave. Wind and Shadows sounds haunted and miasmal, but its ghostly tissue is drawn taut with memorable riffs, strong progressions, and driving beats—as the band told Cult Nation in 2013, it’s “angst you can dance to.” Tonight Cemetery open for UK dark-punk pioneers the Mob, and Veil Vitric (a new band with Cemetery’s guitarist) play first. —Philip Montoro



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