Psych kings the Black Angels combat a bleak world on fifth LP Death Song. The Velvet Underground enthusiasts captured Yellow Submarine sonics on the flower-power Indigo Meadow (2013), but now revert back to the dark atmospherics of their debut Passover. Prepare paranoia amidst white noise and ricochet riffs. NYC noiseniks A Place to Bury Strangers open.– Alejandra Ramirez
Even today, 40-plus years after forming in Cleveland, no one sounds like Pere Ubu.
Its organic blend of arty noise and Midwestern garage rock grew out of Rocket From the Tombs, a legendary proto-punk band that contributed songs and band members to Pere Ubu and which revived with original members early in the new millennium. The two groups rarely play in close proximity, with this unique double-header last seen in 2003. Both will concentrate on the songs performed in their original incarnations – an experience dubbed the Coed Jail Tour.
Sharing repertoire (“Life Stinks,” “30 Seconds Over Tokyo,” “Final Solution”) and personnel (frontman Dave Thomas, guitarist Gary Siperko, drummer Steve Mehlman), the lines between the two acts could blur, but that’s not the case.
“I can keep them separate because each one has a very specific function in my mind,” says Thomas from London. “In practical terms, Pere Ubu is my main band. Unfortunately Rocket has always had to take second fiddle, often because it’s more difficult to get the people together. It’s not to say that I don’t like doing Rocket as much. Rocket is exciting, because it makes no pretense other than to be a brutal rock experience, and it’s fun to do.
“It’s also fun to not do it, which is why Pere Ubu’s had the evolutionary curve that it’s had.”
That evolution’s kept Ubu constantly pushing its sound forward, which makes a show dedicated to the past a surprise.
“It used to be we would record an album, tour it, then come home and sit there for two more years doing nothing while we recorded a new album,” says Thomas. “In the last number of years, it’s come to be a useful tool [to do shows] like Coed Jail. We all keep working, keep in touch with each other.
“Over the last year we’ve been working on a new album. It’s coming out in the fall and will be called 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo, then that’ll be the end of Coed Jail for a period. Unless somebody comes along and says, ‘Here’s $30,000 if you do “Final Solution.”’ We have our principles, but hell, $30,000, I’ll do it!”– Michael Toland
Before losing a battle with the bottle, Evan Johns ate other guitarists for lunch. Incendiary fretwork, a booming voice, and a gumbo of rockabilly, garage punk, and honky-tonk, the H-Bomber left Austin in awe – then life in March. Homer Henderson, Ivan Brown, and Johns’ onetime band the LeRoi Brothers pay tribute, as does longtime supporter Jello Biafra, flying in to front the D.C. Weenies.– Kevin Curtin
Following a raging SXSW showcase, Atlanta’s Mastodon pistons its prog metal hammer on March’s acclaimed Emperor of Sand. Party metal kings Eagles of Death Metal continue plugging away on the road after the 2015 Bataclan attack. Art metal trio Russian Circles support via 2016’s majestic Guidance.– Michael Toland
Big in Europe? Sharing office space with Chronicle Listings boss and journeyman post-punk Mark Fagan, I receive all review alerts, write-ups flooding in from Italy, France, and Germany ahead of the John-Pauls’ fall European tour. The group’s debut LP Forget to Remember to Forget pivots on fellow scene vets Phillip Niemeyer’s and Mikila Zaorski’s vocal weave above Nineties Matador angularity.– Raoul Hernandez
Perfect harmonies trademark the Mastersons, husband and wife duo Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore. The pair’s traded Austin for Los Angeles in signing to Americana label Red House Records, and they continue backing Steve Earle. They vet third studio effort Transient Lullaby in Austin at local hero George Reiff’s studio.– William Harries Graham